Networking blogs: What it takes to pass Cisco Data Center exam

In this week's networking blog, analysts write about Cisco's Data Center exam and Amazon's new suite of enterprise-oriented Web services.

Thoughts on CCNA-DC 640-916 exam
After passing his second CCNA Data Center exam, consulting engineer Mike Brown shares his experience. For anyone used to the regular CCNA exam, the Data Center exam won't seem too intimidating. However, Brown admits that his experience with hardware such as Unified Computing system, both generations of Nexus 5000 data switches and 2000 fabric extenders and MDS 9000 switches gave him an edge.

For the most part, a test-taker can look at the blueprint to see what information will be on the exam. If that still seems confusing, Brown spells it out: "You'll need to be able to identify, describe and define many technologies." This should be simple for anyone working in the data center space for some amount of time – although Brown does not say how much "some" is. His best advice is to have at least CCNA-level knowledge and plenty of hands-on experience with hardware. Going through the set-up process for a piece of equipment will not be sufficient.

Get Brown's advice about the data center exam and what it takes to pass it.

Graph databases–and their role in capturing interdependencies
IT organizations and businesses rely on understanding complex physical and human interdependencies. Regardless of the systems affected -- network optimization, change management or security-related access -- it is important to get fast, accurate and reliable information. Enterprise Management Associates Vice President Dennis Drogseth explains that traditional relational databases are no longer able to keep pace with ever-changing, complex interdependencies that encompass operations as varied as reorganization, personnel changes, mergers and acquisitions, new applications being developed and ongoing data center improvements. Graph databases are the solution.

Graph databases are built to monitor these new interconnected dependencies and they don't need a middleman to index non-hierarchal relationships, Drogseth writes. Not only does this make it easier to see the interconnected relationships, but it provides a base to evolve models of multidimensional social and business structures. 

Learn what other advantages IT organizations can obtain from better understanding interdependencies and find out what company introduced Drogseth to graph databases.

Security vendors: Strong on science, weak on IT
During his business travels, Jon Oltsik, Enterprise Strategy Group's senior principal analyst , has noticed that a lot of security technology vendors know a lot about computer science, but lack understanding of IT and the security organizations of enterprise customers. Oltsik believes that vendors should become more familiar with the role of chief information security officers (CISOs) and how enterprise-wide security relates to security professionals and business objectives. Being able to describe how a security widget provides better protection across the entire enterprise is a necessity. Not only that, but it is important for vendors to be able to have a serious and detailed conversation about how to streamline security operations, increase security staff productivity and enable secure business processes.

These attributes are increasingly important as CISOs look to implement sophisticated, enterprise-class security deployments with central command-and-control, big data analytics and distributed policy enforcement, Oltsik says.

This means that vendors could be working with CISOs on projects for as long as five years. Suppliers such as Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle have a clear advantage. Other firms need to increase their enterprise security skills or starting working with people who already have them.

Visit ESG to learn more about what security vendors need to do.

An enterprising Amazon or an Amazon’d enterprise?
The most important thing that Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Wayne Pauley learned at an Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas was that Amazon itself has found ways to build a diverse set of services that are accessible to both experts and novice software developers. New services focus on endpoints/mobile, governance/protection and Platform as a Service/Infrastructure as a Service improvements. Among the services Pauley cites as being particularly compelling: Amazon Appstream, a  service  that allows a business to reduce latency as it streams applications and games to mobile devices; Trusted Advisor, a service that identifies performance bottlenecks, underutilized resources and security gaps; and Amazon Kinesis -- which offers real-time processing of streaming data at scale. Amazon isn't just focusing on creating new services, Pauley says. Rather, it is focusing on its enterprise customers. Pauley says he saw this strategy reflected through Amazon's sales and customer service, its partner network and its support for integrators and brokers.

Get more information about Amazon's focus on the enterprise and how it plans to package its services.

This was first published in November 2013

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