Feb
04

Troubleshooting Lab 3 and Full Scale Lab 3 have now been added to the CCIE RSv5 Workbook!

The new Troubleshooting Lab 3 uses the Full Scale Lab 1 logical topology, but breaks all of the protocols you’ve previously built. I suggest you take your time with each ticket so that you can fully digest why each fault occurs. Practice your time and knowledge skills by taking the Troubleshooting Lab 3 challenge!

Full Scale Lab 3 is built on a brand new logical topology, and has a strong focus in MPLS and BGP technologies. The solution guide features detailed breakdowns of each topic domain to give you a better understanding of the solutions used to solve each task. Keep in mind that there are multiple ways to solve most problems.

For discussion on these new labs visit our online community, IEOC.

Enjoy!

Dec
16

Foundation Lab 2 has now been added to the CCIE RSv5 Workbook.  This lab is great for working on your configuration speed and accuracy when combining multiple technologies together.  It also has a great redistribution section that I hope you'll all enjoy ;)  More Full Scale, Troubleshooting, and Foundation labs are in progress and will be posted soon.  I'll post another update about them when they are available.

In addition to this we've added some feature enhancements to the workbook in response to customer requests and feedback.  First, there is a new Table of Contents for the workbook that allows you to view all tasks, and to check off tasks that you've already completed.  This will help you track your progress as you're going through the workbook.

You can additionally check off the progress of a task in the upper right hand portion of the individual lab page.

Multiple bookmarks are now supported, and will be added to a section under the Table of Contents.  When you open the workbook it will now also prompt you to load your latest bookmark.

Lastly, configuration solutions are now hidden by default when you open a lab.  This will help prevent "spoilers" in the config before you've had a chance to attempt the lab.  To see the solution configs, click the Expand button as seen below.

If you want to hide the configuration solution again you can click to collapse.

We're always looking for additional ways to improve our products, so if you have any suggestions you can submit feedback through the workbook labs themselves, post on our Online Community, or feel free to send me an email directly at bmcgahan@ine.com.

Happy labbing!

Oct
22

Rack Rentals for INE's CCIE RSv5 Workbook's Troubleshooting Labs and Full Scale Labs are now available via the Members Site. To access them login to http://members.ine.com, click "Rack Rentals" on the dashboard on the left, and then click "Schedule" under "CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Full Scale."

This topology uses 20 routers and 4 switches and is for both Troubleshooting and Full Scale Labs. The topology above it, "CCIE Routing & Switching v5", uses 10 routers and 4 switches, and supports all the Advanced Technology Labs and Foundation Labs.

The loading and saving of initial configs is supported through the Rack Control Panel, which can greatly save you time in your studies, especially with very large topologies such as those used in the Troubleshooting and Full Scale Labs.

Additionally, Full Scale Lab 2 and Troubleshooting Lab 2 have been posted to the CCIE RSv5 Workbook. More Foundation, Troubleshooting, and Full Scale Labs are currently in development and will be posted soon. For discussion on these new labs please visit the CCIE RSv5 Workbook section of IEOC, our online community.

May
23

The first of the new "Foundation Labs" in our CCIE RSv5 Workbook series is now available on the members site, as seen below:

These Foundation Labs are designed to refine your configuration skills on the core technologies used in the CCIE lab exam. Each lab guides you through the critical steps necessary for building and verifying a working networking topology. The labs are designed to increase your speed and refine your task-management skills, capacities that are crucial when working in a timed full-scale lab environment.

Currently Lab 1 is still in Beta, as there are some other topics I'm going to add to it. I figured I'd post it now anyways, just in case you have the day off today because of the long Memorial Day weekend, and you wanted to get a head start on some new material. The rest of the lab tasks will be posted shortly.

Also don't forget that tomorrow is the kickoff for the new CCIE Routing & Switching Advanced Technologies Class v5. AAP members can attend for free. It's not too late to sign up for an AAP or buy the standalone download of the RSv5 ATC, both of which will get you access to the live class tomorrow. Class starts at 8am PDT and will run just a few hours, as mainly I'm going to be talking about what the overall scope of the new class will be, and other key changes with new technologies, the new topology, etc.

Everyone is welcome to attend the class tomorrow even if you don't have an AAP, so if you have any questions that you'd like answered in real-time then I would highly recommend attending.

Hope to see you there!

May
07

INE’s CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Workbook is now available in initial beta release. The RSv5 Workbook combines our previous four volume format into a single product, offering Advanced Technology Labs to learn new technologies in a step-by-step approach, Advanced Foundation Labs to increase your speed and accuracy at core configuration tasks, Advanced Troubleshooting Labs to help you master a structured troubleshooting approach, and Full-Scale Practice Labs to simulate the CCIE Routing & Switching Lab Exam.

The RSv5 Workbook is delivered in an online format that allows you to instantly access the content in both HTML and PDF format. The format also includes advanced features such as bookmarking and notations that can be added and accessed from your PC, Mac, iOS, or Android device, and has no restrictions on access, printing, or time limits. A sample of the online format can be seen here. The RSv5 workbook uses an updated topology which includes IOS version 15.4 and Catalyst IOS version 15.0. Rack rentals are available for the v5 workbook here.  I would recommend to start booking your sessions now for v5, as they are currently 1/2 priced during the workbook beta, only 3 tokens per hour.

Right now about 200 new and updated Advanced Technology Labs are available in the beta release. During the beta period, updates will be continue to be posted on a daily basis, so keep an eye on the release notes section of the workbook for new updates. During the beta period new customers who purchase the RSv5 workbook will additionally get access to the RSv4 Workbook Volumes 1 - 4. Upgrades for previous RSv4 Volume I & Volume II Workbook customers are free, and should already be posted to your members account.

Additionally we now have a hard timeline for the CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Advanced Technologies Class. The RSv5 ATC will run as a live online class over the course of about 3 – 4 weeks, starting immediately after Cisco Live. All Access Pass members can attend the live class for free, and will have access to the recordings in streaming format afterwards. If you purchase the current v4 ATC download, you will also be able to attend the new v5 class live, and get access to the videos in both streaming format and download format afterwards. Special bundle pricing is available which includes the RSv4 & RSv5 Workbooks, RSv4 & RSv5 ATC, and Rack Rental Tokens.

Specifically the RSv5 Advanced Technologies Class has the currently planned initial schedule:

  • Saturday May 24th at 09:00 Pacific - RSv5 ATC Kickoff
  • May 27th - 30th 08:00 Pacific
  • June 16th - 20th 08:00 Pacific
  • June 23rd - 27th 08:00 Pacific

The first class session on May 24th is free for anyone to attend. In this session I will be covering introductory and overview topics such as key changes to RSv5 vs. RSv4, scope and depth of topics that will be covered, initial preparation strategy, initial preparation resources, etc. Initially I'm budgeting 3 weeks for the class, but it may run more or less depending on how the flow of topics go, as the scope is seriously immense – more so than ever before. Also note that if you have an AAP membership or you buy the class you don’t have to attend all sessions. Feel free to drop in and out as you like, but remember that when you attend the class sessions live you will be able to ask me questions in real-time, which you obviously don’t get when you’re watching the videos in recorded format afterwards.

I look forward to seeing you all in class!

Mar
24

Update: The CCIE Data Center Technology Lab Workbook is now available here

After a long and highly anticipated wait, INE’s CCIE Data Center Workbook and Rack Rentals are (almost ;) ) finally here! This post covers three items of business, the state of the DC Workbook & Rack Rentals release, and the Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp that I am running online next week.  This post ran a little longer than I had initially anticipated, so below are some quick links to the particular sections that you may be interested in:

Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp
DC Workbook Delivery
DC Rack Rental Topology
DC Workbook and Rack Rental Pricing

Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp

Like I said, next week I’m running an online version of our Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp.  Attendance for this class is split into two groups, those who formally registered, and AAP members. For those who formally registered for class you already know who you are, and you will be getting equipment access as this class is mostly a hands-on one. All other AAP members are more than welcome to attend the lecture portion of class, which will include me showing hands-on examples, explaining the technologies, and taking questions. Class starts tomorrow morning at 07:00 PDT (GMT -7). The link to attend can be found in your members account under the All Access Pass section, as seen below:

Data Center Workbook Delivery

Now onto the real order of business, the DC Workbook and Rack Rentals! Those of you that have been following our DC products know that we’re a little behind schedule for the release of both the workbook and the rack rentals, and I wanted to address here specifically the reasons why. Since Data Center is a completely brand new product line for INE, it has given us carte blanche to build it differently from the get-go, taking into account a lot of feedback that we’ve gotten from customers over the years on how INE’s content is produced and delivered for other tracks. This August will mark the 10-year anniversary since Brian Dennis and I started INE, and we’ve learned a lot over the years as to what works and doesn’t work in respect to building product lines.

The first big change for the DC product line is that the workbook will be delivered exclusively as online content. In the past our workbooks were formatted primarily for print, with online delivery secondary. With DC and with our other workbook products going forward, we’re going to be focusing on an online delivery primarily, with print still available at your own discretion, but not the main focus. To accomplish this we’ve internally developed a new content management and delivery system, which is part of the reason for a delay in our release. As they say in project management you have the options to have it cheap, fast, and good, but you only get to pick two out of the three. Actually in this case I think we only got to pick one out of three because it’s been neither cheap nor fast ;) Without boring you will all the specifics of the new system, here are the important highlights about it:

  • Content is still DRM-free

For me personally this is a big one, because I really really despise all forms of DRM. DRM only hurts paying customers, and at the end of the day doesn’t stop someone from stealing your content if they really want to. A lot of INE’s competitors still use DRM, and I’m whole-heartedly against it. Companies that use DRM do so because they care more about their bottom line than about their end customer’s experience, plain and simple. Case and point is EA’s recent debacle with the release of their new SimCity game. Because of DRM, SimCity is on track to be the worst rated product in Amazon’s history.  If you are like me and don’t want DRM-based products then vote with your dollars and don’t buy from companies that use it. Okay now I’ll get down off of my DRM soapbox ;)

  • Print is still available

For the first time in a long time, I recently bought a hardcopy book. This particular book was on VMware, I got about one chapter in, and then found myself reading the same book on my iPad through Safari Online the next day.  That poor book is still sitting in the same place that I set it down a few months ago, but I digress. Maybe you work for the LaserJet business unit at HP, or at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, or maybe you just really hate trees, who knows? Regardless, if you want to print out the content you’re more than welcome to. This means you can also print to PDF to take the documents offline.

  • Content is now searchable and bookmark-able

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Bookmark a place in the content so you know where you left-off next time. Search will become increasingly more relevant for the delivery system once we begin to port our other content into it, such as the CCIE R&S Lab Workbook Volume 1, which has over 500 pages just in the QoS section alone!

  • Making updates and maintaining errata are now much easier for us

With the sheer volume of content that we currently manage, making even the most minor updates becomes a very large project for us. The new system fixes this on our end so we can make updates on the fly which everyone immediately has access to, which also eliminates the need to maintain errata.  This also means we can more quickly respond to feedback and bug reports, which leads us into the next point…

  • Simplified feedback submission and bug reporting

While most errors in our content are minor, it can be very frustrating for candidates when I wrote “R1” but I really meant “R2”. Technical accuracy of our content is key, and if you find a problem we want to know about it so it can be fixed. With the new system you’ll be able to submit feedback directly on the page where the content lives, which means that on our end it will make the tracking and fixing of problems must faster and efficient.  We also have more staff dedicated to technical editing and quality assurance of content, so this process will continue to improve from now on.

  • More community interaction

Discussion of a particular lab/task will be more tightly integrated with the content itself. This way you can see other peoples questions, comments, etc. that relate to what you are currently working on at the time.

The system of course will continue to grow and improve over time. As it stands the content for the DC workbook is essentially done, the backend for the content management and delivery system is done, but we’re still finishing up tweaking the front-end of it. The system will be going into beta sometime this week, and with your feedback we hope to go to full public launch shortly afterwards. Below you can see some preliminary screen shots of the front end of the system:

 

Data Center Rack Rental Topology

Last, but definitely not least, is the Data Center Rack Rentals.  After all, without equipment to actually do the labs on the content is useless, right?

The equipment build for DC has actually been the most complicated of my career, as our main goal has been to provide a mix of feature availability and affordability to you, our end users.  I thought that our CCIE SPv3 build was complicated, where when everything was said and done a rack costs us about $15,000 - $20,000 to build give or take, which includes two IOS XR routers.  With DC though it’s not that simple, as a single 10GigE M1 line card for Nexus 7000 retails for about $50,000.  It’s not even eligible for free Amazon Prime shipping!  What a rip-off! ;)

In the end we came up with some creativity in the build, which actually results in us having two separate topologies.  The first topology, which is the one I used for the Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp last week and am using again for the class next week, can be thought of as the “DC Technologies Topology.”  This is the rack rental topology that will be launching first, as it allows the most affordability and flexibility in which equipment you get access to.  The second topology can be thought of as the “CCIE Data Center Mock Lab Topology”, as it will more closely mirror the topology used in the CCIE DC Lab Exam.  First I’m going to talk about the specifics of the technology topology, and then afterwards talk about the mock lab topology.

Specifically, the DC Technologies Topology is made up of the following equipment:

  • 2 x Nexus 7010s, each with 10GigE M1 & F1 Linecards
  • 8 x Nexus 5020s, each with a Fibre Channel expansion module
  • 2 x Nexus 2232PP 10GigE Fabric Extenders, paired to the 5Ks
  • 8 x Windows VMs, dual 1GigE attached to the 5Ks
  • 1 x Windows Bare Metal, dual 10GigE attached to the 2Ks
  • 2 x UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnects
  • 1 x UCS B5108 Blade Chassis
  • 2 x UCS B22 M3 with VIC 1240
  • 1 x UCS B200 M2 with Emulex CNA
  • 1 x MDS 9222i Fibre Channel & IP Storage Switches
  • 3 x MDS 9216i Fibre Channel & IP Storage Switches
  • 1 x ACE 4710
  • 3 x Apache VMs for ACE testing
  • 2 x Catalyst 3750Gs for misc. 1GigE connectivity
  • Fibre Channel SAN

The above physical topology then breaks down into four logical racks.  In other words, the rack rental scheduler will start with four racks in inventory for every time slot.  Each rack rental is assigned base set of equipment that all rentals get, and then there are then three possible “add-ons” that you can choose.  The add-ons include one for Nexus 2K & SAN, one for UCS & SAN, and one for ACE.  From a high level overview the equipment groupings are as follows:

Specifically the groupings include the following equipment:

  • Base N7K & N5K Rental
    • 2 x Nexus 7K VDCs
    • 2 x Nexus 5Ks
    • 2 x Dual 1GigE attached Windows VMs
  • ACE Add-on
    • ACE 4710
    • 3 x Apache VMs
  • N2K & SAN Add-on
    • 2 x Nexus 2Ks
    • 1 x Dual 10GigE attached Windows bare metal
    • 2 x MDS 9200’s
    • Fibre Channel SAN
  • UCS & SAN Add-on
    • 2 x UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnects
    • 1 x UCS B5108 Blade Chassis
    • 2 x UCS B22 M3 with VIC 1240
    • 1 x UCS B200 M2 with Emulex CNA
    • 2 x MDS 9200’s
    • Fibre Channel SAN

Physically the racks are highly interconnected, which down the road will allow candidates to build larger topologies by renting multiple racks at the same time.  At launch time only one base rental will be allowed per booking, but this will be extended in the future.  Physically the overall topology looks as follows:

 

A more detailed version of the diagram can be found here.

Data Center Workbook and Rack Rental Pricing

This of course now begs the question, how much will it cost?  After all, a $700 workbook that requires you to spend $12,000 in rack rentals with little-to-no availability probably isn't the best investment of your time or money ;)  For INE's pricing the DC Technology Workbook will be priced at $399, and base rack pricing starts at 20 tokens for a 2.5 hour session.  Each add-on costs an additional 5 tokens per 2.5 hour session.  In other words if you wanted the base rental plus all three add-ons, the maximum cost is 35 tokens per 2.5 hour session.  With bulk token pricing this equates to about $11 per hour for the entire topology, or about $6 per hour for the base N7K & N5K topology.  As I said our main goal has been to find a happy medium between functionality and the feasibility of people to actually afford renting the sessions.

Feature-wise there are a few limitations of this topology, for example the Nexus 5020s don’t support Adapter FEX or Multihop FCoE like the 5500s do, but in the scheme of things the topics that you cannot do on this topology are minor.  However, for the sake of completeness of content we will also be building a second more advanced topology that will remove these few feature limitations.  This second “CCIE DC Mock Lab Topology” will more closely mirror the actual lab hardware list, and when you rent the mock lab topology you will always get all equipment, including all of the Nexus 7K VDCs, Nexus 5548s, Nexus 2232PPs, UCS B & C servers, MDSes, etc.

This then leads us to the question, how does the workbook relate to the rack rental variations?  From a high level, the workbook is split into three main sections: Nexus Technology Labs, UCS Technology Labs, and CCIE DC Mock Labs.  The initial release of the workbook will be the first two technology labs sections, followed-up by a separate product that is the CCIE DC Mock Labs.  As a parallel to our other product lines you could think of this as similar to the division between CCIE R&S Volumes 1 & 2.  The CCIE DC Mock Lab Workbook will require the CCIE DC Mock Lab Topology, as the name implies.  However for the technology labs, not all labs require access to all equipment.

As part of the introductory section to each technology lab, a note is included to tell you which particular topology is required.  For example the ACE labs obviously require you to rent the ACE 4710, but they don’t require you to rent the Nexus 2K or UCS add-ons.  Likewise a large number of the Nexus Technology Labs only require the base Nexus 7K/5K rental.  As you can probably guess, essentially all of the UCS Technology Labs require that you rent the UCS add-on.  Mostly this is self-explanatory, but it is clearly spelled out in each lab so that you can plan ahead with your rack rental and study schedule.

As I mentioned this week I’m running an Implementing Nexus 5-Day Bootcamp, so all of the equipment will be utilized for that class and won’t be available for beta testing the rack rentals.  The current plan is for DC rack rentals to go into public beta (we’ve already had a number of people doing a private beta for us) the week of April 1st, along with the workbook.  If you are interested in beta testing just send me an email at bmcgahan@ine.com with the subject line “DC Beta Testing”.  For those of you that already previously submitted an email I still have them and I will be contacting everyone shortly with more details on the beta process.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.  Also feel free to visit the CCIE Data Center General and CCIE Data Center Technical sections of our online community for more detailed discussions.  I’ll be posting another follow-up blog post as the beta progresses and then of course as we go into full public release.

 

Thanks!

Jun
21

Edit: Full Scale Lab 4 is also now available.

A new update to INE's CCIE Service Provider Lab Workbook Version 3.0 has been posted today, and is available to download from the INE Members' Site. This update includes some minor typographical fixes to labs in the Technology Labs section, as well as a new Full Scale Lab 3. Two additional full scale labs will be posted within the next week or so which will bring the workbook to its completion. Right now the workbook is about 800 pages, so the final release will be somewhere around 1,000 pages.

Also congratulations to Daniel Wang, Jason Rowley, and Sangareddy M who recently passed the CCIE SPv3 Lab Exam! Here's what they had to say about their experiences:

I passed my SP LAB at Cisco live 2012 last week. Without your outstanding workbook, video and online Rack, I couldn't pass it at the first attempt within 3 month. It's my third CCIE certificate, and I used your security workbook exclusively two years ago to clear my security track.
Kudos to all of you for excellent job.

Best Regards,

Long(Daniel) Wang
CCIE #25434(RS/SEC/SP), VCP, ITIL Manager

I passed my lab on May 15. The CCIE-SP Advanced Technology Class videos were well put together and helpful in my preparation. The convenience of being able to watch on my laptop at home, my work pc, or on my ipad was awesome. Good job INE.

Jason Rowley
CCIE #35456

After 2 years of hardwork, I finally cleared my ccie service provider lab #35224 on my third attempt. I used latest v3.0 INE videos and old workbooks for my preparation. The videos presented by Brian are great/fantastic. He clearly explained on all the technologies with great examples. I strongly recommend latest ATCv3.0 videos for CCIE-SP preparation. It covers all the IOS-XR related information that is required to pass the exam. Thank you Brian/INE.

Sangareddy M
CCIE# 35224

Oct
07

The first beta release of our CCNP Lab Workbook is now posted for all customers of the CCNP Bootcamp Class-on-Demand.  A sample of it can be viewed here. Current customers can find the workbook on the CCNP Bootcamp Class-on-Demand page of the INE Members Site.

Currently the workbook covers BCMSN.  Within the coming week it will be incrementally updated with the lab content for BSCI, ISCW, and ONT.  There is a timestamp on the members site page that you use to access the workbook, so make sure to take note of this as there will be a large amount of updates in a small amount of time coming shortly.  The current outline of the BCMSN section is as follows:

  • VLANs
  • Access Ports
  • ISL Trunk Ports
  • 802.1Q Trunk Ports
  • Controlling Traffic over Trunk Ports
  • VLAN Trunk Protocol (VTP)
  • VTP Pruning
  • VTP Transparent Mode
  • Spanning-Tree Protocol
  • Rapid PVST+
  • Multiple Spanning-Tree Protocol
  • Spanning-Tree Protocol Features
  • EtherChannel
  • Inter-VLAN Routing
  • Port Security
  • 802.1X Authentication
  • VLAN Access Lists
  • DHCP Snooping & DAI
  • Private VLANs
  • HSRP
  • VRRP
  • GLBP

For all technical questions on the lab workbook please visit the Internetwork Expert Online Community at http://www.IEOC.com

Happy Labbing!

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