Cisco is adding a storage-networking qualification to its Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) program with a discounted beta version of the written exam available from November 18.
The beta version is available online and from all worldwide Cisco-authorized testing centres for $US50, instead of the full cost of $300.
The two-hour exam covers storage networking concepts, features, design, applications, management and device operations.
There are no formal prerequisites for the CCIE certification. Candidates are instead encouraged to have three to five years job experience before attempting certification for which candidates are required to pass the written exam and then complete a corresponding lab test, which is so far only available in the US.
"Unfortunately it is too early to set firm plans for offering the Storage lab exam in Australia," a Cisco spokesperson said.
"However, the CCIE program continually monitors demand worldwide, and frequently shifts lab capacity to support customer needs."
The spokesperson said that even if a candidate is not prepared to travel overseas for the lab exam, taking the written test still indicates that they are serious about their credentials and knowledge level in this area.
There are currently 333 CCIEs in Australia, with certifications spanning security, service provider, voice, routing and switching tracks.
Vice president of Cisco's technical support group, Mike Quinn, said the addition comes after Cisco identified storage networking as one of six areas where there will be key growth in the next several years.
"New business initiatives and automated operations are creating extensive new requirements for online data storage, challenging the performance capacities of existing systems," he said.
"Even more significantly, new storage demands are rapidly outstripping the way in which data storage is managed at most organizations today. Cisco is offering storage networking certifications that are evolving in step with what the market and our customers are demanding."
From a candidate's perspective, the only real difference between the beta and full versions of the exam is that there is a six- to 10-week delay after the close of the beta exam before candidates will receive their results.
More information is available at www.cisco.com/go/ccie.