Debug_all's CCIE Collaboration thread

Debug allDebug all Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi everyone!

Just like any new journey, this thread begins from the decision. I decided to achieve an expert level knowledge and skills in Cisco Collaboration technologies. And of course, I would like to try to go through a challenge of getting my own CCIE number.
The timeline depends mostly on my workload (and budget). I am not going to spend all my free time for studies at the moment. But at the finish line I will definitely have to. I suppose to do a Written exam in next 360 days. After that I hope that I will be able to attempt the lab in 1,5-2 years, probably not once.
It will be a long road, but I am not underestimating the effort that is required to successfully complete this goal.

Some words about my technology background and experience. I finished my university education as a Telecom Engineer two years ago, so I am not new to voice technologies and networks. I had a luck to get my first job as a Service-Desk specialist for a local division of an international company in mid-2011. Then I was promoted to an Infrastructure engineer (all-in-one sysadmin:)) position in early 2012 in the same company. At this position I had a luck to touch a dozen of various spheres and to start my specialization in Cisco VoIP and R&S. I attended a Cisco Network Academy CCNA course, and passed my first Cisco exam in September 2012. Then I continued the self-studying, and in ~2 years got my CCNP R&S status. At this point, I was dealing a lot with VoIP at work. At the beginning of 2015 I moved to another company to a dedicated network engineer position (80% Voice and 20% R&S).

In this thread I would like to share my progress and study notes. I hope that it might be useful to someone.
Will be glad to receive any feedback and advice as well.

In addition, structured study approach is much more efficient.
I will review and post my reading list as well as some thoughts about a home lab soon.

p.s. I am not native speaker, so sorry for my English in advance. I will keep improving my language skills as well. :)


  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Welcome to the officers mess. Keep logging your journey and the hours spent on your endeavour.

    Most of all, good luck!
  • Debug allDebug all Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    gorebrush, thank you!

    Here is some information regarding my study materials. My electronic library consists of:
    1. Cisco Collaboration System 9.x/10.x Solution Reference Network Design (SRND) guide
    2. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express Solution Reference Network Design 9.x
    3. Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration Guide 9.x/10.x
    4. System Administration Guide for Cisco Unity Connection Release 9.x/10.x
    5. Configuration and Administration of IM and Presence Service on Cisco Unified Communications Manager 9.x/10.x
    6. CCIE Collaboration Quick Reference by Akhil Behl
    7. Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 1 (CIPT1) Foundation Learning Guide
    8. Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Part 2 (CIPT2) Foundation Learning Guide
    9. Implementing Cisco Unified Communications Voice over IP and QoS (CVOICE) Foundation Learning Guide
    10. Integrating Cisco Unified Communications Applications (CAPPS) Student Guide VOL1-3
    11. Introduction to Troubleshooting Cisco Unified Communications Solutions (TVOICE) Student Guide VOL1-2
    12. SIP Trunking By Christina Hattingh, Darryl Sladden, ATM Zakaria Swapan
    13. TcL Scripting for Cisco IOS By Raymond Blair, Arvind Durai, John Lautmann
    Plus 60+ hours of INE CCIE Collaboration videos. I already watched 58 of 135.

    Some books and docs from this list were finished at the past, but I decided to begin from scratch to refresh my knowledge and fill the gaps.
    CIPT1 is completed for the second time. I am currently reading CIPT2 FLG (~50% done).
    Some SIP related RFCs are worth reading as well, I think.

    Do anyone know any other must-have positions in the reading list? Please advice.

    As for the home lab, I find Mark Snow's post in the INE Blog useful here.
    Option 4 would be the most appropriate for me (Near Complete Full Rack (1 ISR-G2) Augmented with Rack Time).
    I have got one used ISR G2 2911 for now. 1x PVDM3-16 and 1x VWIC3-1MFT-T1/E1 have been ordered.
    So I need three more ISR G1 routers with PVDMs and E1/T1 modules, mid-level server (something like HP dl360 would be enough, I think), PoE switch (~cat.3560) and IP-phones, of course (ideally, 3x9971 with cameras plus 3x7962).
  • sandman748sandman748 Member Posts: 104
    I wrote my written exam this morning and passed with high 800 score. Used INE training videos almost exclusively. I found that they covered about 60-70% of the exam material. I was mostly able to answer the rest of it from my 5+ years of experience with CUCM, UCCX and Unity Connection and the QoS stuff was pretty basic for anyone who has written CCNP:R&S

    Didn't bother with any hands on lab configuration which hurt me quite a bit on the IOS and CUCME section.

    That list you have is pretty comprehensive. I would also review the docwiki for UC on virtualization platforms. I found that INE didnt cover it at all and it is not really referenced in the books that I had read. Also if you can get your hands on the IPexpert videos they also had a couple sections of material that INE did not cover (native call queuing as an example)

    I will be following your thread. Best of luck in your studies.
    Working on CCIE Collaboration:
    Written Exam Completed June 2015 ~ 100 hrs of study
    Lab Exam Scheduled for Dec 2015
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Unregistered / Not Logged In Posts: 0 ■□□□□□□□□□
    @Debug are you watching the INE ATC Collab series? How do you like it? I'm not on the ccie collab just yet but I've been referencing the iPexperts CCIE collab lab essentials videos and I do like them.
  • Debug allDebug all Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    First of all, congratulations with your Written! And thank you for your reply.
    There is a little UC virtualization section in a CCIE Collaboration Quick Reference by Akhil Behl.
    By the way, what hardware would you suggest for a home ESXi server?

    Yes, it is a ATC Collab series. I have no IPexpert videos yet to compare with. But INE videos are not bad, Mark Snow explains most of the topics very clear, in my opinion.

    At this time PVDM and T1/E1 modules are installed to my 2911. Next required items are IP-phones and 1x 2821 (as a PSTN router). It should be enough to begin my lab studies on CME and IOS related sections.
  • lrblrb Member Posts: 526
    Good luck mate! Like gorebrush has said, keep track of your progress and be consistent. Even 30minutes or an hour on some days when it is difficult to study can make all the difference.
  • cisco_nerdcisco_nerd Member Posts: 198
    Debug all wrote: »
    By the way, what hardware would you suggest for a home ESXi server?

    You should build a PC / server that has enough resources to host all of your UC servers sufficiently with a little overhead. My ESXi box is an Intel Core i7-4930K (6-core), 64Gb DDR3, and a ton of HDDs. Enough to host the whole CCIE lab environment - for both HQ and Site B on the one box!

    For CCNP Voice, i'm running an 8.5 cluster (2-CUCM, 1-CUC, 1-CUPS, 1-UCCX 9.0, 1-2012 AD) in VMWare Workstation and this runs well.

    Refer to the UC Virtualization docwiki when building to calculate how much resources you may need.

    Others may have other suggestions - but that's what I use. Budget would be the biggest limiting factor of course.
  • Debug allDebug all Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    lrb, cisco_nerd, thank you for your advice.

    Since my last update I finished reading CIPT2 FLG (~12 hours) and started reading CVOICE FLG (~2 hours).
    Currently watching INE video #69 (+10 videos and ~4 hours).

    sandman748 By the way, I can see that a Native call queuing is slightly covered in the Annunciator section of INE videos.
  • davenulldavenull Member Posts: 173 ■■■□□□□□□□
    May I also recommend reading CVOICE 8.0 by Andrew Froehlich besides Kevin Wallace's book. I read them both and there's quite a bit of material in one book that is not covered in the other.

    Plus, Froehlich's book is much easier to read, somewhat like Lammle vs Odom.

    Both books have some technical mistakes (not just typos), I'd run their examples through cli, especially translation rules.
  • Alex90Alex90 Member Posts: 289
    Good luck mate. When I end up going for CCIE it will be in Collaboration so I'll be interested to see how you get on. I'm just knocking out some of the R&S exams at the moment until the new CCNA/NP Collaboration has some decent training materials out.

    How many hours a day/week are you planning to study for this?
  • Debug allDebug all Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    davenull, thanks, I'll keep this book in mind.

    Alex90, thank you too. CCNA/NP Collab tracks are much more expensive due to video stuff as well.

    I am trying to spend around 10-20 hours a week for studying for now, not including my working hours.
    However, I am specializing on VoIP at work, so it is a plus for my studies. There are always interesting cases in a production environment. Unfortunately, I am very limited in discussing some specific things from my job experience and projects because of a strict NDA. :)
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hey, Debug, how goes the journey?
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