As any CCIE candidate knows, there is no escape from the hours and hours of reading that comes along with preparing for the written exam and the lab exam.  The new CCIE Data Center certification is no exception. There is a lot of prerequisite reading that should be done before sitting down at the keyboard and pounding away at the CLI, and we have compiled a manageable list that we are recommending candidates to go through before attending our upcoming CCIE Data Center Live Online Bootcamps.

This list, like our bootcamps, is broken down into three topic domains: Nexus Switching, Storage, and Unified Computing. All of the books listed below are available on Safari Online for those of you that want to save a few trees.  The vast major of the list however is comprised of Cisco documentation.  Since these technologies are so new – say compared to OSPF – there are not as many traditional books available.  What I would recommend for people going through this track is to start with the first book listed in each category (or in the case of Storage, the first two) and use these as an overview of the technologies that are within that topic domain.  Once you have a basic understanding of what’s involved, then go through the configuration guides in detail to see the specific technology details, platform caveats (there are a lot, you’ll see ;) ), syntax examples, etc.  This list may expand in the future but for right now it’s a really good starting point for anyone that is going to be pursuing CCIE DC, or just wants to learn these technologies in general.

About Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13:

Brian McGahan was one of the youngest engineers in the world to obtain the CCIE, having achieved his first CCIE in Routing & Switching at the age of 20 in 2002. Brian has been teaching and developing CCIE training courses for over 10 years, and has assisted thousands of engineers in obtaining their CCIE certification. When not teaching or developing new products Brian consults with large ISPs and enterprise customers in the midwest region of the United States.

Find all posts by Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13 | Visit Website

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23 Responses to “CCIE Data Center Recommended Reading List”

  1. Ashraf Esmat says:

    Regarding ACE is it a service module or Appliance, as the link is pointed to Service engine doc.

  2. Ashraf Esmat 3xCCIE #19158 says:

    We are learning from you Brian :) , Looking forward to attened the class online.

    • The first two I haven’t read, the third and fourth I have. The third book is part of the documentation set. It’s actually just a printout of these PDFs: The fourth one is very technically in depth, to the level of the FC specifications. I read it end-to-end but it’s not really the type of book that you would normally do that with.

  3. Deepak Arora says:

    Hey Brian,

    IBM is actually giving “Introduction To Storage Area Networks” in free @

    Can you please verify if this is most recent Edition

  4. Cameron Hughes says:

    Hey guys,

    -Just wondering why you didn’t include the Cisco Press Data Center Fundamentals book?

    -Just was wondering why that book isn’t included?. Outdated? Or most ppl going for this cert has the knowledge base that this book has to offer?

    -I’m not studying for the IE DC but would like to gain as much knowledge as I can for the start of my career.



  5. Cameron Hughes says:

    Hey guys,

    -Just was wondering why the cisco press data center fundamentals book wasn’t included in this list? Outdated? Or is it that most people in the field already have this knowledge?



    • That book is more of an overview of what Data Centers are, not the specifics of their implementation. Also it’s publication date is 2003, so yes within the scope of today’s DCs it’s outdated. The book was written before Nexus and UCS came out.

  6. Hassan says:

    Is there any near future plans for the IE DC rack rentals ?

  7. Roberto says:

    Which are the release software for cisco NX7K – ACE – NXS5K – UCS for studying ?
    On the cisco site there are numerous release, i am disoriented

    Thank you very much

    • • NXOS v6.0(2) on Nexus 7000 Switches
      • NXOS v5.1(3) on Nexus 5000 Switches
      • NXOS v4.2(1) on Nexus 1000v
      • NXOS v5.2(2) on MDS 9222i Switches
      • UCS Software release 2.0(1x) for UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnect
      • Software Release A5(1.0) for ACE 4710
      • Cisco Data Center Manager software v5.2(2)

  8. IT Matters says:

    INE has something like written bootcamp for DC as other vendors offering?

    • Passing the written exam comes as a byproduct of preparing for the lab exam. Start with the recommended readings that are listed, and then go through the Nexus, Storage, and UCS class videos and you will be more than over-prepared for the written exam.

  9. Wayne Ward says:

    How long do you figure for preparation for the lab? R&S was roughly 12 – 18 months, how long for DC?

  10. Salman Naqvi says:

    Hey Brian and Mark,

    I attended the classes, and I must say, they were top-notch! Both of you are excellent instructors.

    Question: The reading list is VERY long. Are you sure some of the items can’t be omitted, and still be able to pass the written exam? I imagine by the time I get to the lab, I would have gone through all of them, but, I want to try to do the written sooner – possibly with a shorter reading list :p


    • Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it) – none of this can be omitted. This exam is by far the largest scope that I think I have seen so far. That may not be an entirely accurate assessment, but it truly is a very large scope, and they do test you on all of it in the written exam.

  11. Salman Naqvi says:

    BTW, Deepak’s comment above went un-acknowledged, but, it looks totally legitimate. In fact, it’s the same book, but actually a newer version available for free!

    (if you haven’t read the above comments, “Introduction to Storage Area Networks” is available for FREE at the above link)

  12. Vikrama Ditya says:

    Hi All,

    It is really great reading your blogs and view over DC. I really appriciate your efforts with respect to the technologies.

    I am getting ex poser on Nexus and few on UCS and planning to appear for DC Written.

    I am into pre-sale for DC designing specially for UCS and Nexus.

    I hope will get assistance from you people to achieve my CCIE DC Written & LAB

    Thanks for the information



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