Guide

VAR guide: Virtualization certifications and storage certifications

By Ed Tittel

Aside from the simple pleasure of demonstrating skills and knowledge in a variety of technical arenas, IT certifications can for many reasons be especially valuable to individuals who work in the reseller or service provider channels.

In some cases, the presence of one or more certified professionals on staff is a hard-and-fast requirement for VARs and service providers to establish channel partnerships with specific vendors (companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, EMC and countless other major and minor marketplace players). In other cases, the presence of certified professionals on staff qualifies a VAR or service provider to access special higher-level support groups directly and to participate in restricted beta testing and/or customer outreach efforts.

As identified experts in vendor tools and technologies, certified professionals often gain access to additional technical information, training and software that is not freely available to the general public. This permits them to develop a more comprehensive view of product and technology internals, behaviors, benefits and limitations.

Perhaps most importantly, VARs or service providers that join premium partner programs generally reserved for organizations with certified members on staff also accrue tangible benefits. These include early access to information about vendor promotions and sales campaigns, lead sharing from advertising, trade shows, promotions and other outreach

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programs, and sales or service referrals that vendors typically reserve for their strongest and most capable supporters.

Employees like certifications because they improve their skills, knowledge and general employability. Employers -- including VARs and service providers -- like them because they provide excellent ways to leverage their vendor and partner contacts and relationships, and they provide tangible yardsticks against which to assess employee skills and knowledge. Vendors like certifications because they help to reduce direct support costs and provide them with skilled and capable advocates and allies out in the field. That's what makes IT certification a win-win proposition for VARs and service providers.

Virtualization certification guide for the networking pro

Virtualization certification can be a way to distinguish among a flood of job applicants. It can also be a proactive way to get training prior to being dropped into an expanded role, or a means of proving to an employer that you are willing to take the extra step in expanding skills. Most importantly, virtualization certification ties directly into desktop virtualization and unified data center fabric strategies, which networking solution providers need to learn one way or another.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

View the virtualization certification guide in full.

Storage certification guide for the networking pro

Networking solution providers are increasingly called on to facilitate the convergence of data center and storage networks. As these requested services expand in enterprise IT organizations, so too must the providers' storage skills. Many will gain these skills through hands-on experience. But networking solution providers may also find they can get what they need from storage certification programs that run the gamut from the very basic foundations of the technology to in-depth storage network design and management.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

View the storage certification guide in full.

This was first published in May 2010

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