Server Farming

Oct 20 2010   3:12PM GMT

Converged infrastructure certifications come online

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

 With Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and others preaching the benefits of converged data center infrastructure–packaging up compute server, networking and storage together–certifications for IT pros had to follow.

This week, HP announced what it claims is the first program dedicated to training IT pros specifically for running and maintaining converged infrastructure.  The courses will be delivered at more than 150 learning centers, the company said. The  HP ExpertONE converged infrastructure certification program  requires “both business technology and process competencies and [is] the first architectural level certification for converged infrastructure,” said Rebekah Harvey, HP’s director of learning product management.

“We make sure they can design converged infrastructure solution that is both technically sound and business sound. The Elite tests for business acumen and during the board exam [candidates] have to put together specs for what they’re recommending, including an ROI model,” she said.

“For people that have existing skills in the current [technology] there are a lot of paths to proficiency..Fast tracks provide an accelerated way for them to prove their mettle without spending a lot of time and money on it.”

While HP is claiming this as a first, Cisco also offers training and certifications around its Unified Compute System offerings including two new Data Center Unified Computing specialist certifications.

In some ways these converged infrastructure certifications represent a push towards less specialized skills. These people won’t necessarily have the down-to-the wire knowledge of the component parts of converged infrastructure but a broader knowledge of how that converged infrastructure can cut data center costs. 

In many data centers, the server IT person recommended server hardware, the networking admin weighed in on router/switch/hub choices and the storage guy ran yet another fiefdom. If converged infrastructure takes off as these vendors hope, the purchasing sign-off power will move up the food chain to higher-level execs and that means a new sales model with some of the lower level “silo” people losing their mojo.

“The sales model is absolutely changing although i wouldn’s say they’re losing their mojo,” said Lyle Speirs, director of sales and marketing for HP’s global certification and training group.  As tech changes, so do requirements of the people implementing and supporting it and changes in how people are skilled doesn’t mean that skilled storage or server people are less valuable.”

As for who will be signing off on converged infrastructure purchases, Speirs and Harvey think that authority will flow to  master architect-class people in the data center. Not the CIOs but the people CIOs rely on to scope out their infrastructure, Speirs said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at, or follow us on twitter.

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