Showing posts with label Cloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cisco launch new CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud certifications


By Sarah Morgan


Today Cisco introduced two brand new cloud certifications to complement their already comprehensive certification portfolio.

The Cisco certification Pyramid
Available globally, the CCNA Cloud and CCNP Cloud are new job role certifications, designed to build and validate your cloud skill set.


Cisco CCNA Cloud – only six days

Companies are embracing cloud to help them to be more agile, flexible, and effective – with a CCNA cloud cert, you’ll get the skills you need to help these companies succeed with cloud technology.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to perform entry-level provisioning and support for Cisco cloud solutions. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud characteristics and models
  • Cloud deployment
  • Cloud compute
  • End-user support
  • Infrastructure, administration and reporting

The CCNA Cloud certification will prepare you for the role of a cloud engineer or cloud administrator working in a small/medium business, or as support for a large enterprise.

Get this crucial cloud certification in just six days with Firebrand.


Cisco CCNP Cloudonly 12 days

Become a recognised expert with Cisco cloud technology and get the skills you need to build, implement, provision and support Cisco Cloud and Intercloud solutions. This certification is a progression of the Cisco CCNA Cloud.

On this accelerated course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Implement and troubleshoot Cisco Cloud Infrastructure
  • Automate Cisco Enterprise
  • Manage application centric infrastructure

Plus, this Cisco course includes all four CCNP exams, and is delivered exclusively by Certified Cisco Instructors. Get CCNP Cloud certified in only 12 days with Firebrand.


Firebrand are among the first to market these brand new Cisco cloud certifications. And with accelerated training, you'll be certified at twice the speed.

190+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 190 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.
(ISC)2

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Brand new (ISC)2 CCSP and Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect courses from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


With IDC predicting 7 million cloud jobs created by 2015, mastering cloud technology can lead to a fulfilling and profitable career.

And to help you build – and prove – your knowledge of cloud computing, Firebrand has launched two brand new career changing accelerated cloud certification courses:



(ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) - only six days

On this six day accelerated course, you’ll get the knowledge you need to secure your organisation’s cloud infrastructure.

Your business may be using an outdated approach to cloud technology which could open the way for costly and embarrassing cyber-attacks. To prevent these malicious attacks, businesses around the world need CCSP certified professionals with advanced cloud security skills.

Achieve the CCSP and you’ll learn how to secure cloud environments & purchased cloud services. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud data, platform, infrastructure and application security
  • Architectural concepts & design requirements
  • Compliance and legality
  • Operations

This advanced certification, developed by leading information security organisations, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)2, proves your cloud security expertise at a global level – get it in only six days.



Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect - only seven days

Get four Microsoft certifications in only seven days on this accelerated Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course.

You’ll learn how to migrate your existing on-premise infrastructure to Azure – Microsoft’s globally integrated cloud platform.

Plus, get the skills you need to design websites, application storage and infrastructure in Microsoft Azure.

On this course you’ll achieve a Microsoft MCSD and three Microsoft Specialist certifications, by studying and passing these Specialist courses:
  • Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions


190+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.
(ISC)2

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


Related articles

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to test your Azure Traffic Manager settings

   By Debra Littlejohn Shinder



The more traffic you have, the more important traffic management becomes. When motor vehicles first appeared on the roads, they were few and far between and little management was necessary. Yet today traffic control devices are essential to prevent accidents and traffic jams. Likewise, today’s oft-overburdened networks carry data packets from hundreds or thousands of endpoints across routers and switches and through gateways, making traffic management a necessity to ensure performance and reliability.

Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager is a tool designed to work with Microsoft’s cloud operating system to enable you to control the way traffic is distributed to Azure cloud services, web sites and other endpoints that you specify by applying policies to DNS queries. This can result in significant improvement to availability, performance and responsiveness – all of which can be concerns when working with cloud services over an Internet connection, especially for those who are used to the high speed of today’s local networks.

Traffic Manager is deployed in association with an Azure subscription, after which you can add your endpoints, select a monitoring configuration and load balancing method, then create a profile and configure the settings. You can configure Traffic Manager settings in the Management Portal, by using REST APIs or using PowerShell. You can also create nested profiles, which refers to a setup where you have another Traffic Manager profile as an endpoint.

For more information about how to control network traffic distribution with Azure Traffic Manager, be sure to check out Richard Hicks’ article over on CloudComputingAdmin.com.

Before you get that far, though, you might want to test your Traffic Manager settings after configuring them. To do that, first make sure that you set DNS TTL to a low value, such as 30 seconds, so that the changes you make will be quickly propagated and you won’t have to wait to see the results.

You can check your Traffic Manager profile using the common nslookup utility:

  1. Open an administrative command prompt window.
  2. Enter ipconfig /flushdns to flush the DNS resolver cache.
  3. Enter nslookup <Traffic Manager domain name>

Examine the results returned from this command. This should show the DNS name and IP address of the DNS server that you’re using to resolve the domain name. It will also show the Traffic Manager domain along with the IP address to which it resolves. The second IP address shown should be a public virtual IP (VIP) address that is assigned to one of the cloud services or web sites you’ve configured as an endpoint in Traffic Manager.

Now, to test your failover load balancing method, follow these steps:

  1. With the endpoints up, using a single client, use the nslookup tool to request DNS name resolution of your company domain name. The resolved endpoint should be for your primary endpoint.
  2. Either take down your primary endpoint or remove the monitoring file (this will make it appear to be down to Traffic Manager).
  3. Wait now for the DNS TTL plus two minutes to pass.
  4. Now flush the DNS client cache as described above.
  5. Request DNS resolution again. This time the IP address returned should be for your secondary endpoint.
  6. Take down the secondary endpoint and repeat the process for each of the endpoints. The key here is to be sure that the DNS resolution request comes back each time with the IP address of the next endpoint on your list.

If you’re using the round robin load balancing method, the steps to test are a little different. The first step is the same, but the endpoints won’t be in order. Make sure you get back the IP address of one of the endpoints on your list, then flush the DNS cache and repeat to get a different address from your list, and so forth, until the IP addresses for all of your endpoints have been returned.


Author Profile

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP (Security) is a technology consultant, trainer and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security.

She is also a tech editor, developmental editor and contributor to over 20 additional books. Her articles are regularly published on TechRepublic's TechProGuild Web site and WindowSecurity.com, and has appeared in print magazines such as Windows IT Pro (formerly Windows & .NET) Magazine.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Best Cloud Certifications for 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Certifications are a great way for IT professionals to prove that their knowledge and skills are up-to-date. They can be especially crucial in a fast moving industry like cloud computing, where importance is placed on keeping up with new technology or running the risk of becoming outdated.

Cloud now encompasses hybrid, public and private technologies as well as the software and dedicated hardware that enables these systems to work together. For businesses to reap the full benefits of cloud these systems must be built, maintained and secured by skilled IT professionals.


Taking cloud a bit too literally...
photo by George Thomas, licensed under Creative Commons














 
Industry experience combined with official certification can go a long way to getting you hired by businesses in need of cloud-skilled employees. So, if you need to advance your cloud knowledge or are looking for a career-changing technology in 2015, some of these certifications may be just what you need. Let's take a look at the best cloud certifications for 2015:

1. CompTIA Cloud+

The CompTIA Cloud+ will validate your cloud knowledge and prove you understand the best practices required to work within cloud environments. 

This certification has been designed by CompTIA to act as a career step toward cloud focused roles for experienced network, storage and data administrators. Because of this, it’s recommend you have at least 2-3 years’ experience with networking, storage or data centre administration as well as familiarity with hypervisor technologies. 

With the Cloud+ you’ll prove you can:

  • Understand the available cloud delivery models and services
  • Maintain, implement and provide cloud infrastructure 
  • Explain, identify and implement security techniques
  • Implement and use resource monitoring techniques

The Cloud+ is a well-rounded certification used in a wide range of jobs from cloud engineer to business analyst. 

If you’re more interested in cloud technology from a business and technical perspective, we recommend you take a look at CompTIA’s Cloud Essential certification. This alternative certification focuses on the business value of cloud, steps to successful adoption and the risks and consequences of the technology.


2. Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

Microsoft’s Public Cloud service, Microsoft Azure is gaining popularity worldwide with 1000s of new customers joining every day. Microsoft have made a clear commitment to Azure, investing over $15 billion in building and maintaining the datacentres that power the platform.

To complement their cloud portfolio and to encourage Azure uptake, Microsoft introduced two new specialist certifications in 2014.

The first of these – Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions – is focused at IT developers with basic experience in implementing and monitoring Microsoft Azure solutions.
Achieve this certification and you’ll be able to establish your own Azure virtual network environment, construct Azure Virtual Machines, host azure websites and design your own resilient cloud applications.




If you already hold the MCSD: Web Application cert, this qualification is a brilliant way for you to achieve a rounded understanding of the Azure platform.

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass Microsoft Exam: 70-532. Plus, both specialist certs do not require any pre-requisites as they are not part of Microsoft’s typical certification track.


3. Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions

The second of Microsoft’s new specialist Azure certifications is aimed at experienced IT professionals who administer on-premise infrastructure. As such, you’ll be expected to possess an understanding of virtualisation, network configuration, Active Directory, and database concepts.
Complete this certification and you’ll prove your ability to:

  • Implement and manage virtual networking within Azure
  • Plan and create Azure virtual machines
  • Deploy and configure websites in Azure
  • Manage and backup monitor storage solutions

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-533. Both specialist certs do not require any pre-requisites as they are not part of Microsoft’s typical certification track.


4. VMware® vSphere 5.5

When it comes to cloud, experience with virtualization technology is "very important, since that's essentially what makes cloud computing more flexible and increases utilization," argues Wendy Duarte, vice president of recruiting at Mondo.

As one of the fundamental technologies powering cloud computing, it’s no surprise that a virtualisation certification would feature on our top 5 list.

VMware’s Mike Adams states the relationship between virtualisation and cloud succinctly, - “Virtualization is a foundational element of cloud computing and helps deliver on the value of cloud computing…Cloud computing is the delivery of shared computing resources, software or data — as a service and on-demand through the Internet."

Products like VMware vSphere allow businesses to cut the cost of their server sprawl by running multiple operating systems and applications on a single computer, which can then be easily accessed remotely.

vSphere 5.5 eliminates the need to run several sub-optimal servers, but as always, it takes skilled IT professionals to implement and manage this powerful technology. So, to sharpen your virtualisation skills or to take the first steps towards bringing virtualisation to your organisation, we recommend you take a look at VMware’s vSphere 5.5 certification

Find out more about vSphere 5.5 here, but bear in mind, this certification may change with the release of vSphere 6 sometime in 2015.


5. Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

Security is a primary concern for businesses pre and post cloud migration. With the CCSK, you’ll prove you can handle cloud security vulnerabilities.

The CCSK is a web-based certification that tests for a broad knowledge of cloud security and includes topics from architecture, governance, compliance, operations, encryption and virtualisation.

To complete this cert you’ll need to pass the CCSK examination: a 60-question multiple choice exam, completed within 90 minutes. Don’t be fooled by the open-book nature of this assessment - you simply won’t have enough time to research every answer individually (and still pass).

It’s worth noting that the CCSK is not a substitute for other cloud certifications. Instead, the CCSK augments your other credentials by proving your knowledge and competency in cloud computing security.

The CCSK is a great supporting certification for IT professionals holding ISACA’s CISA qualification. CISAs emphasise that the CCSK provides the necessary context and focus to effectively audit cloud environments.
Plus, the CCSK can also be employed effectively aside (ISC)2’s CISSP due to the parallels between both certifications Bodies of Knowledge. Additionally, the CCSK builds upon the CISSP by providing context that is important to the cloud.

Since Cloud Security Alliance first released their Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) in 2010, thousands of IT and security professionals have utilised it as an effective way to upgrade their skills. 


Prove your knowledge

Cloud computing, one of Gartner’s top 10 technology trends for 2015, has already attracted 90% of businesses who now operate using the technology. Cloud’s flexible cost scaling and cost saving has resulted in a massive demand for cloud-ready IT professionals. 

In fact, 65% of IT departments can’t find enough qualified staff to support their cloud projects, report IDC. 

Now you just need the qualifications to prove you can support this in-demand technology.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

How Microsoft is changing the face of IT education


By 


Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke at Future Decoded this week about the success and worldwide adoption of the Youthspark apprenticeship program.

Amongst talk of Microsoft’s cloud-first, mobile-first ethos, Satya also described Microsoft’s vision for the future of education.

Satya Nadella spoke about the importance of computer science being within STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) education.

Microsoft’s aim is to make computer science and IT education available to all. ‘The role of technology is to empower people,’ Satya states – he views IT education as something not to be restricted to the ‘elite.’

A commitment to IT education

So far Microsoft’s global apprenticeship program, YouthSpark has enabled over 6000 IT-passionate young people across the UK to find jobs as apprentices.

Through 30+ programs, Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 227 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.

‘To me that’s the kind of empowerment, at large, that will transform societies and economies.’ – Satya Nadella

Announced in 2012, this company-wide initiative aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth by 2015. And with more than 75 million unemployed young people around the world, it’s definitely a worthwhile cause.  

The UK needs more digital skills

Microsoft isn’t the only company aware of this need for IT education amongst young people. There’s an undeniable lack of digitally skilled workers in the UK. In fact the UK will need another 750,000 digital-savvy workers by 2017, according to research from O2.

That’s a massive deficit but consider this:  Telefónica’s UK CEO Ronan Dunne, speaking at Future Decoded, explained how NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are actually more digitally literate than the UK’s existing workforce.

The IT-savvy professionals we need are out there, they just need programs like YouthSpark to prove that a career in IT is one worth pursuing.

Know a young person passionate about IT?

Firebrand is partnered with Microsoft as part of Get On, the UK division of the Global YouthSpark initiative.

Firebrand Apprentice, Kimberley Bolton, was the first woman to receive a Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award. Now she’s a Microsoft Apprentice ambassador and was sat on the Microsoft Apprenticeship panel at Future Decoded.

Kimberley explained how at first she was somewhat uneasy going into her IT apprenticeship but with encouragement from staff and a strong female role model, she prospered.  Kimberley previously saw her role as a ‘man’s job’ but now she’s doing it, and with incredible success.


Bring in new talent and secure the future of your business with a young apprentice or graduate from Firebrand. Boost your business and help solve the worldwide need for IT education.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

How to become a Microsoft Azure Specialist


By 


IT Professionals with experience and knowledge of cloud technologies are increasingly in demand. Demand for ‘cloud-ready’ IT professionals will grow by 26% annually through 2015, with as many as 7 million cloud-related jobs available worldwide, IDC report.

However, demand has outpaced supply. IT managers report that the reason they failed to fill an existing 1.7million cloud-related positions in 2012 was due to a lack of training and certification.

The IDC White Paper report that 56% of IT departments simply cannot find enough qualified staff to support their cloud projects. 

Two giants are currently fighting it out for dominance of this thriving technology sector – Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.





Though Amazon may be the current cloud leader, it’s all too clear that Microsoft is closing the gap.
Especially so when considering Microsoft noted in its last earnings call that cloud revenue grew 147% year-over-year. 

At WPC 2014, Microsoft also unveiled these impressive Azure statistics:
  • 57% of Fortune 500 companies now use Azure
  • 300,000+ active websites
  • More than 30 trillion storage objects
  • Over 1 million SQL databases in Azure
  • 300 million Azure Active Directory users

With over $15 billion invested into building and maintaining datacentres across the globe, Microsoft is clearly committed to Azure. And it’s shows.


What is Azure?

Microsoft is going all in on Cloud technology. Microsoft Azure is an open collection of compute, storage, data and networking running in a global network of Microsoft-managed datacentres. 

You may also know it as Azure Ad and Azure online backup but it’s role remains the same – it allows organisations to build infrastructure as a service (IAAS), Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Software as a Service Solutions (SAAS). 


Sound familiar?

If you have recently studied Windows Server 2012 R2 and the latest versions of System Centre and SQL, you might have already studied Azure. Microsoft has already begun to introduce Azure material across their certifications and exams. 

This highlights Microsoft’s commitment to Azure, and proves that an understanding of the software is becoming increasingly necessary in related certifications. After investing $15 billion into worldwide datacentres, it comes as no surprise. 

And in the last couple of months, Microsoft have released courses, exams and certifications specifically based around Azure. 

The two brand new Microsoft certifications are:
  • Microsoft  Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions


Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

If you’re a developer looking to enhance your Web Applications and Windows Store Apps through building your own cloud services – this certification is for you. 

Or, if you hold the MCSD: Web Applications, this certification will prove a brilliant way to gain a greater understanding of the Azure platform. 

This Specialist course, built for developers, teaches you how to establish your own Azure virtual network environment. 

If you want to expand your development skills to cover Microsoft Azure, this is the certification for you. You’ll learn how to construct Azure Virtual Machines, create and host Azure websites and design resilient cloud applications. 

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-532


Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Microsoft is now the second largest provider of cloud infrastructure solutions and this Specialist certification has been created to set you apart as a knowledgeable Cloud professional. 

You’ll learn how to migrate your existing on-premise infrastructure to Microsoft Azure as well as:

  • Plan and implement data services based on SQL
  • Deploy and configure websites
  • Publish content through CDNs 
  • Integrate on premises Windows AD with Azure AD

To achieve the certification you’ll have to pass the Microsoft Exam: 70-533


When can you get certified?

You can sit both the 70-533 and 70-532 exams and attain your respective certifications now. But bear in mind – you have two options for scheduling these exams: Pearson VUE and Prometric.

If you want to sit your exam after January 1, 2015 – book it with Pearson VUE. This is because after December 31, 2014, Microsoft will stop delivering their certification exams through Prometric.

Training providers are racing to cater for the demand for these new Microsoft Specialist certifications. We are proud to announce that Firebrand is one of the first to market - and will be running courses in the coming months.


How to know when you’re ready

These Microsoft Specialist certifications are not part of the traditional MTA, MCSA and MCSE / MCSD tracks. As a result, you won’t find any pre-requisites for these Azure certifications.
However, Firebrand instructor, Mike Brown has reviewed the curriculum of both Specialist certifications and strongly recommends an in depth understanding of virtualisation before taking on these exams. 

Because of this emphasis on virtualisation, if you possess the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 R2 certification, you’ll be better prepared than most for these new Azure Specialist courses. Those without this cert should consider it as a great introduction to virtualisation. 


Prepare for your Microsoft Specialist cert now

To get started on Microsoft Azure - take a look at the Microsoft Virtual Academy. You’ll find 28 Microsoft Azure short courses available which provide a great self-study introduction to the technology. 

Because these Azure certifications are so new and in-depth, you won’t find a great deal of external resources. As a result, self-study could prove unjustifiably tough. 

But, if you can prove your knowledge of Azure, you’ll be well placed to take full advantage of the driving demand for Cloud technology.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Using Host Groups to build a Private Cloud based on System Center 2012/2012 R2



By Debra Littlejohn Shinder


Everybody is migrating to the cloud – or so it seems. But some companies just aren’t ready to put everything “out there” in a public cloud, and for them, the private or hybrid cloud deployment model makes the most sense. Building a private cloud from scratch can be a daunting task, though. Microsoft has tried to make it a little easier for customers with Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 Hyper-V and System Center 2012/2012 R2.


Definitely clouds.
Image courtesy of arztsamui / morguefile
One of the important concepts involved in creating a private cloud that’s easy to manage is that of host groups. Host groups are created in System Center 2012 R2’s Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). VMM is Microsoft’s management solution for virtualized resources, including those in a private cloud. 

A host group is a simple idea: it allows you to manage multiple servers as one entity. You can then create your private cloud based on the resources that reside in one or more of your host groups. Microsoft’s cloud computing model encompasses three resource pools that make up the fabric. These are defined as compute, network and storage pools. The three resource pools are managed by VMM. For a better understanding of this, see the post Fabric, Cloud Computing Abstraction Integrated in VMM on Yung Chou’s Hybrid Cloud blog on the TechNet web site. 

Once you have a basic understanding, you can create your private cloud. Of course, you’ll need admin privileges to do this. There are some requisites, which include the preparation of the fabric in VMM. You can find out how to do that via the TechNet article Preparing the Fabric Scenario in VMM.

Once that’s done, you can get down to the business of creating the host groups in VMM. Here’s how: In System Center 2012 or 2012 R2 VMM, open the Fabric workspace and follow these steps:


  1. In the Fabric pane, expand the Servers node.
  2. Right click All Hosts.
  3. Click Create Host Group. 
  4. Replace the default name (New host group) with the new name that you want to assign to the host group.


You can create a tiered host group structure by repeating the process after right clicking the parent node under which you want to create a new child host group. You can create a parent host group for each different physical location, for example, and then within each one you could create host groups based on hardware capabilities (that is, the top tier group in each location offers the highest level of performance and reliability, etc.). You could also group hosts based on server roles or business units, or whatever structure makes sense for your organization. Note that you can also move host groups around to different locations within the tree structure if you need to. 

After you create your host group structure, you can configure the properties of the host groups. Back in the Fabric workspace, expand Servers again and then expand All Hosts, and click the host group you want to configure. Click the Folder tab, and click Properties in the Properties group. 

Here you can configure the following host group properties: 

  • General settings (group name, location in the hierarchy, description and encryption)
  • Placement rules for customizing on which host virtual machines are deployed
  • Host reserves (the amount of CPU, memory, disk input/output, disk space and network input/output that will be allocated for the host operating system on each virtual machine, either specified for a host group or for an individual host)
  • Dynamic optimization and power optimization settings (balancing of VM loads within a host cluster and evacuation of hosts to save power)
  • Network (inheritance settings for network resources including IP address pools, load balancers, logical networks and MAC address pools)
  • Storage (allocation of storage logical units and allocation of storage pools to host groups)
  • Custom properties for VMs, VM machine templates, hosts, host clusters, host groups, service templates, service instances, computer tiers and cloud. 


For more information about building host groups, see Part 2 of Brien Posey’s 11-part article on Building a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 over on the WindowsNetworking web site or to learn more about private cloud read Private Cloud Storage Network Storage Considerations series on CloudComputingAdmin.com

Author Profile

DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER, MCSE, MVP (Security) is a technology consultant, trainer and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security.

She is also a tech editor, developmental editor and contributor to over 20 additional books. Her articles are regularly published on TechRepublic's TechProGuild Web site and WindowSecurity.com, and has appeared in print magazines such as Windows IT Pro (formerly Windows & .NET) Magazine.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Safe cloud computing is great cloud computing – secure it with these certs


By 

Earlier this month Tech Times and Top Tech News published two articles regarding some newly surfacing concerns about security in the cloud. Do businesses have to be worried about storing their data in those remotely located servers? Is the cloud more risky than storing your data locally? This article will discover how cloud computing can be made safer with the help of the relevant certifications.

Data breach: could the cloud triple the odds?

The latest study (Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect) by the Ponemon Institute revealed that IT security professionals expect that moving their data to the cloud will increase the chances of getting hit by a data breach. In fact, the 613 surveyed pros agreed that an increased use of cloud computing could potentially triple the risks of a data breach.

Rajat Bhargava, co-founder of JumpCloud, said "When you don't own the network, it's open to the rest of the world, and you don't control the layers of the stack, the cloud - by definition - is more insecure than storing data on premises." This surely sounds alarming coming from a cloud security professional, but don’t go switching that local server in your basement back on just yet, because Chris Wysopal begs to differ.

Secure the “third-party element”

Chris Wysopal, co-founder and CTO of Veracode thinks: “Risky software, regardless of deployment method, is what is adding unnecessary risk to organisations.”

“Enterprises are right to be wary of third-party cloud applications. However, this should have nothing to do with whether they are in the cloud or not. Instead it is because they are produced by third-parties, and thus enterprises have less insight into the security that went into the development. If an enterprise wants to reduce unnecessary risk at their company, avoiding the cloud isn’t going to protect them – but taking a hard look at their software procurement policies and processes will.”

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get familiar with cloud security

As you can see, it is misleading to state and conclude that cloud computing – by default – brings greater risks to your business; you just need to thoroughly check your provider’s security standards and measures. But are you familiar with security in the cloud?

Learn all about security concepts, encryption technologies and access control methods on our cloud computing courses. Pick from the likes of CompTIA’s Cloud+ and Cloud Essentials or Microsoft’s MCSE: Private Cloud and you’ll learn everything you need to know about secure cloud computing. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Your supreme guide to cloud certifications


By 

A few years ago cloud computing was a popular buzzword, rather than a significant piece of the IT puzzle. However, times have changed and the cloud has become one of fastest growing, most versatile technologies.

Although its presence is growing rapidly, cloud computing is still in the relatively early stage of its adoption. There are still thousands of companies, who are only now considering moving to the cloud.


Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s the current state of play?

According to a survey by WANTED Analytics, over 2,400 organisations were seeking IT professionals with cloud computing skills in 2012. 

An IDC White Paper, commissioned by Microsoft, also revealed that “cloud-related skills represent virtually all the growth opportunities in IT employment worldwide and demand for cloud-related positions will grow by 26 per cent annually through 2015”

In EMEA, IDC forecasts that cloud-related IT jobs will grow by 24 percent per year to about 1.4 million by 2015.

What does this mean? This means that now is your time to get your head in the cloud, certify your skills and get a thick slice of technology’s tastiest cake. Here are nine cloud computing certifications that will help you make the most of technology's fastest growing field.

1. CompTIA Cloud Essentials

The CompTIA Cloud Essentials certification is your ideal entry level certification, as it covers the basic fundamentals of cloud computing such as:
  • Cloud types
  • Adoption and implementation of the cloud
  • The impact of cloud computing on IT service management
  • Cloud computing risks
With this cert under your belt, you demonstrate that you have an understanding of cloud computing from a business, as well as from a technical perspective. As part of this certification, you also learn how to migrate to the cloud and about the governance of cloud computing environments.



2. CompTIA Cloud+

Cloud+ is a newly developed certification by CompTIA, which puts great emphasis on IT security. It’s perfect if you already have some experience in working with cloud technology.

As a Cloud+ certified professional, you will have an understanding of cloud computing terms and methods, and the aspects of IT security. You’ll also be able to maintain and implement cloud infrastructures, including network and virtualisation technologies.
The Cloud+ certification also covers:
  • Resource management
  • Security
  • Systems management
  • Business continuity in the cloud
3. Rackspace: CloudU

CloudU by Rackspace is a vendor-neutral certification programme designed and developed for IT professionals and decision makers. CloudU teaches you the fundamentals of cloud computing, with the help of whitepapers, lectures, quizzes, video tutorials, e-books, webinars and live events.

CloudU’s content is available to anyone, however in order to obtain the certification, you must complete 10 CloudU lesson quizzes and a 50 question final exam.
The lessons of CloudU cover everything from cloud types, virtualisation and security to application programming interfaces (APIs) and hypervisors.



4. MCSE: Private Cloud

This certification is the crown jewel of Microsoft’s cloud portfolio. The MCSE: Private Cloud certification proves your skills in managing and implementing Microsoft private cloud computing technologies. Combined with Windows Server and System Center, you’ll be able to build your Microsoft private cloud to provide flexibility for your IT infrastructure.
As part of this certification you’ll cover topics such as:
  • Deploying cloud services
  • Monitoring private cloud services
  • Problem management in the cloud
  • Private cloud protection and recovery
Prior to getting this certification, you need to already have your MCSA: Windows Server 2012, which includes passing Exams 410-411-412.

5. VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)

VMware’s full portfolio of cloud computing certifications is currently made up of six different cloud-specific certs, from beginner to advanced levels. The first level of this hierarchy is VCA-Cloud, which can be obtained by completing a free, self-paced eLearning course.

To prepare for your VCA-Cloud exam you may take the VMware Cloud Fundamentals course, which will teach you to define and describe the different types of clouds and also provide an overview of VMware vCloud Suite.



6. HP ATA – Cloud

HP’s Accredited Technical Associate – Cloud certification teaches you industry-standard virtualisation technologies, including the planning and designing of common virtualised services and their implications for customer needs.

As part of this certification, you learn how to design, implement, and support end-to-end IT systems. Furthermore, you also learn about the following:
  • Installing, configuring, and upgrading servers, storage, data networks and applications in business environments
  • Differences between hosted, co-located and cloud networks, and a traditional on-premises network
  • Business implications and selection criteria of appropriate responses to a given business scenario
7. CloudSchool.com – Certified Cloud Professional (CCP)

Certified Cloud Professional (CCP) by CloudSchool.com is a vendor-neutral cloud certification, focusing on fundamental topics of cloud computing. With this certification under your belt, you’ll be familiar with cloud computing terminology and concepts, as well as the benefits, challenges and risks of using the cloud. 

You’ll also learn about SaaS, Paas and Iaas models and the different types of clouds. To get your CCP certification, you must pass two exams:
  • C90-01 Fundamental Cloud Computing – standard prerequisite of CloudSchool.com certs
  • One additional exam from this list
CloudSchool.com offers self-study resources, study sessions as well as instructor-led workshops to help your prepare for the exams. 

8. Cloud Security Alliance: The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK)

The Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) certification is another vendor-neutral qualification, which proves your expertise in key areas of cloud security such as:
  • Architecture
  • Compliance
  • Governance
  • Virtualisation
  • Operations
  • Encryption
According to Gavin Hill, Venafi’s Director of Product Marketing: "With data being the new currency, the control of trust in the cloud is ever more significant. The CSA updated Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) brings practical guidance to security professionals deploying workloads in the cloud. It delivers the necessary controls that enable security professionals to deploy cloud applications with security and trust mind."

9. (+1) IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v1 and v3

Last but not least, let’s take a look at both versions of IBM’s Certified Cloud Solution Architect. v1 and v3 certify your skills to design, plan and manage IBM's cloud computing infrastructure. As an IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect you are also able to provide a detailed overview of the benefits and underlying concepts of cloud computing.

To obtain these certs, you should have a working knowledge of cloud fundamentals as well as a basic knowledge of IBM cloud computing essentials.

There you have it nine (+1) cloud computing certs that will definitely get you ahead of the curve and help you make the most of what the cloud has to offer. And if you are interested in even more cloud certs, check out our full cloud portfolio.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The hottest IT certifications to advance your career with the latest technology


By 

The Information Technology market offers thousands of great opportunities with some uniquely varied roles. However, as most industries, IT has also got its hottest areas. This post discusses those popular areas, including the must-have certifications and how they can make your CV stand out from the rest.

Security

Hackers continuously develop their tricks and techniques to access and misuse privileged data. And because information will always be precious to its owners; its protection will never go out of fashion. As a result of this, skilled IT security professionals are still in extremely high demand.

How would you decide whether someone is qualified enough to defend your data? Employers often refer to certifications when recruiting, because they very clearly demonstrate the skills and knowledge their holders possess.

If IT security is the field you (want to) work in, the CISSP by (ISC)2 is a must-have. This certification is designed for security pros, who are actively involved in critical decision making. CISSP holders have the knowledge, understanding and expert skills in order to manage security standards, policies and procedures within their organisation.


The cert demonstrates your competence in various security topics, including cloud computing, app development security, mobile security and risk management. In order to obtain the CISSP credential, you must tick a bunch of boxes, including a minimum of five years’ experience in at least two CISSP domains. (ISC)2 offers great resources to help you prepare for getting your certification. You can download the exam outline and also watch informative webcasts about the CISSP domains for free.

Cloud Computing

A recent research by Dworin Consulting shows that 39% of respondents expect an increasing need for cloud computing training by the end of 2014. This should not come as a surprise to any IT pro, because cloud computing is currently one of the hottest areas in the industry.



Silicon Angle compiled a comprehensive list of cloud stats published by the likes of Gartner, Cisco and Forbes.  According to this list end-user spending on cloud services could exceed £100 billion by 2015. The list also shows that 82% of companies reported savings by moving to the cloud and more than 60% of businesses use the cloud for performing IT-related operations.

There are more and more certifications available in the field of cloud computing, thus it’s hard to name the undisputed champ of cloud certs.

CompTIA’s Cloud Essentials is a great cert to start with because it teaches you the fundamental concepts of cloud computing. This certification demonstrates your knowledge of the different cloud types, their impact on IT service management as well as the risks of cloud computing.

If you’re looking to take your cloud competency even further, Cloud+ by CompTIA could be your next step. With the Cloud+ under your belt you’ll have knowledge of virtualisation in the cloud, network management, storage provisioning and other key topics.



Big Data

Big Data has been one of the top IT buzzwords in the last few years and it’s likely to stay that way. Big Data is oftentimes described with the 3V model, i.e. it is high volume, high velocity and high variety. However, there’s a lot more to defining Big Data according to Timo Elliott, who shares seven definitions in his article.

Regardless of which definition you decide to side with, one thing’s certain: Big Data is a big deal. Gartner’s research revealed that the number of companies investing in Big Data tech increased by 6% (from 58 to 64 per cent) since 2012. The findings also indicated that 19% intends to make an investment in the next 12 months, while a further 15% considers investing in the next two years.

To succeed in Big Data you must master the skills and techniques of Apache Hadoop. Cloudera offers the following two Hadoop related certifications:
These certifications prove your knowledge and skills in writing, maintaining, optimising (CCDH) as well as configuring, deploying, maintaining and securing (CCAH) an Apache Hadoop cluster. 



Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a relatively new concept in the designing, building and management of networks. In SDN the network’s control and forwarding planes are separated in order to allow easier optimisation for each.

Due to SDN’s relatively recent inception, there is a lack of available training; however the Cisco Learning Network (CLN) is working on the solution. CLN believes that SDN can be defined and referred to as programmability. Therefore, training must augment the understanding of networking with programming skills.



The Cisco Learning Network provides a detailed breakdown of how traditional IT roles will evolve following the SDN paradigm-shift. Although the complete certification for Network Programmability is not yet available, CLN offers a six-module introductory course on their website. 

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.