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IBM and Metropolitan Community College of Omaha Collaborate on First Green Data Center Degree


ARMONK, N.Y. and OMAHA, Neb. - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Omaha, Nebraska, to develop a first-of-its-kind green data center management degree using IBM hardware, software and online skills training resources. The two-year associates degree includes courses to help students gain technical and business skills to prepare them for careers in the design and management of energy efficient data centers.

The new degree comes at a time when U.S. colleges and universities are expected to lead the way in preparing the future workforce with innovative new skills to help boost the economy. For example, in July, President Obama launched the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan to provide community colleges nationwide with funding for new scholarships and online classes for students, and to modernize aging facilities and infrastructures.

As part of the new MCC degree, students have the opportunity to learn virtualization and server consolidation, energy efficiency, business resiliency, and security and compliance skills through a new, real-world enterprise data center on campus. The center is built upon IBM Power Systems servers running AIX, IBM i and Linux environments.

IBM technologies used in this program allow MCC to extend the degree to other colleges through a virtual learning program. As a result, all courses in the green data center management track will be offered online where remote students can gain the same skills as those on campus including virtual access to the physical data center itself.

MCC developed the curriculum with the help of the IBM Academic Initiative, an innovative program that now provides nearly 4,000 colleges and universities worldwide with no-charge access to online skills resources including tutorials and courseware.

“IBM’s Academic Initiative will further help ensure that MCC students are developing technology skills that bring together computer science, engineering and sustainability,” said Tom Pensabene, Dean of Information Technology of Metropolitan Community College. “We’re seeing a dramatic increase in demand here in Nebraska for specialists who understand how to help companies reduce the costs associated with running an energy-intensive data center. Now, our students are getting exposure to leading edge IBM technologies, increasing their chances of being hired for jobs in this growing area.”

Until now there has been no comprehensive, real-world learning environment for students to get green data center skills at the undergraduate level. Beginning December 2009, students can enroll in the new “Associate Degree in Information Technology - Data Center Management” degree and take 36 credit hours of courses including:

* Hardware, Disaster Recovery, & Troubleshooting - Designed to teach students how to identify and follow best practices when working with hardware components and systems found in an enterprise environment. Focus is on the hardware and software used to create a fault-tolerant, redundant configuration that meets the requirements of a company’s Disaster Recovery (DRP) or Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

* Introduction to Data Center Management - The student learns about data center design, support, management, and maintenance while working in a server environment. Topics also include daily operations of a data center, such as monitoring power requirements and safety regulations.

* Virtualization, Remote Access, & Monitoring - Introduces students to both hardware and software methods used to implement virtualization and the server specifications required to implement it. Multiple vendor solutions are explored.

* Data Center Racks & Cabling - Introduces students to the basics of rack and cabling infrastructure in a data center. Topics include cabling installation practices, management strategies, maintenance practices, and certification.

* Building a Secure Environment - Students explore methods to mitigate vulnerabilities of Internet/Intranet applications while maintaining web servers and workstations based on installation. Discussion centers on best practices and a variety of methods to build, test, and defend all computers in the enterprise environment.

* Applied Data Center Management - Students define project requirements, researches issues, and designs a data center project that meets the goals. Projects include all aspects of the Data Center such as facilities, infrastructure, servers and security.

* Networking Security - Provides students with the knowledge of network security and the skills necessary to install, configure, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot security services/servers on multiple platforms in an enterprise environment. Security areas include DNS, Web servers, Encryption, IPSec, PKS, VPNs, and Network Address Translation (NAT).

* Data Center Internship - Provides students with the opportunity to apply his/her knowledge, learn new techniques, and get hands-on experience managing a data center. Students work in the Information Technology Data Center on campus and access the data center remotely.

For the past 12 years, MCC has often ranked in the top 20 community colleges nationwide for number of IT graduates, and the college’s computer classes are the mainstay of its offerings. One reason for their success is that Omaha is one of only a few U.S. cities that sits at the intersection of both east-west and north-south fiber optic networks -- attracting a large number of communications and information services companies and putting IT-savvy employees in high demand for data center jobs.

“IBM is proud to be a key partner in helping Metropolitan Community College of Omaha develop the first program of its kind based on the transformational work IBM is undertaking with clients and cities world-wide,” said Jim Corgel, General Manager of ISV and Developer Relations at IBM. “As companies look to improve service, reduce cost and manage risk, students educated through MCC’s new program will be well-positioned for IT careers that help businesses address these challenges.”

MCC’s data center is funded through a three year $1.8 million grant that MCC received from the U.S. Department of Labor with the goal of increasing the number of students in IT education.

For more information on the MCC data center management degree, visit:

For more information on IBM’s Academic Initiative, visit:


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