Announced @ Cisco Partners Summit: Advanced Architecture Specializations & New Cloud Certifications

I had the opportunity to spend a few days in New Orleans while I attended the Cisco Partners Summit this week.  I visited Bourbon Street for the first time (I’m not going into those stories), and was introduced to some pretty good food too!

The real reason I was there was to find out what Cisco is up to with their Partner and Technology Specializations. There were quite a few large changes, especially with the introduction of Architecture Based Specializations:

Advanced Borderless Networks Architecture Specialization:
Allows for design within any sized business. Some features that were upgraded were the Cisco Catalyst switch, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance firewall and compact Cisco ASR 1000 Series router. For smaller businesses, new entry-level 802.11n wireless access points were introduced. A great example of of one of these technologies is the Cisco AnyConnect Client.

Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization:
Has three specific roles outlined and, when attained, increases security and has advanced data storage. Delivers any content type: video, voice and data for interaction.

Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization:
The new UCS ATP. This has a wide variety of qualifications that demonstrates the Partners ability to architect a Cisco data center, based on ACE, Nexus, MDS & UCS C and B-Series servers.

Advanced Unified Fabric Technology:
This will take the place of the existing Data Center Networking Infrastructure Specialization & Data Center Storage Networking Specialization. Partners that currently hold the DCNI/DCSN will need to update to the new specialization within the year.

Advanced Unified Computing Technology:
Aimed to validate Partners ability to design and sell UCS B-series & C-series systems. This is perfect for Partners that have no existing Cisco certifications, and want to start selling C & B Series.

As systems become more complex and integrated, it’s great to know your partners are able to produce a complete solution. This also aligns nicely with  John Chambers’ (President of Cisco) keynote message about how Architectures are the future (the “Cloud” word came up quite a bit too).

Did someone say Cloud?

Yes, Cisco also announced a set of Cloud-specific certifications designed to identify what Cisco believes to be the three Cloud opportunities:

Cloud Builder – Partners that build the infrastructures
Cloud Provider – Partners that deliver different cloud solutions
Cloud Services Reseller – Partners that resell cloud services on their own infrastructure

Cisco believes the Cloud opportunity to be around 172B in 2013. So, if you want a piece, go get your cert on—I know I will be!

Photo credit: fesja via Flickr