Jumping into CCNP Data Center

d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
Hey guys!

I just got a Consultant position on a strong IT integrator here in Brazil, which is focused on SAN and Storage technologies (along with routing and switching, wireless, virtualization, also).

I have a solid background in IT and network, some experience with Nexus switching (mostly vPC) and Brocade.

I am currently reading CCDP ARCH (DC and SAN) and NX-OS Switching (really good one), but I still need some SAN, FC, Storage resources, since I have never ever touched anything related to it.

I will start by DCUFI and then DCUFT (achieving Unified Fabric Support will be great for partnership purposes), and later will be focusing on UC stuff.

Could someone suggest any resource/book that covers the SAN related topics on the DC track?

Currently using Titanium for labbing, but need way more knowledge about the technologies to get more from it.

Also, I'd like to hear from you guys if VIRL would be better than Titanium, because i found it kinda limited (couldn't find anything LISP and VXLAN related).

Thank you in advance!


  • deth1kdeth1k Member Posts: 312
    VIRL uses Titanium, so answer to your question is no, it's not any better ;(
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464

    Went through DC LAN architectures (Top of Rack, End of Row) and described each Nexus product for each function.

    Moved to Nexus 2k 5k and 7k chassis/forwarding architecture, describing modules and so on.

    Now starting to take notes of NX-OS software architecture, and finally, VDC operations and Management options for NX-OS.

    Using NX-OS book (covers almost everything), Cisco Docs (comparing old stuff to new stuff and learning possible caveats and taking notes), CBT Nuggets DCUFI and Cisco PEC Gold Labs.

    I hope I can finish hardware/software architecture until the end of the next week, and start the actual technology stuff.

    Taking notes of hardware specific applications, software behavior and specific tshoot/config commands for each section.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Reminder: never reload your VDC on PEC Labs.

    Awful experience yesterday, was not able to configure anything.
    Anyway, I managed to finish the tasks, which includes show env, show invent, basic hardware stuff.

    Very bad experience for a first time. I hope that today's session will be way more productive.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Let me update this:

    During this meantime, I had to attend an ITIL Foundation course, finished it and got certified :)

    Back to my DC studies, went through NX OS Fundamentals and Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals about twice, and reading the later one once again.

    Having such a hard time with VMware and VM FEX (completely new to server and network virtualization), so I bought an online VMware course.

    PEC Labs are amazing, specially the 5k-2k vpc FEX, which includes FCoE and VM FEX at the end.

    Still need to review some stuff, but I think they are less important (like RBAC, Multicast, Routing and FHRP), since I have a lot of experience on that, so I am focusing my energy on Nexus specific stuff.

    My contract ends in about 3 months, and I am getting in touch with an integrator that is Cisco/VMware/EMC partner, so I need to rush and get UFT certified.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Sitting for DCUFI on jun/08. Wish me luck.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Best of luck. DC is definitely a great track to pursue, even if I haven't convinced any of my coworkers to start yet. :)
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Hahaha, yea...when I talk about SAN or FCoE my coworkers are like "you are not mixing my LAN with storage stuff bro"

    Btw, I'll use this next week to review the basics like routing with nx-os, NPV/NPIV FCoE and adapter-fex/vmfex. Pretty confident about everything else already.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    >be using FP lab on PEC
    >vpc+, peer link not coming up
    >spent 30-40 mins trying to tshoot (even went to the config guide)
    >sh int status
    >e1/29-30 not connected

    huge facepalm
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Just passed DCUFI this morning. 9xx score.

    It is kinda easy if you know well the concepts, and answers to every single question are on the docs.

    Now preparing for DCUFT :)
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Wow, it's been 2 months already.

    I've been preparing everything so I can start studying for the CCIE DC, got everything on my hands now.

    Also, I have prepared a plan to study and tackle DCUFT which is aligned with my CCIE studies.

    The USD to local currency rate is around 1x3.5, which makes the cost for the exam way too high, something around R$900~. Kinda expensive.

    Scheduling it by the next week for mid sept. Meanwhile, I will stick to my studies in QoS on Nexus platforms (super uber complex, way too different from the ones I used to configure) and getting to know the UCS platform.

    Nothing else too difficult. I feel that I have been at every topic for the CCIE, but need to go deeper on every aspect of the test.

    Using INE videos, Cisco Docs, PEC/IPexpert and, of course, taking several notes.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    After two long weeks trying to master QoS in Nexus platforms, I feel that I am starting to grasp the fundamentals and I am comfortable with the syntax. Now need to include QoS on my labs.

    Since QoS was the only topic that I have had little exposure during my studies, I am feeling confident enough to start pushing my knowledge on the CCIE topics to a more advanced level.

    I am starting with SAN and FCoE this week, then I will focus on UCS (along with Nexus switching such as FEX/VPC).

    My goal is to align the knowledge and practice on every major topic (Nexus, UCS, Storage) before going deeper and deeper into each topic.

    By the way, my major issue is to keep motivated. But let's see where it goes from here.
  • dsgmdsgm Member Posts: 228 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Two things, i like the progress you are on and hope to get on that path myself, really like the nexus DC track

    Second where are you from, i only ask because i see the Tribe of Judah badge at the side
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Hi m8!

    I am from Brazil, this pic is not related to my nationality :)
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Just scheduled my DCUFT exam. 21/sep it is!

    Going deep on vPC's and Fabricpath, and looking forward to finish OTV this week.

    Very confident on MDS and SAN stuff. Need to review FCoE and system management.

    Sounds like it is going to be like a walk in the park ;)

    Right after this one, I will drown myself on the docs and lab as much as I can. Let's see if I can make it to the IE.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Cramming vPC and fabricpath for the past six days on PEC, starting OTV by the next week.
    After that, will focus on SAN (fabric merge, to be more specific) and then FCoE.

    Decided to move to another state by the end of the year, spotted a Gold partner already :)

    This Specialist certification will be of much help!

    Besides labbing, I am reading Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals every single day on my commute (60-80 mins everyday) and a few Cisco docs at work.

    I am already messing up with the catalyst/IOS commandline hahaha. Entered "sh int br" and "sh port-c summ" like 10 times today!
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Found out that it is possible to run OTV on the fabricpath PEC lab :)

    Finished vPC and Fabricpath, and planning to finish OTV by the middle of the next week. 19 days until DCUFT, and there is like 60% of the blueprint left, so I will be kinda busy.

    Cisco Docs are my best companion at work, and now I am trying to lab everyday (it is getting overwhelming already >.<).

    Let's see how it goes from here.
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    1 week left, and I think there is still too much to review :/

    Starting SAN (NPV-NPIV and Fabric merge) today, may finish it by tomorrow, since I overstudied these topics for DCUFI.
    By wednesday I will start focusing on platform specific stuff (don't even know where to look at first >.<) and FCoE.
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Woo hoo! gotta love the frantic last week before an exam! Good luck, you can do it!
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Thank you!

    Yea, it seems that things will be fine at work, which gives me more time to read the docs and prepare my lab session at night.

    Let's see how good I am under pressure x.x
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Best of luck! As you've learned, DC has a huge amouhnt of information you can learn, but I know you've done a ton of work.

    Good job on using fabricpath lab to practice OTV. That's still on my list of things to write up sometime (along with a network section for Flexpod Labgear lab, which is even more intimidating), but there's always something else to do. Probably better anyway to just tell people it can be done and let them figure it out themselves. :)
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Thank you joels!

    Flexpod lab? Is it Cisco PEC?

    Omg, I am in need of this!
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    This is actually Labgear, not pec, but another similar site. While PEC is pretty much just training though, Labgera is training and proof of concept/sales pitches. Actually, it looks like I need to update that blog post on it now, as the DCV-OTV lab isn't available anymore. :)


    Joel's CCIE Journey | Labgear

  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    PEC labs were offline yesterday icon_sad.gif

    Btw, finishing FCoE and will try to lab everything together on sat/dun (IPX)
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Had a terrible testing experience today. Scored 730/797.

    1- a few (2-3) questions were completely nonsense (Exhibit showing FC topology - question regarding FCoE, for example)
    2- One of the simlets was resized in a way I couldn't understand the interface labels. (a lab is worth A LOT of points)
    3- some (5-6) questions were actually hard, my fault on these.

    Also, I wasn't expecting questions regarding VM-FEX, but I scored this one.

    My biggest mistake was not registering a comment for those questions.
    Honestly, I don't know if I will be sitting for that exam again.
  • joelsfoodjoelsfood Member Posts: 1,027 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Sorry to hear it man. Failing is always rough, and can take a while to bounce back from. I'm just now starting to lab and study again after my last failure in June.

    Stick with it!
  • d4nz1gd4nz1g Member Posts: 464
    Thank you joels.

    The test is so expensive for me, and I guess I will not be able to pay for it again (I work for a partner, but....).

    I will stick to my studies, anyway. Getting to know openstack and introducing myself to RHCA blueprint and python programming.

    Check this to see how f****d I am: cotação do DÓLAR americano HOJE

    Anyway, I believe that this is going to be my last Cisco exam. Thinking seriously about changing careers; to a server/SAN facing role.
  • ninjaturtleninjaturtle Member Posts: 245 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I'm definitely sorry to hear it ...for both of you guys. When I failed ROUTE the first time, I was devastated. I had to commute to take that exam, so the drive home was rough. But it comes with the territory, especially as we climb the cert ladder. It only gets harder, but in the end it's all worth it.

    Remember, you don't lose when you fail, you lose when you give up. Don't let it beat you!!
    Current Study Discipline: CCIE Data Center
    Cisco SEAL, Cisco SWAT, Cisco DeltaForce, Cisco FBI, Cisco DoD, Cisco Army Rangers, Cisco SOCOM .ιlι..ιlι.
  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Member Posts: 879
    I'm definitely sorry to hear it ...for both of you guys. When I failed ROUTE the first time, I was devastated. I had to commute to take that exam, so the drive home was rough. But it comes with the territory, especially as we climb the cert ladder. It only gets harder, but in the end it's all worth it.

    Remember, you don't lose when you fail, you lose when you give up. Don't let it beat you!!

    Cisco puts way more effort into the CCNP:RS (and probably Security) exams than they do in the less popular tracks. I recently failed a horrible exam myself so I can totally see where d4nz1g is coming from. When an exam is filled with errors and bad* questions, and doesn't reflect knowledge of the topics on the blueprint, it's not a legitimate exam and there's really no point in getting it beyond meeting some cert requirement of an employer for partner status or whatever.

    *And of course, there's an NDA so you can't explain to people how low the quality really is, and you just come off as a whiner like me in this post if you try to. But the quality really is subpar. You have multiple choice questions where all answers are wrong, multiple choice where two options are more or less correct, but you have to pick one, poor language, etc. Questions not on the blueprint (but the blueprint always contains a few items that can mean anything like "troubleshoot config errors" or something vague like that). Over emphasis on minor topics that aren't particularly relevant. And since CCNP:RS for example actually is much better, I can only assume that they just don't care that much about the other tracks. People should know that and take it into account if they decide to actually study for one of these lower priority tracks, like SP or DC.
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