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Introducing the F5 Technical Certification Program

Are You Certifiable? You are now.

Can you explain the role of the Cache-Control HTTP header? How about the operational flow of data during an SMTP authentication exchange? Are you well-versed in the anatomy of an SSL handshake and the implications of encrypting data as it flows across the network?

Can you explain the features and functionalities of protocols and technologies specific to the Transport layer?

If so, then you won’t need to study nearly as much as many of your compatriots when you take the test to become an F5 Certified™ professional.

Introducing the F5 Technical Certification Program (F5-TCP)

F5_CertLogo_041012mdF5 Certified™ individuals represent a new breed of technologist - capable of manipulating the entire application stack from the traditional networking knowledge all the way to advanced application-layer understanding with a unique capability to integrate the two. Never before has any company created a program designed to bridge these worlds; a capability critical to the increasingly mobile and cloud-based solutions being implemented around the world today.

The need has always existed, but with the increasing focus on the abstraction of infrastructure through cloud computing and virtualization the need is greater today than ever for basic application delivery skills. Consider that at the heart of the elasticity promised by cloud computing is load balancing, and yet there is no general course or certification program through which a basic understanding of the technology can be achieved. There are no university courses in application delivery, no well-defined missing certlearning paths for new hires, no standard skills assessments. Vendors traditionally provide training but it is focused on product, not technology or general knowledge, leaving employees with highly specific skills that are not necessarily transferrable. This makes the transition to cloud more difficult as organizations struggle with integrating disparate application delivery technologies to ensure an operationally consistent environment without compromising on security or performance.

The F5-TCP focuses on both basic application delivery knowledge as well as a learning path through its application delivery products.

Starting with a core foundation in application delivery fundamentals, F5 Certified™ individuals will be able to focus on specific application delivery tracks through a well-defined learning path that leads to application delivery mastery.

Fundamentals being what they are – fundamental – the first step is to build a strong foundation in the technologies required to deploy and manage application delivery regardless of vendor or environment. Understanding core concepts such as the entire OSI model – including the impact of transport and application layer protocols and technologies on the network – is an invaluable skill today given the increasing focus on these layers over others when moving to highly virtualized and cloud computing environments.

As technologies continue to put pressure on IT to integrate more devices, more applications, and more environments, the application delivery tier becomes more critical to the ability of organizations not just to successfully integrate the technology, but to manage it, secure it, and deliver it in an operationally efficient way. Doing that requires skills; skills that IT organizations often lack. With no strong foundation in how to leverage such technology, it makes sense that organizations are simply not seeing the benefits of application delivery they could if they were able to fully take advantage of it.

testing tracks

quote-badgeApplication delivery solutions are often underutilized and not well-understood in many IT organizations. According to research by Gartner, up to three-quarters of IT organizations that have deployed advanced application delivery controllers (ADCs) use them only for basic load balancing. When faced with performance or availability challenges, these organizations often overlook the already-deployed ADC, because it was purchased to solve basic server load balancing and is typically controlled by the network operations team.

-- Gartner: Three Phases to Improve Application Delivery Teams

F5 is excited to embark on this effort and provide not just a “BIG-IP” certification, but the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for organizations to incorporate application delivery as a first class citizen in its data center architecture and fully realize the benefits of application delivery.

F5 Certification Resources

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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