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Interesting email hit my inbox earlier this week, in the wake of a joint announcement involving Cisco and EMC that also draws on courseware from VMware. Seems that these outfits are pooling training and exams to create multi-vendor (if not also multi-disciplinary) "combo training" in the areas of cloud architecture, virtualization, data center networking, and data science. Holy Moly!
The announcement from Cisco also references Cisco's Advanced Services Education (ASE) Web page, which describes this new program and relationship as a "Cisco, EMC, and VMware Education Alliance." These new offerings (I'm not sure if they're actual certifications or just education mashups, but I don't see any new credential names mentioned anywhere in these materials so I think they're probably not certifications) combine current course materials from Cisco, EMC, and VMware designed to provide training for such job roles as cloud architect, systems admin, and data scientists plus content for professionals who focus on storage, backup and recovery; data center networking and network design; and systems management.
These educational mashups include mix-n-match elements called learning paths that combine materials from all three organizations. Thus for example, the Systems Administrator learning path encompasses courses for EMC Cloud Infrastructure and Services, VMware vSphere Install, Configure and Manage, and Cisco Data Center Unified Computing Implementations (DCUCI). In the same vein, the Data Center Network Architect learning path combines EMC Cloud Infrastructure and Services, Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (DCUFD), and Configuring Cisco Nexus Data Center (CCNDC). Other offerings include EMC content related to Data Science and Big Data Analytics as well as Information Storage and Management.
These mashups will be offered in bundles that provide discounts to purchasers as compared to costs for individual ILT or online courses from these vendors, though students can still choose to purchase mashup elements one at a time, if they prefer. Cisco will offer its course elements as ILT classes, and EMC will handle their content and VMware courses as ILT as well, with some EMC elements available in the form of video ILT online.
This annoucement provides further evidence of the growing importance and popularity of cloud computing and related technologies, and of the need for multiple vendors to team up to create comprehensive IT platforms and solutions in this market space. Should be interesting to see how this program flies, and if it leads to any multi-vendor certification credentials. All of these companies have their own programs, so it's possible we'll start to see more credentials like the HP ASE and Master ASE that routinely incorporate third-party credentials in their pre-requisites and certification requirements.