CCIE Pursuit Blog

July 16, 2008

Great Networking Resources: Safari Books Online and Cisco Live Virtual

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 10:48 am
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While not absolutely necessary, I found the following resources to be extremely beneficial:

1) Safari Books Online– Any IT certification seeker will generally spend hundreds of dollars a year on books.  Hell, if you pay list you’ll drop $170 on just the two volumes of Routing TCP/IP.  On top of the high cost of technology books (second only to the over-inflated cost of college textbooks in my experience) is the fact that the information in a number of these books will be obsolete within a relatively short period of time.  Just looking at my pile of books about NT MCSE, IIS 5, Crystal Report 8.5…confirms this.  Another shortcoming of these expensive and heavy tomes is portability.  Who wants to lug around several pounds of books.  Especially when you’ll most likely only need a small section of that information.

Safari Books Online (I think that this is about the third different name for this service) overcomes all of these limitations.  For $43 a month you get unlimited access to thousands of titles.  For a more reasonable $23 a month you can access up to ten titles a month (that’s the plan that I currently use).   I would suggest getting the unlimited bookshelf if you (or – better yet – your employer) can foot the cost.  I only use the limited bookshelf because I have access to all of the Cisco Press books in PDF form via Cisco Advanced Services.  Since that’s 95% of my tech reading, I just use Safari for the O’Reilly books and for subjects outside of networking, like like web design. 

Another benefit is that you will sometimes have access to books that have not been printed yet.  For instance the new CCIE Routing and Switching Practice Labs version is available on Safari.  This book has not been released in physical form yet.  You could purchase the Short Cuts PDF version from Cisco Press, but that will set you back abou $80.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have access to books that are no longer in print.  Need that CCNP Support Exam Certification Guide from 2000?  It’s there.  🙂

While the search feature can be crap sometimes, I do like the fact that the search will search the content of the books.  You’ll need to make your searches pretty specific for best results.  For instance “bgp orf” yielded 13 books and the specific chapters where that technology is discussed.

2) Cisco Live Virtual– Since I went on and on about Safari, I’ll keep this one short and sweet.  For $250 you can get access to (almost?) all of the presentations and techtorials from Cisco Networkers (whatever the fuck they call it nowadays).  If you attended Networkers then you’ll automatically have access to these seminars.  I LOVE these.  Although the ‘video’ is (at least the last few years) simply slides with audio, you can learn a ton from these seminars.  It’s like being in a Networkers’ seminar without the horrible hangover.  🙂

June 26, 2008

Internetwork Expert: Service Provider Lab Changes

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 10:22 am
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Scott Morris is now blogging at the Internetwork Expert blog.  His first post concerns some changes (and possible changes) to the CCIE Service Provider lab.  A number of the people in the workshop last week expressed interest in pursuing multiple CCIE certifications.  All of them said that they would most likely go after the SP next as there is a significant amount of topic overlap with the R&S lab.  Also, you can use Dynamips exclusively for the SP track.

IPv6 will be coming to a Service Provider CCIE exam near you. This shouldn’t be a surprise as it has been in the R&S CCIE exam for over a year now. What will make it interesting, of course, is just how much EXTRA stuff expanding other topics like MPLS labeling, VPN creation, VPNv6 routes and other stuff like that which will need to be discussed and dissected along the way.

IOS-XR may be coming in at some point. Most likely in the form of a GSR router. No, I have no details on exact models or what exciting level of software/modules/stuff will be included with it! Just watch for further announcements! In my own personal opinion, with the use of the GSR we may also find some SONET links added into our topology with the 7200VXR routers already being used. I have no other basis than my warped sense of humor for that, and thinking that it “just makes sense”.

—Read The Rest Here—


June 25, 2008

Cisco Brings Back The CCIE Party – Big Announcement From IE?

I could be wrong about this (as well as everything else that I type) but I think that Cisco used to offer an exclusive CCIE party at Networkers each year up until last year.  It looks like they’ve brought back that tradition this year.  Brian McGahan gives a brief recap of the mayhem.

Brian Dennis kept dropping hints that there would be a big announcement from IE this week.  Brian McGahan seems to be confirming that with this statement:

Keep checking the blog in the next few days for more detailed write-ups on the sessions we attended, including the upcoming CCDE, and for a *very special announcement* that will be posted (hopefully) later today.

June 23, 2008

Internetwork Expert: No R&S CCIE Changes Announced at Networkers (so far)

The IE crew is in Orlando at Networkers.  During our class they kept mentioning to keep an eye out for announcements on Monday (from Cisco and IE).  Today, Brian Dennis blogged the following:

Well it looks like there isn’t going to be any “real” changes to the R&S CCIE lab coming anytime soon.  The only changes discussed here at Networks will be the possibility of having Frame Relay preconfigured.

The good news about the hardware is that it’s not going to change.  You can still expect to see six routers, four switches and three backbone routers.  The routers will remain 3825s and 3725s.  The switches will also stay the same (3560s and 3550s).

—Read The Rest Here—

This is good news, except that I am strong in Frame Relay, so if they do preconfigure Frame Relay, then I’ll need to make those points up elsewhere.  I don’t know if this announcement is the same as the rumored August announcement, so there may still be some changes coming down the pike.

For those of you pursuing the Security track, the expected changes are being announced.  The other Brian (McGahan) posted the following about the Security changes:

I will be making a more detailed post later today about the changes, but in a nutshell the following changes are coming:

* PIX Firewall – Removed
* VPN 3000 Concentrator – Removed
* New Routers – 3800s running 12.4T
* New Switches – 3560s running 12.2(x)SE
* New ASA Software – Version 8.x
* IPS 4215 Replaced With IPS 4240
* New IPS  Software – Version 6.x

—Read The Rest Here—

I took today off to recuperate from last week’s training and travel.  The training really rejuvenated me.  Consequentially, I booked some rack time today and will be ignoring the absolutely beautiful day and starting my crawl through the Volume II labs.

By the way, if you’re at Networkers and you see Brian Dennis go ahead and tickle him under the chin and yell “WING DING COCONUTS!!!” then run away.  He LOVES that.  Now it may seem that he’s confused or not amused by this AND he may call security or punch you, but do not let that stop you.  🙂

IPExpert: Free Drinks and Wings Networkers Party

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification — cciepursuit @ 7:52 am
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If you’re in Orlando for Networkers (or for any reason I guess) tonight (Monday, 23 June) IPExpert is throwing a party with product giveaways and free drinks and wings.

* Drinks and Wings are on us!
* Come hang out with other CCIEs and CCIE candidates
* Meet IPexpert Instructors
* Free shuttle service to and from the Convention Center and the party location!

We WILL Give Away All These GREAT PRIZES:

* Eight (8) CCIE “End-to-End” All-Inclusive Training Programs ($10K+ value each!)
* Ten (10) of IPexpert’s NEWLY-RELEASED Blended Learning Solutions ($1600+ value each!)
* Five (5) CCIE 5-Day Boot Camp seats ($5000+ value each!)


Monday Night (June 23) – Starts at 8:00pm

First 50 in the door are guaranteed a prize!

You’ll need to surf over to this page and RSVP.  Offering free drinks and wings to a bunch of geeks might end up being a budget busting expense.  🙂

June 22, 2008

Cisco “Unofficially” Changes My Life

At the IE Mock Lab Workshop last week (I will get some blog entries up about this over the next few days) it was interesting how many CCIE candidates intended to get more than one CCIE.  For me, this has always been a ‘one and done’ pursuit.  The amount of time and toil that this has required has pretty much made this the toughest thing that I’ve ever done (educationally).  But now Josh at the Internetwork Expert blog drops this:

After speaking with multiple Cisco employees within the wireless group, the Wireless CCIE has been confirmed. Beta candidate registration should begin this fall, along with a blueprint release. Beginning early 2009 the Wireless CCIE beta testing will begin! As of now, topics of the test are expected to cover all aspects of wireless from design through implementation including the implications of security, routing and switching and voice technologies. Check back often for any additional information!

I love wireless networking.  At my previous position, wireless networking (a few thousand “fat client” 1240s administered by a WLSE device) was about 50% of my job, but it was my favorite part.  I’ve always said that if there were an independent wireless certification track announced, that I would be all over it.  It looks like I will be attempting at least two CCIEs.  For now I have to pass my R&S lab, then I need to formulate a way to tell my wife that I want to get a second CCIE.  The former might turn out to be easier than the latter.  🙂

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