After Canonical launches Ubuntu 9.04 on April 23, the company will play an encore by launching a series of training courses — for Ubuntu Server Edition and even cloud computing. Here’s the scoop, only from The VAR Guy.

The new training efforts begin in May, when Canonical launches Online Virtual Training for Ubuntu Server Edition. And in June, Canonical’s training partners will introduce a classroom-based server course. The face-to-face training will be available in 12 countries, according to Billy Cina, Canonical’s Training Programmes Manager.

With the Ubuntu server course in place, Canonical’s training program will grow to include four courses:
  • An Ubuntu desktop course, which shows end-users how to master Ubuntu for their everyday needs.
  • Ubuntu Certified Professional, which shows junior-level administrators how to set up Ubuntu (mainly desktop) in the small-to-medium office.
  • Deploying Ubuntu Server Edition, which trains administrators to deploy, configure and maintain secure Ubuntu servers.
  • Supporting Ubuntu, which helps participants to troubleshoot some common issues faced with Ubuntu

Getting Started

In the US, Ubuntu Training Partners such as Fast Lane and Bridge Education will offer the server course. The five-day course will cost (US)$2500, though costs vary by country since training partners set pricing based on their local market considerations, notes Cina.

Those who attend 80% or more of the server course will achieve a certificate of completion/competence, but there is no certification exam attached at this stage. “The focus is very much on skills and knowledge transfer,” says Cina. “What do system administrators need to know in order to do their job on Monday morning after the course.”

Longer term, Canonical plans to launch a cloud course sometime in mid-2009, according to Cina. (Here’s a bit more about Canonical’s cloud strategy.)

In the meantime, interest in the Ubuntu training courses seems high. During a typical month, Canonical receives about 50 applications from aspiring partners that want to offer Ubuntu training. “We hand pick and train just a small bunch,” said Cina. “This ensures that we can prepare instructors and maintain some kind of uniformity over teaching standard.”

Proper Perspective

No doubt, Canonical is working hard to strengthen its server and training stories. But The VAR Guy is keeping Canonical’s progress in perspective: Red Hat, for instance, has certified nearly 40,000 professionals on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

But in recent months, Canonical has been pushing beyond the Linux desktop by working more closely with ISVs (independent software vendors) and hardware providers on the server.

For instance, Ubuntu 9.04 has been tested to run on 45 different server configurations from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo, Sun Microsystems and other server makers, notes Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth. Also, Canonical is expected to announce a closer working relationship with the HP ProLiant server team within weeks — though the relationship doesn’t include Ubuntu Server Edition preloads.

Still, Canonical’s efforts to recruit and train partners has been a work in progress. When asked about Canonical’s partner program on April 20, Shuttleworth politely said the question would be best directed off-line to Canonical’s channel partner team.

Now, Cina is stepping forward and promising progress — particularly when it comes to Ubuntu server training.

Contributing blogger The VAR Guy covers what’s next in the IT channel. WorksWithU is updated multiple times per week. Don’t miss a single post. Sign up for our RSS and Twitter feeds (available now) and newsletter (coming in 2009).