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.
- It will happen one week from today at Cisco Live during the paid 8-hour CCIE Voice seminar
- 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!