Cisco has announced their plans to transition the CCIE Service Provider certification blueprint from Version 3.0 to Version 4.0 starting May 22nd, 2015. The official announcement for the Written and Lab Exam Content Updates can be found here.
There are four key points to this announcement, which are:
- Lab Exam format changes
- Hardware & software version changes
- New technical topics added
- Old technical topics removed
CCIE SPv4 Lab Exam Format Changes
The Lab Exam format of SPv4 has been updated to follow the same format as the new CCIE Routing & Switching Version 5.0. This means the exam now consists of three sections: Troubleshooting, Diagnostic, and Configuration.
CCIE SPv4 Hardware & Software Version Changes
Following along with the current CCIE RSv5, CCIE SPv4 now uses all virtual hardware as well. Specifically the new hardware and software variants are as follows:
- ASR 9000 running Cisco IOS XR 5.2
- ASR 1000 running Cisco IOS XE 3.13S.15.4(3)S
- Cisco 7600 running Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S
- Cisco ME 3600 running Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S
Both the IOS XR and IOS XE variants are already available as virtual machines that you can download from cisco.com and deploy yourself on VMWare ESXi 5.5 and other similar hypervisors. The current IOS XRv release is 5.2.0, and CSR1000v (IOS XE) is 3.13S/15.4(3)S. As for the 7600 and ME 3600 images, I would assume these will run as L2 IOU/IOL images, however I haven’t personally seen either of these complies yet. The key functionality of them will be based around L2VPN for Ethernet, such as EVC and VPLS, which is not covered in depth in the current SPv3 blueprint.
CCIE SPv4 New Technical Topics Added
With the new IOS XR, IOS XE, and Catalyst IOS code versions used, the following is some of the key new features that have been added to the SPv4 Blueprint:
- Ethernet VPN (EVPN)
- Provider Backbone Bridging EVPN (PBB-EVPN)
- Multicast Label Distribution Protocol (mLDP)
- Unified MPLS (Seamless MPLS)
- Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP)
- mGRE VPN
- IPv6 NAT44/NAT64/6RD
- MPLS OAM & Ethernet OAM
CCIE SPv4 Old Technical Topics Removed
Frame Relay and ATM, the old holdouts for years, have finally been removed from the CCIE Service Provider Blueprint. This was expected, as most L2VPN services now focus on Ethernet last mile (EVC, VPLS, L3VPN over Ethernet) vs. legacy Frame Relay and ATM.
More information about our plans for content updates will be available as we get closer to the official release date of the new blueprint. In the meantime for those of you that want to get in before the Blueprint change I would recommend to book a lab date as soon as possible, and start reviewing our CCIE Service Provider v3 Advanced Technologies Class and CCIE Service Provider v3 Workbook.