About Cisco CCNP Data Center Certification
The Cisco CCNP Data Center certification provides the students with the professional-level knowledge & skills focused on data center solutions, best practices, and technologies for designing, managing & implementing modern data center infrastructures. If you want to get this certificate, you should sit for two exams. The first test is 350-601 DCCOR, while the second one is a concentration exam, and you will have a list of five options to choose from.
The potential candidates for this certification are those IT practitioners who have expertise in the complex data center conditions. They also possess the skills in utilizing technologies, such as automation & orchestration, virtualization, policy-driven infrastructure, Cloud initiatives integration, data center security, and joint computing. To pursue the CCNP Data Center certificate, the applicants can have about 3 to 5 years of hands-on experience in implementing data center solutions. It is required to pass Cisco 350-601, which is the core exam of the path, and then you need to choose one option between 300-610, 300-635, 300-615, 300-625, and 300-620. Each test covers the specialized area that you may have interest in.
Please note that the concentration exams contain the details of the design of the Cisco Data Center Infrastructure as well as troubleshooting, implementation and configuration processes connected with the Cisco App Centric Infrastructure, Cisco MDS 9000 Series Switches, and Automation for Cisco Data Center Solutions. Therefore, you should choose which skills you want to gain and go for the test you need after dealing with the core exam.
As for the structure of the exams, Cisco 350-601 is a 2-hour test, while the concentration exams are 90 minutes long each. Please note that they can be taken in English only. There are about 100-110 questions for the core test and 50-60 questions for the concentration ones. The items are presented in various types and include multiple choice, drag and drop, and others. The registration process is done through Pearson VUE and you will need to pay the fee for each exam. Thus, the core test costs $400, while the concentration options come with the fee of $300.
To prepare the students for success, Cisco recommends the training course, known as Implementing & Operating Cisco Data Center Core Technologies v1.0. This course is designed to equip them with the skills, technologies, and knowledge required for implementing Data Center compute, SAN, and LAN infrastructure. You will also learn the basics of security & automation within the Data Center. Besides that, you will get practical experience in deploying, operating, maintaining, as well as securing the Cisco Data Center infrastructure. It includes Cisco MDS Switches & Cisco Nexus Switches, Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers, and Cisco Unified Computing System B-Series Blade Servers. Also, the applicants can explore other prep resources on the official platform.
The Cisco 350-601 exam is designed to evaluate the candidates’ skills in the implementation of the basic Data Center technologies, including storage network, network, security, automation, and computing. The details of the topics covered in this certification test are enumerated as follows:
- Applying the routing protocols that include FHRP, MP-BGP, PIM, and OSPFv3 & OSPFv2;
- Applying various switching protocols, such as LACP, RSTP+, and vPC;
- Applying overlay protocols, such as VXLAN EVPN & OTV;
- Applying the concepts of ACI, such as fabric setup, VMM, access policies, and tenant policies;
- Analyzing the package flow, including unicast, multicast, and broadcast;
- Analyzing the Clouse service & deployment models, including NIST 800-145;
- Explaining software updates as well as their effects, such as EPLD, patches, disruptive and non-disruptive;
- Implementing the management of system configuration;
- Implementing the infrastructure monitoring, including NetFlow & SPAN.
Besides that, you should have knowledge of the concepts of network assurance that include broadcasting telemetry.
- Implementing Rack Servers of the Cisco Unified Compute System;
- Implementing Blade Chassis of the Cisco Unified Compute System, including initial set-up, network management (pools & policies, QoS, VLANs, and templates), infrastructure management, server management (boot policies & server pools), and storage management (Fibre Channel zoning, SAN connectivity, VSANs, SAN policies, WWN pools & templates);
- Describing the concepts and benefits of Hyper-Flex Infrastructure, which include Hybrid Architecture & Edge & vs. all-flash;
- Explaining firmware & software updates and their impacts on C-Series & B-Series servers.
It is also important to use your implementation skills for the management of compute configuration such as backup and restore and for the infrastructure monitoring, including Intersight and SPAN.
Storage Network (20%)
- Implementing the Fibre Channel, such as VSAN, NPV & NPIV, Zoning, FCNS, device alias, CFS, FCID, port channels, and switch framework initialization;
- Explaning the concepts of NFS & NAS;
- Implementing the FCoE Unified Fabric, including DCB & FIP;
- Implementing the infrastructure monitoring.
It also includes the evaluation of your skills to use software updates and their effects such as disruptive/non-disruptive & EPLD.
- Implementing scripting and automation tools;
- Measuring automation & orchestration technologies.
These processes will include EEM, scheduler, JSON & XML encodings, REST API, Guest Shell & Bash Shell for NX-OS, as well as Puppet, Ansible, POAP, Python, DCNM, PowerShell, and UCSD.
- Applying the network security, such as first-hop security features (DHCP snooping, port security, and dynamic ARP inspection), RBAC & AAA, CoPP, and ACI contracts & micro-segmentation;
- Applying the computing security, including keychain authentication, RBAC, and AAA;
- Applying the storage security, such as port security, AAA & RBAC, and fabric binding.
The Data Center field has come a very long way, starting from its hardware and database-focused roots. Today, the qualified professionals should understand how the field intersects with Cloud, automation, virtualization, and software-defined technologies. This knowledge and skills are what the CCNP Data Center certification offers to the interested specialists.
With the knowledge acquired in the course of preparing for the certification exams, the candidates can take up the job roles in the Data Center domain and grow their career at a faster pace. Some of the positions that are open to the certified specialists include Network Engineers, Network Administrators, Network Designers, Network Managers, Systems Engineers, Data Center Engineers, Technical Solutions Architects, Consulting Systems Engineers, Server Administrators, Field Engineers, and others. With this certificate and any of these jobs, the individuals can earn an average salary of $103,320 per annum. Those applicants who have an advanced level of practical experience can get even more. This will depend on their title, years of working experience, and other factors that determine how much a professional should earn.