Last week, IBM 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.

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.

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.

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:

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.