Where networking certifications are headed

7 October 2014

The face of Cisco and Microsoft training in networking is transforming every year. 

Throughout North America, more people are gaining Internet access from a variety of devices every year, putting more pressure on systems administrators to configure enterprise networks appropriately. Specifically, there are several business-level technologies that are changing the ways in which administrators construct environments. 

The era of software-defined networking
Ethan Banks, a contributor to Network Computing, noted that software-defined networking and the DevOps movement are placing demands on systems managers to ensure architectures remain operable. In particular, SDN is sending a rift through the IT industry. 

Open Net Summit maintained that SDN provides operators with more control over their infrastructures by allowing them to separate data and control planes as well as apply virtualization to networking hardware. While the latter technology creates multiple virtual versions of an existing machine, SDN also offers a central control plane that presents professionals with a map of an entire network. This essentially changes the way network administrators do their jobs. 

How certifications are transforming 
Although Banks recognized the benefits associated with SDN, he acknowledged that his current skill sets aren't conducive to using such solutions. He asserted that training offered by vendors such as Cisco must be revised to ensure today's network administrators can stay relevant. 

The problem is, Cisco is often slow to adapt to market changes, despite its well-structured hierarchy of accreditations. However, Banks took note of Cisco's rebranding of the Cisco Certified Network Professional program, which is now dubbed CCNP Routing & Switching. This particular course instructs students in the following technologies:

  • IPv6​: Internet Protocol version 6 has been regarded as the next generation of network addresses, as the the amount of identities available on the IPv4 model recently reached its limit. 
  • StackWise and Virtual Switching Service: These two technologies are capable of configuring multiple physical switches to behave as a single switch. Designing architectures with these two solutions provides a number of options, each of which subscribes to a different operating model. 
  • Dynamic multi-point virtual private network: DMVPN fabricates a series of protected tunnels throughout public or leased networks. 

All three of these technologies are related to SDN in some way or another, thus preparing IT staff for a new way of working. 

In general, finding SDN certification courses is a safe road to travel. The industry continues to head in that direction, and those unfamiliar with the system may struggle to learn about it on a piecemeal basis. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *