Random Technical Cert Question

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Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:55 pm

Since I'm the new gerbil on the block, I'd better take a moment to tell you a little about myself. I'm the very definition of nerd, and love all things technology, that make life easier, or are just shiny and new.

That said, I'm mostly a routing and switching guy, with a smattering of telco to boot. Like, I could walk into your CO and install an TA5000 to aggregate your 10GiGATM that you'll use to service multiple DSLAMS, or I could hook up your branch office with your very own PBX/switch/VPN router hybrid while installing the physical circuits, or even hook you up with a wireless mesh network or T3 backhaul setup.

I'm currently renewing my Cisco and Adtran certs, but I'm starting to eyeball VMWare. Cisco and VMWare have a joint product (Nexxus), which I've yet to play with, and I've looked at the certification path for VMWare, and it seems kinda neat in a Server room on steroids kinda way. Everything would be virtualized, even anti-virus, and they've partnered with Nvidia to allow GPU sharing, almost like the old Terminal/Mainframe days. Everything happens in the core of the network, and EVERYTHING (even graphics and video) get virtualized. Sales people would "check out" a laptop and then "check it in" upon return. Everybody's desktop would be what ever station they happened to be standing in front of at that exact moment.

Do you guys see any potential in this kinda thing, or would it just be a giant waste of my time to get certified in their stuff? On paper it looks super badass, but is anybody actually gonna buy into it?
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:07 pm

You are so right, it is a trend to a "mainframeless mainframe" model! And the pendulum continues to swing...

I say if it interests you, then hit the ground running and take the coursework. That is usually the biggest cost factor anyway, and requires the biggest time commitment (and $ too if your employer doesn't cover it). The actual cert exams are usually quite cheap in comparison.

When it comes to education of any kind (classroom, video, self-study, YouTube tutorials, etc.), I always choose "more". Deciding to take the cert can always happen later.

Good luck!
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:20 pm

Virtualization is big right now. Really big. It provides a lot of flexibility, and when properly employed can result in significant cost savings. VMware pretty much invented virtualization as we currently know it; and while there are a lot of other players in the virtualization market now, VMware still has the largest share. IMO getting the VMware cert would be a worthwhile addition to your resume.

I use virtualization (VMware, Oracle Virtualbox, and a Linode VPS) every day. I run a virtualized Ubuntu Linux system on top of Windows 7 at work, and at home I do the reverse, running a Windows 7 VM on top of Ubuntu Linux. I use VirtualBox to try out different Linux distros without having to dedicate a PC to it. I also have a VPS hosted at linode.com which I use for various things. IMO virtualization is here to stay.
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:40 pm

BIF wrote:You are so right, it is a trend to a "mainframeless mainframe" model! And the pendulum continues to swing...

I say if it interests you, then hit the ground running and take the coursework. That is usually the biggest cost factor anyway, and requires the biggest time commitment (and $ too if your employer doesn't cover it). The actual cert exams are usually quite cheap in comparison.

When it comes to education of any kind (classroom, video, self-study, YouTube tutorials, etc.), I always choose "more". Deciding to take the cert can always happen later.

Good luck!


Oh, I've already got the courseware part taken care of. It's the cost of building a lab that's concerning me. I've got plenty of enterprise-grade routers and switches laying around, but i'm pretty light on a having a lot of high-end server hardware or multiple GPUs to practice with.

But if you guys see there's a market for it, then I'm definitely gonna start doing it. If I can work my way up from MCSE and Netware Engineer to "the Cisco/Adtran/Wireless dude", I can do this, too. Thanks guys! :D
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:10 pm

Hz so good wrote:... If I can work my way up from MCSE and Netware Engineer to "the Cisco/Adtran/Wireless dude", I can do this, too. Thanks guys! :D


After dude comes Jack. Then King. Then Ace. :D
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:43 am

To be honest, if you are renewing cisco certs anyway take a look at the datacenter track and see what is compatible there, but the datacenter track should go through most of it unless you are also interrested in vmware specifics and virtualization in general beyond the networking. I havent had that much experience with the Nexus1000V except for standard mangement, and from that viewpoint, it's basically works as any other physical switch that I usually work with, especially since the other connecting Nexus parts is still all physical hardware.

From a pure virtualization standpoint, I'm more interested in where SDN and some of the open alternatives will go in the coming years.

As for where you should look for the virtualization pieces, I have no idea of specifics being a security and networking guy myself.
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:05 pm

Woohoo! CCNA and ATSP certifications fully renewed! I'm still officially dangerous to have around Cisco and Adtran products! :D

I'm thinking about pursuing CCNA Data Center, CCNP R&S, VCA & VCP Data Center tracks now.

Aphasia wrote:To be honest, if you are renewing cisco certs anyway take a look at the datacenter track and see what is compatible there, but the datacenter track should go through most of it unless you are also interrested in vmware specifics and virtualization in general beyond the networking. I havent had that much experience with the Nexus1000V except for standard mangement, and from that viewpoint, it's basically works as any other physical switch that I usually work with, especially since the other connecting Nexus parts is still all physical hardware.

From a pure virtualization standpoint, I'm more interested in where SDN and some of the open alternatives will go in the coming years.

As for where you should look for the virtualization pieces, I have no idea of specifics being a security and networking guy myself.


Thanks! I grabbed a CCNA Data Center book today. From just a cursory glance at the NX-OS introductory chapter, some of the concepts look familiar from having used TA-5000 chassis's before, except with virtualization and a ton of extra bonuses. I looked around Cisco's site, and there's a thread about the possibility of getting sponsorship to access their CloudLab. Guess I'll try begging over there, because their is no way I'll be picking up a Nexus 7000 on ebay anytime soon. :lol:
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:04 pm

Now that I've had time to sit down and go over the book for the 640-911 exam (CCNA Data Center), I'm feeling really good about that one. I pre-ordered the book for the 640-916 exam (the Todd Lammle one comes out on Feb 10th. The Wendell Odom book won't be out until June/July).

To kill some time, and expand the number of Cisco Certs I have (gotta catch 'em all!), I was looking at the CCNA Wireless, CCNA Service Provider and Service Provider Ops, and CCDA tracks. Has anyone here taken the exams for these yet?

I worked for a WISP for 6 years in a Tier 3 role, and used a wide range of both Cisco and Non-Cisco gear (Cisco, Areas, Tasman, SmartBridges, Trango, 3com, Motorola, Tsunami, Vivato, etc..),so I'm pretty comfy with the wired and wireless sides. There's some Cisco specific info I'm sure I'll have to brush up on. I've seen books for the 640-721 rev of the exam, but books for the 640-722 revision won't be out until March. If anybody has sat these exams, how different are the revisions? Was it mostly Cisco proprietary stuff on the exam, or was it a good mix of general info to proprietary ?

The Cisco SP (640-875 and 878 exams) look to be interesting. I've got an Adtran Technical Support Prof cert as well, and I've successfully deployed their Total Access 5000 & 5006, OPTI-6100 LMX, and NetVanta devices in COs (and a few military installations) that shall remain nameless. I'm not by any means a telecom guru, but I have a decent grasp of deploying and provisioning their devices (their SMs, Supervisor Cards, the different Line Cards, SFP/XFP/SFP+, In and Out of Band mgmt), the circuit types, and the different clocking stratum. I imagine I'll also need to brush up on BGP and IS-IS, since I haven't seen those since I sat a BSCI class many moons ago, as well as learn about the equipment Cisco typically deploys in COs along with their CLI commands. If anybody has sat either of these exams, can you describe what topics you saw on the exam, and any self-study books you used to pass? Any hardware you had to buy on ebay to practice with in a lab? I've only got mostly lower end routers and switches (2921XM routers, and Cat2900XL/3550 switches). I have various IOS versions (12.4 and lower of adventerprisek9 and telco ) to use in GNS3, but it tends to be more stable with 3640 and 7200 routers. Were you able to find any GNS3 labs online that would be helpful for these two exams?

The CCDA exam looks pretty easy. I'll just grab a self-study guide for it.

I think I'll start the VMWare VCA and VCP5 tracks after I get the CCNA Data Center, CCDA, CCNA Wireless, and at least the CCNA Service Provider. That should keep me busy and out of trouble for a little while. :)
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:00 am

To be honest, I've read a lot of preparing books, but never got around to taking any of the cisco certs since I kind of changed my focus and took several other certs instead, like the CISSP and various other security related courses together with a few version of the ITSM / ITIL. Although I'm also on the run to get a few of the Cisco CCxA certs together with CCSA/CCSE (checkpoint), both because and as a point to collect CPE's for the CISSP. So I'm greatly interested in hearing further on how they are nowdays since they have changed quite a bit recently.

That said, my current experience from coworkers was that up to CCxP level you are fine with GNS3 and virtual lab enviroments, although if you feel like it, at the higher levels, buying remote lab time might be beneficial if you don't want to tinker in the extremes. As for IE levels, labtime and especially work experience counts for so much more of the practical test. One guy I worked with read himself up to CCIE written(R&S) without ever having worked with cisco equipment outside of GNS3 and a bit of lab time. Took 3 tries to nail the practical test though
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Re: Random Technical Cert Question

Postposted on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:32 pm

Aphasia wrote:To be honest, I've read a lot of preparing books, but never got around to taking any of the cisco certs since I kind of changed my focus and took several other certs instead, like the CISSP and various other security related courses together with a few version of the ITSM / ITIL. Although I'm also on the run to get a few of the Cisco CCxA certs together with CCSA/CCSE (checkpoint), both because and as a point to collect CPE's for the CISSP. So I'm greatly interested in hearing further on how they are nowdays since they have changed quite a bit recently.


The new CCNA R&S is substantially different than it was a few years ago. They 86'ed the "taste testing" modules, like wireless and the SDM, and added a good chunk of material that was in the CCNP track. STP/PVSTP+/RSTP, EtherChannel, Single/Multi-area OSPF, more EIGRP, Port Security, HSRP/VRRP/GLBP, more IPv6, more troubleshooting, and the new licensing model (Universal IOS vs different SKUs) are in it now.

The first CCNA Data Center exam (640-911) looks like it's mostly material from CCNA R&S, with at least two modules covering NX-OS, and a few CLI commands mixed in to the other modules (like features needing to be enabled, NOT using the "do" command). I haven't seen the 640-916 material yet.

The only reason I intend on taking CCNA Wireless is because I worked in that field for 6 years, so most of that should be old hat for me. I've got a 640-722 IUWNE book on pre-order, but it's not coming out until march, but I do have a copy of the CBTNuggets course I need to watch. I'll post what I see in there.

That said, my current experience from coworkers was that up to CCxP level you are fine with GNS3 and virtual lab enviroments, although if you feel like it, at the higher levels, buying remote lab time might be beneficial if you don't want to tinker in the extremes. As for IE levels, labtime and especially work experience counts for so much more of the practical test. One guy I worked with read himself up to CCIE written(R&S) without ever having worked with cisco equipment outside of GNS3 and a bit of lab time. Took 3 tries to nail the practical test though


Cool. I like using GNS3, and being able to use my physical switches and routers in the topologies. I've found some good labs at gns3vault, but nothing really specific to the Service Provider track, or the CCNP track (beyond one EIGRP lab). I haven't tried using the hosts as traffic generators yet. I plan on going up to CCNP at some point, but I'll most likely branch out into other areas before I ever hit CCIE level.
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