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  1. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #1

    Default My CCNP Data Center thread

    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.
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    Subscribed. It's exciting to study for a cert without the usual officlal books and stuff, isn't it?
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    #3
    Goodluck on your studies!

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

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  5. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #4
    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:
    IMAG0378.jpg
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 04-20-2014 at 01:24 AM.
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  6. Senior Member JustFred's Avatar
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    #5
    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
    Those who have been intoxicated with power... can never willingly abandon it.
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  7. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #6
    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.
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  8. Senior Member JustFred's Avatar
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    #7
    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
    Those who have been intoxicated with power... can never willingly abandon it.
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  9. Chasing down my dreams. Chitownjedi's Avatar
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    #8
    Will be keeping up with this thread.... good luck!
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  10. Senior Member SteveO86's Avatar
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    #9
    Awesome, another CCNP: DC Thread! I'll be stopping by often

    It's a long road good luck!

    (I wonder how long before we get Data Center Sub-forum?)
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  11. Senior Member ccnpninja's Avatar
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    #10
    Good luck Iris
    من طلب عزائم الأمور ، هان عليه بذل النفس فيها - محمد إبن ابي عامر
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  12. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
    Awesome, another CCNP: DC Thread! I'll be stopping by often

    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
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  13. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #12
    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.
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JustFred View Post
    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.
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  15. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #14
    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.
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  16. Data Network Engineer filkenjitsu's Avatar
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    #15
    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?
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  17. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #16
    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.
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 05-04-2014 at 05:59 PM.
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  18. ...loading... gorebrush's Avatar
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    #17
    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)
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  19. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #18
    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.
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  20. ...loading... gorebrush's Avatar
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    #19
    "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)
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Looking at your Cisco certification, I'm just wondering why didn't you choose to go for CCIE: R&S instead?
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  22. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #21
    @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
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  23. ...loading... gorebrush's Avatar
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    #22
    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.
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  24. Senior Member pitviper's Avatar
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    #23
    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.
    Last edited by pitviper; 05-05-2014 at 03:35 PM.
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    #24
    Are you still continuing with ISE at all? Was looking forward to future posts from you on that.


    GL in the DC track!!
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  26. ABL - Always Be Labbin' Iristheangel's Avatar
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    #25
    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.
    Last edited by Iristheangel; 05-05-2014 at 08:23 PM.
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