SNIA Builds Storage Networking Certification
The storage networking market is rapidly growing in popularity. In 2004, TechTarget conducted a salary survey of IT professionals, and for the first time, two storage-related jobs—storage architect and storage manager—were in the top 10, coming in at third and eighth, respectively. Another sign of the market’s increase is the growth of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), founded in 1997 with a mission to overcome end-user storage challenges. As a vendor-neutral trade association, SNIA members work to make storage networking technologies understandable and easier to implement and manage, as well as ensuring they are recognized as valued assets to the business process. SNIA education and certification are key to supporting the goals of the association.
As a result of SNIA’s efforts, knowledge of storage networking is spreading around the world. SNIA’s global reach includes international affiliates and forums to drive the association’s mission at the regional level. SNIA affiliates are located in Europe, Japan, South Asia, India, Canada, China and Australia-New Zealand.
The SNIA Education Committee conducted a detailed job task analysis survey that further defined the skills, tasks and knowledge needed to perform the roles of storage architect, storage manager/administrator and storage implementation specialist. From this data, along with market research, the SNIA certification program was updated to reflect this growing market and its education and certification needs. The SNIA certification program has recently announced the SNIA 2006 credential program, which consists of new exams developed and published in the past 11 months. There also are plans to develop an exam in 2005 for the storage implementation specialist. Those who passed the Storage Network Foundations exam in 2004 and 2005 will automatically be sent the SNIA Certified Professional (SCP) 2006 credential.
The SNIA certification program includes exams appropriate for highly technical storage networking experts and for IT professionals who require a basic understanding of storage networking technologies. SNIA supports and encourages the proper level of certification for all professionals involved in developing, managing, administrating, designing, selling, implementing and maintaining storage network solutions.
SNIA has updated the Storage Networking Certification Program with three exams available this year and a Web-based test for sales professionals. The updated program is designed to reduce certification overlap by leveraging common vendor, reseller and end-user goals. Integration with vendor certification programs also is part of the overall strategy with the SNIA Certified Storage Networking Expert (SCSN-E) 2006 credential that will be put in place later in 2005. The structure allows for flexibility and growth with the new credentials and exams expanding beyond fibre channel technology including IP storage, network attached storage (NAS), virtualization, storage management and data management.
SNIA exams are integrated into vendor programs and vice versa, saving time, effort and money for vendors, resellers and end users. By leveraging vendor-neutral exams, vendors can focus more resources on product certifications. Exam development cost savings are substantial when you consider that each exam costs roughly $18,000 to $22,000 for initial development, with update costs of $4,000 to $10,000 per exam, per year and translation costs of $10,000 to $15,000 per exam.
Vendors also can save resources by leveraging SNIA exams. For example, to develop one exam involves using eight subject-matter experts times 40 hours per exam. That equals 320 hours, not even counting the impact of taking the resources out of the field.
Resellers can now leverage SNIA vendor-neutral credentials to promote storage networking operations or services, which, in turn, gives them more credibility with their customers. Few customer environments—if any—have only one vendor in-house. Individuals will be able to leverage a SNIA exam or credential into multiple vendor programs. Customers, or end-users, can demand vendor-neutral credentials from vendors and resellers alike. Certification will provide professionals working with storage networking in the IT industry with credentials that validate their expertise level, as well as establishing companies as leaders in the industry.
- SNIA Storage Network Foundations (#S10-100):
This exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of general storage network concepts and the area of interoperability for storage networking. The test covers topics such as basic storage and storage network technologies including disk, SCSI, fibre channel, IP storage, storage area network, network attached storage, virtualization, data management, continuity management and storage management (including SMI-S).
- SNIA Storage Networking Management/Administration (#S10-200): This exam tests the candidate’s knowledge of storage management and administration of a SAN. Test topics include: Network administration, applied fibre channel protocol, performance, storage networking management, business continuance, backup and recovery and fibre channel security. This test is designed for storage managers and administrators who conduct day-to-day management and administration of a storage networking environment. Fibre channel technology is leveraged into the exam where appropriate.
- SNIA Architect – Assessment, Planning & Design (#S10-300): This exams tests the candidate’s ability to assess, plan and design complex storage network solutions. This test validates the ability to understand capabilities and limitations of the architecture and associated devices of current storage networking technology and leverage industry standards for assessment and planning and design, including ITIL and ITSM principles. This test is designed for storage architects and storage networking professionals who assess, plan and design complex storage network solutions.
- SNIA Qualified Sales Professional: This new qualification credential is now available and can be obtained by successfully passing the new SNIA Qualified Sales Professional Web-based test. It is available to take at your personal workstation (no trip to a testing center needed). The exam consists of between 37 to 45 questions and test-takers are given up to three hours to complete it.
For more information on SNIA certifications, visit www.snia.org/education/certification.
Peter Manijak is the education director of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and has more than 10 years of experience managing corporate training and certification programs on a worldwide basis. Peter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.