CCIE Pursuit Blog

April 30, 2008

CCIE Routing and Switching Changes Coming In August???

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 10:53 am
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been pretty up and down around here lately.  I totally failed my recent mock lab (downer).  Then I find out that Ethan and Victor are newly minted CCIEs (upper).  And now I hear this:

Thanks for the offer but we’ve already mapped out the v5 CoD to sync with the changes to be announced in August by Cisco for the R&S lab.

Brian Dennis, CCIE4 #2210 (R&S/ISP-Dial/Security/SP)

Internetwork Expert, Inc.

I was planning on writing a post on the subject of the thread that this nugget is pulled from (I still will once I catch up on about 99 other things), but this really socked me in the gut.  I’ve not been reading GroupStudy for the last couple of weeks (I know how I’ll be spending my lunch break), so there’s probably more information there.  I have no idea what the changes are/will be but at least it has been stated over and over again that changes are not implemented until 6 months after their announcement.  So get that lab scheduled before February of 2009.  🙂

***Update 01 May***

It looks like the thread has been pulled from the forum.  Here’s the short version for those of you who just want the quick and dirty:

Someone posted a response as Brian Dennis to a thread about fact-checking the IE ATCOD course.  Assuming that this actually was Brian (this being the InterTubes it could have been anyone), he mentioned a new version of IEATC being developed to meet some Routing and Switching CCIE changes to be announced in August.  I quoted that in my original posting.

Here’s the longer version of the back-story:

Darby Weaver (4x lab attendee who seems to have purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of training from most of the major CCIE vendors) posted about fact-checking the IE ATCOD course.  He believes that there are a number of important errors in that course and he had started a thread to document these errors.  Before the thread disappeared, he had only come up with a vague warning against hard-coding ‘everything’ in the lab.  He gave the examples of router-ids and speed/duplex and warned that that there are issues that you can break/induce by doing this.  As with most of his posts the word count was high, but the actionable content was low.  As well as I can recall (and I’ll be the first to admit my memory is not perfect) IE does not tell you to hard-code everything in the lab.  What they do say is that IF you are given an option of hard-coding a setting versus letting a dynamic protocol set it for you (trunk encapsulation for example) you are better served by going the 100% route by hard-coding the setting than going the 99.99% route of letting a dynamic protocol work its magic.

The troubling part of Darby’s posting was not that he was fact-checking the IE ATCOD (I believe that he stated that he owed IE a technical review(???) and that’s why Brian’s response begins with “Thanks for the offer”) but that he dropped a few bizarre allegations against (unspecified) CCIE vendors.  The two I remember are 1) A vendor asked him in an email to violate the NDA concerning the Cisco Assessor product, and 2) A vendor (or vendors) tried to get him to disclose other vendors’ training.  He’s made similar allegations about vendor ethics/training errors in the past.  You can check out this post (part way down the page you’ll hit a post that explains why he was kicked off of GroupStudy) in which he makes some vague comments about vendors other than Narbik teaching some (again unspecified) core topic(s?) incorrectly.  He openly threatened to post these errors, but when asked to specify the error(s) he never did.  The same pattern appeared to be taking place in the thread that disappeared.  It’s difficult to determine if he’s really trying to fact-check or just sully some vendors’ reputations.  Either way, the end result was pretty underwhelming considering the original threats.

Someone claiming to be Brian Dennis (Internetwork Expert founder/instructor) posted and said that IE was planning their newest version of the IE ATCOD around changes to the CCIE Routing and Switching track to be announced in August.  I have no way of verifying that this was Brian Dennis, so caveat lector.  Brian also advised Darby that he believed that he had “tool hunter” syndrome and should avoid trying to collect training from multiple vendors (a bit late for that) and instead concentrate on full-scale labs.  Darby’s response to this was something like “Point taken.  I didn’t know you were working on a new version of the COD”.  Today the thread is gone.

I’m a little disapointed because I am interested in any errors in the IE ATCOD course and was planning on following the thread.  I don’t know (nor do I want to speculate on) why the thread disappeared.  I was going to put all of this in a new post, but this seems to have run its course so I’ll just leave it as an ‘addendum’ to this post.




  1. LOL guess I need to get moving… I have to take it by March of 09 or else retake the written anyways :D.

    Comment by Carl Yost Jr — April 30, 2008 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  2. If I had to speculate and it was INDEED Brian Dennis I would think the post got pulled because they posted info about the lab that no one is supposed to know about. So if true does that mean Cisco feeds information to the big time training companies ahead of time? Would seem a little self-serving to me but hey I like a good “X File” story!

    Sometimes I wonder if the training companies are the only ones make any real big time money from the CCIE 🙂

    Comment by Carl Yost Jr. — May 1, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  3. Well I dont think there were any problems in COD.
    I attended Narbik’s bootcamp and he indeed is a very good instructer, but as with every single person, the definition of whats important differs, he emphasizes on certain other things than COD does.
    Plus the only grey area ( That Darby also mentioned ) was the use of keyword broadcast at the end of fram map statement, and to some extent Darby was right, as doing IEWB Labs we develop a habit of always adding it. But then again, its not a mistake, and even if we had to run non-broadcast protocol type (Ospf or rip), we can always do that changing the network type in OSPF and combination of passive interface and neighbor command in Rip.
    And its not impossible to find a error in 80 hours of lecture any way, because after all Brians are human and everyone can have a lapse of concentration and slip of toungue. ( Even Narbik in his lecture on BGP faltered describing confedrations as he told us that next hop is modified and I had to correct him).
    Over all I havent found anything wrong with COD, means that there are no errors (I may not like certain explanations particularly for filtering in OSPF and Redistribution, which by the way IEBlog explains a lot better, and thats only because I think there are more or better or both ways of doing/explaining that), but as far as errors as concerned, I wont put much weight in Darby assertions. That guy made Heinze Ulm the God 2 years back and now he is trashing him 🙂
    and being a regular reader of your blog, I think your knowledge is spot on 🙂
    Take care

    If you find and error, do let us know 😛

    Comment by Barooq — May 1, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  4. @Carl – While I like a good X-Files tale, I highly doubt that one of the vendors would have a Homer Simpson moment and post top secret info on a well-known (third party) Internet forum only to (somehow) yank it a day later. If IE had the ability to remove posts from Sadikhov, there are other sections of the forum that they would be much more interested in censoring. 🙂

    I think that Cisco does give vendors a head’s up about upcoming changes. Personally I hope the changes are the removal of multicast and security and any other topic that I’m weak in. Of course the lab would be far less than 8 hour if that happened. 🙂

    Hmmmm….in August there will be changes to the lab AND your son will be born. Aren’t those signs of the Apocalypse? :-p

    @Barooq – Good points. I personally haven’t found any errors in the COD, but I’m far from an authority. 🙂 IF there were errors in the COD, I would think that IE would have caught hell about it already. Also, if there were an error and they were made aware of it, wouldn’t it be pretty easy for them to edit/re-record the COD stream for that topic? [The new DVDs might be a bit of a pain though.] It really doesn’t add up to me.

    Thanks for the comments and may the CCIE gods bless you.

    Comment by cciepursuit — May 1, 2008 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  5. LOL I was also born in August, maybe you are on to something there…

    Oh are you talking about the Cisco share section over there ;)?

    Comment by Carl Yost Jr — May 1, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  6. CCIEPURSUIT – May I ask who is this darby weaver dude? I’m somewhat new to my CCIE studies, and have seen his name plastered all over these forums/blogs and I wonder who he is and why he has not achieved his CCIE after so many tries..? Just curious.

    Comment by kevhat — May 2, 2008 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

  7. Darby’s a good guy. I went through a bootcamp with him. He’s well-intentioned, and pursuit of the CCIE designation has been a part of his life for many years now. He’s attempted the lab a few times, getting closer to a passing score with each attempt (if I remember his story right). He hasn’t quite been able to get over the hump for various personal reasons. Darby has a following of readers on various IE forums, and he tries to keep them informed of what’s going on in the IE training world. He told me that he believes he’s spent around $30K of his own money over the years on IE training from various vendors.

    When Darby is able to spend the time needed to be able to focus on lab preparation, he’ll pass the lab. He might be spreading himself too thin with all the writing he does – only he can make that determination. But again, he’s a good guy that means to do well by all of the people who care to read what he writes.

    Comment by Ethan Banks — May 5, 2008 @ 4:34 am | Reply

  8. As far as errors in IE materials, I know I had a few issues with the IEWB volume 3 series, mostly related to the answer keys being mismatched with the lab. Brian Dennis heard about a post I’d made on my blog mentioning the errors, and unicasted me. We exchanged a few e-mails, and he discovered a problem with the IE PDF library being out of sync with his master documents. Problem solved.

    Anyone with issues in the IE materials should ping IE support about it, and/or send Brian Dennis an e-mail. If you really and truly found a typo or other problem, I believe (from my experience) that they’ll try to get it resolved. IE is putting out a quality training product. I didn’t use IE from beginning to end, but I did supplement with their material, especially towards the end of my prep. I know of several other successful CCIE candidates who earned their digits using exclusively IE material.

    Comment by Ethan Banks — May 5, 2008 @ 4:40 am | Reply

  9. Thanks Ethan. I always try to be informed else my ignorance becomes my stupidity. I have the IE COD and, so far, I see a great value. With anything, there may be errors, but as you say, they should be directed to the Brian’s. I too have supplemented the IE material with other vendors. I am happy with what I have used so far. Have a great day.

    Comment by kevhat — May 5, 2008 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  10. Hi buddy! How are you?!

    I´ve been following your great work at the blog, congratulations, it´s really a great material you have!

    But, now about the topic… Well… I think you saw right at GS… check this post from Darby at Sadikhov Forums:

    I got my CCIE RS CoD from InternetworkExpert yesterday and yes – I had seen/heard of the bootlegs flying around. I actually bought the subscription and I highly recommend actually buying these products – remember CCIE Vendors are “people” they ate not huge mega-corporations. What else can I say – if we do not support the vendors, then one day there will not be too many vendors left. I go the online version too but the occasional skips and slips become noticeable after a while. So I’m hoping the DVD is better. I expect I’ll be pleased wth it. Yes, I remember Brian Dennis replying and mentioning a new version is due to be out soon. I’ll probably buy it too. It’s just me.

    Saw the last part?! Yeah… so, we may have something new, either on the CCIE Lab, or IE will update for some other reason!

    Caue Wailemann

    Comment by Caue Wailemann — May 9, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  11. hmmmm….. Guys One more problem : The IE was released new product call ” Lab breakdown” I was thought that this should be a great product and will help me to understand Labs and soon I have purchased the entire video series however it was more than 8 months now but still they have not released any other lab after “8 Lab”. This is indeed disappointment that IE has not kept his promise, I have mailed several times to brain but they did not give me proper answer. CCIE preparation is indeed require lot of money and time and vendor should understand this thing. I am really shocked what they have done with “Lab breakdown” series. I have paid around 750$ money on this product and what I have got? NOTHING????????????


    Comment by amit Chopra — May 11, 2008 @ 6:04 am | Reply

  12. First – it’s me. The guy who bothered poor Ethan while attending his bootcamp.

    Let me set a few things straight:

    1. I took my thread off at Sadikhov after Brian Dennis (and it was Brian Dennis) mentioned he has a new version coming out soon of the CoD. We both knew there were some issues here and there. Not big ones mind you, but there were a few things I found distracting in my own studies. So thought I might share them in case others wanted to know.

    2. The now-famous “broadcast” keyword… yep it’s out there now. Anyway to be fair the Brian’s did cover it well enough in ther subject labs. But most every vendor used it unnecessarily in many of the solutions to their labs. I have since went back and looked and yep – it’s not just me who made that mistake – quite a few others did too, and they were CCIE’s while I was not… rubble rubble rubble…

    3. I did not think I bashed Heinz. I have immense respect for Heinz and his program. In fact if I could ever get three weeks off in a row – I’d spend them with Heinz. I love the guy. He made me take a different look at the CCIE Lab and one that other vendors have not been able to repeat. His methods are unique.

    Others have reported back to me, privately, that they did not like my reports of Heinz since it seems he does not “teach” per se in the 3-weeks course – of course this is from one person in particular. I asked Heinz and he reflected this same person had problems getting his own laptop to work for the first two days of the class – so that’s why Heinz thought the guy got behind.

    Now, remember I sat with Heinz for a week of his Mock Labs. He’s not verbose. He’s too the point. He’s not gentle. He’s not Narbik. He’s not Caslow. He’s the “Evil Bastard”. My reviews are all over his site. I loved my week with Heinz. But I was sick too, but I spent my time analyzing what he offered to me when I could not type for coughing to death. It was a good week despite all of that.

    Heinz adds something old with something new. That’s just Heinz.

    4. I did buy the CoD on DVD from IE. I also bought the Workbook CoD breakdowns and they are still on lab 8 last time I checked. So it takes a while, but Brian was busy with the CCIE Voice and I’m sure Mr McGahan is not far behind Mr. Dennis. It’s just them and the way they do business. Many of us love them.

    5. Lastly, I do not think Brian Dennis implicated any changes were in the works unless you think he meant that by re-working a new version of the CoD, that something new was coming from Cisco.

    I did not interpret what he said as that. I read that he said the current CoD v4/4.5 had some issues and he and his team were in the process of fixing the product and making it even better.

    This is why I withdrew my thread from GS. Nothing else. BD asked sincerely. Sometimes my words can come off a bit scathing and it seems at least a few people trust my word enough to put their money on what I say or fail to say.

    Sorry sometimes it happens that way. And even if I said 10 good things about IE for every not-so-good thing, people might fail to hear the good things. So I can see the Brian’s point of view and respect it.

    What I said I would do was basically write my findings on the IE CoD and point out things I thought were not quite right or made me come to the wrong conclusions, etc. Maybe the biggest thing I ever saw with the IE CoD was just in the simple presentation. I mean if I compared CBT Nuggets and IE in terms of preparation their is a noticeable difference between them. Now in the same token, one may ultimately get more from IE, one can still learn quite a bit from Jeremy, whose style and professionalism with distance learning are simply pretty cool.

    Now if we compare both of those to NMC’s Video Series, NMC is the most complete and accurate as far as I can tell. But they just R-O-C-K-!-!-! and all vendors (the competition) have a healthy and much earned respect for the guys at NMC and their scientific methodological approach.

    I needed to see them all. And yes, I’ve been to the lab a few times. But I gotta tell you, I do appreciate have at least as much or more insight into the lab that anyone outside of most of the vendors and the CCIE Lab proctor’s themselves. Even without a CCIE just yet…


    Few can deny me that one.

    Ok – If you guys are keeping up with me on Sadikhov, you might have noticed my 6-month project is now complete. I’m scheduled to be joining a Cisco Partner not this week but next week as an IP Telephony Engineer in sunny Orlando… and I’m getting myself back in the game for my next CCIE Lab attempt – which should be a pass…

    CCIE Pursuit – thanks for keeping up with me and being fair in your own words.

    Ethan – Kewl to see you are still in the game even after you got your own digits, are we headed for a double? Maybe sometime soon?

    Oh yes, as for me and my status at GS:

    I did contact Paul Borghese via email. He asked me to call him to clear things up a bit. I tried and missed him a couple of times. Since then my own schedule has not really allowed it.

    Gotta admit, I used a lot of my free time to nail down some issues I still had or perceived after my last lab and trip to Narbik’s Bootcamp. Which I still think is one of the best investments I have made to date with regard to lab prep. I will try to go back for a repeat prior to my next lab attempt.

    So I hope I cleared some things up a bit. And if anyone doubts that this is me… I’m on a few forums and I use my own name. or I’m not that hard to find if you need me.

    Ethan has me pegged and it is pretty much like Brian Dennis said too. I’m like a kid with way too many toys. I’ve recently started giving away car loads of routers and switches and other gear and books to my co-workers. I’ve got a few more left… I want my workspaces free of all clutter and non-essential items. How many CCIE Racks does one guy need anyway?

    Comment by Darby Weaver — June 8, 2008 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  13. @Darby. Thank you for posting and clearing some things up.

    I re-read my posting today and while you stated that my words were fair, I have to admit that my tone was more negative than it should have been towards you. I guess that I was looking at your posting as a hit-and-run smear piece on a vendor (the one that I use). I apologize for the subtle (and not so subtle) ad hominem attacks. I’ve been reading your stuff for over a year now and used quite a few of your suggestions (especially when I was just starting out).

    Anyhoo…best of luck with your own CCIE pursuit.

    Comment by cciepursuit — June 9, 2008 @ 6:55 am | Reply

  14. CCIE Pursuit,

    I’ve always tried to be very positive with regard to the vendors (I use mostly all of them). Some have even been nice enough to either give me a discount here or there, free stuff altogether, or friendly advice behind the scenes on emails/phone calls and I’ve helped with a webex or two here and there.

    So if I sound like I’m being rough on them, I do not mean too.

    NMC – Made everyone step up their game for quality.

    Hello Computers brought step-by-step video to the arena.

    Trinet – took it a step further.

    IPExpert – came a long and threw in audio with the video and even offered audio only.

    IE did the same but at a much lower price.

    NLI offered modules of labs at $99.00 – 5 labs for $99.00 and then gave us the Golden Labs.

    NMC – Came back and gave us the most thorough CoD ever compliled.

    IE – started giving us complete walkthroughs of not only CCIE RS, but also other tracks that they offer.

    Heinz – offers very unique bootcamps and mock labs.

    Narbik – cuts the chase with the most accurate step-by-step workbooks I’ve seen yet. And then started making the price to attend a bootcamp and repeat it unbelievable low – only 2k.

    IE and IPExpert offer thier CoD/VoD for less than 1k.

    It’s a war out there and it’s brutal competition between these vendors. They are in the trenches daily.

    If they read my comments, and I think some do, they go back and improve their products and we all get a higher quality education.

    Now, I’m not the expert yet – I’m still just a CCNP. I’m not the only person they read. Your blog, Ethan’s blog, and I’d imagine quite a few more blogs are watched carefully and read for any hint of something that can be made better and improved upon.

    All of these vendors are in a very tight and narrow competition. All of them.

    Some like IE, IPExpert, NMC, and Narbik are very very keen on listening to the wind and making changes realtively very quickly. So they are being very agile in a tough market-space with a limited amount of consumers.

    This is good business overall.

    While it would be very nice to say everyone’s products are totally great and have no flaws, I think none of us who have used them honestly can always say that completely.

    However, these vendors appreciate the feedback. I’ve watched guys like Bruce Caslow and Narbik Kocharians, and even ole Heinz Ulm sit there and make notes on anything looked like an error or perceived problem with their products.

    They care a lot. They truly do.

    Hey, if they did not, you would not see people like Brian Dennis commenting openly in a public forum. You would not see these guys taking the time to answer questions on GS and other forums around the globe.

    But thanks for clearning things up a bit. I never mean to bite the hand that feeds me.

    I’ve got a lot to thank the each of the vendors for personally – I’ve spent a lot of money and still do with them. However, they have cut my learning curb by a country mile.

    And as a result, I’m able to do the job better, interview better, and am a better engineer overall thanks to these guys and their products.

    The one thing I’d like anyone to know about the CCIE is it is not a destination, it is a journey. It is a goal that should be used by everyone as some sort of standard to help us realize there are things we do not know and that when when confronted with a new technology we should all take the time to understand it better and more fully. Some just want to pass the damn lab. And that is ok too I suppose. However, the lab is not the job and I for one prefer to be better on the job day-in and day-out.

    I’m not a CCIE yet, but my salary and benefits package are deep in the 6-digits territory these days and I owe it all to the vendors and all the things they tried to teach me – including the things that don’t stick well and all the other things I keep forgetting. Maybe my hard drive is full or something or I need a RAM upgrade.

    It’s all 0’s and 1’s anyway right?

    Comment by Darby Weaver — June 9, 2008 @ 7:57 am | Reply

  15. Well we’ll find out of Ethan is correct if I can pass if I have some time to dedicate to my studies. I’m on a 6-month contract and my employer does want to keep my hours to a strict 40 and for the past 4 weeks that has not wavered. So… for me this is awesome!!!

    I’m not wasting my time either. I had a few home-based issues to clear up.

    Now, I’m back on track and taking all my collective errors I’ve ever made or subjects I’ve felt weak on and collecting them in a bit of a compendium.

    My process is simple. Look each up in the DOC CD/CLI, then reference each issue one by one against the various vendor’s materials I’ve purchased over the years.

    It’s painstaking research, methodical approach, and excruciatingly thorough.

    It’s going to make for a great book by the time it’s done.

    I expect the process to take me an estimated 4 months to complete at my current rate. Not too bad considering this time is shaved off of each of the other CCIE certs I’m pursuing in the process.

    It also helps me cut the learning curve time to my other areas that I’m pursuing the CCIE in. Maybe?

    For the record: Brian Dennis has taken his new product and made it quite awesome at my first glance of it.

    It’s like a lot of the things I like best from guys like Heinz and Narbik and maybe even Caslow and all thrown together to become the killer product.

    The only part that kills me is that product development seems to take then so long that sometimes a customer does not know if they’ll have to fnish the IE before the products are completed.

    I suppose this will improve. I bought those COD’s for the 20 labs too and last time I checked they were still on number 8.

    Comment by Darby Weaver — August 24, 2008 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

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