My CCIE Data Center Thread

IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from mPasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
I just wanted to kick off this thread. I knew I was going to jump into the written right after the CCNP DC but I didn't want to kick off a CCIE thread until I passed the written. I *barely* squeaked by on the written today. I got a score of 852 - about a question or two away from a fail. That was a HARD test. I've never taken a CCIE written before so many they are all that tough but OUCH! I probably would have done better if I didn't have such an insane work week but a pass is a pass.

As soon as I get the confirmation e-mail, I'm going to book my first lab attempt in October of 2015 if I can schedule that far ahead. Since I've already read the entire CCIE DC recommended reading list and I've gone through the INE videos, here's what I'm going to do to prepare for the lab:
  • Watch the IPExpert's videos (2x day until they're done)
  • Listen to the IPExpert MP3's while driving to maximize my commute
  • IPExpert bootcamp in April
  • Review best practice guides (SteveO's blog has them conveniently listed) and config guides
  • Form a local study group since there seems to be a lot of people locally who are interested in the DC track or just learning more - meet 1x a week or 1x every two weeks
  • Participate in another study group internal to my work place - Meetings are every Saturday
  • Labbing like a crazy person - Starting December 1st, I have rack time scheduled from 6PM - 2AM on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays for a full UCS, MDS, N7/5/2K rack. On Wednesday and Thursday, I'm going to try to do shorter labs on INE for maybe 1-2 hour labs focusing on maybe one or two things and watch more videos those days. Sundays will be my day off from studying and craziness and I'll just spend that time with the wifey.
  • Blogging - I'm going to try to crank out one focused post a week
Obviously some weeks are going to be busier than others but I'm going to try to stick to this plan as much as I can. If I get 20-25 hours of labbing a week, I'll have over 1000 hours racked up by the time I try my first lab attempt. I'm also very luck to have a great spouse supporting me through all this so I guess it's CCIE or bust for me.
BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
Blog: www.network-node.com
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Comments

  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    You can schedule 8 months in advance I believe...

    Good luck!
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Good to know. I guess I'll be scheduling it in February!
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • broli720broli720 Member Posts: 394 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Congrats and good luck.
  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Member Posts: 923 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Impressive! Good to hear. Good luck on your lab portion! I know you'll knock it out of the park, considering the small amount of time you accomplished the written after the NP completion :D
    :study:Reading: Lab Books, Ansible Documentation, Python Cookbook 2018 Goals: More Ansible/Python work for Automation, IPSpace Automation Course [X], Build Jenkins Framework for Network Automation []
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    We'll see. The written was something I've had as a goal to knock out since the beginning of the year but it's a far ways from the written to the lab. I'm not going to give myself the added pressure by saying I'm going to pass the first try but fingers crossed. I'm definitely not wasting any time. I was able to scoop up some rack time tonight on INE so chalk up 5 more hours of lab time.

    Configuring vPC and troubleshooting it is almost muscle memory at this point:


    Getting vPCs configured and up (back-to-back or otherwise) is cake. It's all about the order of operations and how to troubleshoot an issue if you come across it.

    Played around with OTV as well:


    That was going great until I fat-fingered the OTV authentication and didn't notice since traffic was still flowing until I changed the transport from multicast to unicast (adjacency server). Traffic dropped and I was trying to figure out WTF I did wrong for about 20 minutes. I ended up comparing the configs and realizing my mistake. It was a good exercise in troubleshooting.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • ninjaturtleninjaturtle Member Posts: 245 ■■■□□□□□□□
    INE rack time ftw!! Are they booked up pretty heavily? I'd like to jump on after my CCNP and just dabble around on those N7Ks. Do some labs just for fun and learn the code. But looks like now you need to purchase the workbook to get rack time. Hmmm maybe I'll get myself a nice Xmas present this year!
    Current Study Discipline: CCIE Data Center
    Cisco SEAL, Cisco SWAT, Cisco DeltaForce, Cisco FBI, Cisco DoD, Cisco Army Rangers, Cisco SOCOM .ιlι..ιlι.
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    I have a lot of good luck getting time when it's the day of. I think a lot of people just book time and cancel the day of if they don't have the time. Getting SAN + UCS is next to impossible though. You're better off just buying an cheap MDS off Ebay to get used to the commands and using the UCS emulator (or PEC labs if you work at a partner).

    The thing about INE's DC racks is that you can't use it as your primary CCIE DC resource - you can't create VDCs, VDC Templates, VDC allocation, etc. If you're renting their Nexus racks, you're going to be able to do basic DC switching, vPC, and OTV.

    Edited: Looks like they did install the Enhanced Layer 2 licenses on the Nexus 7Ks because I can use the command feature-set fabricpath. I used to not be able to configure it. I guess I know what I'll be playing with for the next 2 hours of my rack time :P

    Double Edit: BOOM! FabricPath and vPC+
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Good luck. I'll be very interested in watching this thread, as you're starting with a different background than me.

    Cheers!
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Quick note:

    I'm finding when I was little blocks of lab time and the INE racks aren't available, the PEC labs are a great filler and I like to manipulate them to do things that are a bit outside the labs they're designated for. For example, I've noticed that the FabricPath pods are usually available in the evening and the topology is as follows:


    It's pretty easy to play around with FabricPath for a couple hours but if you want to use that same lab to play around with private VLANs, FHRPs, vPCS, etc, it's pretty easy to do so. Between the PEC labs and an internal lab I have access to sometimes, I'm needing to use less of my INE tokens than I thought I would need.

    For anyone who might be using the PEC labs though: Cisco is shutting them down from 12/23 to 1/11/15 so you won't be able to use them for labbing during that timeframe.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Member Posts: 1,423
    Good luck Iris!

    Should be a fun and exciting adventure!

    No rest between CCNP: DC and CCIE either I see! icon_smile.gif
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Definitely no rest! I figured this will be the easiest transition given the amount of studying I've already done. At this point, it's just a TON of labbing, reading config guides and CVDs... I already have the recommended books out of the way and I don't want to lose my momentum. My goal is to take the lab no later than October 2015.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    For anyone who might be using the PEC labs though: Cisco is shutting them down from 12/23 to 1/11/15 so you won't be able to use them for labbing during that timeframe.

    Correct. I asked a friend at Cisco, and he said that Cisco has a normal end of year shutdown there, but that PEC labs are running longer (there was mention of an upgrade). So far, I've not seen a similar notice on Dcloud or Labgera though, so they should still be available for partners who need lab time. I expect I'll be spending most of that time reading, myself.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I have access to PEC and it would have come in handy around December. But I think I can manage with the infrastructure I've got myself.
  • JasonXJasonX Member Posts: 96 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good luck Iris!
    2016 Certification Goals:
    CCIE R/S Written: ???
    CCIE R/S Lab: ???
    Add me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-meier/38/912/280/
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,832 Mod
    Good luck Iris. Your progression through the Cisco certs has been very inspiring to follow.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, OCI Foundations Associate, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
    Currently Working On: Python, OSCP Prep
    Next Up:​ OSCP
    Studying:​ Code Academy (Python), Bash Scripting, Virtual Hacking Lab Coursework
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Figured it was only a matter of time before you started this. I think I'll let you pass first so you can tell me what to study :p
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Another week gone by...

    This week, I went through some vPC, Layer 3, and FabricPath labs and went through about 10 hours of videos. I am finding the IPExpert videos a lot more effective than the INE ones. I follow along with the content with the PEC labs - Mostly the FabricPath and Nexus 5000-2000 vPC ones. It's funny, I notice that Nexus 5500 and 2248 PEC lab is always full but the Nexus 5000-2000 one always seems to be available in the afternoon or night so I can play around a lot with FEX that way. The FabricPath one has a mix of F and M linecards so I can configure and lab routing, FHRPs, BFD, etc on there easily enough.

    My job approved me to get a bootcamp and I had a $5K budget so I'm going to the IPExpert bootcamp in April. Already booked it, got the workbooks, and picked up 29 4-hour rack rentals with IPExpert. The Lab Workbooks are a lot more thorough at IPExpert than INE. I believe Rick Mur wrote them originally and, like his videos, he goes into a lot of detail. I'm very happy with them so far. I think there is only one trainer that I'm finding a little dry but thankfully there seems to be a lot of videos to choose from.

    Right now my studying is following along with the IPExpert videos so I lab as I watch. After I'm done with those videos, I'm going to pull up the CCIE DC Blue Print and just start going down each topic one-by-one. Then I'll probably move onto the lab workbooks.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Just wanted to throw an update up here:
    So far things are going great. I've gone through all the NX-OS videos on IPExpert and spent about 30-40 collective hours of labbing in the last month. I feel like I'm oozing NX-OS commands out my ears so naturally I'm moving into the SAN and MDS world for the next few weeks. I feel like I'm weakest in SAN so if I can get myself feeling a lot stronger about storage, I'll be happy. I also formed a training group at work to get my peers through the CCNA and CCNP DC track so I'll be teaching the technologies to a group of peers weekly starting on the 7th to help cement the knowledge.

    As far as upcoming labbing and rack rental time is concerned, the Cisco annual shutdown is in effect so I'm not abusing the PEC labs at the moment. I was using INE here and there because I could find a few hours of Nexus openings but getting MDS and UCS rack rental time is impossible. My company paid for about 100 hrs of IPExpert Rack Rental time so I've already scheduled 30 hours on weekends in January and I have some time on my work racks during the weekday nights throughout the month.

    My next two goals for January are:
    1) At least 60 hours of rack time combined (IPExpert, INE, work racks, PEC, etc)
    2) Feel like I have mastery of Storage Area Networks through labbing, reading the Cisco Storage Networking Cookbook, reading best practice guides, and going through the IPExpert videos
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Finally starting to update my blog a bit more. Wrote a long one on Virtual Port Channels today: tinyurl.com/kxoq5tu
    Forgive any typos - It's 2AM here so I'm sleepy. I did a long lab with vPCs earlier today for the express purpose of taking screenshots so I could blog about it so I'll write a "Part 2" tomorrow on that and then maybe a "Part 3" on traffic flows, best practices, etc. I'll also do some posts about OTV, VSANs, BFD, FEX and some other stuff this week when I have time.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    A couple more blog posts on vPC:
    vPC Part 2: katherinemcnamara
    vPC Part 3: katherinemcnamara

    I think I'm going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the week while I study SAN and then write a couple about OTV over the weekend. Hopefully my writing style isn't too horrible. I've never done an actual blog before
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • _Gonzalo__Gonzalo_ Member Posts: 113
    A-W-E-S-O-M-E

    I have finished 1st and had to leave 2nd midway (I need my breakfast NOW! :))

    I loved it! As soon as you posted, I have been dying to read it, as I was sure that something like vPC had to exist. But I´ve been sick for the last three days and my head wasn´t up to the task. Please, keep writing these articles! And please, stop worrying about your writing style! :) It is written in a totally clear and understandable way! (not to mention those touches of humor! I really laughed @paranoid and @network gods)
  • IristheangelIristheangel CCIEx2 (Sec + DC), CCNP RS, CCNA V/S/R/DC, CISSP, CEH, MCSE 2003, A+/L+/N+/S+, and a lot more from m Pasadena, CAMod Posts: 4,133 Mod
    Hahahaha... "Paranoia is a heightened sense of survival" - my motto when networking. Thanks for the feedback. I'm a bit of a perfectionist myself so I might go back and add some more content to the posts. I left Part 2 a little lean because I knew I would remember stuff and add later (i.e. system MAC address vs system local MAC address) so if you check later this week, it might be even longer :P

    I definitely will keep writing them. It's forcing me to verbalize and look up the stuff that slipped my mind or I'm a little hazy on so it's good for my studies as well. :)
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
  • _Gonzalo__Gonzalo_ Member Posts: 113
    so if you check later this week, it might be even longer :P

    :)

    I´ll do that!! icon_thumright.gif
  • dsgmdsgm Member Posts: 228 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have been following the Blog and i did like your posts on VPC, solidified the stuff i have been reading in the Using Trill, FabricPath and Vxlan book and i just started the Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals Book, plan on knocking out the CCNA DC in the very near future
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Have you guys tried this > Proctor Labs CCIE vRack Rental < ?

    Almost buying a bunch of lab hours here, but I need to know if it pays off (Try converting USD to BRL icon_sad.gif).

    Iris, what SAN resources would you recommend for NP DC? I am completely new to SAN technologies, don't even know where to start from.
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    d4nz1g, I do all of my rack rentals (other than PEC labs) from ipexpert there at proctorlabs. Other than weeks they're teaching a bootcamp, they ALWAYS have tech racks available. Mock lab racks (real UCS gear instead of UCSPE and access to admin VDC) are harder to get, but still available if you plan far enough ahead.

    Their workbooks are really good too, and they're working on a new edition now.

    This bundle adds both of their workbooks for only 150 more vs the 100hr pack alone
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Thank you, joels!

    I guess that the tech lab will be enough for the Unified Fabric Support stuff, am I right?
    Taking a look on the bundles and workbooks, so I can see if it fits on my budget right now ;P
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I have tech labs slots scheduled every monday/thursday from now until my CCIE lab. It will definitely give you more than enough for preparing for your CCNP. Your bigger problem there, just like with CCIE written, will be memorizing every feature of each particular hardware component. :)
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    If the cost is an issue, definitely talk to their sales team. They've been great so far with me towards figuring out lab and videos that fit my budget, etc.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    DC stuff is way more expensive than everything else lol.
    I will take a tech rack time as a pilot to see what I can get from it.

    Still worried about SAN stuff, could you recommend a book, or something like that?
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