In April, VCE unveiled the VCE Certification Program, a brand-new technology curriculum to train IT professionals in designing, deploying and managing converged infrastructures. This groundbreaking approach was designed to help IT practitioners drive data center transformation for their organizations by validating real-world expertise in converged operations – breaking down the traditional silos of individual component training to develop the skills needed for converged infrastructure as a seamless, single environment.I am happy to share that in just eight months, the VCE™ Certified Professional Program has seen tremendous success – with more than 4,000 certified converged infrastructure professionals.New Certification ExamToday, VCE is advancing the certification program even further, focusing on IT pros who manage the operations of their organization’s converged infrastructure. This new “Manage Track” includes three certifications:VCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Master Administration Engineer – Certifies highly advanced knowledge and skills in administering Vblock SystemsExam expected in early 2015VCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Administration Engineer – Validates day-to-day skills in operating Vblock Systems for administrationExam available nowVCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Associate – Confirms basic skills and knowledge associated with Vblock SystemsExam available nowA VCE certification signifies that an individual’s skills are vetted, validated and reinforced through rigorous testing and role-based knowledge and experience. Through the new exams, VCE customers and partners can now demonstrate their converged infrastructure management expertise, which will help them deliver the full benefits of IT transformation.To understand just how important this is in today’s IT organizations; consider how VCE’s customer, the University of San Diego, has successfully transformed its IT operations, as well as the skill sets of its people:University of San Diego: IT Transformation and “Converged Operators”Read the case study.For three years, we’ve been working with the University of San Diego to help transform their data center to better serve their students, faculty and staff. The university’s journey started with the Vblock System, which eliminated time-consuming and disruptive maintenance and upgrade cycles and provided an agile and efficient infrastructure foundation for critical applications and services.They’ve seen terrific results, including:50% reduction in implementation costs75% reduction in time to roll out new systems50%+ staff time is spent on innovation100% perceived uptimeWith the Vblock System in place, the university’s engineering resources were freed from the monotony of keeping the lights on to focus on new, innovative projects that drive strategic value for the organization. Now, the university’s engineers are not simply component specialists, but converged operators. But just like all great engineers, it takes training and experience to hone their skills and knowledge.Mike Somerville, President of the VCE User Group and Chief Cloud Evangelist at the University of San Diego, challenges his IT team to become great engineers by gaining certifications from VCE, engaging with peers at the VCE User Group, and building experience through new projects.“Great engineers are not made overnight. They’re not made after four years at college or even after a couple of years on the job. It’s a lifelong pursuit. It takes years of training, experience, studying, creativity, mistakes, and troubleshooting, as well as engagement with peers, vendors and partners. Great engineers challenge themselves not by doing things the hard way, but by finding the simplest path to do their jobs better and faster.“This is why certifications and user groups are so important. All great engineers strive to innovate and advance technology, but they need to build a foundation of knowledge first, and then constantly refine and test their skills, train on new solutions and discuss best practices with peers. I believe that the VCE Certified Professional Program and the VCE User Group are perfect opportunities for IT professionals to further develop, validate and improve their skills so they can become great engineers.“— Mike Somerville, University of San DiegoShareWith the right skills, training and technology in place, VCE converged infrastructure certifications help put IT professionals on the path to becoming great converged infrastructure professionals, providing data center transformation to enterprises around the world. We’re thrilled to see the success of the VCE Certified Professional Program and excited to hear how customers and partners such as the University of San Diego are using it to deliver true IT transformation within their organizations.
In the inaugural Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS) debate — held in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium — Notre Dame faculty member David Cortright and Georgetown professor Matthew Kroenig debated whether or not “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is correct in saying that the policy of strategic patience with North Korea should end.”AHS is an “independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit, membership organization dedicated to promoting constructive debate on basic principles and contemporary issues in foreign, economic and national security policy,” according to the organization’s website. The national organization was founded in 2010, and this is the Notre Dame chapter’s first year as a group on campus.During the debate, Kroenig, a national security expert who worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 and Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in 2016, argued that it was time to move on from strategic patience.Kroenig’s opening statement centered on three points: the definition of strategic patience and why it failed, what a new approach would look like and what a new policy specifically would entail.“Throughout the 1990s, North Korea’s nuclear program continued to advance,” he said. “The outside world engaged with North Korea, they would agree to halt the program and pocketed concessions, then North Korea would make threats, we’d negotiate, they’d get goodies and the cycle would continue. North Korea was blackmailing the U.S. and international communities, and using negotiation to extract concessions.”Kroenig described President Barack Obama’s administration’s decision to halt this strategy and essentially do nothing, hoping that North Korea would collapse on its own.“The result is that the threat has continued to grow,” he said.Kroenig discussed North Korea’s growing nuclear stockpile and increasing capabilities, saying there is a broad bipartisan consensus that something needs to be done or else the U.S. will be living under the threat of a North Korean nuclear attack.He said a new policy would need a diplomatic and defense component. In this regard, Kroenig cited the 2015 agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program as an example.“We need to give them the choice of either making a deal, or economic sanctions and a potential military engagement,” he said.Kroenig alluded to a problem with applying this strategy to North Korea, and said the United States and its western allies do little business with the reclusive regime. One solution to this problem would be increased engagement with China, North Korea’s closest ally, Kroenig said, but this strategy presents challenges because China prioritizes North Korea’s existence as a buffer state over its denuclearization. To get around this problem, Kroenig suggested sanctions against firms that do business with North Korea as a potential way around the problem and a way to get North Korea to the negotiating table, given that such an approach worked with Iran.Finally, Kroenig said the U.S. must work with regional allies currently faced with the threat of North Korean nuclear aggression in the meantime.“Until negotiations pay off, we have to defend ourselves and our allies,” he said.Next, Cortright took the podium.“I don’t agree with strategic patience, I don’t think it’s worked and I don’t think doing nothing is a viable option,” he said.However, Cortright said the threat from North Korea is not currently as dire as it is often made to sound.“Yes, North Korea has a couple small grade nuclear weapons, but they have not refined technologies for more complex weapons,” he said. “While patience is not the answer, neither is panic, paranoia or provocation. Pressure [is] not enough.”Cortright laid out a plan incorporating cooperation with the Chinese, sanctions and inducements designed to get North Korea to the negotiating table. He cited a 1994 agreement between Pyongyang and outside powers, the Agreed Framework, where North Korea agreed to halt its program in exchange for concessions and which eventually broke down. Cortright also floated the Iran Deal as a possible model. He said there was a great need for clear American objectives for its dealing with Pyongyang, questioning Tillerson’s “surrender, then we’ll talk” attitude.Cortright said the United States first needs to “sit down calmly with China and make a plan with them.” Next, the so-called Six Party Partners, including South Korea, Japan and Russia, need to be brought into the process. This group, Cortright said, should agree to a new set of sanctions in advance, but only implement them if North Korea refuses to negotiate.Once negotiations have commenced, Cortright said the U.S. should implement a set of “sanctions and inducements,” including cutting off North Korea from international financial markets, suspending joint American military exercises with South Korea, opening up the possibility of diplomatic normalization with North Korea and other objectives in a similar vein.Tags: Alexander Hamilton Society, Alexander Hamilton Society debate, North Korea