The Definitive Guide to the Brocade Distinguished Architect

April 12th, 2014
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

If you’ve been in the FICON, Data Center SAN, Internetworking or Converged networking tracks at any point in your career then the Brocade Distinguished Architect is the ultimate pursuit available within the Brocade family, and it is by no means easy, frankly quite the opposite!   That said though, hopefully this can help steer you in comfort in the direction of a pursuit of this designation or the tracks leading up to it!

Brocade Distinguished Architect

The Brocade Distinguished Architect is a series of exams. Oh, a series indeed! It is actually achievable by finishing 3 of the 4 tracks listed below.  These tracks are broken down into FICON, Data Center, Internetworking and Converged. 

The Brocade Certified Professional – 3 out of 4 tracks!

Brocade Certified Professional FICON Track

  • Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist Exam 160-130
    Brocade Accredited FICON Specialist Exam 160-140 
    Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator (BCFA) Exam 143-410
    Brocade Certified Fabric Professional (BCFP) Exam 143-070
    Brocade Certified Architect For FICON (BCAF) Exam 143-120

Brocade Certified Professional Data Center Track

  • Brocade Accredited Server Connectivity Specialist Exam 160-020 
    Brocade Accredited Data Center Specialist Exam 160-130 
    Brocade Certified Fabric Administrator (BCFA) Exam 143-410
    Brocade Certified Fabric Professional (BCFP) Exam 143-070
    Brocade Certified SAN Manager (BCSM) Exam 143-360
    Brocade Certified Fabric Designer (BCFD) Exam 143-260

Brocade Certified Professional Internetworking Track

  • Brocade Accredited Internetworking Specialist Exam 160-120
    Brocade Certified Network Engineer Exam 150-120
    Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Engineer Exam 150-320
    Brocade Certified Network Professional Exam 150-220
    Brocade Certified Layer 4-7 Professional Exam 150-420 
    Brocade Accredited WLAN Specialist Exam 160-170
    Brocade Certified Network Designer Exam 150-510

Brocade Certified Professional Converged networking Track

  • Brocade Accredited FCoE Specialist Exam 160-160
    Brocade Certified Ethernet Fabric Engineer Exam 150-610
    Brocade Certified FCoE Professional (BCFCoEP) Exam 143-510

You do not have to pursue all 4 tracks to accomplish this, in my particular case I pursued the FICON, Data Center and Internetworking as there was a decent amount of overlap between those, and I have an extensive background in working with Data Centers, Internetworking and experience with FICON which made that particular pursuit significantly easier.   That said though, after I did a cost benefit analysis I also found those three tracks combined to allow for taking only 13 exams to achieve the end result!

Accredited vs Certified

You may notice some of the exams are listed as “Certified” and others listed as “Accredited” The differences of those two is simple; Certified Exams are delivered via a Pearson Vue testing center and cost $150 a piece.  Accredited exams are delivered via Kryterion, are non-proctored and delivered online via a Web Browser.   To be honest, the Certified Exams were SIGNIFICANTLY easier than the Accredited exams, but none of these by any means are a walk in the park, unless you have extensive experience working with the technologies.

How do I even begin to prepare and study?!

Brocade as a family makes it both easy and difficult to prepare as most certification tracks often do.  That is to say, it is not so easy you can go into it without any knowledge, experience or training; But also not such an enduring task that your real world experience and knowledge are discarded in favor of arbitrarily complicated questions!   Each of the Certifications have available in the Brocade Certification Information pages links to reference materials, pre-requisites and Study Guides for each respective track!   In addition to this, each track also has a series of web-based, online and classroom type training to prepare, educate and take you to the next steps!  

Leveraging these tools and some real world experience will prepare you to take these certifications and take your career to the next level!

Making the Honor Roll

As you proceed through the ranks of the many who’ve taken Brocade exams (They hit 30,000 exams taken this past weekend 4/5/2014) once you’ve achieved this rigorous and arduous process though, you make it onto the Brocade Distinguished Architect Honor Roll which is an official list of everyone who has achieved Brocades Highest Certification Credential  Going back as far as January of 2011 until today April of 2014, there have been 88 people who have achieved this credential.   Just like other highest credentials, VMware’s VCDX, Microsoft’s MCM and MCA, and Cisco’s CCIE, this certification track is not for everyone but it is an achievable and reachable target!


Brocade Certification and essential links!

Doing your Part

This track may not be for all but this is definitely a way to set you a part from the rest.   Brocade has been a staple of the Data Center for a very long time, and are the market leader in their particular industries.   If you’re looking to enhance your resume portfolio, grow your capabilities and really stand out, this is definitely a good way to do it!  Good luck and good pursuits!

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Ooh and here I am on the official Brocade Page, awesomeness :)

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