Online Storage Network Training seems to be all the rage these days – and I can understand why. With the cost and hassle of traveling outside of your hometown, or having to pay an experienced instructor – someone that has actually worked in the industry and with the equipment and people that develop the Standards – to come in and provide this training, getting this training online can look attractive.
But I wanted to ask the question, which is in the title of this post:
“What’s the Value in Online Storage Network Training?”
I asked this because of a recent Google search I did about some specifics of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and found a video that was basically a 5 to 6 minute presentation about the topic I was searching for. But after watching the video, which contained information I already know, I had another question which was “How valuable would this be for a ‘real’ student?” – a student that needed to know these specifics and apply this information to their job.
This is my personal definition and experience with the students that I teach: Engineers, Programmers, Test Engineers, System Integrators, etc., that have to REALLY know this information and apply it to their job – usually immediately after class is over. These students are “smart” people already, so their employer or clients expect them to attend my classes and come back with a LOT of knowledge that can be immediately put to use “getting the job done”.
So why this post? Because I was thinking about these students and wanted to know if they would get any value out of a series of “Video Lessons” about a particular subject (let’s say iSCSI). Would that type of platform (watching online videos about iSCSI) be “good enough” to get the information needed to help them do their jobs?
That also brings up other questions too, like:
- How do you learn best?
- Would a self-paced, online iSCSI training course be of value to you?
- Would a “real-time” online class (where you can ask questions of a live instructor) be better?
- What would you like to have available to you in such a training platform (Q&A box, Chat Window, FAQ List, a forum that can be searched, etc.)?
If you would like to provide some input or answers to any of the above questions, please register and post a comment below.
Take Care, Greg
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An Online iSCSI SAN Training class is coming up in September 2010, where I will be the instructor. This class is open to any student, from almost any part of the world, that can make the scheduled times.
Dates and times are: September 20-24, 2010 (5 days), starting at 8:00AM Pacific Time and running through 12:00PM Pacific time (4 hours per day).
iSCSI Training Topics
You can see the full topic list at the following link … iSCSI SAN Training Class … but I want to give you a little preview about what we cover and how we do this.
- Review of Storage Area Network (SAN) concepts. This is so that everyone has a basic understanding about what SANs are all about, compared to other data storage methods.
- Review of SCSI concepts. Again, I want everyone to know what an Initiator is, what a Target is, a LUN, how SCSI commands, data, and SCSI Status are moved through a storage system.
- iSCSI SAN components. We will look at iSCSI Initiators, iSCSI Targets, and iSCSI LUNs, and how we can put them together to make an iSCSI-based Storage Area Network.
- iSCSI Protocol & Structure. This includes details like Headers, Protocol Data Units (PDUs), Discovery methods, Login and Sessions, and iSCSI operations.
- iSCSI Analyzer Traces. This is “the fun part”, and helps reinforce the concepts that are taught during this training class.
- Advantages & Disadvantages of iSCSI. We will look at performance and cost, both in a technical way (speed, bandwidth & throughput) and a financial way.
For me, the Lab Exercises (analyzer traces) are the best part. Since this is an Online course, where the students will be seeing my screen and we will be talking online, you will have a chance to ask questions, in real time, as we cover the material. We can even pass the screen sharing function to the students, so that if you have a question about something that you can show on your screen, we can do that in real time too. With that in mind, if you have any desire at all to join in on this training class, please feel free to ask questions about topics that YOU would like covered, by posting a comment here. If you want to register, make sure you fill out the “Heard About” item with the SANTrainingBlog.com selection.
One last thing: If you can get a few of your fellow workers together that want or need to take this iSCSI SAN Training course privately, just post a comment here and let me know. The comments do not become public unless I review and approve them, so your contact and information will remain private.
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SCSI Commands & Architecture Class Results
I just thought I would post the results of the SCSI training class that was held about a week ago. First I would like to thank the students – without them, this class could not have gone so well. Everyone had lots of questions about various SCSI related topics, including:
- How to interpret SCSI Command fields?
- What happens when a command doesn’t work?
- What are the SCSI Status responses that occur for different conditions?
- How do I decode SCSI Sense Data?
- How do I read or decode a SCSI analyzer trace?
- How can I read a Fibre Channel analyzer trace?
I know that last one may not seem like a “SCSI thing”, but when you are looking at SCSI FCP portions of the trace, we discover that 99% of the information is SCSI related. After all, Fibre Channel is just SCSI over another connection. I guess the same can be said if you are using iSCSI or SAS too.
I believe the high spot of this class, at least for me, was going over analyzer traces that helped to reinforce the concepts of the course. Some of these concepts were:
- How SCSI connections are made
- How to identify what Host (Initiator) and Device (Target) are involved in any command
- How to identify what status is for which command and
- When do we disconnect and reconnect.
At one or two points during the class, I even had some of the students “take control” of the presentation system so that everyone could see what was on their computer screen. And all of this was done without them having to leave their office, or in one or two instances, their home. Everyone used Voice over IP (VoIP), so that we could chat and answer questions in real time. I especially want to thank the students in the Eastern time zone for “working late” when we had to change the schedule. I hope that all of the students enjoyed their “bonus gifts” that were sent to them because of this change.
One last note: If you and a few coworkers would like to take this class, or one of the other SAN training courses offered, please contact me and I will try to arrange a course that is convenient for YOUR schedule.
You can also check the following link to see if there is a “public class” that you may want to attend.