December 27, 2013 | Written by: Maamar Ferkoun
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Note: We are currently posting the top 10 posts of 2013 today through Jan. 3. This post is #6 on the list and was originally published March 22, 2013.
Certified Solution Advisor/ Certified Solution Architect
We have already seen a demand for skilled IT professionals in the cloud computing space. This is to face the increasing demand for cloud computing infrastructures organizations will be seeking to implement.
Among the few certifications pertaining to cloud computing currently available in the industry, IBM has launched its Cloud Computing Certification Program which this article is focusing on. This article is geared towards giving an insight as to how one can effectively prepare for these certification tests.
But before even considering the certification let’s see what is out there for you and why you should consider this.
IBM Cloud Computing Certification: something to consider – what is in it for me?
Professional certification provides you with the credentials that would display your expertise and qualification as a subject matter expert in your field. This can have multiple benefits to yourself and your organization. Building your credentials and honing your skills is more likely to open new opportunities to you and increase your credibility. In the cloud computing arena, IBM has established its own certification that ascertains the aptitude of an individual to provide cloud computing architectural and design capabilities.
What certification should I aim for?
There are currently two cloud computing certifications available from IBM.
Cloud Computing Solution Advisor – Cloud Computing Infrastructure V2 (Test 000-281). An IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Cloud Computing Architecture V2 is a person who can clearly explain the benefits and underlying concepts of cloud computing. They can also demonstrate how the IBM Cloud Computing offering helps customers realize these benefits
As a Cloud Computing Solution Advisor you will be able to:
- Explain the cloud computing concepts
- Describe how the customer can realize the benefits of cloud computing within their environment
- Map customer’s requirements to the IBM Cloud Computing offerings
Prerequisite working knowledge:
- Knowledge of cloud computing principles
- Knowledge of implementation of cloud computing concepts
- Knowledge of different types if clouds
- Understand key areas of security within a cloud computing environment and how they might affect performance and security
- Working knowledge of IBM integrated service management for cloud computing
- Be familiar with the IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture V2.
- Be familiar with the IBM Cloud Computing offerings
Cloud Computing Solution Architect – Cloud Computing Infrastructure V1 (Test 000-280): An IBM Certified Solution Architect – Cloud Computing Infrastructure V1 is a person who can demonstrate the design, plan, architecture and management principles of an IBM cloud computing infrastructure. They can do this with limited assistance from support, documentation or relevant subject matter experts.
As a Cloud Computing Architect you will be able to:
- Demonstrate the IBM Cloud Computing concept and design principles
- Demonstrate the ability to provide a customer with a roadmap from their current IT environment to an IBM Cloud Computing solution
- Architect a comprehensive solution that utilizes the IBM Cloud Computing design and blueprint principles to meet the customer’s requirements
- Demonstrate the applicability of IBM‘s Cloud Management Principle: Operation Model, Service Delivery and Service Management
Prerequisite working knowledge:
- Knowledge of industry cloud computing principles
- Knowledge of IBM Cloud Computing principles
- Knowledge of designing a comprehensive IBM Cloud Computing solution
- Knowledge of how to implement IBM Cloud Computing concepts
- Knowledge of the various types of clouds and “as a service” offerings
- Knowledge of the cloud infrastructure technologies (systems, storage, security, networking, virtualization technologies)
- Knowledge of key concerns and how they are addressed in cloud computing such as security and performance
- Knowledge of the IBM Cloud Computing offerings that make up the infrastructure of an IBM Cloud Computing solution such as hypervisors, provisioning, monitoring, security, storage, integration, cloudburst, reporting, billing and metering.
How to I prepare myself for the certification?
This will most likely depend on your real world experience, familiarity with cloud computing topics and products knowledge. There are of course numerous education courses, reading material and online repositories for you to gather a wealth of information. These are well documented on the IBM certification site where the prerequisites, objectives and sample questions give you ample information on the topic.
Do again bear in mind that the basis for your preparation is practical knowledge and experience in all the topics listed in the next section. This is therefore not the end but it’s the beginning in the cloud journey as the technology is constantly evolving.
Based on my personal experience with these certification tests I have noticed many similarities and overlaps between the two (Certified Solution Advisor / Certified Solution Architect) hence going through the list below will help you prepare for these tests. I would suggest the prospective exam taker to ensure a level of comfort with the following areas.
For the IBM Certified Solution Advisor – Cloud Computing V2
Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA):
While you are not expected to drill into the details of the CCRA at a minimum you should be able to list out the overall architectural framework topology design and the components that forms the Operational Support Services (OSS) and the Business Support Services (BSS). So do yourself a favor by ensuring you are familiar with these elements and their layout.
Ensure you have an understanding of the following;
- The three major roles in any cloud computing environment
- Basic architectural components
- Cloud Computing Management Platform
- Security and Resilience Architecture Components
IBM – Cloud Computing Reference Architecture v2.0
Cloud computing infrastructure and business models basics:
Ensure you are able to explain and differentiate among the different types of clouds and concepts such as IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and BPaaS; private, public, hybrid and the relevant product offerings from IBM. Some of the certification questions will be presented as business cases where based on your knowledge an answer would fit the scenario.
IBM Cloud offerings/products knowledge:
Ensure you are able to understand the functionality provided by and being able to differentiate between:
- IBM Tivoli Service Automation Manager (TSAM)
- IBM Service Delivery Manager (ISDM)
- IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager (TSRM)
- IBM CloudBurst
- IBM Smart Cloud Enterprise
- WebSphere (DataPower , Virtual Enterprise , Application Server)
- IBM Tivoli Enterprise (Monitoring, Portal)
- IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager
- IBM Tivoli Cast Iron
- IBM Workload Deployer
- IBM Tivoli Federated Identity Manager
- IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager
- IBM System Director
- Network security in a cloud infrastructure
- IBM security products
- Security design concepts
- Security functions
The security is confined to a high level and focuses on key concepts so as to provide a comprehensive solution and architecture.
- Virtualization techniques
- Regulatory compliance
For the IBM Certified Solution Architect – Cloud Computing V1
In addition to the topics mentioned above, the architect certification will also test your knowledge on the following:
Information Technology Infrastructure Library
- Mainly on the basic architecture of the ITIL V3
- Infrastructure layer and its components as well as protocols
Cloud adoption methods
- Data centers architecture, automation management in the cloud
- Firewalls , intrusion detection and the effect of multi tenancy in a cloud environment on security
Dynamic Infrastructure and cloud computing, IBM service management concepts
– IBM Cloud Computing certification website:
You will find a wealth of information detailing the objectives, skills required, prerequisites as well as sample exam questions and answers.
– IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture on Developerworks :
Overview of the IBM CCRA and link to the “Introduction and Architecture Overview. IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture 2.0” document.
– Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL):
– IBM Integrated Service Management Library site:
Description of the IBM products and solutions listed above and Cloud Computing.
– Business Model Innovation white paper from IBM:
Please do contact me at maamar@SG.ibm.com if you do have questions or use the comments below for your questions.