Mow's CCIE Collaboration Epic

MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
OK, so I was going to wait until I actually start the new job, but I am accepting an offer tomorrow for a company that wants me to hit the ground running to pursue CCIE Collaboration, so I'm starting my thread. I have a bunch of books to study, and old INE content to watch. I will be requesting the CollabCert LMS&Workbook bundle once I'm settled, and a CollabCert bootcamp, eventually. For labs, I haven't decided whether I will use rack rentals or buy my own gear, though the new job has a lab rack, so I'll have to see if it will meet my needs, and also how often it will be available.

I plan to use this space as a way to document topics studied, hours studied, as well as work some concepts out on the page for my benefit. I do need to convert my CCNP Voice soon to Collaboration, but I consider that a warm-up to the IE, not mutually exclusive.

I will try to update this thread at least once a week, and will update my blog, too.

Here I go! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!icon_cheers.gificon_cheers.gificon_cheers.gif


  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Step One: I am reading the FLG for CIPTV2. Lots of overlap, but it's stuff I haven't really used in a few years, since taking the older CIPT2 exam. The book has good content, but is a sluggish read. I am supplementing with INE CCNP Voice videos from CIPT2. We don't practice globalization in my current job, so it's a learning curve all over again, but my CCNP Voice goes away in August, so I want to make sure I convert before I lose it.

    The blog is not ready for public consumption, yet. I trashed all of the discouraging, negative posts about hating voice, hating studying, etc. I was not in the right frame of mind to embark on this kind of a journey back then and wanted a fresh start with it. I plan on using the blog to publish some step by step info for myself about Telepresence and its related technologies, since my new job will focus a lot on video and there seems to be, from what I've found, a large hole regarding Telepresence resources "out there".

    I am hoping to be able to tackle the written before the end of the year, as long as my new duties permit. Anyone have any leads on where to find study materials for the Evolving Technologies section? I found this: Evolving Tech but I'm not confident that will be enough. After that I will be looking in earnest for a lab buddy. The plan is still to use Vik's workbooks, so I will need to make sure I have access to a lab that permits at least most of the practice topics.

    That's it for now, more to come!
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Bombed CIPTV2. It was not unexpected, since I didn't really put in the time. I had a voucher I needed to use and was in the town that has the testing center today. Did better on VCS than I thought I would, but I need to seriously hit the books before my retake. I have one more voucher to use before 6/10 so I will probably retake end of next week while studying a crapton.
  • sandman748sandman748 Member Posts: 104
    Good luck on your studies Mow. Hopefully you are able to keep up to date on your journey here. I tried to do the same thing and found I just couldnt be bothered with blogging after a 12 hour study session.

    I just passed recently and figured I'd use your thread to give some general thoughts that I hope you and others will find useful.

    Written study: I used INE exclusively for this. No other training partner I found went to the same level of detail as INE did. Their stuff is a little dated but the shift from voice to collaboration wasn't that big of a change and 90% on the content can be found in the INE videos. I bought their all access pass which was completely worth it, but if I had to save money the CCIE training bundle with the advanced technologies course is 100% worth it. You would need to supplement a little bit with SRND reading and hopefully some real world experience. I didn't find this exam to be much more challenging than any of the NP level exams. In some ways it was easier.

    Lab Study: I went all out with this. Workbooks from INE, IPX, and a 10 day bootcamp with IPX. Plus hundreds of hours of rack rentals with INE, IPX, and Vik Malhi's Collabcert. Not that it matters now, but the IPX bootcamp was 100% worth it. Not enough to pass the exam alone, but got me from 25% ready to 90% in a matter of two weeks. It really helped speed up the learning.

    I have not attended Vik's bootcamp but I have seen his workbooks and I would highly recommend his training #1 over anyone else. It goes more in depth, is more challenging and is much more representative of the real lab. INE and IPX, I found their stuff to be decent but a little easy (difficulty is subjective I guess).

    I went the rack rental route and I kind of regret it, if you think you can bang out this lab on your first shot (see notes below) then it might be worth it, but in all likelihood you can build up the lab at home for slightly more then the rack rental and hopefully recover enough after selling the equipment to come out slightly cheaper then renting. Building your own lab has some huge advantages (the headaches are a great learning process, convenience, more time if you need it) and some disadvantages. Having to schedule sessions and not waste them kind of forced me to practice even when I didn't feel like it.

    If you are going to rent, again I would recommend collabcert. Vik was excellent when you needed support, and all of his equipment and versions are accurate to the real lab(he cheaped out on the gateways a little bit on the DSP side but you can work with it). His pricing and scheduling isnt as flexible. You need to buy 24 hr blocks with discounts for subsequent days but if you are going to dedicate weekends or a full week to study, its cheaper than INE.

    INE's racks were dated as of a few months ago, I was told they were updating but switched to collabcert since I couldnt wait. At the time when I was renting the Jabber version wasn't correct, and had bugs in it that prevented you from doing several key features. If you need to rely on rack phones instead of L2VPN , half their racks were still running old 7961's instead of 7965's. On the plus side their scheduling is much more flexible (i never had issues finding time on short notice) and it can be cheaper than collabcert if you can catch a 40-50% off token sale.

    As for the real lab, its pretty brutal. Not so much in the difficulty of the content or even the amount of time (if you've practiced enough) but more in the interpretation of the requirements. The wording of the questions is horrible, with conflicting statements in a number of key areas. You kinda have to think like they would be and question "If I were designing this exam, what would I be asking for" as some of the statements make little to no sense. And not in the real world vs lab world kinda way, but in the there is literally no way to do both of these requirements so this one makes sense.

    As for preparedness, if you can complete the practice labs from Vik, INE, or IPX in around 5-6 hours you should be good to go. Ideally in the real lab you'll have done all your configuration in 6-7 hours with a minimum of an hour to troubleshoot.

    Get used to verifying configuration via show commands and debugs. It's tempting to verify using the phones in front of you, it just seems more natural, but in the end its the debugs and show commands that earn you the points for the most part. Due to the nature of voice some of it has to be done with the phones, but wherever possible use CLI. You should be able to verify all of the requirements of the lab in 1 hour once you are comfortable with your troubleshooting commands.

    If you fail, rebook for 30 days out if you can. Try to remember as much of the lab as you can and just practice on putting it all together. With voice, the core concepts can't change a whole lot without them reinventing the whole lab, so the different variations of the lab should mostly be small feature changes while the core of the exam remains mostly the same. Take advantage of the fact that this has only been around for two years and they haven't had time to develop 9 or 10 different labs to throw at you.

    It took me three attempts to pass, the first was due to nerves and I wasn't really ready, the second one I thought I killed it but it turns out I misinterpreted the requirements. Third time I finally got it. I've heard the average is 3-4 attempts but definitely do-able in two or less if you are really prepared for your first attempt.

    Most importantly, if you run into a snag, dont spend more than 10 minutes working on it before either notifying the proctor if its a true hardware issue, or moving onto other config and coming back later to take another look at it. People's ability to solve a problem seems to dwindle after 10-15 minutes and a 30 minute break of doing something else usually allows you to refresh. It's really easy to go down a rabbit hole of troubleshooting and the next thing you know you've lost an hour on what was a really small fix.

    Lastly, I highly recommend writing at RTP. I did all three of my tests at different centers and RTP was the best experience (not necessarily the passing one). Lunch was better, and the proctor was brutally honest but fair. A good proctor actually makes a difference and David is one of the best.
    Working on CCIE Collaboration:
    Written Exam Completed June 2015 ~ 100 hrs of study
    Lab Exam Scheduled for Dec 2015
  • omi2123omi2123 Member Posts: 189
    You should strongly consider getting Cisco VIRL. It has all the IOS-XR & IOS-XE, ASAs, L2 & L3 Switching, NX-OS & fully configured servers. For CCIE of any track, I'd recommend to get a server such as Dell R710 with 96-128 gig DIMM, Dual Quad or 6 core CPUs, minimum 4 NIC ports but 5 is recommended, ( Dell Server usually comes with 4 port On board NIC) and atleast 3 100gig SAS HDDs to create a RAID 5 for enduring 1 disk failure just in case. I'd also do a bare metal installation as opposed to ESXi or in VMware Workstation.

    My R710 is coming tomorrow & buying the VIRL in July. Gonna finish my CCNA SP track by next month & then will start CCNA Security. My CCIE R&S journey starts next year in February. Good luck to you.
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    @sandman - thanks for all of the tips! Your comment about the requirements wording has me freaking out already...:) I failed CIPTV2 again today. I knew I was going to, but it still sucked. I had a voucher that expired tomorrow, so I burned it on this attempt. Started a new job on Monday, so I didn't get much studying in, I was travelling to the mothership and meeting all of the new people, then traveled home yesterday and got smothered by kids/wife/dog, then back to work this morning. No big deal, I will hit the books hard for a few weeks until I pass. The new job will allow me to take advantage of NFR pricing, so I will be piecing a lab together starting next month. I will probably do a server first, then routers. Work has some 9971s that I think I may be able to liberate, and 7965s, I think. The PVDM3s are scary, price-wise, but I'll make it work. RTP is like an 8 hour drive, so I'll probably go there two days before the lab, rest, lab, stay another night and leave.

    @omi - I don't think VIRL will work for me. I'm not sure the VRs can emulate any voice features, and they definitely can't emulate DSPs, so it's hardware all the way for me. Thanks for looking out, though!
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Holy. Crap. Started the new job. They basically do all video, no voice, so my eyes are going crossed learning all of this new stuff. I have made no progress towards CCIE (or CCNP Collab conversion, for that matter), based on the current blueprint, but I am learning a ton, in case the blueprint changes. No real training here, not much anywhere that can give you current info about the stuff we deploy beyond the help forums, etc. Cisco dCloud is your friend. It's exciting and terrifying all at once!
  • ITSpectreITSpectre Member Posts: 1,040 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mow wrote: »
    Holy. Crap. Started the new job. They basically do all video, no voice, so my eyes are going crossed learning all of this new stuff. I have made no progress towards CCIE (or CCNP Collab conversion, for that matter), based on the current blueprint, but I am learning a ton, in case the blueprint changes. No real training here, not much anywhere that can give you current info about the stuff we deploy beyond the help forums, etc. Cisco dCloud is your friend. It's exciting and terrifying all at once!

    Go MOW!!!! congrats! icon_cheers.gificon_cheers.gificon_cheers.gif
    In the darkest hour, there is always a way out - Eve ME3 :cool:
    “The measure of an individual can be difficult to discern by actions alone.” – Thane Krios
  • MowMow Member Posts: 445 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Welp, just failed CIPTV2 for the third stinkin time. Closer than ever, though, with a 803. I have time for two more shots at it if I space them out right. UGH.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Well done on the new job. Sorry about the exam though, that sucks.

    You'll get there! :)
  • Danielh22185Danielh22185 Member Posts: 1,195 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Mods please delete this fool ASAP! ^^^
    Currently Studying: IE Stuff...kinda...for now...
    My ultimate career goal: To climb to the top of the computer network industry food chain.
    "Winning means you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else." - Vince Lombardi
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