CCIE Pursuit Blog

October 30, 2008

Internetwork Expert: Details Of Today’s Announcement

Internetwork Expert CCIE 2.0 Upgrade

Internetwork Expert CCIE 2.0 Upgrade

UPDATE: That was quick.  IE has a blog posting about the new changes here.  You can view the recording of the announcement here.


Internetwork’s vSeminar announcement today was so popular (over 500 people) that they had to turn away users as it filled up pretty quickly.  For those who missed it, there will be a recording on the IE site in the near future.  I’ll post some more details tomorrow, but here’s the quick and dirty:

Internetwork Expert will NOT be participating in the new 360 CCIE training programming.  They will be rolling out a new “CCIE 2.0” training program.  This program will involve a MUCH higher level of personalization.  This will included dynamic labs that will adapt to your strengths and test you more on your weaknesses.  There will be “Customer Success Managers” to help your chart and stay on your CCIE training path.  There will be the ability to purchase material “ala carte” to supplement your needs, rather than buying a one-size-fits-all end-to-end package.  There will also be constant assessment labs/tests to monitor your progress and make recommendations.  There will be more than $10,000 of worth of free training/credits available to community users (bloggers/forum users) who assist with answering training/technology questions.  IE will also begin hosting blogs on IEOC.  Existing customers will have their subscriptions upgraded.  IE will also be venturing into the CCNx (starting with CCENT in Q1 of 2009) training arena.  Next week there will be one or two more vSeminars that will go more into detail about the changes to CCIE 2.0

I’ll admit that this is a pretty exciting upgrade to IE’s existing CCIE training.  It will be interesting to see how well/quickly they can roll out this new model.  The good part is that they have been working towards this for at least nine months and it sounds like they have ramped up their payroll to be able to allocate resources towards this end.

Question Of The Day: 30 October, 2008

The WordPress polling application seems to be down at the moment, so I’ll unleash the first of the Friday Questions of the Day one day early:

Your co-worker has been tasked with limiting the amount of traffic inbound on interface fa0/0 from a device with the MAC address of 11-11-22-22-33-33 to 5Mbits/second.  Your boss has just informed him that there is more than 20Mbits/second inbound on that port from the device with that MAC address.  He turns to you and asks you to look at his configuration:

interface FastEthernet0/0
 rate-limit input access-group 100 5000000 2500 2500 conform-action transmit exceed-action drop
access-list rate-limit 100 1111.2222.3333

Why are you receiving significantly more than 5Mbps inbound on interface f0/0 from the device with the MAC address of 1111.2222.3333?


Yesterday’s QoD:

Which of the following is NOT a shaping feature supported by Cisco IOS?

Here are the results:

Answer %
Flow-Based Traffic Shaping (FBTS) 64%
Class-Based Shaping 18%
Generic Traffic Shaping (GTS) 16%
Frame Relay Traffic Shaping (FRTS) 2%

The answer: Flow-Based Traffic Shaping (FBTS)

For traffic shaping, Cisco IOS QoS includes Generic Traffic Shaping (GTS),Class-Based Shaping, and Frame Relay Traffic Shaping (FRTS). These features allow you to regulate packet flow (that is, the flow of traffic) on your network.

October 29, 2008

Internetwork Expert: Big Announcement Coming Tomorrow

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 11:35 am
Tags: , , , ,

Internetwork Expert hinted last week at a big announcement last week.  It looks like the big announcement will drop this Thursday:

Brian Dennis and Brian McGahan, Co-Founders of Internetwork Expert, will make a major corporate announcement during an online webcast, Thursday, October 30th at 11AM PDT.

Who: Brian Dennis and Brian McGahan: Co-Founders of Internetwork Expert
What: Major Corporate Announcement
Where: Online Webcast
When: 11 a.m. (PDT) Thursday, October 30th, 2008

—Read The Rest Here—

The posting has an interesting interesting bit:

Current customers please note, this announcement will not affect the status of our Investment Protection Program. All previous, current, and future purchases are still protected under this plan!

I’ll tune in Thursday to see what the announcement is but based on the wording I am hopeful that this means that IE is going to launch Version 5 of the Routing and Switching Class On Demand.

Question Of The Day: 29 October, 2008

Yesterday’s QoD:

Given the following configuration on a 3560 switch:

interface FastEthernet0/1
 switchport access vlan 101

You are tasked with ensuring that all communications are stopped on this port if the spanning-tree protocol is detected on this port.

Which of the following configuration choices best accomplishes this task:


Here are the results:

Answer %
spanning-tree bpduguard enable (interface) 85%
spanning-tree portfast bpduguard default (global)   7%
spanning-tree bpdufilter enable (interface) 6%
spanning-tree portfast bpdufilter default (global) 1%

The answer: spanning-tree bpduguard enable (interface)

Get comfortable with the “Configuring Optional Spanning-Tree Features” section of the 3560/3550 configuration guide as you are very likely to see a question or two relating these technologies on your practice labs.  In this case the technology that you want to use is bpduguard.  This feature will completely stop traffic on a port if there is a BPDU received on that port.  This command can be configured at the global or port level with a few differences in operation:

‘spanning-tree bpduguard enable’ under an interface will put the interface into error-disabled mode if a BPDU is received on that port.  The portfast feature does not need to be configured on the interface.

‘spanning-tree portfast bpduguard default’ at the global level will affect all ports on your switch that have the ‘portfast’ feature enabled.  Those ports will be shutdown if they receive a BPDU.

In our question, ‘portfast’ is not enabled on the interface so we need to use ‘spanning-tree bpduguard enable’ under the interface.

October 28, 2008

CCBootcamp: Dancing With CCIEs

[HT to CCIE Journey for pointing this out]

CCBootcamp gets points for using an old-skool NIN remix but then loses those points at the 0:30 mark when Brad Ellis blatently rips off my best dance moves  🙂

Question Of The Day: 28 October, 2008

Given the following configuration on a 3560 switch:

interface FastEthernet0/1
 switchport access vlan 101

You are tasked with ensuring that all communications are stopped on this port if the spanning-tree protocol is detected on this port.

Yesterday’s QoD:

Which QoS service model requires that the application request a specific kind of service from the network via explicit signaling before sending data?
Here are the results:
Answer %
Integrated Service 74%
Differentiated Service 26%
Best-Effort Service 0%
Port-Level Service 0%

The answer: Integrated Service

When you see integrated service you should associate it with RSVP.

Integrated Service
Integrated service is a multiple service model that can accommodate multiple QoS requirements. In this model the application requests a specific kind of service from the network before it sends data. The request is made by explicit signaling; the application informs the network of its traffic profile and requests a particular kind of service that can encompass its bandwidth and delay requirements. The application is expected to send data only after it gets a confirmation from the network. It is also expected to send data that lies within its described traffic profile.

The network performs admission control on the basis of information from the application and available network resources. It also commits to meeting the QoS requirements of the application as long as the traffic remains within the profile specifications. The network fulfills its commitment by maintaining per-flow state and then performing packet classification, policing, and intelligent queuing based on that state.

October 27, 2008

Internetwork Expert: CCIE 2008 Scholarship Program

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 11:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

Internetwork Expert is running second instance of their Real CCIE’s, Real People Scholarship between now and the end of the year.

As part of Brian Dennis’ and Brian McGahan’s ongoing commitment to the CCIE community, Internetwork Expert is pleased to announce the Real CCIE’s, Real People 2008 Scholarship.

We will be choosing one U.S. scholarship recipient and one international recipient from the applicant pool. The scholarship recipients will each receive CCIE Lab training from start to finish including:

CCIE Self-Paced End-to-End Program
Complete CCIE Rack Rental package compliments of Graded Labs
Onsite Bootcamp of the recipients choice (including airfare, hotel, provisions, and ground transportation).

Eligibility Requirements
Ability to travel
CCIE Written exam passed or scheduled

All Applications Must Be Submitted By 11:59PM (PDT) Wednesday, December 31, 2008. All online information must be received by Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

—Read More Here—

Question Of The Day: 27 October, 2008

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 10:31 am
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday’s QoD:

First-in, first-out (FIFO) queuing is an example of which QoS service model?


Here are the results:

Answer %
Best-Effort Service 84%
Differentiated Service 6%
Port-Level Service 6%
Integrated Service 4%

The answer: Best-Effort Service

While “best-effort service” should probably get a marketing makeover, it is considered a QoS service model.

Best-Effort Service
Best effort is a single service model in which an application sends data whenever it must, in any quantity, and without requesting permission or first informing the network. For best-effort service, the network delivers data if it can, without any assurance of reliability, delay bounds, or throughput.

The Cisco IOS QoS feature that implements best-effort service is first-in, first-out (FIFO) queuing. Best-effort service is suitable for a wide range of networked applications such as general file transfers or e-mail.

October 25, 2008

Even More Information on Cisco’s New 360 CCIE Training Program

The big news of the last couple of weeks in the CCIE world has been the announcement of Cisco first official training program for the Routing and Switching CCIE track, the Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Routing and Switching.  I’ve posted about this a couple of times (here and here).  Since that time more information has become available and NetMasterClass has even started selling the training

If you want to skip this rather long post, then here’s my take on the program:

It looks like a rebranded version the NetMasterClass end-to-end training which will be offered by multiple Cisco Learning Partners (once they are certified by Cisco and at varied levels).  NetMasterClass has a great reputation and the training is sure to be very solid.  My opinion is that the major difference between the 360 program (other than Cisco’s seal of approval) is the Learning Management System that will serve as the training portal as well as track candidates’ progress.  The biggest downside is the price as well as the lack of details about the online training portions.  My opinion is that this training will be popular with candidates within Cisco, working for Cisco Partners, and those who receive financial backing from their employers.

GroupStudy yielded some information on the program last week:

The rumor:

Basically here’s the skinny:

There was a competiton or bid of sorts between the major vendors.

It seems NMC won the bid.  Maybe others but we’ll see in a few days.  As of now just NMC that I am aware of.

The training program will be based on the NMC-1 Advanced CCIE 1-Week Class currently offered by NMC.

The pre-assessments are similar to NMC’s per-technology quick exams – currently less than 15Q [questions]each as I recall – correct me it’s been a while since I tried one.

The pre-assessment will be similar to the CCIE Accessor or the Day-1 Lab given by NMC on the first day of class.

The online classes will likely mimick and/or mirror the NMC Video on Demand, which consequently in some cases are quite “exactly” similar to the NMC Tech Library which is quite “exactly” similar to the NMC-1 one-week CCIE Bootcamp.  This material is nearly word-for-word verbatim to the class as I recall.

The practice labs will likely be very much the CheckIT Labs with the CheckIT grading system.

Anyone from back in the day who used Mentor Technologies VLabs will recall the format and layout.

This jives somewhat with what I was told about the process of selecting a vendor(s) to participate in the program.

Who will offer the course: (here, here, and here)

These classes are ONLY offered through SKYLINE-ATS, Globalknowledge, Fast Lane and CTT and some of the SOs that are claiming that they can offer the class is incorrect, they have to go through their CLSP, and ONLY so many instructors are allowed to teach this class, and as of now there are 8 of them.

As you know, Cisco requires partners and instructors to meet very high standards in order to offer CCIE 360. To your list I would add Netmasterclass! For NMC Bruce Caslow, Val Pavlichenko, Bill Burns and myself are currently qualified by Cisco to teach CIERS1 and CIERS2.

Best regards,
-Bob Sinclair  CCIE 10427  CCSI 30427


You are 100 percent correct, and You, Val and Bruce are certified to teach and from this group i believe Paul Borghese, Johnny Bass, Vasil and I are almost there. There was another gentleman that I forgot the name.

Thanks for the clarification.

It looks like a number of the top CCIE instructors are already getting trained to participate in this program.

CCBootcamp will be one of the vendors delivering the new training:

Wes, we’ve been doing CCIE training since 1998, but we were not really involved in the “bid” process. It looks like it will be a good program.  We’ll have to see how it goes. There wont be many training companies offering the Cisco 360 program. However, it appears that CCBOOTCAMP will be one of the few companies offering the training. 🙂
Brad Ellis
CCIE#5796 (R&S / Security)
CCSI# 30482
CEO / President
CCBOOTCAMP – A Cisco Sponsored Organization (SO)

CCBootcamp and NetMasterClass (no surprise since they helped develop the course) look like they will be the first (and only?) of the “core four” CCIE vendors to offer the 360 training program.

Arden Packeer posted an excellent blog entry about this new program which gives nice look inside the Cisco training hierarchy and explains what the hell is a CLSP?

Cisco delivers its official course material through its Learning Partner program. Cisco structures its Learning Partner program into three tiers. At the top we have CLSP’s (Cisco Learning Solution Partners). The middle tier is where the CLP’s (Cisco Learning Partners) sit, and the bottom is where SO’s (Sponsored Organisations) sit.

A CLSP is allowed to deliver only Cisco authorized materials using Certified Cisco System Instructors (CCSI). Having a certain number of certified staff members is a requirement. CLSP’s are allowed to customize courses but are required to report and pay royalties on all derivative works to Cisco.

There are only a handfull of CLSP’s in the world and each has a specific region (or theatre) they look after. Its like a giant pyramid scheme with CLSP’s sitting at the top. CLP’s and SO’s must purchase kits (training manuals etc) from CLSP’s and get any derivative works approved. Cisco gets a cut from these derivative works.

— Read The Rest Here —

CCIE Guru has a must read blog posting that sheds a lot of light on the new program:

Now, here’s the real crazy part. The entire list of everything being offered in the Cisco 360 program, matches up, almost identically to what Netmaster is selling [note: was selling – NMC’s site now only lists the 360 program and a written program) – once again for about half the price for the package. It would appear that Cisco is “reselling” the Netmaster training programs and offering them for a 100% mark up.

What’s so special about the Cisco 360 program? Nothing as far as I can tell. It’s just the Netmaster class program with the Cisco stamp on it. Someone must have switched Netmaster coolaid for the normal Cisco coolaid at the Raleigh, NC Cisco office.

So who is participating in the Cisco 360 program? Almost NONE of the current CCIE training vendors as far as I can tell (except Netmaster). Here is a list of companies that I called:

Unitek – not sure if they are going to join the program due to it’s “entrance fee.”
CCBootcamp – considering joining, but hasn’t formally applied or been accepted.
Netmaster – wrote the program.
IPExpert – “We have our own blended learning solution which is cheaper and more effective.”
Internetworkexpert – We are looking at it, but we don’t believe it’s the best option at this time.

I tried to find out more about the “entrance fee” and I was told it would cost a training company around $30,000 to $45,000 per instructor between missed work (up to four weeks) and program fees. I am guessing that’s the reason the two currently Cisco authorized training companies, Unitek and CCBootcamp are having a hard time justifying the costs. If these companies join the program, and it fails, they just wasted $45k per instructor.

— Read The Rest Here —

The Cisco Learning Network has a posting entitled “Top 10 questions answered about the NEW Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Routing and Switching” which supports what CCIE Guru is saying.

On Thursday, 24 October the Cisco Learning Network presented a CCIE TV episode which (among other interesting topics) addressed the new 360 training (Ethan Banks has some great notes on this program here).  I watched the show (a recording of which should appear on the CLN within the next couple of weeks) and here are some of the more interesting bits:

On the CCIE in general:

Overview: CCIEs Worldwide
Represent less than 3% of all Cisco certifications

Routing and Switching
Core networking certification
74% of all bookings
Labs in all regions, in all worldwide locations

Introduced in 2002
Fastest-growing certification; 13% of bookings
Labs in Beijing, Brussels, RTP, San Jose, Sydney, Dubai, Bangalore, and Tokyo

Introduced in 2003
10% of bookings
Labs in San Jose, Brussels, RTP, Sydney, and Tokyo

Storage Networking
Introduced in 2004
Labs in Brussels and RTP

Service Provider
Introduced in 2002
3% of bookings
Labs in San Jose, Brussels, Beijing, Hong Kong, RTP, Sao Paulo, and Sydney

The six portions of the 360 program:

Assessment:Student takes a pre-assessment to benchmark their exposure to various networking topics.

Planning: Based on diagnostic feedback students create a learning path that utilizes the breadth of the curriculum to obtain the necessary education and exposure.

Learning: Students participate in lessons, read materials, and work with subject matter experts to gain understanding and knowledge in topics in which they need to develop competencies.
Practice: Students then take the concepts learned and utilize practice exercises to gain exposure to real-world configurations by applying these topics in actual scenarios.

Review: By utilizing the assessments students can then measure their understanding to validate their application and usage of the various approaches to solving network problems with the technologies.

Mastery: By utilizing the reference material, answer keys, and best practices, students can then review their work product and hone their skills.

Some details on the pieces of the training:

Pre-Assessment:A four-hour diagnostic exam for networking core technologies. The pre-assessment serves as a benchmark for program preparedness necessary skills development.

Workshops (classroom training): Two 5-day workshops that include instructor led lectures and feedback from instructors and peer to provide student mentoring and support.

Library (reference documentation):Over 2,000 pages of searchable text and graphics offering advanced networking technical documentation and best practices for network engineers.

On Demand Lessons (eLearning):Numerous hours of multiple topic-based lessons on topics such as IPv6, QoS, Frame Relay, Link Layer, and Networking Protocols. All recorded with experienced instructors with tips and tricks and indexed for convenient reference.

Practice Lab Scenarios: (hands-on exposure) Over 250 hours of expert level advanced networking scenarios that enable students to implement network configurations in simulated real-world applications.

Formative Assessments: (learning checks) a Series of timed, scenario based, mock lab performance tests that can be scored and graded to produce detailed feedback on skills and competencies.

Mentoring: (Coaching) Detailed explanations of correct networking approaches and best practices that provide directed focused feedback in diagnosing errors, omissions, and sequencing in configurations.

360 Basic Package Details

360 Basic Package Details

I’m a little surprised about the details of the eLearning portion of the training.  There’s no mention of training for security, IP services, multicast, or system management.  Maybe those topics are rolled into the training.  If not, then a significant section of the blueprint is not represented.  My guess (based on the observation that the announced eLearning modules match to the CODs that NMC used to offer) is that those topics are not addressed now, but (hopefully) will be once more content is developed/released.

You can add options to the basic 360 training including classroom instruction, rack rentals, and one-on-one mentoring:

360 Value-Added Options

360 Value-Added Options

Cisco Curriculum Standards:

  • Measurable expert-level networking curriculum with learning objectives
  • Competencies aligned to network engineer job role and responsibilities
  • Aligned to current networking technologies, protocols, and Cisco products
  • Blended basic offering, including expert instructor-led training
  • More than 400 hours of instruction, including 250 hours of practice
  • Assessments, recorded searchable lectures, and reference library developed by Cisco
  • 24-hour online accessibility with reporting, tracking, and trending

This bulletpoint really confuses/intigues me: “More than 400 hours of instruction, including 250 hours of practice”.  Reading that I can’t understand if they mean “400 hours of instruction PLUS an additional 250 hours of practice” or “150 hours of instruction and 250 hours of practice”.  Also, are they talking about the base package or the mac-daddy $$$ full-meal deal?  Does “instruction” include reading the reference library?  Without those answers I don’t know whether to be blown away (400 (10 weeks) hours of online training!!!) or underwhelmed (150 hours which includes 2 workshops, reading 2000 pages, and some mentoring time).  I asked this question during the CCIE TV presentation but it was not answered.

Finally, in order to offer the class you need be an active Cisco Learning Partner and your instructors need to be approved by Cisco to teach the course.  The following slide breaks down the instructor hierarchy a bit as well as the requirements to teach the class:

360 Instructor Training

360 Instructor Training

One of the big benifits of the new 360 program will be the Learning Management System (LMS) that will be used to track students’ progress.  I fully expect to see IPexpert and Internetwork Expert roll out something similar.  Both vendors already have proven end-to-end training that matches or exceeds what seems to be offered by the 360 program.  While I can’t speak for IPexpert, I know that Internetwork Expert already has a lot of metrics that they could incorporate into an LMS in order to track and give feedback/direction on a candidate’s progress.  Both companies could easily get a jump on the 360 program by implementing the LMS across all tracks (the 360 only covers Routing and Switching at this time).

Anyhoo…this is most likely the last post I’ll be making about the new program.  It’s not something that is a good fit for me but it looks like a very good choice for candiates who are not paying out of pocket.  Even if I could afford to purchase the 360 program, I would definitely contact the vendor offering it to get more details about the amount of training included.  The content should be pretty solid as NetMasterClass has a very good reputation.  I don’t think that this will affect most of the big CCIE vendors as they can compete on prices as well as past success.  The only real downside to the other CCIE vendors is if this means that they cannot train Cisco employees on Cisco campuses.  I have to think that this is probably going to be the case.  I can’t see Cisco rolling this program out and then not using it for their employees.  That will probably mean a hit to the wallets of some vendors.

For most candidates this will be a good change as it will drive vendors to improve their offerings because there’s a new offering on the market that will grab a good sized chunk of customers.  I will say that I think that some of the comments about “sub standard” third-party boot camps was a little bit of over-the-top marketing by Cisco.  While they didn’t specificy which vendors – this is almost worse because it creates a “poo-storm” around all vendors…except the ones offering the 360 training.  🙂

Here is a collection of blogger comments on the new training program:

October 24, 2008

IPexpert: New Free vLectures Coming Up

IPexpert has a number of free vLectures scheduled over the next few months and the vast majority of them are for tracks other than Routing and Switching.

CCIE vLecture Seminar Series
Our vLecture Seminar Series offers focused online discussions led by the renowned CCIE-certified instructors at IPexpert. Each seminar concentrates on a specific topic related to CCIE preparation, including individual protocols and technologies listed on the lab blueprint, as well as test-taking strategies!
Register today for one or more of the following vLectures. Space is limited in each seminar!

Oct 31 2:00 PM EST
Topic: Basic-ACD
Track: Voice

Nov 04 5:00 PM EST
Topic: Campus QOS
Track: Voice

Nov 06 3:00 PM EST
Topic: BGP Fundamentals
Track: R&S / Service Provider

Nov 26 2:00 PM EST
Topic: UCCX Custom Scripting
Track: Voice

Dec 19 2:00 PM EST
Topic: ASA/PIX and NAT
Track: Security

Jan 27 3:00 PM EST
Topic: MPLS Fundamentals
Track: Service Provider

Jan 30 2:00 PM EST
Topic: Remote Trigger Black Hole Filtering
Track: Security

Mar 19 3:00 PM EST
Topic: MBGP Fundamentals
Track: Service Provider

Apr 16 3:00 PM EST: 
Topic: MPLS VPNs
Track: Service Provider
To register, go here:

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