Archive for July, 2016


Now that Cisco Live US 2016 is winding down, we’re going full steam ahead with our CCIE Data Center version 2.0 Blueprint updates.  For those of you that haven’t seen it, my live blog of the CCIE DCv2 Techtorial @ Cisco Live US 2016 can help to answer some additional questions about the exam content and format changes.

Some important upcoming dates in the short term are:

For those of you that have already spent time working on the DCv1 blueprint and are transitioning to DCv2, I would highly recommend to check out the online class the week of August 1st.  I’ll mainly be focusing on the technologies that changed in the blueprint, such as Nexus 9k, ACI, BGP EVPN signaled VxLAN, etc.

Additionally, our new class and rack rental topology has been finalized.  Some of the key topology changes are as follows:

  • Nexus 9K 9336PQ ACI Spines
  • Nexus 9K 9372PX-E ACI Leafs
  • APIC-M2 ACI Controllers
  • Nexus 7K supervisors ugraded to SUP 2E’s
  • Nexus 7K linecards upgraded to F348XP-25′s
  • Nexus 5K’s upgraded to 5672UP’s
  • Nexus 2K’s upgraded to 2348UPQ’s

Visual topology diagrams for these changes can be seen below. Click the images for high-res versions.

Rack rentals are currently in beta until further notice. The scheduler shows all sessions booked, but I am taking beta testing requests directly if you email me at


This morning I’m in Las Vegas for Cisco Live 2016, and am attending TECCCIE-3644 – CCIE DC Techtorial which focuses on the new CCIE Data Center v2 updates.

I’m live blogging the session so please feel free to submit your questions for the CCIE team as a comment here and I’ll try to get an answer for you.

Slides from the session are available here.

Final Update - UCS M4308 is no longer part of the topology (device is End of Sale). The official blueprint has been updated to include the following software packages and versions:

  • UCS Software Release 3.x Fabric Interconnect
  • Cisco Data Center Manager Software v7.x
  • Application Policy Infrastructure Controller 1.x
  • UCS Central 1.x
  • Cisco Integrated Management Controller 2.x
  • UCS Director 5.x
  • ASAv 9.x

Update 8 – 14:08PDT - Access to ESXi, VCenter, and CIMC will be allowed in v2 lab exam for troubleshooting tasks such as Nexus 1000v.

Update 7 – 14:03PDT - UCS Central will be tested on in the lab.

Update 6 – 13:55PDT - UCS will be running 3.x, not 2.x as currently listed on the blueprint.

Update 5 – 11:30PDT - Starting Storage Networking now. Interested to see what the scope is going to be now with the MDSes removed and the N9K’s added.

Update 4 – 09:15PDT - One major format change for the CCIE DCv2 Lab Exam is the introduction of the Diagnostics section, similar to other tracks such as RSv5. Here are some highlights and demo questions illustrating the format of the Diag section.

  • Diag section consists of one or more independent Tasks.
  • Each Task can have one or more Questions.
  • Questions are typically 1 point apiece, but could be 2 or 3 points.
  • Each Question within a task is graded individually. It is possible to get Task 1 Question 1 wrong but still get Task 1 Question 2 correct.
  • The goal is to reach the minimum cut score, but the cut score is not published and changes between specific exam deliveries.
  • Questions have deterministic answers. There is typically only one correct answer, but it’s possible that two answers are correct (e.g. multiple choice multiple answer). You must sort through all the information and find what is relevant and what is irrelevant.
  • You CAN go back and forth between tasks and questions in diagnostics section, and you CAN change your answers.
  • All information is needed is provided at once for each task. This is not the same as the CCDE engine where you get additional information as you go on

The exam starts with a intro screen with basic instructions. Once you click Begin Lab the 60 minute timer starts counting down. If you finish early, you cannot currently add extra time to the Configuration section.

An example Task for vPC, with an example Question. “Identify which command on which device provides the most important information about the root cause of this issue?”

An example answer, “Device SW13 Command line show feature | i vpc”. This demonstrates that the question and answer are deterministic, as only one possible answer is allowed for this task. Similar for Question 2 of this task, which uses a radio button for a multiple choice single answer.

An example “Hot Spot” type question. Task 2 asks “Considering all information provided point and click on the location in the topology that is responsible for causing the reported symptoms”. Answering this question assumes that you have sorted through the relevant problem description and relevant CLI outputs from the various devices.

Update 3 – 08:57PDT - Timing of the Diagnostics and Configuration/Troubleshooting section are different from the R&S exam. Diagnostics is fixed at 60 minutes, and Config/TS is fixed at 7 hours. If you finish Diag early, you cannot add this additional time to Config/TS.

Update 2 – 08:30PDT - Grading is done manually by the proctors. Automated tools are used to gather information, but ultimately the pass/fail decision is up to the proctor. Tasks can have multiple solutions, and grading does check for this. Just because your solution works doesn’t mean it’s right. You have to meet the requirements of the question!

Update 1 – 08:29PDT - Don’t change the device passwords otherwise they can’t grade the exam.  Hopefully this is self explanatory :)

Me with CCIE DC #1 – Robert Burns

I actually came straight from our Data Center in Reno NV installing our new CCIE DCv2 equipment.

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