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 :-).