In an industry focused on cloud hosting, colocation, engineering, facilities, uptime, and real estate, you and your staff must have access to data center training resources so you can stay on top of your game.
The challenge? Rapid obsolescence due to the nature of change in the data center industry, including greater density, smaller data footprint, and smaller hardware sizes.
To start your journey, consider these 16 data center training options:
This blog post presents the information in alphabetical order. This information is not a ranked list. (One of the companies on this list recently used fake social media information to reach out and attempt to bully us into altering the content of this post -- again, kind of silly given that the list is alphabetical. Next contact: we'll just remove their company from the list.)
- BICSI – As a global trade association of cabling design and installation professionals, BICSI offers the BICSI Data Center Design Consultant certification and credentialing program. To prepare, BICSI recommends some reference material, an online course, and an instructor-led course.
- Cisco – Through its Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Design Specialist and Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Support Specialist programs, Cisco trains for and evaluates an engineer’s skills to design reliable solutions that scale and use virtualization. Cisco also offers training and certifications for data center professionals through its programs on Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric Design Specialist and Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric Support Specialist. At a more entry level, with no prerequisites, there’s also the Cisco Certified Network Associate Data Center (CCNA Data Center) certification – which requires two exams: Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking (DCICN) and Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies (DCICT). For technicians, consider the Cisco Certified Technician Data Center (CCT Data Center) certification.
- CNet Training – As part of its data center programs, CNet Training offers data center training all over the World. You’ll want to download its Global Data Centre & Network Infrastructure Education Framework as a starting point. Through three years of distance learning, you can then work towards a master’s degree in Data Centre Leadership and Management. Under this broader heading, there are nine distinct certifications, including topics as varied as Certified Data Centre Design Professional (CDCDP) to Certified Data Centre Audit Professional (CDCAP) to Certified Data Centre Technician Professional (CDCTP).
- Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP) program – Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help data centers save energy costs, the DECP is offered by CNet Training at the Data Center World Conference.
- Data Center World Conference – With over 70 educational data center training sessions, keynote sessions, networking, and an expo hall, Data Center World features five different educational tracks covering ITM (Infrastructure Management), FAC (Facilities Management), PAC (Power and Cooling), PIS (Product Information Sessions), and PLT (Platforum).
- DCProfessional Development – Touted as the only data center training provider offering courses either online or in a classroom setting, DCProfessional Development offers courses worldwide on various topics, including critical power, energy efficiency, HVAC/cooling, and operations/maintenance.
- EPI – Although the company has its global headquarters in Singapore, EPI has a global presence and offers data center training designed around its EPI Data Centre Training Framework. Training offerings include instruction and certification on designing and building, operations and governance, and standards and compliance. Within the design and build category, you’ll find the Certified Data Centre Professional (CDCP), Certified Data Centre Specialist (CDCS), and Certified Data Centre Expert (CDCE). Within operations and governance, there’s training for programs including Certified Data Centre Facilities Operations Manager (CDFOM), Certified Data Centre Risk Professional (CDRP), Certified Data Centre Safety Manager (CDSM), Certified IT Manager (CITM), and Certified Data Centre Migration Specialist (CDMS). And finally, within standards and compliance – arguably the least glamorous part of data centers – there’s the Certified TIA-942 Design Consultant (CTDC), Certified TIA-942 Internal Auditor (CTIA), and Certified TIA-942 External Auditor (CTEA).
- Global Knowledge Training – Describes itself as the world’s largest and most trusted Authorized Cisco Learning Solutions Partner, Global Knowledge Training offers eight different categories of Cisco courses on data center and virtualization. Most are offered in multiple learning modalities, such as classroom, virtual classroom, private group training, and self-paced. The courses span categories including entry and associate data centers, professional-level data centers, expert-level data centers, Unified Computing Systems (UCS), Unified Fabric / Nexus Switching, cloud computing, application services, and storage networking.
- HP – Through HP Education Services, there are nine training courses for data center professionals. Its breadth of courses covers topics as varied as Business Analysis, Cloud and HP Helion, ProLiant / BladeSystem, ConvergedSystem, Storage, ITIL / ITSM, Project Management, Virtualization, and VMware.
- International Data Center Authority (IDCA) – Self-described as an “infinite wealth of DC (data center) expertise and knowledge,” IDCA strives to standardize how the data center industry approaches, selects, designs, determines feasibility, and operates various processes. Through its certification programs, which range anywhere from 2 to 11 days, you can learn to become and get certified as a Data Center Infrastructure Specialist, Data Center Engineering Specialist, Data Center Operations Specialist, Data Center Technology Professional, Data Center Operations Manager, Data Center Infrastructure Expert, Data Center Expert, Data Center Manager, or a Data Center Authority.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy) – No matter what you feel about climate change's politics, you can’t run a thriving data center without considering energy costs and resource usage. To accelerate savings on energy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has teamed up with two data center training providers to deliver its Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP) certificate training program. One of the training providers, CNet Training, is mentioned elsewhere in this post. The other options include the DC-Professional and the DCEP Program Administrator: ANCIS Incorporated.
- Marist College Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) – Founded in 2004 and partially funded by the National Science Foundation, IDCP offers three programs: Associate Certificate in Data Center Facilities Management, Professional Certificate in Data Center Facilities Management, and Certified Data Center Professional Certificate. You can earn undergraduate credits towards an online Marist College bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the courses.
- PTS Data Center Solutions – As an enterprise IT consultancy, PTS Data Center Solutions offers a Data Center Education Series. Classroom courses can be provided for Data Center Infrastructure Management, four different aspects of ITIL, and four different networking-related topics. It also offers customized training delivered on-site to clients.
- Schneider Electric Data Center University – A worldwide leader in electrical distribution, automation, and energy management, Schneider Electric, as part of its Energy University programs, offers Data Center University (DCU). With over 90 courses, this online data center training and certification exam helps you demonstrate professional competency. Worth noting: All of Schneider Electric's data center courses are free.
- TechXact – As it describes itself as the “world’s data center powerhouse,” TechXact provides courses certified by the International Data Center Authority (IDCA) that are especially relevant for data center operations managers, data center managers, data center infrastructure experts, and data center experts. While the highest level of achievement includes the DCA (Data Center Authority), along the way, the curriculum provides credentialing as relevant for DCIE (Data Center Infrastructure Expert), DCE (Data Center Expert), DCOM (Data Center Operations Manager), and DCM (Data Center Manager).
- VMware – Over a two-and-a-half-hour self-paced free course, VMware offers its VMware Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals training as part of the VMware Certified Associate program.
In this list of training resources for data center professionals, you’ve been introduced to a variety of training and certification programs. Some are vendor-centric. Others are vendor-neutral. Some are delivered in a classroom setting. Others are delivered 100% online. Some are free. Others require a significant financial investment. One option is even sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
What is your favorite data center training and certification program? What advice would you give your colleagues on deciding which training options to invest time and budget in? Let us know your take in the Comments box below.
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