Author Archive

Aug
29

Our CCIE Data Center version 2.0 Rack Rental system is now in beta testing phase.  Click here to submit a request for beta access and I will contact you directly with more details on timing and availability.

Our CCIE DCv2 Rack Rentals consist of the following:

  • Nexus 9300 ACI Spines
  • Nexus 9300 ACI Leafs
  • Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC)
  • Nexus 7000s with F3 line cards
  • Nexus 5600s
  • Nexus 2300 & 2200 10GigE Fabric Extenders
  • UCS C series rack servers
  • UCS B series blade servers
  • UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnects
  • Nexus 1000v virtual switch
  • Dual 10GigE attached hosts for application testing
  • Fibre Channel SAN
  • iSCSI SAN

The visual topology topology diagrams are as follows:

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Jul
14

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 bmcgahan@ine.com

Jul
10

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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May
18

Congratulations to Neil Moore on passing the CCDE Practical Exam this week, and becoming a NONTUPLE (9x) CCIE & CCDE!

Neil was a student in both my CCIE Data Center Bootcamp and CCDE Bootcamp within the past few years, and is truly an inspiration to us all. Neil’s brother Kelly is also a CCIE in Data Center. Neil likes to introduce himself and his brother to people at Cisco Live that they have 9 CCIEs between the two of them! ;) This year Neil gets to bump that up to 10 CCIEs and CCDE between the two of them!

Neil for sure will win the longest badge this year at Cisco Live 2016 Las Vegas!

Neil currently works for VMWare as an NSX Systems Engineer, is a VMware Certified Implementation Expert — Network Virtualization (VCIX-NV), and has plans to pursue the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX).

Congrats Neil!

Apr
15

Edit: The recording of this session is now available here

This coming Tuesday, April 19th 2016, at 09:00 PDT (17:00 UTC) I will be joining the VIRL team for a discussion and demo of using cloud hosted servers, VIRL, and INE material for CCIE preparation, with a focus on large topologies (30+ devices). The Webex signup link is here. The session will also be simulcast on live.ine.com.

Specifically in this session I will be covering:

  • How to deploy VIRL on cloud servers
  • Loading INE topology files into the VIRL cloud instance through GIT
  • Launching and managing multiple large topologies

Attendees will also have an opportunity to submit questions to me as well as the VIRL team.

Hope to see you there!

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Apr
13

Rack Rentals for INE’s CCIE Service Provider v4 topology are now available at rentals.ine.com.

Both CCIE RSv5 Full Scale Labs and CCIE SPv4 now share the same topology in the scheduler, which consists of the following devices:

  • 20 x IOS XE virtual machine instances (R1 – R20)
  • 4 x IOS XRv virtual machine instances (R21 – R24)
  • 4 x Catalyst 3560 physical switches (SW1 – SW4)

IOS XRv instances can be managed through the control panel similar to other devices in the topology, as seen below:

Nov
18

Cisco has just announced CCIE Data Center Written and Lab Exam Content Updates.Important dates for the changes are:

  • Last day to test for the v1.0 written – July 22, 2016
  • First day to test for the v2.0 written – July 25, 2016
  • Last day to test for the v1.0 lab – July 22, 2016
  • First day to test for the v2.0 lab – July 25, 2016

Key hardware changes in the v2.0 blueprint are:

  • APIC Cluster
  • Nexus 9300
  • Nexus 7000 w/ F3 Module
  • Nexus 5600
  • Nexus 2300 Fabric Extender
  • UCS 4300 M-Series Servers

Key technical topic changes in the v2.0 blueprint are:

  • VXLAN
  • EVPN
  • LISP
  • Policy Driven Fabric (ACI)

More details to come!

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Jul
01

As we reported last April, Cisco changed the CCIE Lab Exam retake policy to an exponential backoff, meaning that the more attempts you took at the lab the more time you had to wait between attempts.

In a sudden change of heart, today Cisco announced that they are reversing their policy change until at least December 31st 2015. Per Cisco:

“For a limited time, we will waive the current lab retake policy so that all lab candidates will be able to retest for their lab exam with only a 30-day wait period.” “If you register for any CCIE lab exam between now and December 31, 2015, you will have the option of retaking the exam with only a 30-day wait regardless of the number of attempts you may have already made.”

Frequently Asked Questions about the policy changes:

Q: Does this mean that between now and December 31, I can take the lab every 30 days?
A: Yes.

Q: Is the original policy back in place after December 31?
A: What happens after December 31 is dependent on the results of our research from now until that date.

Q: What does this mean if my current wait period is 90 days and I’m in the middle of the waiting period? Can I sign up now or do I have to continue to wait?
A: Yes, you can sign up now. You do not have to wait. The policy that is active at the time you schedule your lab will determine the time you have to wait. If you are beyond the 30-day wait period, you can book the earliest available seat you find.

Q: What if I’m already scheduled for a lab that I had to schedule out 90 days because of the original policy?
A: You will have the option to reschedule your lab attempt to an earlier date through the system.

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Jul
01

INE’s CCIE Service Provider v4 Advanced Technologies Class continues today at 08:00 PDT (15:00 UTC) with Inter-AS MPLS L3VPN. All Access Pass subscribers can attend at http://live.INE.com. Recordings of some of the previous class sessions up to this point are now available via AAP library here.

Additionally, INE’s CCIE SPv4 Workbook is now available in beta format here.

Hope to see you in class!

Jun
30

INE CCIE RSv5 Lab Cram Session is now available for viewing in our All Access Pass Library. This course includes over 35 hours of new content for CCIE Routing & Switching Version 5, including both technology review sessions as well as a step-by-step walkthrough of two new CCIE RSv5 Mock Lab Exams. These new Mock Labs are available here as part of INE’s CCIE RSv5 Workbook.

This class is designed as a last minute review of technologies and strategy before taking the actual CCIE RSv5 Lab Exam. Each of the two Mock Labs covered in class are subdivided into three sections – just like the actual exam – Troubleshooting, Diagnostics, and Configuration.

Rack rentals are available for these mock labs here. Technical discussion of the labs is through our Online Community, IEOC.

Happy Labbing!

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