Certified for IT-as-a-Service?

By | March 6, 2012

It’s been called the exam with the longest title ever devised, but the ‘IT-as-a-Service Expert Exam for Cloud Architects’ – by the way, the title really does need shortening – is EMC’s latest ‘Open’ certification offering. It follows the Cloud Infrastructure Specialist (CIS) and Cloud Architect (CA) training deliverables and certification exams and like the preceding two qualifications it can be delivered as an instructor lead class or via EMC’s Video ILT, which is a DVD containing around 40 hours of video and associated content that you can consume at your own pace.

2012-03-06_11-57-21_194Open in this context means that this is not a technology-specific course, but rather that it’s focused on providing the competencies and expertise required to implement a transition from a traditional technology-centric IT delivery model to a service-centric one, where the IT organisation or external Service Provider is focused on delivering ‘as-a-service’ products.

The course and exam covers the following topic areas, which I will describe in a little bit of detail, without stealing too much of the material.

Discovery and assessment and evaluation – How to perform a gap analysis in order to to identify what actions need to be taken to transition to delivering IT-as-a-Service from an existing IT delivery model.

Organizational and governance plan – how to go about creating and sustaining stakeholder support for the evolution of the services model.

ITaaS planning and design – what are the design principles that need to implemented in order to create the right technology infrastructure for the delivery of IT-as-a-Service? Includes the network, compute, storage and application domains with an exploration of elasticity, service measurement and metering and on-demand service delivery techniques.

Trust and security – the considerations for creating a trust framework and a secure environment for delivering IT-as-a-Service, with particular emphasis on hybrid services where some services may be externalised with a Service Provider. Includes a section at operational security technologies for cloud.

Service design and management – how should services be designed, created and deployed? What should be the operations and management activities during the in-life phase of a service and how should service termination be managed?

I just completed the training using the Video ILT delivery method and took the exam on Friday last week, which I am delighted to say I passed. That said, it would have been a pretty damning indictment if I had failed given that I have spent the last 15 years working in, and latterly with, IT Service Providers on exactly the topic areas that this certification program covers.

In my view the course is an excellent route for technology architects in traditional IT organisations to take in order to broaden their thinking and equip themselves to help their organisations adopt new delivery models for IT.

In the Service Provider context the material has a lot of relevance for service designers and solutions architects, particularly in organisations that are looking to move from the traditional hosting delivery model, where infrastructure is dedicated to specific customers, to Cloud-like delivery models with elasticity, multi-tenancy, self-service and on premise/off premise hybrid service delivery approaches.

If you want to know more, I’d recommend reading Ken Oestreich’s excellent post on the subject, which you can find here. Alternatively, you can leave questions in the comments here, and I will try to answer them for you.


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