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Top data center software certifications for admins

Certifications prove an admin has a specific level of expertise. Assess the top training courses and certifications in software systems for data center admins.

Software certifications demonstrate a level of skill and expertise in a particular software to employers and peers. Given the variety of systems involved in data centers, many data center admins look to IT standards organizations and vendors to determine which certifications they might pursue.

Such organizations and vendors offer many certifications and training courses for software systems and processes, such as container management software, DevOps or automation.


Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization. Admins using Red Hat products can use this certification to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and abilities with regard to deploying and managing virtual infrastructure. This certification covers VM creation, clustering, pooling and virtualization templates, along with other essential management tasks. The exam costs $400, and the recommended -- but not required -- training course costs $3,800.

Container certifications

Many DevOps teams use container software such as Kubernetes, Docker and Mesos to optimize their development processes. Container software has different requirements and architectures that pose unique challenges to data center admins. For example, container software requires low latency and high bandwidth connections to related servers because it runs multiple microservices concurrently in a single application. Individual servers can contain dozens of containers, which leads to significant network performance management problems and can require complex upgrades.

Certifications in container software give admins insights into designing data centers to meet the requirements of container infrastructure. Container management software includes Docker, Kubernetes and several AWS and Google container services.

Docker Certified Associate (DCA). The DCA exam validates an admin's Docker skill set with real-world experience. It's the foundational exam for a multi-tiered certification program and requires previous Docker experience. The exam costs $195, and the certification remains valid for two years.

Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA). The Cloud Native Computing Foundation and the Linux Foundation collaborated to create the CKA certification. This certification assesses an admin's skills, knowledge and competency to manage Kubernetes containers and systems. The online-exclusive exam costs $300.

Red Hat Certified Specialist in Security: Containers and OpenShift Container Platform. For data centers using the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, this certification verifies an admin's skills and knowledge regarding the creation, management and support of containers in their environment. The exam costs $400. The several recommended training courses start at $2,700.


Trend Micro Deep Security. This three-day, instructor-led training course teaches admins to use Trend Micro Deep Security software for hybrid cloud security. It covers best practices and troubleshooting activities for successful implementation and long-term maintenance. For pricing options, reach out to the vendor directly.

VMware AppDefense. This free eight-week course teaches admins to deploy AppDefense on the hypervisor. It covers the basics of virtualization security and touches on microsegmentation, disaster recovery and business continuity.

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS). CKS certifies security for data center admins who run Kubernetes containers. Admins learn how to secure container-based applications and the Kubernetes platform with the software and understand the types of attacks Kubernetes can prevent. The exam costs $300, runs two hours and can be retaken once for free.

DevOps platforms

GitLab Certifications. GitLab offers several certifications for DevOps professionals, including Certified Security Specialist, Certified DevOps Professional and Advanced System Administration Training. These certifications cover how GitLab applies to different situations, as well as how to manage and troubleshoot GitLab. Reach out to GitLab for more information on cost and schedules.

Flosum Professional Level Certification. Flosum, a DevOps software platform built on Salesforce, offers several certifications, including one at the professional level. The professional certification covers the best practices for DevOps, architecture, security and compliance. Flosum offers both the test and training course for free.

IoT certification

AWS Internet of Things Foundation Series. AWS' certification offers a broad overview of telemetry, command and control, fleet management and predictive maintenance. AWS offers the test for free, and it takes about 9.5 hours to complete.

The Internet of Things Foundation Certification. This certification from the Cloud Credential Council covers IoT basics, its building blocks and related technologies, particularly as IoT relates to business. It costs $349 and takes around 16 hours to complete.


Red Hat Certified Specialist in Services Management and Automation. This certification offers an overview of automation in a Linux-based environment. It covers the standard services such as HTTPD, NFS and SMB and teaches admins how to automate services using Ansible, an automation engine that automates tasks such as cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment and intraservice orchestration. The exam costs $400.

Red Hat Ansible for Network Automation. This course covers how to use network automation to centralize switch, router and other device management for data centers.

Advanced Automation: Red Hat Ansible Best Practices. This course explores methods of automating tasks and teaches admins to use Red Hat Ansible Engine effectively. It delves deeper into the advanced features of Ansible to help admins perform more complex tasks.

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