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NetApp partners and their certifications: an overview

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

NetApp partnersNetApp partner certifications are an important part of the NetApp partner program. A recurring complaint of NetApp partners when I advise them on the partner certifications is that they are difficult to understand. In this blog therefore a simple explanation of the basics of the NetApp partner certifications.

How is the certification program composed, which roles and levels are distinguishable and what is required of NetApp partners and their employees?

NetApp partners: why is certification necessary?

Let’s start at the beginning: why would NetApp partners care about certifications? For NetApp partners the answer to this question is different than from NetApp itself.

When a NetApp partner possesses the required certifications the organization will receive advantages like attention and rebates. The partner can furthermore service his clients by committing the knowledge that is present within the organization.

NetApp on the other hand has a different goal for partner certifications: more quantifiable knowledge in the market will lead to more sales and the realization of a bigger market share.

Plenty of reasons to explore the matter some more.

Different partner certifications

Several partner certifications exist within the partner program. This way both small and large NetApp partners are able to participate in the partner program. It goes without saying that NetApp will grant a higher status to partners who possess many certifications. But NetApp will also expect more from these partners. A higher revenue and more knowledge, for instance.

NetApp distinguishes 5 partner certifications:

  • Star International
  • Star
  • PlatinumGold and Gold with PSC (Professional Services Certification)
  • Silver

The hierarchy in this order is obvious.

Different roles

To function optimally the organization will need specialists in several areas. Therefore the certification program for NetApp partners distinguishes 3 different roles:

  • Account Manager / Sales
  • Systems Engineer
  • Implementation Engineer

Different levels

The role of, for instance, a Systems Engineer at a start-up Silver partner differs from that of the System Engineer at a renowned Star partner. Besides roles, the certification program therefore distinguishes levels too:

  • Professional
  • Specialist
  • Expert

At this time only the levels Professional and Specialist exist within the partner program.

Learning paths

Every role on any level requires a number of learning goals. These are defined in learning paths. A learning path consists of the following components:

  • Assessments: these can be found at the NetApp Learning Center, as a free service for NetApp partners, or are included in training sessions.
  • Web Based Training (WBT): these can be found at the NetApp Learning Center, as a free service for NetApp partners.
  • Instructor-Led Training (ILT): these are organized by NetApp Learning Partners and can be paid with Training Units.
  • Exams: exams can be booked at exam center Pearson VUE.
  • Personal certifications

Personal NetApp certifications

A small detour to personal NetApp certifications. Personal certifications provide an employee with the possibility to showcase his or her expertise and skills. The arrival of Data ONTAP Cluster-Mode, E-Series and clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 has made the landscape of personal certifications a bit more unclear. An overview of the most important certifications:

CertificationOperating SystemExam
NCSAData ONTAP 7-Mode and clustered Data ONTAPNS0-145
NCDA 7-ModeData ONTAP 7-Mode NS0-155
NCDA cDOTclustered Data ONTAPNS0-157
NCIE SAN 7-ModeData ONTAP 7-ModeNS0-502
NCIE SAN cDOTclustered Data ONTAPNS0-506
NCIE SAN E-seriesE-SeriesNS0-505
NCIE Data Protection cDOTclustered Data ONTAPNS0-511
Converged Infrastructure
Cisco and NetApp FlexPod Design
FlexPodNS0-170
Converged Infrastructure
Cisco and NetApp FlexPod Implementatioin and Adminstration
FlexPodNS0-171

NetApp partner certifications: all components combined

Now that we have collected all components we can built a complete certification program for clustered Data ONTAP. Per status the minimum annual revenue in NetApp products and number of specialists is shown.

PartnercertificeringOmzetRollen
Star International€ 16M6x Sales Professional
3x System Engineer Professional
3x Systems Engineer Specialist
2x Implementation Professional cDOT
1x Implementation Professional E-series (optional)
Star€ 10M6x Sales Professional
3x System Engineer Professional
3x Systems Engineer Specialist
2x Implementation Professional cDOT
1x Implementation Professional E-series (optional)
Platinum€ 4M4x Sales Professional
2x System Engineer Professional
2x Systems Engineer Specialist
2x Implementation Professional cDOT
1x Implementation Professional E-series (optional)
Gold PSC€ 500K2x Sales Professional
1x Systems Engineer Professional
2x Implementation Professional cDOT
1x Implementation Professional E-series (optional)
Gold€ 500K2x Sales Professional
1x Systems Engineer Professional
1x NCDA cDOT
1x Implementation Professional E-series (optional)
Silver€ 60K2x Sales Professional

If you apply the above diagram and combine this with the learning paths in the NetApp Learning Center (logging in with a Support ID is obligated) it is quite simple to determine what requirements belong to which status. Together with NetApp, a NetApp Learning Partner, like Fast Lane, will be able to indicate exactly which components are still missing for the (continued) fulfilment of the demands NetApp requires of the partners.

If you have any questions about the certifications for NetApp partners, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to help!

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NetApp Learning Center: free courses and assessments

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

“I know the NetApp Learning Center exists, but I have never used it.” I hear this quite often when I talk to NetApp partners about NetApp courses or when I advise them on their partner certification.

Still the NetApp Learning Center is bursting with information. Information that is very valuable to NetApp partners. Provided it is used in a smart way, of course.

Do you know what you can find in the NetApp Learning Center? And do you use all that information that is freely available for NetApp partners?

What is the NetApp Learning Center?

The NetApp Learning Center is an online portal that provides online courses and online assessments by NetApp. These courses and assessments are free for NetApp partners. You can also find a catalog there with descriptions of all training products that are offered by NetApp: online courses (Web Based Training – WBT), classical courses (Instructor-Led Training – ILT), assessments and exams. NetApp has also defined learning paths (Learning Paths) here and the study history and study plans of every user are being registered.

Why did NetApp introduce the NetApp Learning Center?

It is of vital importance to every IT provider, and therefore also to NetApp, that the knowledge of their partners is up-to-date. After all, the partners are the ones that resell the NetApp products and services to the clients of NetApp. To do this in the best possible way the partners need to be informed on all ins and outs, and able to advise their clients to the best of their possibilities.

Learning paths

In the NetApp partner program, the certification program for NetApp partners, several roles are defined. Amongst others the roles of Partner Sales, Partner Systems Engineer and Partner Support Engineer are part of the program. In the learning paths NetApp has defined which courses and exams need to be attended and taken by a certain role to meet the certification demands. The learning paths are most useful when it comes to development plans for specialists.

Study history and study plans

In the NetApp Learning Center the study history and study plans of every user are being registered. The study history is important, because this way the Learning Center checks whether you have taken part in all courses that are required for obtaining a certification. Every user is connected to his or her organization and thus your individual certifications contribute to the partner status of your organization.

The study plans will help you to make a concrete planning of the courses you still want to take. It can be difficult after all to balance courses and ongoing work.

How do you use the NetApp Learning Center?

To get access to the NetApp Learning Center you will need a NetApp Support ID, previously also called NOW account. You can create a NetApp Support ID here. You are also required to submit your NetApp Support ID to a NetApp Learning Partner, like Fast Lane, every time you follow a classical course. Only this way a followed classical course will be submitted to your study history, and will you be able to help your organization achieve the desired partner certification.

Don’t let a farthing get dear to a bad bargain

All online courses are free for NetApp partners. My advice: make use of this! The available overview sessions and content on specific subjects are short, accessible and watchable on any moment that is convenient for you. Keep in mind though that the content in the NetApp Learning Center will not be sufficient to pass the NetApp exams. For this you are still reliant on the classical courses.

In three steps to a wealth of knowledge

Execute the following steps if you want to take a look at the courses in the NetApp Learning Center:

  1. Create a NetApp Support ID. Make sure that you are connected to your organization.
  2. Log in at the NetApp Learning Center.
  3. Click on Catalog (image 1) and search for the available courses.
NetApp Learning Center

Image 1

Start today

Create a NetApp Support ID, log in and take a look at the possibilities the Learning Center offers you. Let the online courses, combined with classical courses, help you carry out your work even better. Is there something not clear? Let me know. I’ll be glad to help you further.

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