By Lisa Coleman
Storage networking professionals can now take an exam to become certified in Fibre Channel storage area networks (FC-SAN) with a program developed by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and training provider Infinity I/O.
The SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP) is offering FC-SAN certification as its first track. "The market needs trained professionals, and the FC-SAN certification program will provide objective credentials that IT managers can use to evaluate potential hires," says Paul Massiglia, chairman of the SNIA education committee and technical director at Veritas Software. "One of the largest barriers to adopting SANs is finding trained technical staff."
The exams are geared for technical experts as well as professionals who require a basic understanding of storage networking technologies. To take the exam, storage professionals do not have to take any specific training classes as prerequisites.
While SNIA endorses the certification, it is not endorsing a specific training program. SNIA is offering exam guidelines and topics on its web site (www.snia.org).
Four levels of FC-SAN certification will be offered. Level 1, or "Professional," certification is for people with the following job functions: sales and marketing, administration support, call centers, management and corporate, and information systems. Exam questions will test the understanding of the "broad picture" of SANs and Fibre Channel. Level 1 certification focuses on topics such as Fibre Channel addressing, standards, classes of service, protocols, SAN terminology, etc.
Level 2 "Practitioner" certification is designed for job functions such as pre- and post-sales support, field service and installation, technical support, product and application support, and training/consulting. Specifically, Level 2 certification focuses on topics such as 8b/10b encoding/decoding, addressing, frames, configuration issues, etc.
Level 3 "Specialist" certification is for more advanced technical professionals, such as support specialists, system architects, product designers, trainers, and consultants. The exam includes written questions and "hands-on" simulations that focus on how Fibre Channel and SANs work, as well as questions testing understanding of the ANSI standard.
Level 4 "Expert" certification is currently being developed. Level 1 and 2 exams are multiple choice and proctored at locations throughout the world. The Level 1 exam is $150; Level 2 is $295. The Level 3 exam will be introduced in 2002. Certification lasts for 24 months.
The SNCP is vendor and product-independent.
Besides FC-SAN certification, SNIA is planning certification programs for other technologies, including network-attached storage, IP storage, and data protection.
Exam registration is available at www.2test.com. For more information on Infinity I/O, visit www.infinityio.com/certification.