In a time of financial challenges, it is more critical than ever that businesses be able to respond quickly, with flexibility and confidence, to the rapid changes of the marketplace. A successful business response should be as dynamic in nature as the actively changing market requirements.
IBM’s answer to the dynamic requirements of business today is an IT strategy based on the concept of a dynamic infrastructure. A dynamic infrastructure is optimized, agile, responsive and automated. It integrates business and IT assets and aligns them with the overall goals of the business, and it is designed to dynamically improve service, reduce costs and manage risks.
In such a challenging business environment, it is key that IT professionals have traditional IT skills as well as credentials to support their ability to perform and meet the IT challenges of today’s dynamic business world. In keeping with the IBM strategy, and in response to such skill needs, IBM has recently deployed a Dynamic Infrastructure certification program for IT professionals.
IBM Dynamic Infrastructure Certification
The Dynamic Infrastructure certification program includes several certifications in various specialty areas. Tying the specialties together are two additional certifications related to sales and technical professionals in leadership roles.
For those in sales leadership roles, the IBM Certified Solution Expert – Dynamic Infrastructure Sales Leader certification targets a wide audience of sales professionals, with a specific focus on the IBM Business Partner. For those in technical leader roles, the IBM Certified Solution Expert – Dynamic Infrastructure Technical Leader certification reaches a broader audience of the technical community, such as technical specialists in servers, storage and system management applications. This certification is for IT professionals who direct a technical resources team to develop, implement and support dynamic infrastructure opportunities.
The audience for the Technical Leader includes IBM Business Partners, and it can also be applicable for advanced technical staff in a client or company IT shop.
Successful candidates for the IBM Certified Solution Expert – Dynamic Infrastructure Technical Leader should be able to demonstrate the following skills as related to the concepts of a dynamic infrastructure:
- Articulate dynamic infrastructure vision and model.
- Evaluate and document current environment.
- Identify opportunities (e.g., energy efficiency, business resilience, virtualization and consolidation, information infrastructure, data warehousing and SOA).
- Solve business problems using tools, methods and processes.
- Create accurate project plans.
- Identify areas of risk.
- Create an implementation plan.
- Establish a post-installation support plan.
- Document performance expectations.
- Describe and perform a solution assurance review.
- Ensure an implementation plan is executed per requirements.
- Ensure the expectations have been met.
Dynamic Infrastructure Specialty Certification
In addition to the above, the new Dynamic Infrastructure certification program includes specialist certifications in four different areas. These certifications test skills needed for:
Business resilience: Business continuity and resiliency solutions keep businesses running in the event of an internal or external risk, planned or unplanned, and allow company IT experts to devote more time to innovation.
Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency solutions can help lower data center energy costs through facilities design, power and cooling infrastructure, active energy management and efficient, scalable IBM systems.
Information infrastructure: Information infrastructure solutions are designed to help manage the information explosion and address challenges around information compliance, availability, retention and security. This will lead toward improved productivity, service delivery and reduced risk, while streamlining costs.
Virtualization and consolidation: These solutions maximize business value with an on-demand operating environment that intelligently adjusts and apportions resources to workloads. With server consolidation, organizations can optimize the utilization of their IT infrastructure and realize resource efficiency. Virtualization capabilities include rapid server deployment and provisioning. They deliver multiple diverse workloads in a protected and isolated environment.
Dynamic Infrastructure Accreditation
Each certification is a stand-alone credential earned by the individual IT professional. However, when multiple specialist certifications are achieved by employees of an IBM Business Partner firm, the company may qualify for a Firm Accreditation.
The highest accreditation — Dynamic Infrastructure Specialty Elite — is achieved by Business Partner firms that successfully complete an in-depth practicum. Participants in the practicum consist of a candidate team from a Business Partner firm that has qualified at the specialty level. This team, which includes sales leaders and technical leaders, participates in an actual simulation of a dynamic infrastructure opportunity. It participates in various stages of a typical engagement with live face-to-face presentations and written project documents. Accreditation is achieved when the practicum-rating panel determines the team is capable of using and coordinating all the previously earned skills in an effective professional manner.
IBM Portfolio Supports Dynamic Infrastructure Specialty Skills
While the Dynamic Infrastructure certification program is singularly focused on dynamic infrastructure, the diversity of the overall IBM certification portfolio offers many more certifications that are building blocks for a dynamic infrastructure. The broad set of certifications available from IBM provides additional certification credentials to validate skills related to dynamic infrastructure across many different IT disciplines.
For example, core to any infrastructure is the hardware. IBM offers a variety of certifications for IT professionals skilled in IBM server and storage technologies. These products and related skills support virtualization and consolidation, energy efficiency, business resilience and most aspects of dynamic infrastructure. A sampling of a few of the IBM server and storage certifications includes:
• IBM Certified Specialist – Power Systems Technical Support for AIX and Linux.
• IBM Certified Specialist – Power Systems Technical Support for i Operating System.
• IBM Certified System Expert – System x BladeCenter Technical Support v5.
• IBM Certified Specialist – System z Technical Support v3.
• IBM Certified Specialist – Distributed Systems Storage Solutions v7.
IBM also offers a full complement of certifications in the field of information management and infrastructure, as there is a full range of opportunities available for the IT professional skilled in the area of information management.
Additional Dynamic Infrastructure Skills
Three additional common components of a dynamic infrastructure are service management, asset management and security. IT skills in each of these areas are very important. IBM Tivoli is active across the entire realm of a dynamic infrastructure, with many applicable certifications, especially in service management, asset management and security.
Service management: Management processes, systems and best practices are needed to effectively build a smarter business by efficiently delivering business services.
The Tivoli certification program offers several certifications in service management. The Tivoli program includes advanced-level certifications for the IBM Certified Advanced Deployment Professional in the following areas:
- IBM Service Management Network and Service Assurance.
- IBM Service Management Security and Compliance.
- IBM Service Management Service Availability and Performance Management.
- IBM Service Management Service Delivery and Process Automation.
- IBM Service Management Data Center Management and Transformation.
- IBM Service Management Asset and Financial Management.
Asset management: Production, delivery and facilities assets are important components of a dynamic infrastructure. Asset management solutions ensure safe and reliable operations by controlling costs, mitigating risk, increasing return on assets and enhancing operational efficiency for all types of assets.
Two examples of IBM certifications in asset management are:
- IBM Certified Deployment Professional – Tivoli Asset Management for IT v7.1.
- IBM Certified Deployment Professional – Maximo Asset Management v7.1.
Security: Security solutions deliver capabilities that enable organizations to take a holistic approach to security, compliance and risk management, supporting the secure delivery of services with speed and agility in the dynamic infrastructure. A secure infrastructure is critical in most business environments and is a key component of dynamic infrastructure.
Tivoli has several certifications designed to validate IT skills supporting a secure infrastructure. In addition, IBM provides several different certification offerings in the area of security.
For Lotus, there is the IBM Certified Advanced Security Professional – Lotus Notes and Domino 8, designed to validate the more advanced level of skills required by someone in a security role.
Rational offers the IBM Certified Specialist – IBM Rational AppScan Standard Edition. This certification focuses on security from an entirely different perspective. This certification is intended for IT specialists with experience using IBM Rational AppScan Standard Edition, a Web application security testing tool that automates vulnerability assessments.
Then, as a services offering, IBM has a brand new professional certification program that is all about IT security. The Internet Security Systems (ISS) certification program was formally launched June 1. Available from ISS is the IBM Certified Advisor – Internet Security Systems Technical v1. The IBM Internet Security Systems technical advisor is an IT professional who has a strong understanding of current technical security technologies and can accurately position the ISS offering portfolio against competitive technologies.
Skills to Support SOA Infrastructure
Critical to any infrastructure is architecture. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) fits hand-in-glove with the premise of a dynamic infrastructure. SOA allows a business to build, integrate and deploy functions and processes independent of the application or system platform. An SOA infrastructure increases flexibility, responsiveness and performance, consistent with the IBM Dynamic Infrastructure strategy.
The SOA Professional certification program offers an IBM Certified SOA Solution Designer role. This certification validates the candidate’s ability to assess and translate requirements for business process flexibility and agility into a service-focused software solution, using SOA principles.
Additionally, the IBM SOA certification program offers a certification for the administrator role and an entry-level certification for the SOA associate.
Skills for a Dynamic World
Given the purpose of a dynamic infrastructure — to integrate business and IT assets so they are aligned with the overall goals of business, while improving service, reducing costs and managing risks — the number of differing dynamic infrastructure implementations are immense.
However, keeping pace, the IBM Professional Certification Program has an extensive and diverse portfolio of certifications for IT professionals, energized with new and developing skills and ready to meet the challenges of today’s dynamic world of business.
Becky Gonzalez is a program manager for IBM Professional Certification. She can be reached at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.