As my 4-year recertification timeline was about to lapse, I had to go and pay $350 to recertify :) There was no other challenge, as I picked CCDE written for recertification, keeping in mind to take the practical test again this year. To my greatest surprise, the exam was almost the same it was in September 2007, when I took the beta version. Just this time the number of questions was 100 not 170 and they give you chance to review and navigate among the questions (just like it was in old CCIE Written). Apparently, the CCDE written test engine has never been updated the way that CCIE R&S Written was, with the new scoring model based on 1000 points. Since 2007 I spent considerable amount of time studying (back then I went unprepared, but still passed with 70 point) so the exam went disappointedly easy, as I haven’t seen anything new that I didnt see in 2007. As usual, the main focus is on IP Routing with the addition of Tunneling techniques (MPLS, GRE, IPSec) along with QoS, Network Management and Network Security. You may find the very detailed blueprint here (though formatting is broken in a number of places):

The books I found most helpful to prepare were:

- Definitive MPLS Network Designs
- BGP Design and Implementation
- IS-IS: Deployment in IP Networks
- OSPF: Anatomy of an Internet Routing Protocol
- Optimum Routing Designs (you may mainly concentrate on IGP protocols and refer to the book above for BGP)
- EIGRP for IP: Basic Operation and Configuration
- Cisco IP Routing by Alex Zinin (for you hardcore routing fans)
- OSPF and ISIS: Choosing and IGP for Large Scale Network
- Layer 2 VPN Architectures
- Interconnections, 2nd edition: Bridges, Routers, Switches and Internetworking Protocols. (Just for fun reading and a lot of background information)
- IP Quality of Service by Srinivas Vegesna

The below one might be a good candidate for review the week before your exam. However, be aware of its condensed format and some technical inconsistencies:

- CCDE Quick Reference by Russ White and Mosaddaq Turabi.

Lastly, anyone preparing for the CCDE certification – even though the written test is easy, do not take it lightly as you’ll need all the knowledge during the practical test. There are other challenges in the practical exam, but hopefully the plan I developed to deal with that will work for me – we’ll see ;)

About Petr Lapukhov, 4xCCIE/CCDE:

Petr Lapukhov's career in IT begain in 1988 with a focus on computer programming, and progressed into networking with his first exposure to Novell NetWare in 1991. Initially involved with Kazan State University's campus network support and UNIX system administration, he went through the path of becoming a networking consultant, taking part in many network deployment projects. Petr currently has over 12 years of experience working in the Cisco networking field, and is the only person in the world to have obtained four CCIEs in under two years, passing each on his first attempt. Petr is an exceptional case in that he has been working with all of the technologies covered in his four CCIE tracks (R&S, Security, SP, and Voice) on a daily basis for many years. When not actively teaching classes, developing self-paced products, studying for the CCDE Practical & the CCIE Storage Lab Exam, and completing his PhD in Applied Mathematics.

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18 Responses to “CCDE Written”

  1. Hello Petr, thanks for your update. One question, would you recommend being CCIE in other tracks like R&S, Voice, SP, Security before attempting the CCDE certification? Did obtaining your CCIE in those tracks ease your preparation of the CCDE?
    Also, can someone with no CCIE certification but with practical design experience pass the exam?
    Thanks in advance.

    • @Malick

      Like I said, I managed to pass the exam in 2007 having passed CCIE RS, SC and SP The main source of information are the RS and SP tracks. However, you may need to have some better understanding of routing protocol internals, that is not normally required in RS or SP. The CCDE written exam is not too much about design but rather about IP routing, QoS and MPLS in general. There are just a few design-related question and all of them are pretty generic.

      If you still feel soling in RS and SP, you may refresh your knowledge of IP routing and take the CCDE Written for recertification.

  2. jo says:

    so would you guarantee that I will pass written if I will read all these books? if yes, I’m waiting for book-list for practical one ;)

  3. Amit says:

    how do you manage to remember all the topics?

  4. @jo

    Well I could guarantee you pass the written if you were me and read all these books ;)

  5. @Amit

    It takes a lot of time, but I try to apply as much active learning as possible. Instead of simply reading every chapter, I attempt to do my own case studies or write small essays on the topics. They grealy helps in understanding, though like I said is very time consuming :(

  6. Rainier says:

    Hi Sir,

    I agree that Cisco is not focussing much on CCDA, CCDP & CCDE, in comparison to the equivalents in R&S track.

    Thanks for Sharing your success strategies & study materials.
    Would like to follow up the legends at INE & become a CCIE.


  7. paks kal says:

    Instead of simply reading every chapter, I attempt to do my own case studies or write small essays on the topics……………….

    i trying to imagine how much eassys would you have written
    are you planning to publish it :)

    Great Petr Lapukhov, CCIE #16379 :)

  8. 3Dians says:

    Hi Petr, when do you plan to take the practical exam?

  9. zeus says:


    can you share your CCDE practical plan?

  10. @3Dians, @zeus

    Folks, I’m planning to take the CCDE practical this July 19th. As for my preparation plan, it is mainly the following:

    1) Re-read *some* parts of Oprimal Routing Design and spot more mistakes + write some essays for myself

    2) Re-read “Definitive MPLS Network Designs” and “BGP Design and Implementation”.

    3) Review “End-to-End QoS network Design”.

    I plan putting higher stress on active reading this time, trying to come with critical comments/alternative solutions.

    However, my biggest problem during the first attempt was inability to comprehend the vast volume of reading presented in English (as I’m a non-native speaker). To handle that, I’m still working on improving my concentration and “mental stamina” skils.

  11. Brandon Mangold says:


  12. Will you be the first CCDE at INE? says:

    From cisco website, July 19th 2010 seems the first available test date for practical CCDE. Am I correct?

  13. Yes, Certifications Plays important part in career building, specially CCDE Certification from Cisco is Awesome.

  14. [...] reading list, I’ve been publishing some before in CCDE certification and CCDE Written. Since then, I made some major updates to these. The below compilation is made of some [...]

  15. [...] CCDE written: [...]

  16. [...] CCDE Written by Petr Lapukhov, 24-May-2010 [...]


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