My CCNP Data Center thread

IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin'Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
I've moved on to start studying for my CCNP: Data Center as of the beginning of this month. I'm going to go ahead and start charting my progress here to keep myself moving and motivated. Since there are no dedicated CCNP DC resources out there, I'm utilizing the CCIE DC reading list, the INE CCIE Data Center videos, the configuration guides and the INE DC rack rentals to get me there.

Here's the reading list I own and progress I've made on each book so far:
Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals - 75% done [should be finished within the next week or two]
Data Center Fundamentals - 50% done [Reading of this book is on hold - It's very dry and I had to mix up my studying]
NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching - 0% [Not Started]
Cisco UCS - 0% [Not Started]
I/O Consolidation in the Data Center - 0% [Not Started]
Storage Networking Fundamentals - 0% [Not Started]

INE Videos:
CCIE Data Center: Written - 30% done [Very easy to follow]
CCIE Data Center: Unified Computing Course - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center: Unified Communications on UCS - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center: Storage Course - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center: Nexus NX-OS Primer - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center: Nexus Course - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center: Nexus 1000v on UCS - 0% [Not Started]
CCIE Data Center : Implementing Nexus - 0% [Not Started]

DC Rack Rental hours Completed (since late February): 42


It's probably going to take me forever to get through this track because I'm am going to read/watch all the books and books above but the goal is to learn as much as I can. After I'm done reading and watching the above, I'll start going through the configuration guides and play around more with the DC rack rentals. I'm not going to bother setting dates for when I am going to take these exams but rather take them when I feel comfortable with my skillset in the topics of the exam.
BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
Blog: www.network-node.com
Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
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Comments

  • fredrikjjfredrikjj Posts: 879Registered Members
    Subscribed. It's exciting to study for a cert without the usual officlal books and stuff, isn't it?
  • AhmailAhmail Posts: 10Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    Goodluck on your studies!icon_study.gif

    Very inspiring your journey. Thank you for sharing it.
    I wish you all the best in your networking career.

  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    I have to say that I'm enjoying it so far. Thankfully the CCIE reading list was fairly small in comparison to other tracks. I'm tackling the larger books first (DCV and DC Fundamentals). After that, everything else seems a lot easier to tackle. I'm also getting a lot out of the INE CCIE DC videos I've seen so far. I'll probably throw my progress up here once a week. After I'm done with each book or video series, I can also share my notes if anyone is interested.

    Just to give you a sense of how large and small the book are in comparison to each other:
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • JustFredJustFred Posts: 678Registered Members
    Those are nice books.

    By the way Iris, wouldn't knowledge of VmWare come in handy studying for the Datacenter certs? I'm just asking out of curiosity
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    VMWare knowledge would be great for real life but for a Cisco Data Center cert? Not sure... I know the Nexus 1000v is on the list of topics and that's usually installed on an ESX or ESXi host and installing ESXi but I think that's as far as the CCNP DC delves into VMWare.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • JustFredJustFred Posts: 678Registered Members
    I see. It was just out of curiosity. I once worked at a place where the senior network guy used to administer their whole infrastructure including the Blade centers at their data center which was running ESXi. I figure it could always been an asset to have. Thanks for the reply
    [h=2]"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." Spock[/h]
  • ChitownjediChitownjedi Chasing down my dreams. Posts: 572Registered Members ■■■■■□□□□□
    Will be keeping up with this thread.... good luck!
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Posts: 1,423Registered Members
    Awesome, another CCNP: DC Thread! I'll be stopping by often icon_smile.gif

    It's a long road good luck!

    (I wonder how long before we get Data Center Sub-forum?)
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • ccnpninjaccnpninja Senior Member EuropePosts: 1,008Registered Members ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good luck Iris :)
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
    www.keyboardbanger.com
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    SteveO86 wrote: »
    Awesome, another CCNP: DC Thread! I'll be stopping by often icon_smile.gif

    It's a long road good luck!

    (I wonder how long before we get Data Center Sub-forum?)

    They usually make a subforum when there is a high enough demand for it. I'm not sure that many people are chasing after the CCNP DC at the moment
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Here's my weekly update for this thread. I thought I would be getting a lot more study time in since it was my last week at my old job but I ended up finding more and more work to do there so I didn't get as far as I'd like. Here's where I'm at now:
    Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals - 85% done
    Data Center Fundamentals - 65% done
    INE's CCIE Data Center: Written - 75% done

    I made a lot of progress with the INE CCIE DC Written videos and a little with both the books. I'm setting a goal for myself: Finish the DC Virtualization Fundamentals book and INE DC Written videos this week.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • brian89gpbrian89gp Posts: 19Registered Members ■□□□□□□□□□
    JustFred wrote: »
    I see. It was just out of curiosity. I once worked at a place where the senior network guy used to administer their whole infrastructure including the Blade centers at their data center which was running ESXi. I figure it could always been an asset to have. Thanks for the reply

    Its good to know in that having background knowledge into what you are interconnecting in a datacenter (high probability of being at least some ESXi) helps you better interconnect it. Not needed for the cert and can definitely get along in a career without it, but it does help to make your knowledge and thus you valuable in the real world.
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Another weekly update. I finished off the INE CCIE DC Written video series. Got a little further on the DC Virtualization Fundamentals book. Haven't touched the DC Fundamentals book.

    It was my first week at the new job so I didn't really have as much time to study because I was busy learning the ropes. I'm hoping this week will be a bit more productive. The good part about my new job through is that I have access to a lot of resources like some old B-series UCS, some Nexus 5Ks and FEX extenders in our lab. I'm looking to spend some time in the lab in the upcoming weeks and start labbing some basic things out.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu Posts: 556Registered Members
    Good luck! Your approach is very interesting where you will be studying all topics related to all material across all the CCNP DC tests.

    The reason I am studying CCNP SP is so I can be better at these topics at work, but to try and take in all the material across all 4 tests and expect to do good on the would be a fail for me. It would be difficult for me to remember the nuances of hierarchical VPLS configurations after doing a deep dive on Multicast / advanced BGP / QoS.

    Sounds like you are really taking a CCIE approach to these exams. Do you think you will stidy for the CCIE after passing all the NP level exams?
    Associates of Applied Science in IT - ITT Technical Institute
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
    Masters of Information System Management - Keller (In Progress)
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    I'm not reading/watching ALL the material and then taking the tests all at once. I'm reading the DCV, DC and watched the written videos to get the high overview of it and then probably dig into the specifics of every test - Nexus first, then UCS, SAN, etc. I'll probably set dates in the middle as I feel comfortable with my skillset but I'm not even going to set goals on what those dates are. I would probably go nuts if I tried to take all the exams in a short amount of time so I won't try.


    As far as the CCIE, That's exactly what I'm thinking I'll do. I'm already getting that push from my coworkers to skip the NP and just study for the CCIE DC but I think the NP is a more achievable goal in the short term (next 8 months or so). I have a lot of new resources at this new job and I'll probably be setting up a lab that mirrors or semi-mirrors the INE DC rack. The unfortunate part is that the work lab is about an hour away from me so I'll still probably utilize INE and the Cisco Gold Labs when I can. Since I'm already reading the CCIE reading list, it makes sense to roll that right into the CCIE after I'm done with the NP.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Registered Members
    If you are thinking about doing the IE, honestly? I'd just go do the IE and have done with it - you will end up repeating learning at IE level and that may get tedious (that's for you to decide though, admittedly)
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    There is always going to be overlap between an NP and an IE but we all know a CCIE is a commitment of studying for no less than a year and more realistically a couple years. For me, I'm coming into this without a terribly amount of data center experience. The data center I worked with at my previous job was pretty ancient when compared to the technologies on the NP/IE DC courses so I'm at a disadvantage there. I feel like the NP is a realistic goal to get my feet wet and a good understanding of NX-OS, SAN and UCS technologies. The IE will be to get an expert-level understanding of the same technologies so they'll build on each other.

    If you read the following, you get a pretty good understanding of what's on the CCIE DC lab and what to do in prep:
    CCIE Datacenter techtorial notes | Rick Mur
    How I Passed the CCIE Data Center Lab Exam

    Based on the descriptions, I think getting the CCNP will be a good step in prep for the IE - I'll get a good understanding of troubleshooting and configuring the technologies and I'll have something to show for it. After that, I'll bury myself in the CCIE material and I won't have anything to show for it until I get that magical number that we all want. It may not be the way most people would do it but that's the way that makes sense for me.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Registered Members
    "The way it makes sense for me" - the key statement in your post. People can witter on all day about the "best" solution but the only "best" solution out there is the one that makes most sense to you.

    My £0.02 (£ because UK)
  • chopstickschopsticks Posts: 389Registered Members
    Looking at your Cisco certification, I'm just wondering why didn't you choose to go for CCIE: R&S instead?
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    @chopsticks - Several reasons:
    -The reading list on the DC track vs the R&S track
    - The fact that I will always have access to R&S material since I have access to CML/VIRL and GNS3 but if I ever changed jobs in two or three years, I might not have access to such a comprehensive DC lab
    - DC is very much in demand and not a lot of people have their CCIE DC
    - It's more of an unknown to me and something I'm really genuinely interested in so not only is it a challenge but it's fun to study as well
    - My current job also gives me access to the Cisco Gold labs so I'll be able to plow my way through their DC labs as well
    - I have several friends working on the CCIE DC so it's nice to be on the same page and motivating each other

    I definitely want to do the CCIE R&S but I think I will wait until after to pursue it
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • gorebrushgorebrush Posts: 2,741Registered Members
    My only barrier to CCIE: DC is the rack time. Despite having the Nexus equipment here at work, it is all production stuff which I certainly would not be allowed to interact with at a conceptual level.

    I think rack rentals will have to pay for it, and for that to happen I need IE#1 first.
  • pitviperpitviper Senior Member Posts: 1,374Registered Members ■■■■■■■□□□
    Good luck – Interesting stuff so I’ll be following this thread!

    There’s quite the boom in data center jobs here on the east coast - both engineering and management (facilities type) with engineering backgrounds. I talked to a recruiter friend of mine about a posted facilities job and it was more so a high level design gig with a huge paycheck.
    CCNP:Collaboration, CCNP:R&S, CCNA:S, CCNA:V, CCNA, CCENT
  • Maced129Maced129 Posts: 78Registered Members ■■□□□□□□□□
    Are you still continuing with ISE at all? Was looking forward to future posts from you on that. icon_sad.gif


    GL in the DC track!!
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Ah. I sadly abandoned my ISE thread - at least for the next few months. That was because my ISE project at work got put on hold and then I switched jobs so I'm not playing around with it as much as I was before.
    If you asked me to create authentication, authorization, or posturing rules, I can do that practically in my sleep. I can create a new ISE node, add it to a deployment or create a deployment, use ISE as my ACS server for device authentication/authorization, etc pretty easily. The only thing I'm really missing is a full production deployment/troubleshooting - it's always easier to build it from scratch in a lab and play around with it there than it is to deploy in production and have to change rules based on what management wants.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • chopstickschopsticks Posts: 389Registered Members
    Iristheangel, thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Another week, another update.

    Good steady progress this week. I started and finished the CBT Nuggets DCUCI 642-999 videos (notes coming by EOD tomorrow - just trying to clean up the mess). I had to fly to San Jose for half the week so I was able to polish off more of the DCV Fundamentals book. I have about two more chapters to go. Work is sending me to a retreat up in Santa Barbara next week so I'll probably be able to finish the book off them on my downtime. I also have been heavily utilizing the UCS Emulator and was able to do a 5 hour UCS Cisco Gold Lab where I set up a UCS and the FIs from scratch so that was a lot of fun.

    Thoughts so far: I started out this track with almost no UCS experience but in the last couple of weeks, I'm finding it easier and easier to get. Surprisingly, I think the UCS tests might be the first tests I tackle in the course of the CCNP DC. I'm going to set the goal to complete the CBT Nuggets 642-035 video series next week and the DCV Fundamentals book by the end of next week. After that, I am going to focus in on UCS. I think I'll go in this order:
    Books
    Storage Networking Fundamentals (360 pages - Zartan's thread mentioned that it would be a smart idea to dive into storage a little before UCS)
    Implementing UCS Solutions (300 pages or so)
    Cisco Unified Computing System (350 pages)
    I/O Consolidation in the Data Center (125 pages)

    Videos
    INE's CCIE Data Center Storage Course
    INE's CCIE Data Center Unified Computing Course
    INE's CCIE Data Center Unified Communications on UCS

    Configuration Guides
    Totally stealing from SteveO's thread and going to use the guides he recommends


    ETA to finish the UCS study materials: 3 months or so? Not sure. It's been a long long time since I didn't have to work nights and weekends so it might take less time. The thing I'm curious about are the tests. There is a UC implementation test and then a UC troubleshooting test. I wonder if the troubleshooting one will be similar in format and difficulty to the CCNP R&S TSHOOT test or something a bit harder that will require additional study. If anyone who took both tests couple chime in, that'd be awesome. I really would like to know if I could schedule both tests on the same day or should hold off.

    Edit: Here are my notes so far
    CBT Nuggets 642-999: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11SrfY24uxiC6WZu4CzMRRXIwzF6fg8h6CMq2mpTTqTQ/edit?usp=sharing
    INE DC Written: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11SrfY24uxiC6WZu4CzMRRXIwzF6fg8h6CMq2mpTTqTQ/edit?usp=sharing
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Here's my weekly update. I didn't get far this week because I was still trying to work my arse off learning the ropes at my new job.

    I've started the 642-035 CBT Nuggets video series. I should have half of it done by the end of the weekend and my goal is to get the rest done throughout the week. I'll post notes when I am completed. I am on the last chapter of the DCV book so I should be wrapping that up this weekend. I'll work on getting the notes typed out and posted when I'm done but that's going to take awhile knowing my crazy schedule lately.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    Finished the CBT Nuggets 642-035 videos. Nothing that amazing. Gave me a nice little overview just like the last CBT Nuggets series but it was about an inch deep.

    Here are my humble notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tU3qwgfz-XiR1xPMvBN-CWr-fZCbTc3Z8jUqC2Gm0Ts/edit?usp=sharing

    I also finished the Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals book. Since I read it on the Kindle, it's going to take some time to turn my highlights into notes but I'll eventually do it and post it here.

    I think in the next week or two, I'm going to focus on getting through the INE CCIE Storage videos and reading Storage Networking Fundamentals per Zartan's CCIE DC thread. I'll get a good understanding in storage concepts before I circle back to the UCS to deep dive into it.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
  • SteveO86SteveO86 Posts: 1,423Registered Members
    Great notes Thank you! Gonna grab a copy for myself icon_smile.gif

    Have you watched the INE UCS videos? (Just wondering how they stack up against INE, I haven't looked at CBT Nuggets since I did my CCNA:W)
    My Networking blog
    Latest blog post: Let's review EIGRP Named Mode
    Currently Studying: CCNP: Wireless - IUWMS
  • IristheangelIristheangel ABL - Always Be Labbin' Pasadena, CAPosts: 4,098Mod Mod
    I have not watched the INE UCS videos but I imagine they are a lot more detailed than the CBT Nuggets ones. CBT videos are maybe 4-6 hours at most for a whole series while the INE videos are 17-25. That and INE is geared towards the CCIE so it's a lot more indepth.

    I am following the advice of Zartan's thread and getting an understanding of storage before heading into UCS. I have two decent and fairly small (under 300 pages) books on UCS and I'll probably go through the config guides before taking the tests.

    Honestly though, I probably wouldn't even bother with the CCNP and go right into the CCIE DC if it wasn't for the fact that my company pays for the exams, gives me a bonus for getting the CCNP DC, and it's another nice little thing to put on my resume.

    I'm going to shoot for at least the CCIE DC Written by the end of the year if I can. I'll have most if not ALL the reading list books done by the end of August and from then on, it's restudying my notes, labbing and going through config guides for a few more months before hitting the written.
    BS, MS, and CCIE #50931
    Blog: www.network-node.com
    Bonus TE Fun: Nerd Photos
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