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Certification for SAN professionals

Which SAN certification is best to help you meet your goals?


Certification for SAN professionals
Rick Cook

Whether you're looking to increase your knowledge of SAN systems or increase your income, certification as a SAN professional can help you meet your goals. There are a number of programs available to certify storage managers and engineers in SANs. The big question is which one will do the most to help you meet your goals.

Some of the certification programs are run by third parties such as the Storage Networking Industry Association, other bodies or junior colleges. They tend to look at SANs generally and try to provide information that will help anyone who has to design, install or manage a SAN.

SAN vendors offer similar certification programs. Most of the major vendors of SAN equipment offer certification on their products, often at the level of specific models.

Which program is best for you depends on what you are trying to accomplish. The vendor specific certification is likely to be most helpful to people who have to manage that particular kind of SAN. The information covered is likely to be more detailed and the procedures more precise.

Of necessity, the certification programs aimed at SANs in general are going to be broader and focus more on the principles of handling a SAN rather than the details of a particular vendors product. This may give the student a broader basis, which is likely to be more helpful if you're job hunting or want to upgrade you overall skill set, but it is unlikely to offer the focus of the vendor-specific programs.

It's a good idea to shop around and compare programs before committing to any kind of certification program.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

Additional Resources:
1. What does the SNIA offer in the way of certification?
Earlier this fall, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), in conjunction with Infinity I/O, announced a Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (FC-SAN) certification program in the U. S. and Europe to test IT professionals' expertise in Fibre Channel-based SANs. The SNIA claims this to be the only such program that is vendor-neutral.

2. When does vendor certification make sense?
Over recent years, certification of IS professionals has become ever more common. Vendors -- usually the providers of certification -- have emphasized certification as a tool to build loyalty and brand presence. To be sure, there are doubters, but a body of studies has shown certification in a favorable light.

3. What other SAN/NAS training resources are available?
Here's a collection of training resources for storage area networks (SANs) or network-attached storage (NAS). If you want to delve into technical SAN installation/support issues, you'll find something of interest here.

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