Archive for July, 2012


Edit: R&S Rack Rental Sessions have been dropped from 15 tokens per session to 10 tokens per session for the month of August.  Starting September 1st R&S Sessions will cost 15 tokens per session.

Over the past few months we have been working hard to overhaul our rack scheduling system. Initially we released a new rack system for our the CCIE Service Provider racks which covered the latest version 3.0 blueprint.  The feedback for this system was very positive.  Racks are set at a fixed price, and the session length was dropped from 6 hours down to 3 hours, each with a 30 minute tear-down at the end of the session.  Doing this allowed us to provide more spots for those looking to get their hands on the new GSR equipment.

With the positive feedback we received from the Service Provider rack rentals, we decided to implement this new schedule across all of our rack rentals.  This includes: Routing & Switching, Security, and Voice. Now these rack sessions are all rented for 3 hour session blocks and at a fixed cost per rack rental.  The benefit of this is to allow more sessions for the customers to choose from to help mitigate unused time on the racks, and to allow for better token estimations when planning your studies.

So what’s new:

  • Loading previously saved configs, or workbook configs can now be done 45 minutes prior to the start of the session.  This allows you to specify the configuration to be loaded onto your rack before the start of your session.  Previously, you had to do this yourself at the beginning of your session, which reduces your usable time by about 30 minutes. (Currently supported on R&S and Service Provider rack rentals)
  • Rack control panel for power cycling, and clearing lines are now supported on all rack rentals.  For Security and Voice rack rentals you can also control attached servers.
  • Rack control panel for loading and saving configs are currently available for Routing & Switching and Service Provider.
  • Sessions can be scheduled out up to two months in advance with a single one-click interface.
  • Sessions scheduled back-to-back and at the same time will be grouped and you will be placed on the same device.  Previously, back-to-back sessions might fall on different devices.
  • Back-to-back sessions booked at the same time will not undergo a rack tear-down, giving you 30 minutes of extra time on the racks without any additional cost. When booking multiple back-to-back sessions the duration would be: 2 session – 5.5 hours, 3 sessions 8.5 hours, etc.
  • Rack rental prices are no longer dynamic.  Prices are fixed across all sessions.  This makes for a much more predictable and stable token cost assessment for your studies.  You now know exactly how many tokens are needed for a specific amount of rack time.
  • Rack rentals may not be booked later than 45 minutes before session start.  This is to give the automation time to prepare the system and your rack for your session.
  • Scheduling and un-scheduling sessions are now done through the same interface.
  • In order to provide users the ability to maintain their current rack through multiple booked sessions, rack allocation is now dynamic.  Racks allocations are made 30 minutes prior to the start of the session.
  • Reminder emails about sessions are now sent out prior to your session.  These emails contain your rack assignment.
  • Booking CCIE R&S mock labs now require clicking 4 consecutive blocks in the schedule.
The prices for these sessions are now based on the previous rack rental schedule’s rolling average.  The initial price per session may changed depending on utilization, availability, and overall demand.  However, the current prices are very competitive.  Based on current token prices, the typical cost per hour on our R&S racks is now $3.00 per hour, whereas our competitors charge around $3.22 per hour.  Also, your rack rental sessions come with 24/hour hardware support and are supported by the best CCIE workbooks in the industry.
In development:
  • Loading and saving configs on Voice rack rentals
  • Single click mock lab scheduling
  • R&S user loaded configs

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INE is proud to be able to bring you news that 2 CCIE Data Center seats will be tested per month in the Cisco RTP testing facility, with this number expected to increase to at least 1 per week (possibly 2 seats per week) very shortly based on demand. This is in addition to the CCIE DC seats that will already be available in San Jose, CA and Brussels, Belgium when the lab debuts in October. Also, another Security testing seat has been added to RTP, and many Saturday Security dates have been added as well in RTP, giving the RTP site many available Security seats open ahead of the pending blueprint update.

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This weekend Mark Snow and I delivered a vSeminar on CCIE Data Center, and INE’s plans for our CCIE DC training product lines. The vSeminar, which is broken down into two sections of about an hour apiece, is now available in its recorded form below for those of you that weren’t able to join us live this weekend.

The first portion of the vSeminar deals with the hardware and software blueprint for the upcoming CCIE DC Written Exam and CCIE DC Lab Exam. Specifically this includes the following:

  • Nexus 7009 v6.0(2) w/ SUP1, 10GE F1, 10GE M1
  • Nexus 5548 v5.1(3)
  • Nexus 2232
  • Nexus 1000v v4.2(1)
  • UCS 5108 Blade Chassis
    • B200 M2 Blade Servers
    • 6248UP Fabric Interconnects v2.0(1x)
    • 6204 FEX
  • UCS C200 Series Server
  • Application Control Engine (ACE) 4710 vA5(1.0)
  • MDS 9222i v5.2(2)
  • JBODs
  • Cisco Data Center Manager software v5.2(2)
  • 2511 Router & Catalyst 3750 for mgmt access

The next section deals with the technical topics that are within the scope of the exam, and goes through a high level design overview of the hardware platforms and where their software features fit into the modern Data Center design. Specifically we have subdivided the topics into three main topic domains, which are:

  • Nexus Switching
  • Storage
  • Computing

Beyond this we talk more about our plans for delivery methods for CCIE Data Center training, the expected release schedule, and additional training domains moving forward.  Specifically the four main delivery methods we will be offering are:

  • Online & Live Onsite Classes
  • Streaming & Downloadable Videos
    • DRM free & cross platform support
  • Self-Paced Labs
  • Rack Rentals
The first of these products that we will be releasing are the Live Online Classes.  You can sign up for these classes here, which will give you access to attend the classes live, and also to the recorded versions of the classes which will be available about a week after each class’s completion.  These classes and dates are:

More details about other products such as the primer, deep dive, & troubleshooting video series, self-paced labs, rack rentals, and live onsite classes will be available within the next coming days and weeks and will be posted here on our blog.

Let us know what questions you have going forward with CCIE Data Center training, and Data Center focused training in general, as we are as excited about this brand new track addition as you are!

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We are very proud to announce the industry’s very first CCIE Data Center lab-focused bootcamps. We will teach our initial bootcamps based on a three-pronged approach, Nexus, Storage and Unified Computing (which will include smaller topics such as HA and SLB with ACE and N1Kv). Each bootcamp has a introductory price of $499 and all three can be purchased for $1299.

We have recently purchased the hardware needed to teach bootcamps along with starting to build out Data Center racks for rental. Our hardware specification is based on the three focal points list above, including two Nexus 7010 switches with F1 and M1 blades, two Nexus 5548UP switches, Nexus 2232 10GE FEXs, multiple MDS SAN Switches, ACE, and various storage arrays along with the UCS 5108 blade chassis, fabric interconnects and servers. Additionally we will be launching our CCIE Storage product line after Brian McGahan completes the CCIE Storage Lab exam. We currently have a two full storage racks already built out and Brian McGahan is scheduling the CCIE Storage lab within the next 60 to 90 days.

You can read more about our specific outlines for the CCIE Data Center bootcamps and sign up here.

We will also be hosting a CCIE Data Center and CCIE Storage Online vSeminar on July 22nd, 2012 at 10am PDT (-7 GMT). We will be going over our strategy for the CCIE Data Center and CCIE Storage product lines (bootcamps, workbooks, rack rentals, etc). This will be a great time to ask any specific questions you may have about our offerings so be sure to sign up. Signup Today

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I will be holding a CCDE Open Study Session in San Jose, CA starting Monday July 30th and wrapping up Thursday August 2nd. The CCDE Practical Exam in San Jose is the following day August 3rd. This session is becoming held the Tech Mart Meeting Center in Santa Clara which is just down the street from Cisco’s main campus and the Pearson Vue Testing center.

There is no cost to attend the session. Drinks, snacks, lunch, and internet will be provided free of charge. We will work through scenarios written by myself and Petr Lapukhov (CCDE 2010::7) for the four days leading up to the CCDE Practical Exam.

If you would like to attend please send an email to Jeremy Brown (INE’s Class Coordinator) at to reserve a seat.

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