Eye on Certification: Database & Storage
Information, or more specifically, reliable access to relevant, organized information, has become the foundation of the new economy. This state of affairs makes the gatekeepers and arrangers of that information — database and storage professionals — a focal point of business performance. Companies need to know the people running their data systems are qualified to do so and that they possess a certain level of expertise. Thus, credentials in this area have gone up in value, to the point where certificants in storage and databases rank among the highest-compensated in the IT industry.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the more popular certs in these two critical disciplines of technology:
EMC Corp., a provider of products, services, and solutions for information storage and management, has a Proven Professional program that offers customers and partners training and education in positioning, designing, implementing, managing and maintaining an infrastructure for information life cycle management.
The program comprises six primarily storage-focused certification tracks: storage administrator, storage technologist, technology architect, customer engineer, implementation engineer, and a product- or technology-specific certification.
The curriculum includes dozens of instructor-led and e-learning courses in areas such as business continuity, storage area networks (SANs), network attached storage (NAS) and storage management. The course content, exam and credential are identical to what EMC uses to teach, test and certify its own technical personnel.
For more information, see http://www.emc.com/certification.
Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA)
The SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP) offers IT professionals vendor-neutral, systems-level credentials that are designed to harmonize with various certifications offered by different data storage companies. It includes four certifications: SNIA Certified Professional (SCP) 2006, SNIA Certified Systems Engineer (SCSE) 2006, SNIA Certified Architect (SCA) 2006 and SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert (SCSN-E).
SNIA periodically hosts workshops of varying length (usually less than a week for a single course) at its Technology Center for individuals who want to earn SNCP credentials. Additionally, the organization lists approved training vendors on its Web site.
For more information, see http://www.snia.org/education/certification.
Oracle, one of the key players in the database sector, offers a suite of certifications that progress in levels: associate, professional and master. DBAs should identify early on whether they’ll pursue the certifications for Oracle Database 10g, a relational database designed for grid computing, or the Oracle9i Database, the still-popular earlier version. The first level of certification includes the Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Associate and Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Associate credentials. Both associate-level certifications are required to proceed to the professional stage of credentials.
The Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Professional designation indicates its bearers know how to configure an Oracle database for multilingual applications, use various methods in recovering and tuning the database, and employ technologies such as Resource Manager, Scheduler and Automatic Storage Management (ASM). This certification requires successful completion of “1Z0-043 Oracle Database 10g: Administration I,” as well as an Oracle University-administered, hands-on course component for all new Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) candidates. (It isn’t required for those who are upgrading their existing DBA OCP credential from a previous version.) Oracle University is expected to offer details on special accreditations within this certification later this year.
Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professionals, who manage database functions for various projects, have skills that include network administration, backup and recovery and tuning a database. As with the Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Professional, the Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professional has a hands-on course requirement for all new OCP candidates directed by Oracle University. Participants also must pass “1Z0-032 Oracle9i Database: Fundamentals II” and “1Z0-033 Oracle9i Database: Performance Tuning” tests. Also, the Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professional contains a one-exam special accreditation, Managing Oracle9i on Linux, which allows Oracle 9i DBAs to demonstrate their knowledge of installation, administration and configuration of the Oracle9i database on the Linux OS.
At the top of the company’s database certifications are the Oracle Database 10g Administrator Certified Master and Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Master credentials. To obtain these, candidates must earn the professional-level certs, complete sophisticated coursework and pass a two-day practical examination.
For more information, see http://www.oracle.com/education/certification.
After a recent restructuring of its certification program, Microsoft added two database-focused credentials in its new Certified IT Professional category — IT Professional: Database Developer and IT Professional: Database Administrator. Also, within its Technology Specialist classification, Microsoft added the SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence certifications. (Note: The exam for the Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence credential is expected to be released early next year.)
For now, Microsoft still offers its Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) credential, which shows that candidates have the necessary skills to lead organizations in the successful design, implementation and administration of Microsoft SQL Server 2000. MCDBA candidates are required to pass one SQL Server administration exam and one SQL Server design exam. In addition, MCDBA candidates have the option to pass either one Windows 2000 Server or one Windows Server 2003 exam to fulfill the networking systems core requirement.
For more information, see http://www.microsoft.com/learning.
Big Blue offers many certifications regarding DB2, Informix and some of its other database products. IBM’s database certification program begins with the Certified Database Associate certification, which is designed for entry-level DBAs, as well as users of the DB2 product line. Holders of these certifications will have a basic grasp of administration, SQL, installation, creation of databases and database objects, and security and transaction isolation, all of which pertain to DB2 Universal Database 8.1.
At the intermediate level, IBM offers the Certified Database Administrator, which essentially explores many of the same issues found in the Certified Database Associate credentials but in a more in-depth fashion. This certification provides certificants with knowledge that allows them to implement and maintain DB2 in different environments, which includes tasks such as data access and information integration.
IBM Certified Advanced Database Administrator, the company’s certification for expert DBAs, is designed to help these professionals apply DB2 products on Linux, UNIX (AIX, HP-UX, and Sun Solaris), Windows or any combination of these. Other complex ta