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SNIA's Testing and Certification Program

Infinity I/O was selected by the SNIA to run its testing and certification program. SNIA members -- including Sun Microsystems, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM -- provided input on the test questions and SNIA's technical committee reviewed the final tests. The certification consists of three levels:

Level 1 - Professional
This level is designed for those who have limited technical background and covers the basic principles and terminology of Fibre Channel SANs. This certification is appropriate for those who need to understand and interact with, but not administer or design, SANs. This includes corporate and IT executives, sales staff, call center personnel, the marketing department, and public relations people.

Level 2 - Practitioner
This level is for those who have a more hands-on relationship to the SAN. It tests the person's understanding of the features, functions, and technology of FC-SANs. Level 2 SAN certification would be most appropriate for support staff, field service engineers, and consultants.

Level 3 - Specialist
This level is for systems architects, FC-SAN administrators, test engineers, and others who need to get down into the nuts and bolts of storage technology. The examination covers designing, building, and configuring a complex FC-SAN, including both the architecture and devices involved.

While the first modules of the SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP) test candidates' knowledge of Fibre Channel SANs, future modules will include Network Attached Storage (NAS) and IP Storage as well as backup and restore and capacity planning.

Vendor-Specific Training

Once people complete SNIA certification, they are better prepared to delve into the offerings provided by a specific storage vendor. These include:

Adaptec Certified Storage Professional -- Adaptec, Inc. (Milpitas, Calif.) has courses and certification on RAID and Adaptec products. Topics include Networks and Servers, I/O Subsystems, Storage Management Software, RAID Performance Tuning, and Disaster Recovery. The 2-3 day courses cost $1,495; there are also self-study courses available for $139.

EMC Proven Professional Certification Program -- EMC's program consists of an initial test on storage basics and then a choice of three tracks -- Operator, Builder, and Architect. The builder track is only available to EMC employees or partners.

Sun Microsystems offers three different networked storage certificate programs for data management, architecture, and backup and restore. Exams run $150, and courses themselves run from $1,500 to $4,000.

Brocade, McDATA, and others offer similar training and certification programs. While these specialized certifications will help with operating current equipment, don't just do them to skimp on the basics.

"The classes offered by SNIA are perhaps the best available at the moment, as they are based on learning standards and interoperability issues," says Marrone.

This story originally appeared on CIO Information Network.

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