Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry CCIE Christmas :-)

CCIE studies have taken a short break due to the coming holidays. I am unfortunately still not sure whether I will be sitting for the CCIE written which I scheduled end of this month. I am still feeling very nervous and not confident enough. I may defer to a later date should I feel that I am ill-prepared to perhaps end of January/February 2009? I believe that it's better to defer until I truly am confident and understand it in and out. I have cover most of the topics in the written save perhaps redistribution and multicasting which I am having trouble understanding it the way I wish I would. However, I believe I will hit the nail on the coffin sooner or later :-).

In case, some of you didn't know, the CCIE Flyer December edition is out at so download a copy and start reading the wonderful articles there. I have written an article on dumping so hopefully I meet the expectations of you readers. Please feel free to comment should you feel what I have written is wrong and misleading.

Until, happy holidays everyone and to those who celebrate like me, a very Merry and Happy Christmas and a Joyous New Year. Let's hope those are sitting for their CCIE lab exams will pass and for those who are re-attempting, pass this time. My best wishes to you all! (it seems that my target of #23456 is coming nearer ... looks like I have to aim for a new number #23999 or #24232? Any number will do in the end ;-))

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CCIE Flyer November Edition

I know it's December now but just in case some of you didn't know, CCIE Flyer November edition is out! Get it at :-).

Also probably an interesting read for some who has not seen this, some of the top 20 networking sites at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Status Update : 081120

Been almost a month of non-blogging but I had pretty good reasons for that.

1. Work :-) + work-related training (I attended a cool shipping course in Singapore recently. Will update my personal blog with pictures later this week).

2. I am 1/4 way done with the CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide. I have finished:

-Spanning Tree Protocol
-IP Addressing
-IP Services
-IP Forwarding (Routing)
-RIP Version 2

IGP Redistribution is next if I follow the book chapter but redistribution has been quite a weak area for me although I seem to have a strong interest in it (ironic isn't it?) so we'll see how it goes this week :-).

I am now featured as the 'man of the week' on Mike Down's blog ( Thanks for having me up there Mike. Mike is concentrating on CCIE/CCNP candidates as well as title holders so if you want to be featured there, please visit Mike's blog and send him a mail.

As on Mike Down's blog, I plan to visit 'hell' tentatively in August 2009 but again knowing myself, it will get either delayed or pushed earlier. I have changed my study techniques a little whereby I am starting a little hammering on my home lab and at the same time read up on the examination guide. Hopefully this is a good study strategy.

Ok back to the books (I am now on a strict regime whereby I get up at 0430hrs or 0500hrs to start hitting the books before going to work at around 0700hrs or 0830hrs (whatever time I like ;-)). My social life is beginning to take a beating. This will probably continue until a year. Whatever it is, I am betting that it will be all worth it once those numbers appear!

Friday, October 31, 2008

IPExpert's Answer to IE's Major Annoucement

IPExpert has answered back on IE's major announcement. Have a look at the following URL.

Just in case anyone is wondering, I am a neutral customer (as stated in the previous post). Like most of the other candidates, as a customer, all I want is affordable (cheap and free would be nice) and high quality products. I don't really like politics but being the customers of both IPExpert and Internetwork, it is my interest to know the scene ...

Internetwork Expert's CCIE 2.0

I didn't sleep well last night. Throughout the night, I was thinking of the annoucement IE was going to make. Will they be purchased by Cisco as Brad Reese of NetworkWorld has said in his blog? Will they offer Cisco 360 programmes?

After sneakingly viewing Twitter updates from my Nokia N95 last night while 'sleeping' beside my wife, I was happy. Very happy that IE decided not to join Cisco's 360 programme. Happy that they placed us, the customers above everything else (yes the 50% non-US customer case helped a lot :-)) and finally happy that the changes that they bring to their current CCIE programme are improvements and not mere gimmicks (just like how our car maker Proton is doing nowadays). Special thanks to CCIE Pursuit and Brandon Carroll for updating us who were unfortunate to listen to it live.

In a nutshell, the improvements that IE's CCIE 2.0 will bring to the exisiting 1.0,
-dynamic customized self-paced content
-adaptive written & hands-on assessments (Poly-Labs)
-continuing interaction with instructors, authors, customer success managers, and support staff-community involvement (users e.g. bloggers/IEOC forumers will get points for helping others and this could probably lead to incentives and such).

It is also good to note that starting Q1 2009 IE will also be offering programmes for the Cisco Associate & Professional level tracks.

For the full audio recording session on this, head off to the following URL:

* Free beers only apply in 3030.

Update: I receive some mails saying that I am pro-IE now but I wish to state that I am a loyal and honest customers to both IPExpert and Internetwork Expert. All I really am interested is to get my first CCIE numbers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CCIE Flyer October Edition

Just in case some of you didn't know, CCIE Flyer October edition is out! Get it at :-)

Study CCIE Lab First then CCIE Written

An interesting post caught my eye today. It's located at . MarkinManchester's post on studying the lab first then the written has its merits. Now I wonder ... am I doing the right way by studying for the written and doing labs occasionally the right way to go? Nevertheless I am 25% done with the examination guide book and have been doing virtual labs with Internetwork Expert's audio series. Still I wonder should I continue with studying the written first then concentrate on the lab or the other way around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tidbits 081021

First things first, congratulations to Matt Hill for passing his CCIE R&S and being certified as #22386. Nice number! Reminds you of the Intel's 386-era ;-). Stop at his site to congratulate him. He's been working hard on this and getting lost in the city a few times before passing :-)

IPExpert has been quiet recently. However all that ended a few hours ago when they finally launched their blog site at . You can add your existing blog there (apart from me, I saw Arden Packeer's site, Caue's site, Brandon Carroll's site and CCIE Pursuit's site listed as well and not forgetting a few others, some of them new bloggers).

Their October edition newsletter is out as well. You can have a read at . Some interesting news there ... especially the one about IPExpert vs. Internetwork Expert. Personally for me, it's good to have competition. Neither vendor can slack and us the users will benefit the most. I am pretty sure the other camps will not keep quiet after this ...

This week Narbik Kocharians is in town (Kuala Lumpur) to train CCIE candidates on the Routing and Switching track. A few days ago, on a local forum, I posted on the best benefit from attending a bootcamp would to be 3 months from your actual lab sitting. The reason is because by then we should have a strong grasp of the CCIE R&S technologies. We can't expect the bootcamp to teach us from ground up. He however had a different tought about it arguing that it is beneficial as we can benefit from the training by getting more knowledge. I no doubt agree but I will not want to spend USD $2,500.00 in class just listening to Narbik if I could not catch up to his lecturing (this is assuming that I have not gotten a strong grasp of understanding of the CCIE technologies or have not done any of the labs from any vendors). Well, in the end, I just requested him to let me know of his experience at Narbik's camp and my opinion might just be swayed ;-). We all know how good Narbik is :-D.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Status Update : 081009

Been pretty quiet and has not posted a blog in weeks but if you notice, a lot of additions to the CCIE blog list and also I've added Emmanuel's cool CCIE Agent picture there :-). Visit his blog and give him some support!

Also I now have started as what some other bloggers have started, a status update. My format will be year/month/day hence 081009 means 9 October 2008. This is somewhat like Ubuntu Linux's style of formatting which I shamelessly copied :-D.

Ok for the last few weeks, this is the current stage I am in ...

From the CCIE R&S ECG 3rd Edition, I have completed the first two chapters (it's taking longer than I expected since I had to juggle between studying, working on several non-work-related projects and work) which are

1. Ethernet Basics
2. Virtual LANs and VLAN Trunking

I plan to finish Spanning-Tree, the third chapter sometime this week. Of course, I been using the CCIE Command Memorizer tool along this as well. Apart from that, I also finished viewing 1/2 of the Day 1 VoDs from IPExpert and at the same time the first two videos from Internetwork's CoD. I am just going through this videos just to refresh some knowledge and not really dwelling into it at this point. Also I been listening to Internetwork Expert's audio series daily. I commute about 30 mins to 45 mins from home to work and vice versa excluding the time to wait patiently for my time to board the train hence I used the time for what else, my CCIE preparation. I found out that I could listen to the entire EIGRP section and at least up to chapter 5 of the OSPF series on a one-way journey.

Back to the books :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CCIE Command Memorizer

First things first, for those of you who remembered Mike Down, he is now back at . The man's back. Period. Welcome back Mikey! :-)

I recently purchased the CCIE Command Memorizer from and also subscribed to their top notch newsletter. Now what made me purchase this e-book? It was down to a few reasons. For the screenshots and description of the product, I suggest you visit and check them out. Caue's blog has also screenshots (not to forget Richard Bannister's blog as well).

1. It is rather a unique tool that actually helps you (or rather forces you ;-)) to remember commands which you will likely use in your CCIE lab (that's the point of the product name). For example, it will give you are scenario e.g. configure eigrp using AS 1 so you will need to then type "router eigrp 1". WRONG! In fact, the CCIE Command Memorizer takes the full approach by putting you in the enable prompt and waits patiently for you to put in "configure terminal" before adding "router eigrp 1". Now this is good as it mirrors the exact config style of the IOS. So in case you didn't notice, it is a simulator.

2. The price and the freebies. Ok you get the e-book with free updates for a year. Granted they do tell you you get another free e-book (Cool IOS Commands) and a free newsletter (really top notch) but these are available even if you don't get the CCIE Command Memorizer e-book. The point is at USD $99.99, you get a good CCIE product. As all of us CCIE candidates know, USD $99.99 is kinda cheap for a CCIE product.

3. Last but not least, it has been tested and used extensively by a few excellent CCIE candidates. The product has also contributions from Richard Bannister, a cool guy so that speaks for itself. Caue has been using it and I believe a few others are using it as well.

As of now, I am happily memorizing a few commands from the first few chapters of the CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide 3rd Edition and testing them on this new tool.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Books before Bedtime

After my wedding dinner went successfully last week, it's back to full time studying and slowly picking up the pace where I last left. However, there is this one distraction from reading only CCIE materials, it's my other interest, security so for the last couple of nights, these books are my bedtime story books.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Non CCIE-related = Wedding Photos

Another non-CCIE related post. My personal wedding photos are posted on my personal blog at for those who want to know how I look like. Just in case anyone is wondering, I am 1/4 Japanese and 3/4 Chinese. Please leave a comment if you like/hate the pics :P.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

IPExpert's BLS on Linux

If you're like me who runs Linux primarily but having trouble running IPExpert's BLS on it, there is a nice HOWTO at . I have personally tested it on my OpenSuSE Linux box running Wine 1.1.3 and it works.

Please disable Compiz prior running to this as it may give mix results (for me I got a badly rendered screen). Mad ass props to Josh for taking time to give us Linux users a BLS solution :P

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Non CCIE-related = Disc Prolapse

Not much to write about but I am still reading Cisco Press's CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide 3rd edition. There are already a few stuff that I have forgotten even though passing my CCNP was not so long ago. It tells you how forgetful the human mind is sometimes or maybe it's just me ;-).

I have added a few more blogs to my blog roll so I am sure not to forget to visit them ;-).

I do have some bad news. My disc prolapse problem has returned after the pain was gone for the last 3 years making me think that perhaps I got 'cured' (note the quotes). But it seem that it has caught up with me. I used to have this problem way back in 2005 but during that time I had a gigantic dose of nerve reliever (as the doctors called it) to relax my nerve and hence I was not in pain until two days ago. The pain was unbearable! For two days until today, I was unable to pass motion comfortably and to make matters worse, I could not sit in front of the computer for more than 10 minutes so I had to take 5-minutes intervals in-between. I will be visiting a specialist this Friday and perhaps I might have to go for surgery so if you don't see me updating my blog for quite some time (a month or more) you can be certain that I am in a hospital bed playing tic-tac-toe with the cute nurses.

Monday, August 18, 2008


With today's passing of the ONT examination, I am now a CCNP-certified :-). Yahoo!!! Well on paper anyway. Still a lot to learn and master in the Cisco world. When you look at technical blogs like those on my blog list, you can't help but wonder (if you're me that is) is how these people have so much knowledge and yet becoming more knowledgable every day. Dedication, determination and honesty I believe is the key (influenced by the Olympics fever since 8/8).

With that mindset in mind, after taking care of my wedding dinner reception next month, let the CCIE games er ... studying begin at full-scale! As of now I am viewing IPExpert's BLS videos on switching and Internetwork Expert's ethernet switching videos to start dwelling more into CCIE materials.

Thanks to those who left a comment wishing me luck. I am sure the luck was part of me passing this exam ;-). So virtual beers to you all :P.

By the way, some of you asked what materials I used for my CCNP studies. Well I did attend a CCNP course conducted by a Cisco-certified training centre but the bulk and majority of my studies involved Chris Bryant's study guides (except the ONT). You can look for his materials at And yes, I bought the CCNA and the CCNP ultimate study guides legally. No illegal copies. You can ask the man himself :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Non CCIE-related = ONT on Monday

I have scheduled the final paper of my CCNP, the dreaded ONT next Monday. If I pass, I will be CCNP-certified, one step closer to earning that CCIE dream of mine. If I fail, I .... NEVER! Never say fail so soon before even trying ... that's what I keep telling myself. As Arden Packeer told me that ONT is the most fun part of CCNP, it seems that way because there is so much you can do with QoS. However, I still love switching the most hence BCMSN still ranks top of my list :-).

Wish me luck this coming Monday. ONT=Over-hyped Nickelby Thane :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

CCIE with Olympics

Saturday morning ... still feeling very sick (still having slight fever, really bad cough and sore throat coupled with flu) but still very much in spirit to at least know what's going on in the CCIE community (even though not in the right frame for some serious reading) rather than just lying in bed staring at the wall.

I have gotten my ProctorLabs deal from IPExpert's Mike Down ( so that's 20 sessions of rack time for me and a cool ProctorLabs e-book! Pretty cool if you ask me :-) (yes!!! I have added another debt of USD $297.50 to my credit card :P). So to those who has taken up this generous offer, I believe we won't regret it. To those who didn't take the offer, well ... better luck next time ;-).

I have just finished viewing CCIE Agent's CCIEFlyer website ( It's a pretty cool website with information not really related to the technical aspects of CCIE but rather the 'social' part of it. Social??? Yes, you heard me right, social! (even though you and I know that CCIE-wannabes will frown at this word hehe). This means salaries of CCIEs around the world (still in progress), job advertisements, current trends, etc.

I also added another excellent blog by Brandon Carroll ( who is attempting his security lab in just days from now. He's an active tweeter too by the way ;-). Drop by and give him words of encouragement for his lab attempt. I hope that he'll ace the exam and will be able to tell us his CCIE number very soon.

Olympics are this month in Beijing, China so it would be very interesting to note how I can divide my time between work, Olympics and studies although I will admit the lure of the Olympics is mighty high. Sports always have something in common with CCIE. Determination, dedication and honesty. Think about it ... with all three on hand, your CCIE crown has just gotten a lot more closer to reality. That's what I keep telling myself!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

IPExpert and Internetwork Expert Mini-Review

I have done a preliminary review on both the Blended Learning Solution (the Video-on-Demand module) from IPExpert and also Internetwork Expert’s Class-on-Demand v4.5. Both these products are end-to-end solutions meaning that they are designed to guide you from the start till the end for the CCIE exam. I have not tested/seen the workbooks yet as I am still concentrating on the theory part of the CCIE and not the lab yet hence I would fail miserably at reviewing workbooks at this point of time. (I agree that at some point I will start to work on the labs at least from the focus technology-types or volume I (from Internetwork Expert)).

Now these are my personal opinions only. They do not reflect the general view of the CCIE community and I am not being paid to say good stuff/not-so-good stuff about any products :P. The review is also based on just viewing the first few videos from both vendors, online community/support and physical attributes of the products. So keep that in mind when you read the below. Finally, wherever costs are applicable, I am putting the net cost without any discount vouchers hence the prices are as per advertised on their website. Without much ranting, here are my findings so far.

Blended Learning Solution (from IPExpert (

The instructor is none other than Scott Morris, the uber geek who recently moved to Internetwork Expert from IPExpert hence this was done before the move.

The good about this product.

  1. Cheap, most affordable among the end-to-end by any vendor as far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong :-)) at USD $999.00 and it came in a 100GB hard disk which is not entirely filled. Guess what I did with the extra space? ;-)

  1. Excellent and active mailing lists which a lot of candidates and more importantly the instructors participate.

  1. The lectures are in-depth and Scott explains it with a touch of humour here and there (especially when he said many CCIE candidates think of his voice when they are doing their exams hehe). It makes the class more fun to learn. Fun is VERY important for me in my studies ;-).

  1. The Blended Learning Solution GUI is one of the best GUIs I have seen for a CCIE product. Very simple yet informative enough and also it integrates the modules tightly. You want workbooks? Just click on the icon and you’re on your way! (yes … you still need an active Internet connection for modules like the workbooks but that’s just because the vendor wants you to have the latest and greatest that they can offer on their end).

  1. Excellent support from the IPExpert team. They are very prompt in answering any doubts and currently offering very good discounts on their products (check Mike Down’s blog for cool discounts especially on the ProctorLabs).

  1. Does being a fan of Jared counts? :P

The not-so-good about this product.

  1. To be honest, I am almost fully satisfied with the product except for a quite annoying issue. The sound of the video-on-demand is not exactly to my expectation. The opening short music of each video is very loud but then when Scott came on the screen, his voice is way too soft. I often find myself having to minimize the volume when the intro of each video session begins and then increase the volume when Scott starts to speak.

IE’s CCIE R&S End-to-End Program (from Internetwork Expert (

The instructors are none other than Brian Dennis, a 5xCCIEs holder and Brian McGahan, a 3xCCIEs holder.

The good about this product.

  1. Good plan payment. You are offered a 4-months plan payment for the package instead of forking out the entire cost at the point of purchase.

  1. The workbooks and Class-on-Demand videos are one of the more popular ones among CCIE-certified/candidates and judging from the first few videos, I can see why. The videos are top-notch with Brian McGahan explain the concepts very clearly. I really his style of presentation. I have not seen the videos by Brian Dennis yet so I can’t comment on that just yet.

  1. The audio books are short but they do serve their purpose in giving you a very general review on the technology concepts. That way if you’re like me, you’ll start asking, “That’s it? I need to find out more!!!” and before you know it, you’ll start searching for the answers on CCO or the C-o-D.

  1. They have a very good resources link on their website. IE went to the trouble of even giving you configurations on Dynamips on your PC for free. You don’t see a lot of vendors doing that eh? That’s a big plus point in my books.

  1. Dynamips-tailored labs topologies. Yup even though I have mentioned that I have yet to see the workbooks but I am a very BIG fan of Dynamips. I have been using Dynamips for my CCNA and my CCNP preparations.

  1. Does being a fan of Brian McGahan counts? :P

The not-so-good about this product.

  1. A little expensive. At USD $2,995.00, I had to think very hard before purchasing this product. But after being given a good discount and also the 4-months payment plan, I still ended up finishing my ENTIRE life savings on two CCIE products (both this package and the BLS above).

So that’s it about my mini-review on both products. In conclusion/summary, both these products are top-notch and it gives you a different lab perspective from two different vendors. As a final note since I got two e-mails asking whether these products are similar to the CCIE labs, I can assume they mirror the difficulty of the labs and more than that BUT they are not the same as the labs themselves. These are not labs dumps for crying out loud!

I am currently in the midst of working on two major projects + a wedding dinner reception in September so studies on my CCIE will only start full-blown in October 2008. As of now, I am spending my time reading the Cisco CCIE Exam Guide 3rd edition by Cisco press to spend time :-).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back from a short Trip

It's good to be back home again in the comfort of your own room :-). I have been away the last few days to a remote island known as Redang for my outdoor wedding photo shoots hence a little interruption in my CCIE studies.

I will be doing a general overview on the two CCIE products which I have purchased last week. The packages, IPExpert's Blended Learning Solution and Internetwork Expert's End-to-End R&S program, have arrived at my door step on Monday (14 July 2008). My wife will be away this weekend so I am going to spend my weekend reviewing the products so I will be back this Sunday with the reviews!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another CCIE package

After purchasing IPExpert's excellent Blended Learning Solution package, I made the decision to also purchase another package from another vendor, Internetwork Expert. The Internetwork Expert team is like the the "Dream Team" of the NBA. You have Brian Dennis, Brian McGahan, Petr Lapukhov and their latest member, Scott Morris. Now like IPExpert who has Narbik Kocharians and a host of CCIE experts, choosing a product was not easy. From IPExpert, I chose the Blended Learning Solution package as it was both very affordable and attractive (it came in the form of a portable hard disk with all the e-materials in it!). But what about Internetwork Expert? After clicking here and there for nearly an hour, I finally decided to purchase the ...

Internetwork Expert End-to-End program for the R&S track! It costed more than USD 2k. This package includes Dynamips-specific workbooks (although there are just labs from Volume 2 of the IEWB modified to be Dynamips-specific) and for a sort of Dynamips person like me, that itself is an offering that is worth looking.

Now many of my peers have asked, if that's the case why not just purchase only the workbooks? The answer is simple. I have the same logic as Arden Packeer's logic. It is better to have multiple vendors work for something like the CCIE. You are not confined to just a single vendor's way of doing things.

Also with the End-to-End package, it's like almost everything in one (the BLS from IPExpert is everything-in-one in electronic format by the way). You don't need to purchase other stuff separately from Internetwork Expert which will cost more. Granted, the cost for another package is enourmous! To be honest, I spend about USD 4,000.00 for just IPExpert's BLS and Internetwork Expert's End-to-End package with the latter taking the biggest chunk of pie from that investment value!!! With that I have invested ALL ... I repeat ALL (that's not a joke either. I am DEAD SERIOUS) my life savings into both these packages. That being said, USD 4,000.00 is still 'cheaper' than a real-life bootcamp which I could never afford and there is no way my current employer would finance me (they don't need CCIEs).

But I am seriously committed to earning my CCIE. I could have just surfed the web for copied and bootleg copies of these packages (and spent too much time when that time could be used for studying) if there are any. But that would mean that I do not value and appreciate the countless and countless of extremely hard work done by the people who created these packages. I am now in the considering stage of purchasing the last CCIE-related e-book for the next 6 months at least ;-). The e-book that I had in mind is Narbik's 'The Foundation-The Gap from CCNP to CCIE'. Any recommendations/suggestions?

As of now, I am still waiting anxiously for the two packages to arrive at my doorstep :-(

Monday, July 7, 2008

CCIE : A New Beginning

This is the new beginning of a long and arduous task. After considering hard and taken a long time doing that, I have decided to go for this exclusive and yet at times elusive certification, the grand mama of all Cisco certifications, the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). Ok it was some time ago, but this blog only started today ;-).

I have just bought IPExpert's Blended Learning Solution for the CCIE R&S track. I spoke to Matt Brooks who was nice enough to spend time answering my many questions. After doing a bit of more research and also gotten a cool discount from Mike Down's blog, I took the plunge to spend over USD 900 for the package.

I am now waiting impatiently to receive the portable hard disk drive from IPExpert and start studying a little :-). Let's hope they arrive within this week?

As some of you may be aware, I am yet to complete my CCNP (ONT left). However, I figure that since the CCIE R&S track depends mostly on the BSCI and BCMSN part, I would like to study further into this area.

I have gotten myself 13 USB LAN adaptors which will complement my Dynamips setup on my Core2Duo laptop for the labs to link up with the 4 units of Cisco 3560 switches (8-ports model unfortunately). It will be a challenge itself to get this setup but I have gotten a head start by utilizing Scott Vermillion's topologies (Scott happens to use just a Mac Mini plus 4 units of Cisco 3560 switches to pass his CCIE R&S exam).

As of now, I am flipping through my BSCI books to try and refresh all the routing protocols in my head especially my favourite routing protocol, EIGRP :-).