EMC Certification

roswaldroswald Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
So my company recently became an EMC partner, and no one knows very much about SANs. We do a lot of consulting work for some large companies, so having someone knowledgeable about storage would be very beneficial to my company.

They are willing to pay for all the training and testing to obtain an EMC certification, if I am willing to sign a training agreement. (Our agreements lock me in for 2years: if i were to leave within a year I would be responsible for the full amount of training costs, prorated after the first year down to zero after 2)

Does anyone have any EMC certs or information about possible other storage certifications? I've been doing a little bit of research and it sounds like a decent track to follow, except for the fact that the training costs are a little outrageous (around $1300 for a basic associate cert).

I'm not really sure what road I'd like to go down yet, but storage seems like an often overlooked avenue. My passion is networking, with my eye on a CCIE someday ... possibly in storage if I go this route.

Would I be better off to go with a different vendor neutral certification track within storage? I may just forget storage entirely and stay focused on a CCNP, with the idea that storage may not be a valuable way to spend my training time, and an easy way to rack up a huge training bill.

Comments

  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Are you guys focusing on CLARiiON's, Celerra's, Centera's or Symms? Are you partnering with anyone else for FC switches and such (or using EMC there too?)

    EMC and NetApp are probably the two best (recognized) vendor specific training certs. With SNIA being the best vendor neutral one.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,172 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The EMC certs are a pretty expensive path to follow. If you can get your employer to pay for it and it's something that interests you, then go for it.

    My company had started me down that path last year before reconsidering and turning down further EMC cert training. I know they recently restructured their program and there are several specializations that you can follow, with the same foundation exam as the entry level. I would follow whichever path mirrors what you would be exposed to the most on the job.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • roswaldroswald Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    astorrs wrote:
    Are you guys focusing on CLARiiON's, Celerra's, Centera's or Symms? Are you partnering with anyone else for FC switches and such (or using EMC there too?)

    I'm not sure about the product line, but we're partners with HP and Cisco as well, so FC switches could come from any of the three. I'll probably go after the basic "Storage Technology Foundations" exam to see what I'd be getting into.

    Brocade has some certs that I'll probably take a look at too. I'm basically walking into this blind with virtually no experience with storage networks. I grabbed an Oreilly book about SANs and NAS but it's 5 years old.

    Any "must reads" about storage networks? EMC has an eLearning offering that I'll do if I decide to go for their cert, but I'm assuming I'll need some other resources.
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Agreed, start with the Storage Technology Foundations training/exam and then decide if its better for you and your company to follow either the Storage Administrator, Technology Architect, Customer Engineer or Implementation Engineer tracks along the product line(s) you will be focusing on. Take it at least to the Specialist level, Expert if you are dealing with larger implementations or DMX's (it focuses more effort on DR, best practices and replication technologies).

    For switching you should look at using Cisco. Brocade is the clear market leader right now, but almost all the new implementations I hear about these days are Cisco MDS switches. Most companies already have a relationship with Cisco for switches and routers and want to use their relationship (read: discount) and existing personnel who are familiar with Cisco. This works well for you as you have an existing partner relationship with Cisco (and HP sells Cisco blade switches for their C-class blade systems).

    As such you should look at the Cisco Specialist certifications and training:

    Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Support Specialist
    http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/le2/le41/le99/le05/learning_certification_type_home_extra_level.html

    Cisco Data Center Storage Networking Design Specialist
    http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/le2/le41/le99/le04/learning_certification_type_home_extra_level.html

    The EMC courses are actually quite comprehensive in what they cover. For an introduction to the world of SANs, I almost hate to admit it but Storage Area Networks for Dummies is an excellent primer (I know its one of the dreaded "for Dummies" books, but seriously I read it about 4 years ago and it is really quite good!). Its a little dated in that it doesn't really cover iSCSI or 4GB FC, but it will give you a solid grounding in the concepts, and its easy to read and understand.

    http://www.amazon.com/Storage-Networks-Dummies-Christopher-Poelker/dp/0764524801/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212287361&sr=8-1

    The EMC Education site is down right now so I can't get you the specific details, but they do have an "unlimited" training option for about $10-15k a year per person. This includes any scheduled instructor led classes along with I think 3 of the Video-ILT and all of the eLearning courses. I think it has a cap of $25K worth of training materials, but if your company is really serious this may be cost effective for you/them. Once the site (http://education.emc.com) is up you can find more details on it under "Special Offers". Make sure to look at where the EMC classes are held as they only hold them in a limited number of cities (so this offer really only works if you happen to live in one of them).
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    Speaking of which, I need to go back and finish reading my SAN for dummies book. It got great reviews on amazon so I bought it. I also have a Netapp University account and need to go through all those e-learning courses in regards to SAN technology and the Exchange software stuff. I have played with Snapdrive, creating aggregates, volumes, LUNs, Chap Authentication, SnapManager, and some other stuff though.

    I may be going to do some EMC training as well. Should be interesting. I also have an interest in SANs.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • roswaldroswald Member Posts: 35 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'll definitely take a look at the cisco specialist programs, and its good to hear that EMC is comprehensive too. I'm actually kind of excited to learn about SANs, should be a new experience.

    Thanks!!
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Yeah if you have access to NetApp University there is some great stuff on there. An the ONTAP simulator is awesome! An (almost) fully functional filer running on any Linux distro (or better a VM) you have. The only catch is of course that you have to be a customer/partner to get at it.

    EMC does have some very basic simulators but they aren't in the same class (although the newer Celerra one is pretty decent).
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    I have already tried the Netapp Ontap simulator on my Ubuntu Distro in VMware. Everytime I try mounting the simulator ISO though I only see a single readme file though. Odd. I'll have to try re-downloading it. If it still doesn't work, I'll just dl the .tgz.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I also had problems with one of the older 7.2.x ISOs, I just ended up downloading the tarball for that one to and it worked fine.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,122 Mod
    Thanks for the great post and replies. Really very helpful.

    I want to get into storages, badly ! but getting start is hard.


    I work with Sun partner, and I've been sent to Storages training, but that training was only about how to configure/troubleshoot the hardware side of the storage. Nothing about SANS, or server side configuration.


    I heard the O'Reilly SANS & NAS book is good, isn't it ?? or you guys recommend the for dummies book more ??

    After this theoretical book, what do you recommend next ??

    Thanks.
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I haven't read the O'Reilly book personally so I can't comment on it.

    Since you guys are a Sun partner do you guys sell/implement StorageTek arrays? It's good stuff but they don't have a certification/training program for it.

    As such I would suggest you check out SNIA's SCSP program. They have identified a great set of resources (books) that cover all the key areas of knowledge required: http://www.snia.org/education/storage_networking_primer/
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,122 Mod
    astorrs wrote:
    I haven't read the O'Reilly book personally so I can't comment on it.

    Since you guys are a Sun partner do you guys sell/implement StorageTek arrays? It's good stuff but they don't have a certification/training program for it.

    As such I would suggest you check out SNIA's SCSP program. They have identified a great set of resources (books) that cover all the key areas of knowledge required: http://www.snia.org/education/storage_networking_primer/


    Well yes we do sell Storage TEK. Actually Sun bought storagetek so now you will find Sun logo on all storagetek storages.

    True there are no certifications for Sun storages (or storagetek), but I was sent to training and got certified on two disk array storages and two tape libraries. These trainings are hardware based training.

    I think I'll go for SNIA certifications, sounds like a good stuff :)
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • ClaymooreClaymoore Member Posts: 1,637
    UnixGuy wrote:
    I heard the O'Reilly SANS & NAS book is good, isn't it ?? or you guys recommend the for dummies book more ??

    I did read the SANS & NAS book and I only recommend it as a general introduction to SANs. The book is very thin and half of the book is spent discussing backup methods and technologies. Preston, the author, is a backup guru so that shouldn't be surprising.

    I haven't read the dummies book, even though it got excellent reviews on Amazon. I really considered it, but the copyright date was 2003. RFC 3720 wasn't published until April 2004, so I didn't expect the dummies book to have much - if any - iSCSI information. The SANS & NAS book has only a paragraph or so on iSCSI, despite it's claims of being 'updated'. The EMC SAN my company just purchased is primarily iSCSI, so my book and training choices focused more on iSCSI.

    I have a few SAN books in my library, but the one I actually read while studying for my EMC certification was Storage Networking Fundamentals from Cisco Press. It was an excellent vendor-neutral overview of Storage Area Networking technologies. I read it while going through the EMC e-learning courses for the Storage Technology Foundations exam and I felt the Cisco book nicely complemented the EMC courses.

    So far, I have only skimmed the Storage Networking Protocol Fundamentals book from Cisco Press. I have only read about half of the iSCSI: the Universal Storage Connection, and it appears to be out of print now. Although it was published in 2002, the author sat on the IETF commitee that drafted the iSCSI standard so it is still useful as an iSCSI overview. I also have a copy of Designing Storage Area Networks by Tom Clark who has written several well-reviewed SAN books. I plan to use all of these as references while I pursue the EMC Proven Specialist : Storage Area Networks certification.

    As for the EMC Proven Associate certification and the Storage Technology Foundations exam, you can find my review of the exam here:
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=32420
    My primary complaint about the exam is that the applicable training is only available from EMC and is expensive. My company purchased training credits with our new arrays and I applied those to EMC e-learning courses, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to achieve this certification on my own.

    In addition to the SNIA certification, Hitachi also offers a certification - the Hitachi Data Systems Certified Professional. Those of you selling or supporting Sun and HP rebranded Hitachi arrays might want to consider this one as well.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Are we having fun yet? Mod Posts: 4,122 Mod
    Claymoore wrote:
    UnixGuy wrote:
    I heard the O'Reilly SANS & NAS book is good, isn't it ?? or you guys recommend the for dummies book more ??

    I did read the SANS & NAS book and I only recommend it as a general introduction to SANs. The book is very thin and half of the book is spent discussing backup methods and technologies. Preston, the author, is a backup guru so that shouldn't be surprising.

    I haven't read the dummies book, even though it got excellent reviews on Amazon. I really considered it, but the copyright date was 2003. RFC 3720 wasn't published until April 2004, so I didn't expect the dummies book to have much - if any - iSCSI information. The SANS & NAS book has only a paragraph or so on iSCSI, despite it's claims of being 'updated'. The EMC SAN my company just purchased is primarily iSCSI, so my book and training choices focused more on iSCSI.

    I have a few SAN books in my library, but the one I actually read while studying for my EMC certification was Storage Networking Fundamentals from Cisco Press. It was an excellent vendor-neutral overview of Storage Area Networking technologies. I read it while going through the EMC e-learning courses for the Storage Technology Foundations exam and I felt the Cisco book nicely complemented the EMC courses.

    So far, I have only skimmed the Storage Networking Protocol Fundamentals book from Cisco Press. I have only read about half of the iSCSI: the Universal Storage Connection, and it appears to be out of print now. Although it was published in 2002, the author sat on the IETF commitee that drafted the iSCSI standard so it is still useful as an iSCSI overview. I also have a copy of Designing Storage Area Networks by Tom Clark who has written several well-reviewed SAN books. I plan to use all of these as references while I pursue the EMC Proven Specialist : Storage Area Networks certification.

    As for the EMC Proven Associate certification and the Storage Technology Foundations exam, you can find my review of the exam here:
    http://www.techexams.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=32420
    My primary complaint about the exam is that the applicable training is only available from EMC and is expensive. My company purchased training credits with our new arrays and I applied those to EMC e-learning courses, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to achieve this certification on my own.

    In addition to the SNIA certification, Hitachi also offers a certification - the Hitachi Data Systems Certified Professional. Those of you selling or supporting Sun and HP rebranded Hitachi arrays might want to consider this one as well.




    This is very helpful indeed. Thanks! I actually don't intend to waste much time on protocol specs and theories, because I have a rough idea about them already.

    We do sell/implement/configure/support Sun StorageTEK, and for high end servers we do support Hitachi, one of my friends went to Hitachi 9000 training in the UK.

    I will follow your advice and go for cisco book, sounds more interesting and more practical. I wish my company was using EMC instead of StorageTek, StorageTek is a headache sometimes.
    Goal: MBA, Jan 2021
  • Mmartin_47Mmartin_47 Member Posts: 430
    Heh my dad's work uses StorageTek tape silos. Was wondering if EMC training, is it done online? Sounds something I may be intrested in to couple with MCSE.
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I would recommend against training in storage technologies from a particular vendor unless you have hands on with them (or you already have hands on with one or two others, say EMC and HDS, and are looking for the basics in another, say NetApp).

    My 2c
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    astorrs wrote:
    I would recommend against training in storage technologies from a particular vendor unless you have hands on with them (or you already have hands on with one or two others, say EMC and HDS, and are looking for the basics in another, say NetApp).

    My 2c

    The problem is the valuable certs in storage are vendor certs. If you're looking to further your career, you sorta need to get vendor certs like Brocade, EMC, Cisco, NetApp, etc.

    That's the dilemma I'm in. I want to get into storage, but the company I work for won't get into robust storage solutions. Due to my VMware and large scale Exchange experience, storage is a very logical path of career growth for me, but it's hard for me to get into it.
    Good luck to all!
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    The problem is the valuable certs in storage are vendor certs. If you're looking to further your career, you sorta need to get vendor certs like Brocade, EMC, Cisco, NetApp, etc.

    That's the dilemma I'm in. I want to get into storage, but the company I work for won't get into robust storage solutions. Due to my VMware and large scale Exchange experience, storage is a very logical path of career growth for me, but it's hard for me to get into it.
    Don't forget about the SNIA, they offer 4 vendor neutral certifications for storage networking pros and are very well respected. HDS has even worked the SNIA exams into their certification program.

    Do you get any hands on with storage during your support of VMware or Exchange? Is there a particular vendor that comes up a lot? You could look at getting better in that specific one, but I would just go down the SCSP->SCSE->etc... route from SNIA.
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    I work for a Microsoft partner who specializes in Exchange, AD, and things that surround it. They've recently branched out into VMware. Unfortunately, most of their clients are either small orgs who end up with simple storage solutions like HP MSA's or DataCore's SANMelody, or they're so large, they have their own storage team, and we just do our piece of it.

    I have been pushing them to get into storage, specifically NetApp because it rocks for VMware.

    I have a friend who does storage, and while SNIA is well respected, he said vendor specific certs of the large players like EMC, NetApp, Brocade, etc. are what get you paid. Salary reviews of certs reinforce this, as Brocade certs command some of the top salaries on average of any certs you can get even outside storage.
    Good luck to all!
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,353
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    I work for a Microsoft partner who specializes in Exchange, AD, and things that surround it. They've recently branched out into VMware. Unfortunately, most of their clients are either small orgs who end up with simple storage solutions like HP MSA's or DataCore's SANMelody, or they're so large, they have their own storage team, and we just do our piece of it.

    I have been pushing them to get into storage, specifically NetApp because it rocks for VMware.

    This is my problem.

    Most of my clients are smaller that they end up with something like an HP MSA like you stated. All of our larger clients will manage their own solution. For the larger clients that want a new SAN or something advanced, we have our own dedicated storage team. I'm stuck not getting into bigger type of SAN stuff like I want to. icon_sad.gif When it comes to a large SAN type of solution, we'll have one of our Netapp or EMC guys come in and work with us. Ultimately, it's us figuring out the IOPS requirements of their users, database size requirements, and they work with the client on the storage subsystem and its' redundancy features to deliver the IOPS that us Exchange guys say we need.

    One of the interesting things I have been working with one of our extremely intelligent Netapp Engineers (he's seriously amazing) is how we can benefit from using Snapmirror Vs using something like SCR.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    I work for a Microsoft partner who specializes in Exchange, AD, and things that surround it. They've recently branched out into VMware. Unfortunately, most of their clients are either small orgs who end up with simple storage solutions like HP MSA's or DataCore's SANMelody, or they're so large, they have their own storage team, and we just do our piece of it.

    I have been pushing them to get into storage, specifically NetApp because it rocks for VMware.

    I have a friend who does storage, and while SNIA is well respected, he said vendor specific certs of the large players like EMC, NetApp, Brocade, etc. are what get you paid. Salary reviews of certs reinforce this, as Brocade certs command some of the top salaries on average of any certs you can get even outside storage.
    Agreed but I wouldn't hire someone with a vendor specific storage cert if they had never touched the technology. I would consider someone who got the SCSP as showing a real interest in the field even though their previous work kept them from getting any hands on and might give them a break.

    If you can get a partner relationship with NetApp you could replace those future MSAs and SANMelody solution sales with StoreVault S300/S550's or FAS2020/2050's get some hands on and probably get your employer to pickup at least some of the training costs. NetApp reworked their certification program recently and the NCDA is great foundation level training.

    Brocade still owns the switch market but has been loosing their lead to Cisco for years (especially in the director class, where they are basically neck and neck now). I think either vendor here would do you well (keeping in mind that Brocade is still double Cisco in overall market share).

    Oh and like royal said, SnapManager for <anything> rocks (Exchange, SQL, Oracle and SharePoint - the integration is really quite amazing, and super easy to use). And since you guys use VMware, have a look at SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure and its integration with SnapMirror and VMware's Site Recovery Manager and you'll see what I mean. :D
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    And NFS that NetApp offers over MSA's for VMware kicks serious butt, tool. Once you're scaling to 100 VM's or more per ESX server, NFS blows the barn doors off iSCSI.
    Good luck to all!
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    And NFS that NetApp offers over MSA's for VMware kicks serious butt, tool. Once you're scaling to 100 VM's or more per ESX server, NFS blows the barn doors off iSCSI.
    Why do you say that? Is it just the simplicity of not having to deal with multiple LUNs to prevent SCSI locking, or are you referring to the de-dup capabilities of NetApp? How do you deal with the loss of RDM (or is it a non-issue in your environments)?

    I wouldn't purchase separate NetApp storage just for VMware if a company had existing storage that could be expanded (DMX, TagmaStore, EVA, CLARiiON, etc), but for an initial implementation NetApp would be probably my first choice (assuming it could scale to their requirements - for all storage not just VMware).
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    iSCSI and FC have a single disk queue, where as NFS doesn't, and handles the locking better.

    I wouldn't purchase separate storage for VMware without good reason either. The issue we're running into though is the companies we're doing VMware for don't usually have a storage solution, so they need that, too. Typically speaking, the consulting company that can bring the storage solution to the table is the one that wins the VMware work. If it's an org of any size, we basically get blown out of the water because a competitor comes in with NetApp against our puny MSA. No contest, we get destroyed.

    And remember, with NetApp, you don't have to pick NFS over RDM. You can do both with the NetApp (separate LUN's of course).
    Good luck to all!
  • astorrsastorrs Member Posts: 3,139 ■■■■■■□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:
    iSCSI and FC have a single disk queue, where as NFS doesn't, and handles the locking better.

    I wouldn't purchase separate storage for VMware without good reason either. The issue we're running into though is the companies we're doing VMware for don't usually have a storage solution, so they need that, too. Typically speaking, the consulting company that can bring the storage solution to the table is the one that wins the VMware work. If it's an org of any size, we basically get blown out of the water because a competitor comes in with NetApp against our puny MSA. No contest, we get destroyed.

    And remember, with NetApp, you don't have to pick NFS over RDM. You can do both with the NetApp (separate LUN's of course).
    With proper VM>storage layout (and a decent cache size! unlike those "puny MSAs") this is less of an issue than most people think. But fair enough from a management perspective especially in a smaller company (without in house VMware & SAN experts).

    So become a NetApp partner. :D

    True, I thought you were only pushing the NFS license. If I was implementing a new NetApp Filer for VMware I would buy the NFS, iSCSI and CIFS licenses (why not do away completely with file servers while you're at it?).
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    Honestly, for the businesses we'd be dealing with, they're often only using centralized storage for VMWare, and have no need for RDM, so NFS and CIFS would probably be sufficient in those scenarios.

    Yes, I'm pushing for my company to be a NetApp partner.
    Good luck to all!
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