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With Networkers, err Cisco Live, coming up quickly in less then a week the rumor mill is a buzzing with some good rumors.  There is a rumor that a new little brother in the Nexus line is coming, but the one that has my attention is perhaps a new CCIE level certification – might even be retiring one that has overlapping technologies (storage).  Over on 2bccie.com, there is a post in regards to the CCIE Data Center track being discussed on day during the CCIE Lunch at Cisco Live Melbourne  – link.
While that is all still rumors, here is what I can gather by researching available resources and taking some educated guesses on what would be on the lab.  I will also admit that this was briefly discussed at Cisco Live 2010 and that was in a session that would have the knowledge about the topic, so much of this comes from what I can read from my chicken scratch notes.  Obviously, Cisco has been working on this for some time and the maturity of the line is finally at the stage and market saturation where this certification makes sense.
Again , the whole basis for this certification is that all know that Cisco has released a Server line called UCS – Unified Computing System and is rapidly gaining market share on the traditional vendors.  Cisco has a Data Center series of switches call Nexus that range from the 1000V to the 5000 to the 7000;  and then you can consider that the Nexus 7000 and 5000 and have Nexus 2000 FEX units that can hang off them as “remote blades”.  There is always the Cisco MDS line for the storage environment that has been around for some time.  Finally, you have the Cisco ASR series of routers that can support Data Center Interconnect features. The Data Center is getting hotter and hotter and skills are in demand, the fact that Moore’s Law is still ringing true, computers are getting so fast that we can now run multiple on a single hardware platform via VMWare, as well as others, and this is becoming a main focus for many businesses.  The skills to design, build, and support a Data Center are in demand right now, but there is no CCIE for the holistic product line of a Data Center – until officially announced.
What are the skills that are in demand and we might see on a test CCIE Data Center – well I would venture to guess these:

  • Cisco MDS
  • Fiber Channel
  • FCoE ( wonder if FCoTR would be there as well 😉 )
  • SAN Management
  • Multipathing (storage)
  • Layer 2 (Spanning Tree, Fabric Path)
  • vPC/VSS
  • Layer 3 (Routing)
  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Cisco UCS
  • ACE Load Balancing
  • WAN Acceleration (WAAS)
  • Nexus 7000/5000/2000/1000V
  • and probably DCNM (Data Center Network Manager) for monitoring of the DC

My best guess on a written (guessing 350-041 or 350-060) time frame would be a beta in August time frame, go-live in October/November followed by a lab in early 2012.  I think that there is some hardware that is about to be released during Cisco Live that is needed for the lab and thus why I guessed those dates.  What hardware?  Hardware that is smaller in size then some of the traditional Nexus 7010/18 as well as it has some new features due to the new fabric cards.
Please bear in mind – this is all RUMORS and my best GUESSES and DEDUCTIONS.  Nothing here is guaranteed nor based on anything solid.
But there is one thing for sure, I am excited about the potential for this certification!!!