David's CCIE: R+S Thread

gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
Well folks, here it is. I've made the commitment to myself that this year I will start working on the CCIE: R+S.

This thread at the moment is kind of a placeholder, but somewhere I can come and remind myself that I've made this decision and I will stick with it and see it through.

For those of you who don't know me, maybe a little bit of background information about me would be pertinent about now.

My name is David, I hail from South Wales. Have grown up with and spent my entire life learning about computers and networking. First computer I had was a BBC Micro back in 1987 (I was 4 years old) and what seems to be a never waining love for technology has continued ever since.

I got into Windows PCs in 1991 with the arrival our families IBM Model 55 PS/2, sporting DOS 3.3, 2MB RAM and a 60MB Hard Disk... Not long after I discovered Windows 3.0 and 3.1, then 3.11, and so on.

For the years that followed we had various computers and so on and I was able to hone my skills with Windows.

Exposure to Windows 3.1, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7... all over the years that followed...

Got my Degree in Business IT at 21, completed MCSE shortly before I turned 23.

I started work formally in IT in 2004, working for local government. Did 2 years there bouncing around various temporary posts, and then finally landed my first Systems Admin post in 2006 after getting the MCSA. From there I learned a lot about Network design and decided that starting to move to Cisco was a wiser idea.

I moved to my current job in June of 2008 and suddenly I had exposure to Cisco everywhere, from 2801 Routers to CallManager 4 to 3550 Layer 3.

I attained the CCNA October 2008, CCNP BSCI December 2008, and BCMSN in December of 2009.

I know, 12 months gap, but there is a good reason for this. In April of 2009 I met my now fiancée, so studying wasn't probably as forthcoming as it should have been.

Anyway, to today, I live with Rebecca now, so time is more available, and I've been steadily continuing my certification progress. Hoping to sit the ISCW at the beginning of March, and then wrapping up ONT before the end of April/Early May. This should leave enough time to get the CCNP done and dusted before Cisco change it.

Then, beyond that, while we are not married and currently child-free, getting on with the CCIE while the going is good seems wise.

Hence, here is my thread.

It will be my continuation of ISCW and ONT studies as well but I think I'll be dipping into the CCIE materials from now on to help.

Please, if you would like, you can follow all my progress and blatherings here.

PS, Getting the written CCIE in December seems realistic, and then head for the lab in 2011 :)
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Comments

  • laidbackfreaklaidbackfreak Posts: 991Member
    Nice one fella, I look forward to following your exploits icon_smile.gif

    Bring it on.. and bring it on BIG is what I say.
    if I say something that can be taken one of two ways and one of them offends, I usually mean the other one :-)
  • mrmcmintmrmcmint Posts: 492Member
    Sounds like you have your heart set on it!
    Good luck! and all the best with your studies :)
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    Wellcome to the officers mess. It's been kind of quite on here since Akhiran finished his CCIE. It's good you have put your own thread up like this, you will find lots of people chipping in with encouragement over time which is a great motivator. Im sure you will do well. Keep at it and keep us updated!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Thanks for the words of encouragement guys :)

    Should be good once I really get my head down and regularly get study going, I know I can dedicate myself to it.

    :D
  • GT-RobGT-Rob Posts: 1,090Member
    Welcome to the eternal struggle. You will find about 2 hours after you finish your last CCNP exam, you will be picking up the CCIE written exam guide. You might think now you will take a day off, but you won't.

    Good luck and feel free to post any questions you have.
  • APAAPA Posts: 959Member
    Well done for signing up as well mate :)

    Look forward to conversing more as we ramp up the studies....!

    CCNA | CCNA:Security | CCNP | CCIP
    JNCIA:JUNOS | JNCIA:EX | JNCIS:ENT | JNCIS:SEC
    JNCIS:SP | JNCIP:SP
  • AhriakinAhriakin SupremeNetworkOverlord Posts: 1,800Member
    Best of luck, and thanks for being willing to document the journey :)
    We responded to the Year 2000 issue with "Y2K" solutions...isn't this the kind of thinking that got us into trouble in the first place?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Something you will all learn very quickly is that if I've got something I want to learn about networking, I'll do my best to do so.

    Therefore, to complement the other CCIE books i've bought in the past, I could not resist to order this: -

    CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide: Amazon.co.uk: Wendell Odom, Rus Healy, Denise Donohue: Books

    Today I've managed to sneak some studying in on the dollar, IPSec VPN's. Had plenty of exposure to IPSec before now, have configured VPN's in the past with WatchGuard devices, and run a few sites on Site-to-Site VPN's with a VPN Concentrator at work here - so this gives me an ideal opportunity to see some real life configs :)
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member
    GO ON DAVY SON!

    we are behind you all the way mate! best of luck with it...and that goes to everyone else too.

    Also congrats on the fiancee mate!
    Xbox Live: Bring It On

    Bsc (hons) Network Computing - 1st Class
    WIP: Msc advanced networking
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Well, not so much CCIE detail in this thread from me, but I'm about 2/3rd's the way through my initial reading of the ISCW exam book. Thinking that the beginning of March might be feasible to get the ISCW nailed. Though, I have been tempted to read the ONT book through as well to get a handle on that.

    Basically, I have 6 months to get ISCW and ONT nailed, as of course, our chums at Cisco are changing the curriculum for us in June...

    Anyone here sat the ONT exam can give some brief indication as to difficulty of said exam?

    I don't envisage any problems, just can't afford to slip up, ultimately it dents my CCIE progress...

    Oh, bought the "Understanding IPv6" book mentioned in the other thread too.

    More reading = ftw :D
  • SysAdmin4066SysAdmin4066 Posts: 443Member
    I'm currently studying for the ONT, it doesnt seem very difficult and all of the reports i've gotten is that it's the easiest. For me, it's been the least exciting topics, besides VoIP, so I'm having a very hard time staying motivated and not just reading my R&S books. I will let you know more, I foresee sitting the exam in early Feb.
    In Progress: CCIE R&S Written Scheduled July 17th (Tentative)

    Next Up: CCIE R&S Lab
  • ConstantlyLearningConstantlyLearning Posts: 445Member
    Good luck man.

    Unlucky about being from wales though, that six nations game was SO sweet. :)
    "There are 3 types of people in this world, those who can count and those who can't"
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    I'm currently studying for the ONT, it doesnt seem very difficult and all of the reports i've gotten is that it's the easiest. For me, it's been the least exciting topics, besides VoIP, so I'm having a very hard time staying motivated and not just reading my R&S books. I will let you know more, I foresee sitting the exam in early Feb.

    That would be ace, nice one.

    Good luck !!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Progress update.

    Slow actually - until today.

    Yesterday I put together my new computer - my study tool of choice!

    I've moved from a heavily overclocked Q6600 under water cooling to this: -

    Intel Core i3 530 2.93GHz
    Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H H55
    Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz
    Corsair H50-1 High-Performance CPU Watercooler
    Akasa AK-FN058 Apache Black Super Silent 120mm Fan x 2
    Arctic Cooling MX-3 Thermal Compound
    Antec P180 Mini

    Clicky for big picture

    Finishing touches went on today. 4GHz with 1.375V, and idle temps of under 20'C when running stock.

    Excellent.

    Moving on from that, i've breezed through chapters 18, 19 and 20 of the ISCW book, and my CCIE 4th edition book should be here by midweek.

    :D
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    OK so make that Chapters 18-23.

    All appear be to very lab heavy (i.e. I'll need to lab it to make sure I've learned all I need to)

    Oh, and I've managed to connect a VMWare based Windows Server 2003 based VM to a 3725 running GNS3/Dynamips.

    Yeah, everyone's probably done it by now, but at least I can seperate all my SDM shenanigans and create proper enterprise networks from scratch (and not involve the actual PC that I am using in order to break things)

    The only thing I need to start reading is the IPSec VPN section, and I remember a smidging of that from 70-291 (albeit I did sit that way back in 2004.. man 6 years ago...)

    From here I think i'm going to start looking at the practical lab book... and really nailing MPLS/IPSec - that's the only real "new" content for me...

    Should be a nice little exam this.
  • CCIEWANNABECCIEWANNABE Posts: 465Banned
    looks like a great computer. good job on that. However, I didn't see any PCI x1 slots. Are you planning on tying in some Layer 3 switches in to your topology so you can do the Volume 2 labs that the vendors offer, which tie in all the protocols together? or are you going to use the Q in Q breakout switch method mentioned here (only need one NIC on your PC):

    7200emu.hacki.at :: View topic - HOWTO Connect Real Switches Using One NIC & QinQ

    Good luck with your studies!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    I have ordinary PCI slots but no PCI-E 1x slots, however I believe you can plug in a 1x card into any bigger slot (I.e. 2, 4, 8, 16) and it will work. I will want to get some quad ethernet cards.

    I have however got 2 x 3550 L3's with the EMI image on them

    I'll have a look at that QinQ method, thanks for the headsup on that icon_smile.gif
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Progress not going too bad.

    Pretty much completed my first sweep of the ISCW textbook, and really there is nothing in there that is really surprising or radically new - which makes a change for me because up until now teh majority of the Cisco i've learned has been from scratch.

    The BSCI exam is a total case in point!

    However, this should mean I should be able to clear away the ISCW relatively quickly and for that I am feeling confident.

    I'm off to visit my Dad this morning, but in the meantime i've got about 2 hours, so I'm going to crack open the Lab Portfolio and start playing with stuff in GNS. GNS is a program I love dearly, and I think the majority of the studying will be done with this in tow.

    Thankfully the ADSL/Cable stuff I've done for years, granted not with Cisco devices. Ironically though I put the finishing touches on a brand new site at work this week, and I've implemented the following: -

    IPSec VPN Site-to-Site over ADSL2+ with a Cisco 877
    Layer 3 switching
    New branch office in CallManager (Distributed Processing) (Having had no training on CallManager whatsoever and simply learning myself, this has been rather rewarding!!)
    Wireless Design and implementation (Seriously, I'm quite proud of this - got 4 x 1242 Access Points mounted in the ceiling covering the warehouse)

    So I've used a ton of my CCNP so far for this.

    Once the ISCW is over I'm thinking the ONT will be relatively easy due to my exposure with CallManager so far... Then it'll be onto the big one icon_cool.gif
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    ISCW booked for March 15th.

    \o/
  • john-ciscojohn-cisco Posts: 6Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Its good to see so many guys heading in the same direction.
    Lots to ask questions when needed.

    Good Luck
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Time to update my progress.

    Firstly this exam has been booked for March 15th, gives me 6 weeks and means I have to get my head down now (always perform better knowing that the exam is incoming)

    My reckoning of this exam: - Well, I have to be honest it is nothing really difficult, is it? Seems like the bulk of it is knowing the ins and outs of IPSec VPN's with a ton of Router security thrown in, a bit of MPLS and knowing which technologies you use to connect it all together.

    On the subject of MPLS - I did a little bit of social engineering and figured that I needed to know how one of our Network providers build their routers...

    So here's a small anecdote for you.

    We have an MPLS provided by an SP, they provide the routers, the lot. This company is not based in the UK, all support is overseas.

    When they send out a router, it generally comes with an engineer from some local company to connect it up. What they do is a joke, they turn up, see if there is an X.21 circuit and ADSL backup line, plug in the router. They ring overseas, and get them to telnet in and get it configured.

    Well, I had one router for our main site with a broken PSU (Keep this router in your mind)

    At a new site I recently brought online, we went through the rigmarole and got the engineer out, etc. I then watched him type in the simple password they put on all their routers before they telnet in and change the login method to username based authentication.

    So, score 1, I have an initial router password.

    Once this engineer had cleared off, I took the router with me (New site, wasnt complete) and swapped the power supplies in each of the routers. Booted up the spare one, console cable in, password entered, and bang we're in.

    I was so disappointed when the running config revealed absolutely nothing about the MPLS architecture of the SP...

    But still, remember kids, it's not just about knowing the books, it's about having your brain switched on and your eyes peeled ;)
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Frustratingly slow progress on ISCW this week.

    I've gone over all the MPLS in the exam guide though, it's very easy. I've got MPLS Fundamentals by Luc de Ghein in order to cover the stuff the Exam Guide doesn't.

    IPSec VPN's is where the real meat is for this exam - hoping to lab some of this stuff on the weekend/early next week.

    I've got 5.5 weeks to my name at the moment, although I can feel I might have to push it back another 2 weeks because of a lot of stuff going on around the house at the moment - new bathroom for one is causing a bit of disruption.

    Never mind, I will soldier on.

    For kicks I might just go and do CCNA:Sec once it's all done - might as well be the same exam--- I guess the CCNA:S is why the CCNP has changed so much..
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Heh, it's funny how time is against me, and yet more interesting things come up...

    Was offered some 2 day work at a very good rate...

    I am in permanent employment, but if this comes off successfully I think I may develop a taste for this...
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Put in a few good hours with my friend Jeremy this week.

    Oh and today I made this: -

    icon_arrow.gif http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/2849/iscwlab.jpg

    Damn, I love GNS

    Mauve, Peach and Indigo are all Windows Server 2003 boxes in VMWare.

    R3 does NAT so all devices in the Lab can see the internet.

    The idea being that this lab forms the basis of

    IPSec VPN (already built between R1 and R6)
    Service Provider will become an MPLS Service Provider ultimately
    R7 portion of the lab with Peach will be for the all the hardening areas of the exam
    R7 router will be reconfigured to go straight out to the internet for IPS/IDS

    More advanced features I'll play with: -

    IPSec tunnel with a backup route
    GRE over IPSec for some more fun with routing

    Though, I'm almost at the limit of my RAM now - I need 8GB again!

    PS: Ignore the /30 subnets, they are a blatant lie :D
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    Time flies! How are things going on the study front?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Argh

    Studying has been close to nothing lately, I will admit.

    Busy at work, I've been unwell, had a weekend away with my fiancée.

    Excuses, excuses, I know icon_sad.gif

    Anniversary with my fiancée is 10th April. Pushed the ISCW out to 12th April. Going on holiday on the 16th April. Picking up my new car on 24th April.

    Man, April is going to be a busy one!!!!

    However, ISCW hasn't worried me too much, so I think I can get back on the horse and nail it with enough time to get on with ONT before July.

    In the meantime I've got one or two leads on a possible job move. I've got two applications in to companies that are 5 miles from my door step.

    If I can pull one of those off, that would be *sweet*
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    gorebrush wrote: »
    Argh

    Studying has been close to nothing lately, I will admit.

    Busy at work, I've been unwell, had a weekend away with my fiancée.

    Excuses, excuses, I know icon_sad.gif

    Anniversary with my fiancée is 10th April. Pushed the ISCW out to 12th April. Going on holiday on the 16th April. Picking up my new car on 24th April.

    Man, April is going to be a busy one!!!!

    However, ISCW hasn't worried me too much, so I think I can get back on the horse and nail it with enough time to get on with ONT before July.

    In the meantime I've got one or two leads on a possible job move. I've got two applications in to companies that are 5 miles from my door step.

    If I can pull one of those off, that would be *sweet*

    Not excuses! Its just life! If you want the CCIE and have a life the process will be long. One step at a time..still motivated and posting in a years time you will be fine!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Sage advice :)

    I've not been at my best this week.

    I've been an arse at home too icon_sad.gif
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    gorebrush wrote: »
    Sage advice :)

    I've not been at my best this week.

    I've been an arse at home too icon_sad.gif

    We get bad days. Be ready for them. Always be ready to pour energy and enthusiam into things outside the studies. Work and family and importantly yourself also require your attention, and the IE is a real slayer on that. Thats why sometimes a little break is good for all concerned!
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Member
    Ah, things are nicely back on track now. Solved my home issues, so all happy there.

    Added 4GB of memory to my PC, making it excellent. Lately learned about AMD 6 core CPU's which are going to be VERY attractive price wise. Might get one.

    As for ISCW, I've been slowly hacking away at the Lab book and making steady progress once again. Tonight the mrs is not home until 9:30PM so this gives me a nice 3 hours within which to do some more labbing.

    Tonight it'll be the MPLS Challenge Lab of setting up a MPLS VPN. Yes, I know the configuration is not important for the sake of the exam, but I am a sucker for labbing cool stuff like that, plus it'll help me nail all the concepts :)

    Other than that, as I say, making steady progress overall. Exam is on April 12th, and then holiday on the 16th. Then I've got until July 31st for ONT, but I want it out of the way.

    Tempted to take a Cisco holiday after it before I attempt my CCIE journey proper... There seems to be a lot of call for SQL Server skills and I think tackling the Installation and Management side would be a nice distraction from Cisco just to take a break, while bumping up the skills on the ol' CV side of things.

    Work wise, having a terrible time, though it really helps motivate studying (i.e. my job makes me want to study to help get out)

    So, overall, not too bad :)
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