HP Helps Develop Real Skills for a Virtualized Infrastructure

No matter what IT discipline you are in — security, applications development, server administration or other — you can’t escape the fact that virtualization is changing computing as we know it. In data centers, as well as on the desktop, the ratio of one application or user to one computer is a thing of the past. High-value assets such as servers and storage devices are being pooled and provisioned as needed to support multiple operating systems, applications and users.

Today, virtualization is a key element of every company’s IT infrastructure, and Hewlett-Packard is active in developing virtualization technologies. HP’s approach to virtualization delivers applications and business services; puts unused data-center capacity to work on business priorities; and enhances availability, continuity and security. That includes delivering the training and certification needed to build and validate your virtualization knowledge and skills.

Whether you work for a channel partner company that sells HP solutions or for an end-user company that utilizes the solutions to meet your business needs, a critical skill set around these new virtualization technologies is needed. Such skills are invaluable in helping your employer or customers extend the value of past and future IT investments.

HP’s training courses and certifications are geared toward helping an end user develop knowledge of virtualized solutions in all areas of the enterprise infrastructure. Here’s a small sample of what’s available in three popular technology areas: blades, storage and client computing.

Blade Training and Certification: From Novice to Expert

HP BladeSystems are a natural choice for virtualization. ProLiant server blades have all the required features for virtual machines, and BladeSystems have the option to virtualize your network and external storage as part of one solution.

If you are a novice who is just getting started with HP BladeSystems, there is a curriculum designed to impart the basic concepts and operations of blades through Web-based training. Beyond the basics, the first level of technical integration certification is the AIS – HP BladeSystem 2007 credential, which will soon be updated to the AIS – HP BladeSystem 2009 credential. AIS stands for Accredited Integration Specialist.

This credential has several technology prerequisites designed to help the end user gain a sufficient background in the architecture and technology of industry standard servers, operating systems and networking. An instructor-led training course will help you prepare for the certification exam. This covers all aspects of blade installation and startup services, including hardware configuration, OS installation, HP driver installation, full management instrumentation and deployment of performance enhancement tools.

The next step up the certification ladder is the ASE – HP BladeSystems 2007 credential. The prerequisites and training for the ASE (Accredited Systems Engineer) ensure the end user has the knowledge and skills to integrate and manage an HP BladeSystem configuration in the enterprise infrastructure. The training focuses on real-world scenarios such as using customized scripts to automate infrastructure deployments and migrating from one server platform to another.

The AIS – HP Integrity BladeSystem 2008 credential prepares the end user to work with virtual configurations based on an HP Integrity platform, which is geared toward mission-critical applications. Among many other topics in the training, you’ll learn about HP Virtual Connect, a technology that simplifies the connection of blade servers to data-center networks.

Build Your Storage Virtualization Skills

According to IDC, storage virtualization can improve the utilization of your storage from less than 20 percent to more than 70 percent. Companies of all sizes are clamoring for this type of productivity improvement. Do you know how to design and implement a virtualized storage system that delivers such high utilization rates? HP Education services and HP Global Partner Learning have the training one needs to build knowledge of storage virtualization, and the HP Certified Professional Program offers numerous certifications to validate storage knowledge.

HP offers introductory learning for the basics of the technologies and products used to create end-to-end storage solutions. One course that can facilitate learning about storage virtualization is Implementing HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA). This is one of the preparatory courses to get end users ready to sit for the AIS – HP StorageWorks 2008 and the ASE – HP StorageWorks 2008 certification exams.

Following HP’s recent acquisition of LeftHand Networks, HP now offers the HP LeftHand P4000 SAN solutions, which are based on StorageWorks EVA technology and optimized for virtualized servers, database and e-mail applications. In addition, HP now has several courses and a certification on LeftHand SAN solutions.

For example, various Web-based or instructor-led courses can help you acquire the skills to size and design a solution based on LeftHand SAN technology, and then install and configure an HP LeftHand SAN solution. These courses are highly recommended in preparation for the AIS – Specialty in the HP LeftHand San Solutions 2009 credential.

Of course, HP’s flagship storage certification is the Master ASE – HP StorageWorks 2008 credential. This certification is intended to prepare end users to design and implement storage solutions to meet their companies’ or customers’ business needs. To attain this certification, one needs significant knowledge and experience on HP server and blade technologies, as well as all the storage technologies.

Client Virtualization Is in Demand

Traditional client computing models are not optimized to address many business and IT challenges holistically. HP client virtualization solutions are designed specifically to address concerns such as ensuring security and manageability, reducing operating costs and optimizing resource consumption. Together with partners such as Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, HP offers several different solutions for client virtualization. Training and certification are available on each of the solution strategies and components.

One method of client virtualization is server-based computing, in which users primarily access applications on a server via a thin client on the desktop. The certification AIS – HP Thin Client Solutions 2008 validates an end user’s technical ability to select the appropriate clients, image the thin clients and setup and configure the operating system. Web-based and instructor-led training will help you learn the subject matter and prepare for the exam.

A second method of client virtualization uses the HP Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI provides fully functional and personalized desktops delivered across the network. Each virtual desktop is isolated and secure in the data center. Various trainings and the certifications AIS – Remote Client Solutions 2009 and ASE – Remote Client Solutions 2009 support this computing strategy.

Yet another way to virtualize the client is to provide fully functional and personalized desktops delivered by a blade PC or blade workstation. Ideal for knowledge workers, this method delivers a true PC or workstation experience with centralized resource control. Numerous courses and certifications support this type of solution. Most notably, the ASE – HP Consolidated Client Infrastructure 2006 credential is the highest level of skills validation.

Virtualization Skills Are Important to Your Career

Because computing virtualization offers so many benefits, practically every organization is looking to virtualize its resources and applications in some way. Numerous trainings and certifications are available across a range of job roles, including sales, presales technical, technical integration, systems administration and hardware support. Most of the courses and certifications are aimed at HP channel partners who sell, design and implement solutions for HP customers. However, end-user customers also can participate in many of the trainings and attain the technical integration and systems administration certifications.

For more information about certifications from HP, visit the HP Partner Learning Web site at www.hp.com/go/partnerlearning, and select “HP Certified Professional Program.” If you want to learn more or register for training courses, you can register to use HP’s learning management system, called The Learning Center. Whether you work for an HP channel partner or not, you can access The Learning Center through the HP partner portal. Another resource for learning more about virtualization training from HP is HP Education Services at www.hp.com/learn/virtualization.

HP has many courses to help you learn about the intricacies of virtualized computing. From basic “getting-started” Web-based training to intensive instructor-led and lab-based courses, you have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills to become an expert on virtualization solutions. 

Linda Musthaler is a consultant to the HP Certified Professional Program Office. She can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.

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