EMC adds ILM to certification program

Information and storage management vendor EMC Corp. has expanded its Proven Professional training and certification program to include an emphasis on its information lifecycle management (ILM) solutions.

The addition of ILM to EMC’s certification roster is related to some of the firm’s acquisitions from last year that moved the Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor into the ILM space. In July EMC acquired back-up storage company Legato, and in October it snapped up Documentum, a content management vendor.

“With the continual expansion of our product set…over the past 18 months we have developed a new strategy around ILM,” calling for a complete revamping of the training curriculum, originally introduced in 2001, said Rod Gilbert, business development manager for EMC global education. “Market needs have changed around data… and it was necessary to enhance the program to take advantage of the new technologies.”

John Harrickey, director of IT applications for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a product testing and certification services provider in Toronto, said the concept of ILM is currently “still on the drawing board” for his firm.

Although the CSA is not an EMC customer, it is using Documentum’s content management solution to retain control over the versions and dissemination of its standards reports. He said that since EMC’s acquisition of Documentum, there has been more of a push for Documentum customers to get acquainted with ILM — hence, ILM training will probably be of interest to the CSA sometime in the future.

However, Harrickey said that at the moment he would be unable to “stand up and articulate how ILM fits into [CSA’s] strategy,” because it is still a relatively new concept for the firm. Raising awareness about ILM would be necessary for such a training program to be successful, he said.

Gilbert claimed that EMC’s is the “most comprehensive” ILM certification because of the depth and breadth of the program.

“We cover all aspects (of ILM) — whether it’s planning, designing, implementing, or managing, maintaining and supporting the infrastructure needed to carry out ILM.”

The training program includes six tracks. Four of them — storage administrator, technology architect, customer engineer and implementation engineer — are for authorized service partner certification, and the storage administrator track is also available for customer certification.

The other two tracks are for sales and presales systems and sales engineers. They are geared toward authorized reseller partners.

The storage administrator track has five areas of specialization: storage management, networked storage (SAN), networked storage (NS solution), Clariion solutions and business continuity.

In addition, there are three levels of certification achievement: associate, specialist and expert level.

Gilbert emphasized that the certification is “not just hardware- or storage-centric” but includes both hardware and software, and at the expert level it covers applications from other vendors like Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp., and what their roles are in the lifecycle of information.

The expert level technical architecture track also covers third-party standards, the ITIL principles of designing and other methodologies.

The higher the level of certification, the more hands-on the training gets, Gilbert noted. In the expert level, about 65 per cent of time is spent in labs, versus 35 per cent lecture; the hands-on/lecture ratio at the specialist level is about 50/50, while at the associate level it’s predominately an 80/20 lecture/lab split, he said.

An alternative to lectures at any level is to take the e-learning option. “It’s a challenge for customers these days to take time out of their schedules and attend a class. After listening to customers and partners through a number of vehicles…the input from our customers was that, ‘anything you can do to minimize our time out of field to sit in class is very valuable to us.’” He said customers would prefer to spend their time out of the office playing with the equipment rather than listening to a lecture.

The cost of certification varies, but Prometric offers exams worldwide for about US$200 each. A training subscription for US$9,995 is available at the expert level. “It’s like an unlimited pass for one year.” For some of the smaller tracks, EMC offers bundled packages or “value packs.” A customer who just wants to take Clariion training at the specialist level, for example, would pay approximately US$5,000.

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