Cisco Adds Storage Networking to CCIE Program

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Effective Nov. 18, Cisco will expand its Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) program to include storage networking, joining the routing and switching, security, service provider and voice (VoIP) CCIE tracks, company officials announced.


“Cisco is committed to storage area networking as one of our core advanced technologies,” said Mike Quinn, vice president of Cisco Customer Advocacy’s customer assurance operations. “We don’t put together a CCIE exam for every single nuance of the IT or internetworking industry. Cisco made the commitment with our storage area products.”


“This is one of the technologies that’s a key part of our portfolio,” said Mike Reid, manager of CCIE programs at Cisco. “Cisco sees this as part of overall networking strategy. It builds on what Cisco already does well, which is build networks.”


CCIE Storage Networking candidates will be required to pass a written exam covering theoretical concepts, as well as a hands-on lab exam to demonstrate real-world skills. Participants must demonstrate proficiency with devices such as SAN switches and directors, routers, switches and management solutions. The certification specifically deals with the Cisco MDS 9000 Series, a family of intelligent storage directors and fabric switches, but is not limited to Cisco products.


“It’s different from other certifications and vendors,” Quinn said. “We take the approach that while Cisco offers it, it gives you a broader industry capability because it’s based on the standards of the industry; it’s not based on just Cisco-unique technology.”


Both Reid and Quinn said the bar was set high for this exam, as it is for all CCIE exams, to ensure holders had a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. “You know the specs, you know how it’s handled, you know how it’s installed,” Quinn said. “You’re not going to deviate from that, so the trust factor in what you implement improves the success factor for your company and for your customers. You’re trusted as an advisor.”


“They can leverage existing resources better, they can take advantage of existing services and they can build new services,” Reid said.


Although there are no formal prerequisites, Cisco recommends candidates have at least two to five years of experience in the field prior to taking the exam. “One of the difficult things about CCIE is that it requires a bit of self-analysis,” Reid said. “Anybody who attempts the CCIE has to look at their own skills and strong and weak points, and determine what the best path to take is.”


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