I logged into my Internetwork Expert account last week to review some OSPF training videos and was surprised to see that the version number on the Advanced Technologies Class-on-Demand (IEATC) had incremented from 4.1 to 4.5. I was both excited (new training!) and concerned (did Cisco add/remove some technology from the lab?). This is the explanation for the version upgrade:
Attention! This new version contains anti-piracy measures. A unique watermark containing your classroom server account information is randomly placed in your videos. This watermark can not be detected by the human eye as it’s only placed over a single frame every few thousand frames. This is a new feature and we haven’t had any problems reported to us in regards to it. If you do notice any problems please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So the training did not change, there was just the addition of some anti-pirating measures.
I imagine that CCIE training vendors must have to invest a lot of time and effort into anti-piracy measures. Especially since their flagship products (CCIE lab workbooks) are generally available as PDFs. I get a couple of “comments” each week requesting that I “share” CCIE materials. The requests to share the IEATC are comical. Sure, I’ll go purchase screen-recording software and then record 80 hours of videos which I will email to your gmail account. No problem.
As far as piracy goes, my only concern is sharing among my co-workers. While it’s pretty easy to tell some anonymous Internet requester to piss off, it’s another thing when one of your friends at work asks you for material. I’d be lying if I told you that I’ve never used someone else’s training material when studying for a certification. Luckily there aren’t many people pursuing the CCIE at my job. Also, since my company will pay for CCIE training, I just tell anyone who asks for the lab workbook that they really need to get the IEATC training in order to use the workbook. While this is not technically true, I do believe that you will really need the IEATC training to be prepared to tackle the lab workbook. Since my company will pay for the IEATC (they won’t pay for workbooks, but it’s easy to get a workbook/training bundle from any of the vendors) then I don’t have to worry about breaking my subscription rules with IE.
Anyhoo…long post short: Internetwork Expert has not released new material with the 4.5 version of the IEATC, just implemented some anti-pirating measures.