Posted by Jo on August 7, 2009
Its official, I have put my voice studies on hold and switched over to the SP track. Its a shame to put the work I have done so far for the voice written to the side, but feel I am making the right choice – this just seems a whole lot more logical as there is a lot of overlap with the R&S.
I have not booked the SP written exam yet, but am hopefully going to go for it in the first couple of weeks of September. I have made a start in my reading list, I have MPLS Fundamentals here with me, and while I have read it before in sections, am reading it again from cover to cover – taking notes. I am making good progress, and am onto to Chapter 7 that covers MPLS VPN. My previous job was based on an MPLS VPN network, so Im pretty comfortable with the concepts and configurations with all thats been in the book so far.
I have made the choice to go for the IPexpert SP workbook Volumes 1 and 2, and have started doing some labs from Volume 1 to get back into the swing of things. I have the topologies set up in Dynamips, so its easy to do a couple of hours worth of labbing anytime I choose. I missed my Dynamips labbing days from the R&S. I know it has its quirks, but I am able to work around these and run the topologies fully loaded on my MacBook Pro running at 30-40% utilisation.
I will post a schedule on here for my planned labs, and am also hoping to write some techincal articles along the way as I go through them. I am going to try and go for the lab before the end of 2009, hopefully in or around the November/December timeframe. Its a shame that there isnt an SP lab at Cisco in Dubai at the moment, as that would have been very convieneient, but I will worry about that when I am done with the written and can book a lab date.
Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Blog, Dynamips, ip expert, ipexpert, Lab Schedule, SP | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jo on June 17, 2009
Cisco have announced that the short answer questions will be coming to the Voice lab on July 16th 2009, and I expect they will be added to all tracks which can only be a good thing. I know that some people dont like these, but anything that adds an extra dimension to the certification is OK by me. I think that Cisco is on the right track with all of the recent changes announced to the lab exam blueprints for R&S, Security and Voice.
CCIE Voice Lab Exam Adding Short Answer Questions:
Also effective July 16, 2009, the Cisco CCIE Voice Lab Exam will feature a new type of question format in a section called Core Knowledge. In this new section, candidates will be asked a series of four open-ended questions that require a short, typewritten response (typically several words). The questions will be randomly drawn from a pool of questions on topics currently eligible for testing on the CCIE Voice Lab Exam. No new topics are being added. Candidates will have up to 30 minutes to complete the Core Knowledge section of the exam, and may not return to the questions later. First introduced to the CCIE Routing and Switching lab exam in February 2009, Core Knowledge questions will eventually be added to all CCIE tracks. The changes allow Cisco to maintain strong exam security, and they help ensure that only qualified candidates are awarded CCIE certification.
Mark at IPexpert has announced on OSL that they will be releasing a version of their flash based question simulation engine, so I am looking forward to checking it out. Im assuming they will follow the same pricing model for the R&S version on this – FREE!
I am currently making steady progress through the ccbootcamp study guide for the written, and will be following up soon with a breakdown of my progress so far. Im still on track to attempt the written exam in August.
Posted in ccbootcamp, CCIE LAB, CCIE Materials, CCIE Prep, ip expert, ipexpert, voice, written | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jo on May 13, 2009
If you havent seen it already head over to the IPexpert blog and check out the latest news on the Proctor Labs voice vRack enhancements.
They have added some great new features, I am really ready to get stuck into my voice studies now – I must admit I was losing focus recently due to outside pressures, but now I am beginning to miss the CCIE study mode and cant wait to get going again… Im even tempted to go for the great deals they have on the Voice vClass – but have to check the times and dates out.
Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jo on May 6, 2009
Hi there, Im still around here and there.
Ive been totally snowed under with work recently. Ive now been in Doha for 3 months and its flown by really fast – I did manage a quick break back in the UK last week which was nice (and also brought the love of my life back with me). The DC project Im working on is still rumbling (slowly) on , its a big migration weekend coming up so I dont expect to get much sleep. Its all fun in the end though and I am enjoying it.
So it looks like the guys at Cisco are changing the CCIE R&S blueprint to version 4.0. I have to say I like the look of the new format, the idea of a separate troubleshooting section is a great idea. I almost want to take the lab again to check it out (OK maybe not!). Check out the Mike’s Blog for more details from IPexpert and some great offers. Even though I passed the R&S Im hoping to get access to the new updated materials to check them out. Ive still got some vRack vouchers knocking around so will see what IPexpert send my way in the members section when the time comes. Its always good to keep up with the different technologies that they are adding.
As for my studies, Im hoping that after next weekend the major projects I am working on will be less intensive so I will have time to do some more study. Another hurdle in my way is the lack of VPN access from my ‘shared’ internet connection in the apartment block Im living in. They apparently cannot open up the required ports – which sucks a little. I will be looking for a new place to live sometime in the very near future, so once I have my ‘blisteringly fast’ 2Mb ADSL connection I will be good to go on the study front.
Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE LAB, ip expert, Life | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jo on March 6, 2009
You may have noticed a severe lack of CCIE Voice updates to this site recently, this is down to me moving out to Doha and being incredibly busy with projects happening at my new job. Without getting too much into the specifics Ive joined the team smack bang in the middle of silly season in terms of workload and currently have 3 projects on the go concurrently that I am looking after.
The main one of these is building a new DC infrastructure (room, power, a/c, and network etc) followed by a period of migrating kit from the old DC out to the new DC – this all has to be complete by the end of the month! I am also overseeing the implementation of a new call centre (supplied and configured by a Cisco ATP and not me!), and when this is done will be looking at a full IPT roll out across the business Im working in (migrating away from a Nortel IPT solution thats in place presently). There are some busy times ahead to say the least.
I was hoping that being out here would give me some extra time to study, but have come across a couple of snags in terms of the projects im working on. Dont get me wrong, I love being busy working with all this stuff, so its great in that respect and Im sure after the beginning of April or end of March the bigger projects will be complete.
Another slight problem I have is that the Cisco VPN client and EzVPN solution into Proctor Labs is blocked by the edge router that provides internet access in the apartment block I’m in! I need to find out what I need to do to get that opened up, so I can study from home and not need to go into the office for it.
Anyway, so what does this mean for my studies and this blog? Well I see that IPexpert are releasing more V3 blueprint Volume 1 labs – which is great. I will certainly be looking at these once I sort out my connectivity issues and have a more managable workload. Ive said before Im in no real hurry to get this one done, and am not looking at a lab attempt before the end of 2009 or early 2010 – but I need to get a move on and get started in April at the latest. I will endeavour to keep the blog updated with some techincal stuff when I get to it…
Posted in CCIE Blog, ip expert, Life, voice | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jo on February 4, 2009
IPexpert have released the first batch of Volume I labs to cover the 3.0 blueprint. The new IPexpert / Proctor Labs 3.0 vRack topology is shown above.
The new Volume 1 updates are as follows:
- Volume 1, Section 1A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement Campus Infrastructure and Services”
- Volume 1, Section 1B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot Campus Infrastructure and Services”
- Volume 1, Section 2A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCM Endpoints“
- Volume 1, Section 2B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCM Endpoints”
- Volume 1, Section 3A Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Implement CUCME Endpoints“
- Volume 1, Section 3B Workbook & Proctor Guide – ”Troubleshoot CUCME Endpoints”
They have also updated the Proctor Labs booking site so when booking a session it prompts you for what version of the hardware you would like to use and also the ability to load/save configs. I have yet to book a session as I am still preparing for my move this Friday, but hopefully I will get some time to have a look more closely at the new content and features in the next couple of weeks or so. One thing I do see is that there are more SIP devices (the labels on the EzVPN part of the diagram above are now correct and there are SIP phone for the HQ and BR2 sites that run over the EzVPN tunnel – full list below).
I am looking forward to checking out CUCM 7.0 to see how it differs from 4.1 as well as all the other ‘new’ features that 3.0 will bring to the table.
Mark @ IPexpert has just added a new blog entry covering the new content and changes – head on over here
Posted in BLS - Volume I, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jo on December 21, 2008
We have now all had time to reflect on the new Voice 3.0 blueprint and I have to say that I am pleased that they have announced them! As a relative new comer to the Voice track I must admit that I was not looking forward to learning about the older versions of CallManager and Unity as well as the CatOS and 6608 specific tasks (especially QoS on CatOS).
So what do the new announcements give us…well no more CatOS, which in itself is a bonus and also they have upgraded the software to more recent versions. Doing away with the 6500 platform, VG248, ATA, Fax, Unity means that these areas are no longer relevant so no need to focus on these any more.
Mark Snow over at IPexpert has put together a great post on the blog detailing what the major differences will be on the new exam, and what topics will be useful to study in the current BLS workbooks, I suggest if you are not planning on taking the Voice Lab before mid-July 2009 then you hop on over and check it out. They will be updating their labs and videos and releasing them as they are ready, so I will be looking forward to these, but in the meantime the current workbooks can still be used as they cover 70% of the material. Sure, some of the UI elements will change but the concepts will remain the same.
So what does this all mean for me? Well, I have not been studying over the past month or so and have basically stopped for the year now. Things were a little manic at work and also coming up to Christmas meant there was no time. Now I know what the changes are I will set about working out a schedule that starts early in 2009 to get cracking again working towards the 3.0 blueprint. The changes have given me a new lease of enthusiasm and hopefully I can work though the BLS workbooks using the current material and when IPexpert update them use the new material.
The ‘killer app’ of the BLS for me is the video walk throughs on the Volume III labs, but I guess these will take time to produce based on the new blueprint. Im setting myself a target of attempting the lab by the end of 2009 or early 2010, by which time I expect the training materials to be fully updated.
This will probably be my last post of the year, so wish everyone a Happy Christmas and also a Great New Year when the time comes.
Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Materials, ip expert, voice | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jo on December 12, 2008
It had to happen, the day that I dont feverishly check the IPexpert blog for updates, they go and post about some crazy bargains in the pipeline for their readers. Maybe I will now set up an RSS feed for it! 😉
I suggest you head over to the IPexpert blog for more info, and sign up on the different social networks they participate in to be in with a chance of some great deals.
I am back from my holidays now, so will be posting some more on the Voice Lab changes over the weekend hopefully.
Posted in CCIE Materials, ip expert | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jo on December 2, 2008
The update has been announced – the voice lab is changing.
New details can be found here:
The changes look quite interesting, I wonder how much of the current blueprint will be useful. I am glad for one that CallManger has been upated to something other than 4.1 (actually CUCM 7.0) and Im not sure if they have done away with the 6500 elements all together?
The Hardware and Software list is here:
As an IPexpert BLS customer hopefully they will be able to provide guidance on when the product and Proctor Labs vRacks will be updated to relect the new content.
Im on holiday at the moment out in Sweden, so I will write some more when I get back on all of this. Its good news though I think!
Posted in CCIE Blog, CCIE Prep, ip expert, Lab Schedule, voice | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jo on November 22, 2008
Jared has written a very nice post over at the IPexpert Blog on a recommended book list for the CCIE R&S. Its good to see that I own 4 of the 7 books he lists on there – and I have to say the list is so much shorter than the recommended one listed by Cisco – which does have its fair share of outdated material.
It is an important part of the process to get the fundamental knowledge of all the different technologies before heading into full scale labs from the workbooks, which you can only get from reading. There is no shortcut really. While I personally didnt read any of the books I own for R&S from cover to cover, I did read large chunks of both of Routing TCP/IP Volume I and II. These books are really excellent. I would have liked to read Internet Routing Architectures a little, but found Volume II to cover most of the bases I needed. Of course the Cisco documentation contains a lot of great information too. If you are reading this and are doing your R&S then I would recommend you check out the article and buy the books.
So this brings me onto books I need for my Voice studies. It would be great if Mark or Vik could do a similar blog post for the Voice track. The thing that concerns me a little is that if the lab is due for a change in the new year, then how many of the voice topics will be out of date. Im sure that all of the Call Manager 4.1 stuff will change, along with the Unity and other non-generic topics. So for now I am going to hold off from purchasing any Voice related books until I know whats happening with the lab changes. The CCIE Voice recommended book list is here.
Posted in CCIE Blog, ip expert, voice | 2 Comments »