Data center standard training for IT admins can help data center professionals better understand and apply IT industry standards. Admins can also use the credentials from this sort of training to demonstrate a specific level of expertise on a subject to peers and employers.
Data center professionals looking to add to their credentials should consider options from IT standards organizations. Axelos, the International Data Center Authority (IDCA) and the Uptime Institute each offer training and information on different aspects of data center service management, including design, operations or risk management.
Axelos' ITIL Certifications
The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides a systematic approach to IT service management (ITSM). ITIL certification is one of the essential certifications for IT professionals, but especially for data center admins. It can help admins manage risk, establish cost-effective processes and build a stable IT environment that can grow, scale and change.
ITIL 4 -- the most current version of Axelos' ITIL framework as of 2021 -- emphasizes maintaining agility, flexibility and innovation in ITSM without neglecting legacy network and system support. Axelos intends to phase out previous ITIL versions by 2022.
Axelos offers two main ITIL 4 certifications, Managing Professional (MP) and Strategic Leader (SL), available after completing the initial Foundation study. MP students must complete five modules -- Foundation plus four MP courses -- and students of the SL certification must complete three. Those who complete all seven modules can apply for the ITIL Master certification.
International Data Center Authority
IDCA offers several certifications for data center managers, executives, facility owners and strategic planners, such as the Data Center Infrastructure Specialist certification, the Data Center Operations Manager certification and the Data Center Operations Specialist certification. These certifications aim to give data center pros a thorough understanding of the following:
- how to design and run a data center;
- which operational processes are critical to high-availability facilities;
- the mitigation strategies IT environments require;
- the roles and responsibilities of data center staff; and
- vendor management best practices.
IDCA also offers role-specific certifications for data center professionals, including the Data Center Engineering Specialist certification, the Data Center Technology Professional certification and the Data Center Infrastructure Expert certification. IDCA aims these certifications at IT pros with aspirations of becoming experts in the data center field, such as infrastructure architects, designers, consultants and engineers.
IDCA's role-specific certifications outline design best practices; discuss the influence of design on technology lifespan, efficiency and risk; and help data center professionals build and maintain sustainable, efficient and highly available infrastructure.
All IDCA certification programs run from 2-5 days and include several rounds of testing, followed by a final examination. Find pricing information by contacting the IDCA directly.
The Uptime Institute offers accredited training programs to teach data center pros to align and support data center infrastructure and operations with high availability and uptime. The Institute's Tier classification levels have become an international standard for data center operations. Each of the progressive classifications divides into four tiers that align with certain business functions and define the criteria for maintenance, power, cooling and fault capabilities.
Data center pros can choose one of three certification streams: Designer, Specialist or Operations Specialist. The base level of each track consists of a 5-day course followed by an examination. The Professional level requires two 2-day seminars and written evidence demonstrating comprehensive understanding of the material. The Expert level requires an additional 2-day seminar and further written evidence.
Data center professionals can prepare for their data center to earn the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 20000 certification for IT service management.
This certification includes two main parts: ISO/IEC 20000-1:2018 and ISO/IEC 20000-2:2019. These outline the service management system requirements and provide guidance on applying these systems. A 2020 amendment to Part 2 -- ISO/IEC 20000-2:2019/AMD 1:2020 -- offers further guidance on applying Part 2. Part 3 of the standard -- ISO/IEC 20000-3:2019 -- offers more insight into the scope, definition and application of ISO/IEC 20000-1.
An organization can purchase each of these standards directly from the ISO website or the national certification body. A business can then certify its data center under one of these standards through a national certification body, which can be found on the International Accreditation Forum's website.