Hurricane Electric: IPv6 Certifications and IPv6 T-Shirts – with Owen DeLong

by Mirek Burnejko

Owen DeLongThis is an interview with Owen DeLong from Hurricane Electric.

HE provides a FREE IPv6 Certification Program.

This program will teach you everything about practical IPv6 deployment, give you a chance to becoming an IPv6 Sage and will allow you to obtain amazing IPv6 T-Shirt.

So, if you have a free weekend just visit this website and follow the IPv6 Sage path.

In this interview you will find:

  • Why a service provider offers this great certification program for FREE?
  • How many people have the IPv6 Sage certification
  • What is the best place to start with the IPv6 world?

IT Certification Master: Hello Owen. IPv6 Sage is one of my favorite certifications on the planet. Before we get started, tell us something about you and your role in the Hurricane Electric.

Owen DeLong: Thank you for your kind words. I’m an IPv6 Evangelist and Director of Professional Services at Hurricane Electric and a member of the ARIN Advisory Council.

As an IPv6 Evangelist, I travel the world teaching people about IPv6 and encouraging them to deploy it. As Director of Professional Services, I lead our efforts to provide the best training and consulting services possible to assist organizations in learning about and deploying IPv6. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable job.

ICM: Tell us something about your IPv6 certification. Is it easy to achieve the Sage level?

Owen: I think that depends on your definition of easy. Unlike a lot of the certification programs floating around out there, HE Sage cannot be achieved without actually having administrative access to a working IPv6 environment. The intent is for you to have actually deployed IPv6 and specific services on IPv6 in order to achieve Sage.

We figure if you can do that, you’ve demonstrated a certain level of IPv6 knowledge where it matters… The ability to make things work on IPv6 and get IPv6 deployed in a useful and meaningful way.

It’s actually pretty easy to do that, IMHO. The first time I went through the Sage process from start to finish, it took me about 3 days. Most of that delay had to do with getting my DNS provider to accept IPv6 glue records. However, today, I can actually go from beginning to sage in less than an hour. Someone experiencing IPv6 for the first time should be able to do it in a few days with the tutorials and other material we provide online.

ICM: Why you decided to create this certification? HE is a service provider. Other Service Providers don’t have own certifications.

Owen: Hurricane Electric is a different kind of company. Sure, like any business, we’re in business to provide useful products and/or services and make a profit by doing so. However, we’re also a very community minded company and education is a core value within the company from the CEO all the way through the organization. The program started life as a way to get our employees up to speed with IPv6. Turns out it didn’t take a whole lot of additional effort to make it available to the wider community and we saw a lot of good coming out of it. (This happened before I joined HE).

As luck would have it, it’s also turned out to be a great marketing tool for us and we’re now providing not only the free web-based training program we’re discussing here, but we’ve launched a full-service training and consulting organization to help organizations get their employees up to speed on IPv6 and get IPv6 deployed within their own networks.

ICM: Do people use the IPv6 Sage certification in their resumes?

Owen: Absolutely. Many of the resumes HE receives are from people indicating proudly that they have Sage certification and I’m seeing it mentioned on people’s resumes outside as well.

ICM: The certification is for free, the learning materials are for free and you also provide a free and amazing T-Shirt for all IPv6 Sage. Why you decided to send the T-Shirts to certified people?

Owen: I think this graphic sums it up pretty well:

IPv6 Sage Start with T-Shirts

ICM: How many people have your certification and how many have the highest Sage level?

There are more than 52,000 HE IPv6 certifications earned.
Roughly 10% (5,024) have achieved the Sage level at this time.

ICM: What do you think about other IPv6 certifications? IPv6 Forum has two programs. H3C has one IPv6 certification. Why other companies don’t start with own, dedicated IPv6 programs?

Owen: From what I have seen, the IPv6 Forum doesn’t really have a certification program themselves so much as they certify certification programs developed by other people and provide a set of required subjects for people to develop curriculum around. In general, so long as the programs they certify are of good quality, I think that’s a good thing. Having good training programs around benefits everyone. Given the need to deploy IPv6 at this point, I think there’s more than enough certification work to keep all of the qualified trainers pretty busy for a while.

I’m not familiar with H3C’s program so I can’t really comment on it.

I am in the process of working with IPv6 Forum to try and align our professional training courses with theirs because I think having the entire industry move forward based on well constructed training programs is beneficial and I would rather see us all working together towards that common goal.

ICM: You know the IPv6 world as no one else. What is the best place to start? Books, certifications?

Owen: Personally, I think that the HE Certification program and tunnelbroker are by far the best way to start. You are almost immediately getting your hands on configuring IPv6 and getting to experience it first hand. We cover some of the necessary theoretical knowledge, but most importantly, we immerse you right into the hands-on experience of IPv6 and get you moving forward rapidly.

Once you’ve got some experience with IPv6 in an operational context, it’s much easier to understand more of the theory and nuance contained in the books.

It’s absolutely vital to keep learning and pursue the additional knowledge, but, in terms of where to start… Start by doing!

ICM: What next? Do you update your materials or add new levels?

Owen: We haven’t added any new levels to the free online training for a while. We do constantly update our materials and we also have efforts underway to develop native language support for a variety of languages.

Anyone interested in translating our Sage certification into their local language should contact me for details.

We also have an ever-expanding range of customizable modular IPv6 training programs that we can deliver on site or at a venue of the client’s choosing. We charge per instructor hour, so, it’s conceivable that someone could hire us to teach a class and then fill it up with paid students and actually make a profit that way.

Finally, we’re in the beginning stages of this, but, look for an announcement soon of actual in-person training classes at the HE facilities in Fremont.

ICM: Thank you so much Owen. Tell us one more time, what is the best way to start with your IPv6 certification and become IPv6 Sage.

Owen: The best way to start is to have one of our instructors come teach a class at your location. The best free way to start is to go to TunnelBroker and start in on the training link there.

[This is part of the Interviews with Vendors Series]