The Cloud Computing Evolution: Are You Ready To Get Certified?The evolution of “the cloud” seemed mystical to most when the term began popping up throughout the commercial IT space then to the public consumer, but the concept of “the cloud” slowly embedded itself into our daily lives as a primary option for data storage.  Although cloud storage has become more widely utilized, cloud computing itself is still a misunderstood, continually evolving technology. According to the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud survey, 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, up from 74% in 2014, and an even higher percentage of users is being used for public use in some capacity. While cloud adoption is growing quickly, 68% of enterprises run less than 20% of their workloads in the cloud but report plenty of headroom to move additional applications to the cloud, and a majority of respondents report that at least another 20% of applications are built on cloud-friendly architectures. This trend in demand during the short lifespan of cloud computing technology proves that it is becoming an essential part of an organization's IT infrastructure. It is estimated that the public cloud market will reach a record $55 billion dollars this year with an anticipated 22% growth by 2018. Needless to say we can expect to see a growing demand for qualified and certified cloud  professionals.

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The adoption of cloud computing is still relatively new and naturally raises concerns of trust, security, standardization, and complicated corporate IT ecosystems and infrastructures. Thus, a thorough understanding of Cisco concepts and technologies helps to establish key standards and partnerships to tackle these challenges. Providing a coordinated approach, from both a technology and an IT strategy point of view, requires the necessary skills from cloud computing professionals who can help navigate a company in its adoption of cloud computing.  In June 2015, the Cisco Certs and Labs team launched the first CCNA certification for cloud computing. The CCNA Cloud is a brand new program measuring the skill set of individuals who are knowledgeable and understand the difference between a traditional data center and true cloud computing. The certification consists of two exams:

1. CCNA Cloud CLDFND 210-451: Understanding Cisco Cloud Fundamentals - tests a candidate's knowledge of Cloud characteristics and deployment models including Cisco InterCloud; the basics of Cisco Cloud infrastructure i.e. Unified Compute including Cisco UCS and server virtualization, Unified Fabric including DC network architecture and infrastructure virtualization, and Unified Storage including integrated infrastructure solutions.

2. CCNA Cloud CLDADM 210-455: Introducing Cisco Cloud Administration - tests a candidate's knowledge of the basics of Cisco Cloud administration including Cloud provisioning, management, monitoring, reporting, charge-back models and remediation.

Our Cloud Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) represent a range of industry experience and Cisco certifications and have pooled their expertise to identify the necessary skills required for the evolution of cloud technology itself.  The exams developed by our team and our SMEs have been shaped by the industry, Cisco partners deploying products, advanced services and other products that are continually being tested.  The challenges many cloud IT professionals face include having to master many different technologies such as:

  • Networking

  • Storage

  • Server

  • Virtualization

  • Applications

  • Facilities

These technologies are tightly intermingled for the purposes of developing a solid cloud infrastructure.  Another challenge is changing the traditional mindset of networking professionals from manual operations to an automated approach to operations. This is why honing these highly integrated skills and preparing for the CCNA Cloud certification requires more than simply pulling from a single point-of-view perspective. CCNA Cloud Exam Program Manager Deneb Dollinger advises candidates to “read as much as you can. Read all the cloud blogs and see what technologies that are being deployed in the field.  Cloud has so much to do with all of the things that fall under virtualization, security, design, infrastructure, automation -coding, scripting – and so much more.”  There are very few “experts” in the field right now; however the need is great and the door is wide open for opportunity.
There is a vast amount of study materials on CLN.  Here are a few examples to get you started:

An excellent book from Cisco Press that covers a range of the objectives:

See also these videos:

The source of many standard cloud computing definitions:

We encourage you to get ahead of the technology shift and become an in-demand cloud computing professional.  Find out more about the CCNA Cloud certification and the upcoming release of the CCNP Cloud certification. The Certs and Labs team is currently accepting Cloud SMEs from a variety of technology backgrounds and Cisco certifications. If you are interested and believe you have the necessary cloud skill set, register on our SME portal to be considered.