Cisco CCNA Data Center

By Gary Eimerman on June 19, 2014

The data center is a highly complex environment that demands serious levels of uptime and resiliency. Traditionally, this has meant going through a vast number of vendor material to figure out how all of the pieces and parts connect to one another. Fortunately, Cisco's addition to the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) program focuses entirely on the data center. This means that you can take advantage of a series of exams designed to test your design and configuration knowledge around a combination of networking, servers, and storage.


The CCNA Data Center certification is built on top of two exams: the DCICN (640-911) and the DCICT (640-916). This series covers every bit of relevant material covered on both sets of exam topics and then some, often giving you much more comprehensive, lab-based modules that explain both the how and the why behind various technology choices. The courses are broken apart by exam, giving you the opportunity to thoroughly learn all of the networking hands-on knowledge necessary for one exam before needing to move on to the broad range of technology topics (UCS, SAN, FCoE, the 1000v, and more) that are required knowledge for the next exam.

Target audience:

Basic networking knowledge is recommend. This series of courses covers all of the fundamental knowledge needed to be successful as a CCNA DC candidate.

Recommended sequence:

Course Duration
Cisco CCNA Data Center: Intro to Data Center Networking 6h 50m
Cisco CCNA Data Center: Nexus, Advanced Switching & San 4h 26m
Cisco CCNA Data Center: Unified Fabric, UCS, & Network Services 5h 43m
Total 17h


In Chris's first course in this series, Cisco CCNA Data Center Intro to Data Center Networking, he focuses on the 640-911 exam, giving you the foundation required for getting started with data center networking. A lot of detail is focused on the basics – switches, routers, the OSI model, subnetting, and more – so that you're well informed and practiced for the remainder of the course (and the series). On top of this, Chris will walk you through the setup of common Cisco equipment using the CLI, with callouts added for command shortcuts.

Once you've completed this course – and likely gone ahead and passed the 640-911 exam – it's time to settle in for a very in-depth pair of courses that focus on many of the different technology silos within the data center.

Your second course in the sequence, Cisco CCNA Data Center: Nexus, Advanced Switching & SAN, will take your previously learned networking skills up to an entirely new level. You'll ride shotgun with Chris as he takes you through advanced networking features such as FabricPath, Virtual Port Channels (vPC), Nexus commands and VRFs. After that, it's time to become familiar with the Storage Area Network (SAN). There are three modules dedicated to understanding SAN; what a SAN is, how to design a SAN, and providing connectivity within a SAN.

The third and final course, Cisco CCNA Data Center: Unified Fabric, UCS, & Network Services, expands on your previous SAN knowledge and adds the concepts of Unified Fabric and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) to the mix. Chris then moves on to the servers side of the Data Center with Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS), Data Center Virtualization, and the Cisco Nexus 1000v virtual switch. Chris has put together a large volume of lab demos for this course, showing you exactly what real-world equipment looks and how it responds.

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Gary Eimerman

Gary Eimerman is the Head of Skills Development at Pluralsight, the leading technology workforce development company that helps companies and people around the world transform with technology. In his role, he is responsbile for the individual, self-paced learner experience on, providing learners with the fastest and most effective path to learn in-demand technology skills.