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Cisco Data Center: changes in the partner specializations

4th February 2016
by Herman Goedman

Cisco Data CenterCisco has made some changes in the Advanced Data Center specializations in the partner program recently. What will change exactly and what is the impact of those changes on the current status of your organization and the plans in the pipeline?

Cisco partner program in a nutshell

The partner program aims to clarify the knowledge that is necessary for being successful as a Cisco partner. The program ties in with the 5 most important solutions within an organization:

  • Routing & Switching
  • Collaboration
  • Security
  • Data Center
  • Service Provider

Every solution has its own specializations and every specialization has different roles:

  • Account Manager
  • Systems Engineer
  • Field Engineer

There are individual certifications, exams and courses attached to a role.

Obtaining specializations leads to obtaining Cisco partner certifications, like Premier or Gold. It also leads to a discount on the acquisition of Cisco products, both on the purchase as in the form of back-end rebates. Thus developing knowledge that is necessary for passing exams often pays itself off within half a year.

Specializations for Cisco Data Center

For those partners that focus on Data Center there are 3 different specializations:

The Unified Fabric Specialization is aimed on the deployment of Nexus switching in the data center. The Unified Computing Specialization focuses on the UCS solution. The Data Center Architecture combines both technology specializations.

An organization that meets the conditions of a specialization shows that it has the in-house know-how to sell, design, implement and manage Cisco Date Center solutions.

Specializations for Cisco Data Center: what has changed?

Account Manager
The follow-up exams 650-987 and 646-985 that were obligated earlier are not part of the program anymore. The exam Cisco Selling Business Outcomes (810-403) is now sufficient for all three the Data Center specializations.

Systems Engineer
Similar to the account manager the exam 650-987 will also be abolished for the systems engineer. Obtaining the exams 642-996 (Designing Cisco Unified Fabric) and 642-998 (Designing Cisco UCS) suffices.

Field Engineer
There are no changes for the field engineer. However, it became clear recently that the required specialization for this role cannot be renewed by obtaining a CCIE Written exam. So this means that field engineers need to make sure that the exams 642-999 (UCS implementation), 642-035 (UCS-troubleshooting), 642-997 (Unified Fabric implementation) and 642-980 (Unified Fabric-troubleshooting) stay valid.

What is the impact of these changes?

Is your organization compliant of this moment? In other words: does your organization possess the required Cisco Data Center specializations? In that case these changes will not have any impact.

If your organization is on its way to obtaining one of the Cisco Data Center specializations it is recommended to make sure whether the account managers or system engineers have planned one of the above mentioned abolished exams. In that case those exams no longer need to be taken of course.

More information on the Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization, the Unified Computing Technology Specialization and the Unified Fabric Technology Specialization can be found on the Fast Lane website. Of course it is also possible to turn to your account manager or myself if you have any questions. We will be happy to advise you.

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