CCIE Pursuit Blog

July 11, 2009

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 11 July 2009

Which Spanning Tree convergence improvement utilizes Root Link Query (RLQ) BPDUs to detect indirect link failures?

Highlight for answer: BackboneFast

July 8, 2009

Cisco Certified Architect Certification

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 9:20 am
Tags: , ,

One of the new certifications announced at Networkers this month is the Cisco Certified Architect.  With the requirement to be a CCIE* as well as a CCDE(of which there are only a handful) and a FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLAR price tag, this certification is so far above my means that I can’t see myself going that route anytime in the near future.  The impact that adding another high level certification has on the CCIE is something that does concern me.

Until last year, the CCIE was the pinnacle of the Cisco certification mountain.  Then came the CCDE.  Although it is supposed to be a peer of the CCIE (basically the Design track of the CCIE program) the difference in naming, testing, and – more importantly – the unique(and still rare) numbering convention gives the impression – whether true or not – that this certification is positioned a step above the CCIE.  Now Cisco has added yet another certification above the CCIE and the CCDE, so in the span of a little more than a year, the CCIE has now become Cisco’s THIRD highest certification.

I don’t have a lot to say about the new program, but I strongly suggest that you read Jememy Filliben’s take on the Cisco Certified Architect.  Jeremy is one of the rare currently qualified candidates for that certification. His post is very well written and thorough.  He even discusses the affect of the new program on the CCIE.

*The Cisco Certified Architect page only specifies that a CCDE is required, but I’ve heard from multiple sources that both a CCIE and a CCDE are required.

UPDATE: I need to learn to read better.  The initial reports from Networkers indicated that you needed BOTH a CCIE and a CCDE to become a CCA candidate.  Cisco’s site as well as Jeremy’s article state that you need an active CCDE, and 10 years of experience.  My bad.  😦

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 08 July 2009

Which Cisco-supported PIM mode uses shared trees?

Highlight for answer: PIM Spare Mode (also PIM Sparse-Dense mode)

July 7, 2009

The Reason Behind the Core Knowledge Section?

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 11:37 am
Tags: , , , , ,

CCIE Journey recently attended Networkers in SF and has a nice recap of the event, particularly from a CCIE candidate’s perspective.  Definitely surf on over and give it a read.

There was a lot of speculation that the recent introduction of the Core Knowledge section to the CCIE lab was to curb cheating via leaked or brain-dumped labs.  A lot of that speculation centered around the Beijing, China lab location.  CCIE Journey’s post contains a nugget that may give validation to some of that speculation:

Monday was my eight hour lab day with a lab written by a proctor just for Cisco Live. We learned a lot in that class. We learned that the pass rate of the Beijing lab was running at 90% before they implemented the open-ended questions.

CCIE Journey shares my concern that we’re all now paying the price for possible rampant cheating at a specific location.  There is a possible bright side to this though:

He [the proctor] also hinted that the open-ended questions were a quick band aid for stopping the brain dumps and might come off in the near future. Maybe the troubleshooting section of the 4.0 lab will be enough?

I think that this makes sense.  Troubleshooting is a better filter than a four question quiz.  I tend to doubt that the Core Knowledge section will go away though.  The Core Knowledge questions are only ever used one time.  This means that they are essentially “un-dumpable”.  Of course, it also means that the questions may have the tendency to become more and more difficult as the obvious questions are used and discarded.

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 07 July 2009

What is the effect of issuing the exec level command ‘terminal monitor’?

Highlight for answer: This command will enable the device to send log messages to telnet sessions.

July 6, 2009

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 06 July 2009

What are unsolicited messages sent from an SNMP agent to an SNMP management station called?

Highlight for answer:  SNMP traps.  SNMP informs fit this description as well.

June 26, 2009

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 26 June 2009

What is the name of a well-known discretionary BGP attribute that is used to alert downstream routers that a loss of path information has occurred?

Highlight for answer: ATOMIC_AGGREGATE.

June 24, 2009

Core Knowledge Question of the Day: 24 June 2009

What is the practice of advertising a contiguous set of addresses with a single, less-specific address called?

Highlight for answer: Summarization or route aggregation

June 23, 2009

R.I.P. CCIE Assessor Lab

I received the following email today:

Dear Anonymous Blogger Jerk,

As you know, the CCIE Assessor Lab has been retired. As someone who has used or expressed interest in the Lab, we want to make you aware of a new program to replace the CCIE Assessor Lab. The CCIE Assessor was the first product of its kind to provide candidates with an experience similar to the actual CCIE lab exam. Our recently introduced Cisco 360 Learning Program for CCIE Routing and Switching now offers a complete experience in gaining expert level knowledge and preparing for the rigorous CCIE certification exams including classes, assessment labs and mentoring.

If you have not yet achieved your CCIE certification, you can use the Cisco 360 Learning Program to differentiate your skills and take your career to the next level with the only authorized Cisco expert training. The program is available individually or in value-priced bundles, Essentials, Preferred or Premium packages. Currently, 90% of students completing the Cisco 360 Learning Program successfully pass their R&S lab exam and achieve CCIE certification on their first try!

The Cisco 360 Learning Program is a comprehensive, blended learning program designed to accelerate expert-level competency. In as little as six months to one year, you will elevate your command of technical topics and develop the skills necessary to tackle the types of expert-level configuration and troubleshooting challenges that appear in real-life networks and in the recently updated CCIE lab exam. You can also purchase the program by individual components that can benefit someone with your familiarity of the CCIE materials and examinations.

If you are interested in learning more contact your local Cisco 360 Learning Partner and schedule a free demo of the Cisco 360 Learning Program.

The following resources are available for more information:
Cisco 360 Learning Program website
Solutions Overview
Locate a Cisco Learning Partner
Training Component Details

Best of luck on your networking career,
Learning@Cisco

Actually, I did not know that the CCIE Assessor Lab had been retired.  I used this product before my first attempt.  For $399.00 you received two mock labs.  Since this was Cisco’s official mock lab offering, I decided that it was a good investment of $400.  The labs were obviously getting long in the tooth even then as the first lab only used two switches.  While spendy, it was nice to get a look at the Cisco question verbiage and topology.

The death of the CCIE Assessor is part of the push to make the 360 program the single, official Cisco offering for CCIE training.  There was recently an announcement about the unbundling of the 360 program(something I’ll blog about later).  I think that it’s funny that the email bascially tells you that the 360 program – which can run into 5 figures – is the logical replacement for the CCIE Assessor Lab.  If there is an unbundled 360 mock lab product, then it would have made sense to point out that product.  🙂

Kind of a side rant: The 90% pass on first attempt statistic is compelling, but what are the raw numbers?  90% of x?  If x is a low number (say 10) then that impressive percentage means less.  I would also think that given the high cost for the 360 program, that companies – and I have to believe that few individuals are footing this cost – that are willing to invest that type of cash into training are spending it on highly qualified engineers(there was a recent GroupStudy posting that showed evidence that this was the case).  BUT…as always, I could be wrong and the 360 may be the ultimate CCIE training program.  Maybe I’m just hating cuz I can’t afford it.  🙂

June 22, 2009

CCIE 3.0 Lab Seats Nearly Gone

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 3:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

The price I pay for procrastination.  I looked at the CCIE lab scheduler a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to see tons of open dates available before the new 4.0 lab kicks in on 18 October.  There were no dates outside of the 90 day “shit or get off the pot” cutoff, but plenty extending into September.

Today I checked again(I’ve been on a short family vacation for the last week) and there are very few remaining US dates left before the version change:

San Jose – 9 dates (latest is 14 July) and 20 seats left.
RTP –
5 dates (latest is 10 July) and 16 seats left.

Great.  Now I have to decide whether or not I will take another shot at the 3.0 lab or wait until October and try the 4.0 lab.  I have the money available, but getting time off from work will be difficult.  If I take the 4.0 lab I will need to learn the new technologies as well as face the troubleshooting portion of the lab.  If I take the 3.0 lab I won’t have much free time to devote to getting “fight ready”.  At least if I fail it I will still have half of the summer to drown in my sorrows.  🙂

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