Posts Tagged ‘VCS’

Aug
07

Having passed the CCIE Voice 10 years ago, and having taught on the technologies surrounding both Voice and Collaboration ever since, one might think that the exam would be easy to pass. I can assure you that no matter how much you know, no CCIE exam is easy to pass. Cisco doesn’t allow them to be. Every CCIE track requires hard work and preparation, even if it may, at first glance, seem somewhat of a repeat of things you already know. You may ask since I had the CCIE Voice already, why I didn’t simply take the Collaboration Written exam and convert my cert to a CCIE Collaboration? The answer I think is pretty straightforward – it’s the challenge!! Seeing if you still have it 10 years later. Seeing if what you’ve been teaching your students for 10 years is still up to par and still relevant. To take you back to when I passed CCIE Voice ten years ago, the track was literally brand new that year, and Cisco was testing on CallManager version 3.3, SIP wasn’t anywhere to be found, and creating a hunt group meant tweaking Attendant Console to make it do things it shouldn’t ever be expected to do (like work). I’m quite happy to find that I may still have ‘it’ and that my content is right on par and not only relevant on all accounts, but as always goes well above and beyond the minimum of what you need to know to pass the exam, and takes you into the deep inner-workings of the technologies and answers the all of the “why” questions. Bear in mind that we never create content with the singular goal of simply getting you “past” the lab exam (the people that can only barely pass the lab can’t make it past a technical interview in the real world), but rather our focus is making you a true expert whereby, as a byproduct, you do pass the lab exam and quite handily at that. Over the past 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of helping over 1,500 people do just this, and it’s been so enriching in my life to see their professional and personal lives bettered for it. So what took me so long to getting around to sitting for this new exam? Simply put – my schedule. As some of you may know, I’ve been teaching a lot of 2-week CCIE Data Center courses and 2-week CCIE Collaboration courses, as well as working on building all of the Collaboration racks and self-paced learning content, and quite frankly just hadn’t found time in my schedule to get around to preparing to sit for and take the actual new lab exam until just a few weeks ago. So onto more of what you need to know and what it takes to be ready.

CCIE Numero Quatro

It’s quite possible that I may be one of the only people besides Frog that possesses 3 or more CCIE’s, where one of them is not Routing and Switching.

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Jun
03

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!

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