The rumors have been swirling for many months now about a (seemingly) overdue update to the CCIE Voice blueprint, and having wondered about them myself, I decided to contact 3 proctors that I know and speak with regularly. While they (of course) could not divulge anything specific, they had all heard ‘rumors’ themselves. No one knows exactly when we might see an update officially announced, but two main theories seem to exist as to when it will come.

  1. It will happen one week from today at Cisco Live during the paid 8-hour CCIE Voice seminar

  2. OR

  3. It will come sometime during the month of July

The reasons behind the two schools of thought is that the first just seems to make sense 1) Big Cisco event, seems like the perfect time to announce, and 2) Wait until UC v9 comes out of beta to give a bit more longevity to the exam (have the version of UC servers being tested not as ‘old’ 3 years from now when they update again). It’s possible Cisco could even surprise us and announce a new lab blueprint at Cisco Live and announce the still-in-beta v9 – though I personally think that is much less likely to happen.

Either way, INE will be there to update you live. I will be tweeting and live blogging from the 8-hour CCIE Voice seminar one week from today (Sunday, June 10) beginning at 8am PDT (GMT -7). I will also be tweeting anything interesting that we might find out about the CCIE DC track during the Monday morning session.

At a minimum, we will see an update to UC v8.6 servers, at the maximum, v9. While there are a number of new enhancements to v9 such as redacted and redacted (after all it is still in beta and NDA ;-) ), I personally don’t think it will make too much of a difference either way.

Some of the things we know almost certainly that we’ll see updated are new UCM technologies such as:

  • UCM Session Management Edition (SME) – Think of UCM as a hierarchical proxy/gatekeeper over multiple UCM clusters (my guess is one cluster would be pre-configured)
  • Call Control Discovery (CCD) via the Service Advertisement Framework (SAF) – think IGP dynamic routing protocols for DNs
  • Extension Mobility Cross-Cluster (EMCC or some say CCEM) – nuf said
  • SIP Normalization via Lua scripting language – this is cool
  • Geo-Location Filtering – basically restricting VoIP-to-PSTN hop-off in certain areas due to government law
  • LDAP Custom Filters – self explanatory
  • Security! – This is clutch these days, and UCM 8 and above have it in spades (and an absolute necessity for things like EMCC)

Now, some of the things that I’d be willing to wager on, but we certainly can’t be sure of until announced are things such as :

  • TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) (and possibly even VCS Expressway with an ASA)
  • ISR-G2 voice/video gateways with PVDM3 – needed to conference/transcode/transrate/transsize Video
  • 89xx or 99xx series phones – I’d pick the former since they have newer models with built-in cameras – go figure
  • Jabber Client (replacing CUPC)

One that I don’t think can be tested is the Intercompany Media Engine (IME). This in a nutshell is the ability for UCM clusters to securely ‘discover’ other UCM clusters out on the internet (between multiple companies or autonomous organizations) and learn/build secure SIP trunks between them and then auto-route calls between them. This contrasts with Call Control Discovery (CCD) which is used to auto-learn DNs from other UCM clusters, but within a single autonomous organization. CCD only requires 2 UCM clusters with 2 routers to provide the EIGRP-driven Service Advertisement Framework. IME requires 2 UCM clusters, 2 IME servers each with reachability to either GoDaddy or Cisco.com, and 2 ASA’s to build the secure linkage between them. It is for this reason that I highly doubt that IME could/would be tested.

Whatever may be announced – one thing you do not need to do is panic. Yes, these are new things that you would have to learn. Yes that may take some time. However everything you have already been studying is still 100% relevant and necessary to know. Not only that, but you’ll have around 6 months to finish up your studies and pass the exam before this new blueprint would go into effect.

Also, and perhaps much more importantly, INE has you covered. I’ve already been teaching all of these new topics for well over a year now in certain settings. Most of them can be found in my recently released 62 hour CCNP Voice bootcamp. I’ve also recently started a blog series on Call Control Discovery (CCD via SAF). It has 5.5 hours of video teaching you everything you need to know. Also I will begin another blog series on Extension Mobility Cross Cluster (EMCC) directly following the week of Cisco Live.

Follow me and stay updated throughout the conference!

It’s sure to be a great time at Cisco Live even if we don’t see an update. Hope to see you there!

About Mark Snow, CCIE #14073:

Mark Snow has been actively working with data and traditional telephony as a Network Consulting Engineer since 1995, and has been working with Cisco Call Manager and voice-over technology since 1998. Mark has been actively teaching and developing content for the CCIE Voice track since 2005, and the Security track since 2007. Mark's story with both data and voice technology started out quite young, as he began learning around the age of five from his father who was a patented inventor and a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Mark started out on Unix System V and basic analog telephony, and went on from there to large data networking projects with technologies such as Banyan Vines, IPX and of course IP, and large phone systems such as Nortel 61c, Tadiran Coral, Avaya Definity and of course Cisco Unified Communications Manager in both enterprise and 911 PSAP environments across the US and internationally. Mark is also an accomplished pilot and punched his ticket in 2001. When Mark isn't learning, labing, consulting or teaching, he can be found either piloting or possibly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, hanging off a rock somewhere or else skiing out west. He also might just be enjoying a quiet day at the beach with his wife and two wonderful young kids, Ryleigh and Judah.

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6 Responses to “Tweeting and Live Blogging from CCIE Voice Update and CCIE DC at Cisco Live”

  1. [...] Communications security – something I still think will largely be addressed in the next CCIE Voice update. Basically they have a 7900 phone (probably 7965) and you do NOT have to configure the Unified [...]

  2. Chris says:

    Mark, in your title you mention CCIE DC updates, is there plans for a CCIE DC offering? I enjoyed your CCIE Voice material and greatly helped me achieve that, but lately I am eyeing that CCIE DC cert..

    • Hey Chris,

      Thanks very much. We do plan to offer the CCIE DC track later this year. We are excited to hear (and ask) more about it on Monday morning during the 4-hour breakout session at Cisco Live.
      BTW, I’ll be tweeting most everything in near real-time, but I will probably save blog updates for occasional breaks to update in bulk.

  3. Ahmed says:

    WIll be following you on twitter. Let us hope they do not involve lot’s of upgrades in the blue print, as it is already difficult at present to crack it up.


  4. Nicolas Beusen says:

    Hi Mark,

    I’m prerparing my Ccie voice with the INE workbooks and videos. Really goods products…

    Have you grabbed some interesting info during the CCIE Voice seminar for the current track or v4.0 ?

    Do you have heard some info regarding the begining date for the v4.0 track and what will be the blueprint ?

    See you in September in London.


    • Hi Nicolas,

      At this point it looks like it will probably 4-6 months before the next version is announced and 10-12 months before a new version goes live.

      You’re safe with your studies!
      Look forward to seeing you in September!


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