Friday, June 26, 2009

Narbik on Steroids! - An Interview by Emmanuel Conde


(Narbik on Steroids!)

The whole world is going nuts and the best way to distinguish yourself from the herd during this crazy time is by raising the bar on your own accomplishments every day. I do it and it keeps me fresh and in demand as the CCIE Agent™. Those around me that I associate professionally with do it too, like M and Jack Taylor my team. We hustle every day and try to take care of our network of clients and CCIEs as we navigate the muck and mire.

Training material for CCIEs is another area of distinction for some authors. I have personally seen some very good ones out there and distinguishing themselves becomes difficult for some of the authors. CCIE training material is written and published all the time by various sources and authors. I have heard of some plagiarized products out there from several of my network members. I speak with one author regularly, Narbik who recently called while I was in Jamaica (did you know only one CCIE lives in Jamaica?) talking to him about his new 2.0 Boot Camp. I get excited about CCIE stuff so I was excited to help spread the word about this news.

So when I landed back in the states I called Narbik back and asked him to answer a few questions about his latest work and activities on behalf of CCIEs around the world. What follows is my best effort to capture that call.

Q: Narbik why do I go on vacation to get away from work just to end up taking your calls? Is it the love of what we do or are we both nuts?

A: Eman I think we are both nuts driven by a passion that is based upon our love of helping others. What we do is not all for money we both spend so much time helping others and we are lucky we get paid for what we do and love. Vacation is for people who are stressed out every day and need a break. We are kindred spirits in that way and we don’t need a relief from stress, just more time with family that is less interrupted! I know you took my call because it was me. How many calls did you not take?

Q: Narbik I am asking the questions here. Yes I took your call because it was you but I also took a few others. I actually added two new clients while on vacation since they called out of the blue and rekindled an old relationship with another channel partner. The call from Dubai was a good one since some of my CCIE network will have a chance there to get submitted for new roles. But in all I did avoid a few callers and M was instrumental in keeping everyone happy for me.

Tell me what’s new with you? I know you have been working on new training materials and had a few calls with Cisco lately.

A: As of Aug, who ever attends my book camp, they will get “THE BEST OF THE BEST” the reason I call it the best of the best is because the students get my ALL NEW 2.0 boot camp which is by far the best, and they also get another best which is Cisco’s CCIE training called “The 360 program”.

Q: Whoa! You are now offering the 360⁰ Learning Program?

A: Only select Cisco Learning Partners are invited to deliver the Cisco 360 Learning Program, and I am proud to be a company that is recognized by Cisco. BTW, I am also a Master instructor.

Q: How did you come to the conclusion that combining your efforts with Cisco was a good idea?

A: I have been thinking about this for the longest time and I had to come up with a program that best serves MY students, a program that provides a passing rate of 80 percent, and I mean that, therefore, I wrote the all new foundation called “Foundation 2.0”, “Advanced CCIE R&S 2.0” and “The ALL NEW Boot Camp 2.0”. We are also coming up with an “Advanced Troubleshooting 2.0” which is 10 rigorous Mock labs, basically you load the initial configuration file and start going from task to task and resolve one problem after another, you see I never cared for 8 hour mock labs, NEVER, but this is very interesting and actually teaches the students to troubleshoot one task after another, and let me tell you, they are pretty tough, as a matter of fact very tough BUT RELEVENT.

Q: With all this did you feel you would be diluting your offerings?

A: The last thing that I wanted to add to this program was another program, and who better than CISCO or I should say who better than Bruce and Val’s program.

Q: Do you think this separates you from your competitors?

A: I don’t have to brag about our boot camps, but if you thought the old boot camp was great, you have not seen anything yet. Come and see the difference in philosophy. This program is what I had BUT on Steroids. I honestly believe that this is by far the BEST of the BEST.

Q: Ok. You are getting all worked up again and I can’t keep up. Give me a real run down.

A: Some of the new offerings are as follows:

  • Ciers-1 PLUS my 2.0 boot camp:

This providers 60 percent lecture and 40 percent hands on.

  • Ciers-2 PLUS my 2.0 boot camp material.

This provides 5 days of intense MOCK labs + lectures.

  • Once again, my retake policy is still in place, you can retake any one of these classes any number of times. As a matter of fact, I RECOMMEND it.

  • Micronics has a total of 24 R&S racks and these racks can be rented by our students for a price of $450 per month.

  • Soup-to-Nuts on special for $50

  • The new “Advanced CCIE R&S 2.0” for $395.

Q: Will this affect your delivery? I mean come on, the colored markers and white boards are a hallmark of your teaching style.

A: I will NEVER change the style of teaching, because if I do, I will be another vendor offering boot camps. When I tell everyone that my philosophy is different, some vendors get upset but, hey… my philosophy is different, my philosophy is to “TEACH” and NOT “LECTURE”. I have combined the two courses so my students get the BEST, I have added another 5 hours to my lectures, and if you have been to any of my boot camps you know that I DO NOT COVER FAT, I cover the MEAT of the subject.

Always remember it is NOT the company that the students should look for, it’s the instructor, I do not care if the company has been around since Rocky Marciano days, the company is NOT the one teaching the class, it’s the instructor. In real estate there is a saying and I quote “Location, Location, Location”, in CCIE or any training for that matter, the saying is “Instructor, Instructor, Instructor”.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CCIE Flyer 2009 June Edition + Itsy Bitsy Updates

Just a short and quick update. CCIE Flyer 2009 June Edition is out at Get it while it's hot! You can see a lot of interesting articles there with this month focusing on 'learning'.

On my end of things, I have been working on the workbooks from Narbik. I am still on switching. Reason why it is taking so long when we can actually do the whole lab book in 3 days? Simple. I want to understand what I am doing and why I am doing it and what will happen when I do it. Hence I am not even half or rather quarter of the book yet :-). Slow progress but still not stalled ....

This week my mum is in town for a week's visit so it will be interesting to see how many hours of studying I can cramped in this week! You NEVER say no to mum ... not even the CCIE allows you to do that ;-).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Narbik Kocharians CCIE Bootcamp Day 5 and more ...

Day 5. The final day. This is the day where Narbik shows you how mighty RIPv2 is. He will show you how to have RIPv2 advertisements never expire using Multicast RIP and RSPAN RIP. He will speak about RIPv2 updates, how do we optimize RIPv2, all the way to default-gateway and advance scenarios. Narbik will let us know that only prefix-lists will work with the 'gateway' command (not to be confused with the 'ip default-gateway' command) in RIPv2.

One great thing Narbik thought us about RIPv2 is that in RIPv2 authentication, it is found that a router with a higher key will allow incoming routes from a router with a lower key even though the keys do not match each other. This is of course not the case the other way around. Narbik has a lab on this and I will be eager to start work on this particular lab since this will enlighten my RIPv2 knowledge in a whole new perspective. As Ethan Banks of CCIE Candidate ( has told me earlier on Twitter, I will learn a few new things about RIPv2 from Narbik. Guess what? I did and again I was humbled by Narbik's teaching on RIPv2.

Narbik had us took a short break at around 1045hrs (this is the exact that Narbik usually have us take a break to prevent us from CCIE overburn ;-)) and then continued with his studying tips for the CCIE lab exam. I am not going to be a spoiler for those who have already committed to joining his bootcamp in the next few weeks/months but all I can say is that although his tips are simple and places importance on certain topics within the CCIE lab blueprint, the tips are VERY valid and plays a very important rule in a very structured way of studying for the CCIE exam.

Narbik ended today's class at around 1145hrs and if you have been reading my blog posts, you will notice that Narbik does not cover certain topics like ip services, security (access-lists) and redistribution. You CANNOT cover all the topics in the CCIE lab blueprint in 5 days with the depth of information and lab examples that Narbik has given us. If he had done the same amount of labs as those in his workbooks for each and every topic on the CCIE lab blueprint, it is almost impossible to finish it in 5 days unless he have us all turned to sleepless zombies working hard on his labs 24 hours per day for 5 days. That is probably a possibility but count me out man. I wouldn't want to be the first CCIE-certified zombie ;-). Narbik also does not touch on TCL scripting as to me, if you do TCL scripting, you may have to worry about not doing a correct TCL script. He however firmly suggest that we do what is most comfortable to us meaning if we are comfortable with TCL scripts, then we should continue using TCL scripts. We did not start the discussion on macros/aliases yet ;-).

After Narbik's class, we received our attendance certificate from TrainPro Academy ( Yap Chee Yuen whom I have been addressing as Yap (I should be calling the dude Mr. Yap since he's older than me), a person whom I really respect for never giving up until he has gotten his CCIE, who also happens to be the big boss of TrainPro Academy, prepared our attendance certificates and having Narbik handing them to us with our pictures taken at the same time. We also had a photo session whereby most of us had our pictures taken with Narbik individually. You see, the class intend to make Narbik feel like a superstar. We felt Narbik was pretty pissed with those little men with big ears in Cisco who screw things up especially when it came to multicasting AF calculation ;-).

After saying our goodbyes and well wishes, Narbik left us at around 12.15hrs. It will be another four more months before Narbik makes a possible return here to have another R&S bootcamp. I have told him that rest assured I will be there to attend. My immediate goal is not to pass the CCIE lab. That's my mid-term goal. We need to be realistic here based on my current knowledge and preparation ;-). My immediate goal is to understand what Narbik has taught me throughout the last 5 days. My immediate goal is to understand the technologies so well that the next time he is in town, he will say to himself "hey ... this guy improved a lot from the last time I saw him". Those are my immediate goals.

With that, thus ends my 5 days CCIE bootcamp journey with Narbik Kocharians. As he has said earlier in the bootcamp, my relationship with him begins. I will turn to him should I have any problems with his labs or do not understand a technology but not before I have exhausted every single possible option. Narbik, if ever you are reading this blog post man, thank you so much for coming down here to deliver a bootcamp. You have my deepest gratitude and thanks for spending so much effort and time to deliver what you have delivered to us in the last 5 days.

To those who followed my blog and is considering joining Narbik's bootcamp, this is my take. If I had only USD $2,500.00 will I spend it on Narbik's bootcamp? The answer is YES. No matter how many times you ask me, I'll still say the answer is YES. If I don't have USD $2,500.00 but am willing to keep saving until I do, will I spend it all on Narbik's bootcamp. Again my answer is YES and again no matter how many times you ask me, the answer is still YES. I don't usually advocate a person but his bootcamp now sits on top of my list of CCIE bootcamp recommendations. Sit through one and you tell me whether I am just a Narbik-fanboy or whether what I wrote here is the pure truth. Just don't let Narbik drink scottish whisky...

Just in case you are wondering, Narbik did not force me nor did he gave me some kind of incentive to write nice stuff about him (Narbik again if you are reading this ... a quarter million US dollars sounds nice *grins*).

For those of you who are in Malaysia or have friends in Malaysia that wants to join a CCIE bootcamp or maybe even go for other Cisco certifications, I would strongly recommend TrainPro Academy. They are an authorized Pearson VUE centre so you can take your Cisco exams here including the CCIE written. What impresses me is the way they have organized Narbik to travel to Malaysian soil for his bootcamp up to taking care of our daily snacks (yes we have excellent snacks during the last 5 days people). I am giving them two thumbs up (I only have two thumbs so go figure ;-)) for this commitment and dedication. They can be located at and if you are lazy to surf the web, give them a call at +603 2287 5009 / 6009. Just tell them you came across Nickelby's blog and they might give you a free notepad when you register for a course ;-).

Last but not least, here are the must-have pics of the day with comments of course.
TrainPro Academy (, the training centre that Narbik held his Malaysia bootcamp. TrainPro is the only centre that is partnering with Narbik to deliver his bootcamp in the South East Asia region as far as I know.
Narbik teaching us about last minute study strategies for the CCIE exam. Moments ago, he was teaching us on RIPv2 and if you see the whiteboard behind him, he has some pretty mad arse CCIE skills. I am going to start calling him the CCIE-nator ;-)
Yap Chee Yuen, the owner of TrainPro Academy. Yap is a CCIE himself and it's thanks to him that I had the opportunity to participate and attend Narbik's bootcamp. Once again, thanks a lot Yap for believing that I am a good choice to attend Narbik's bootcamp.
Khaled (the dude with the beard) flew all the way from Saudi Arabia to attend Narbik's bootcamp even though there will be one in Dubai sometime soon. That tells you how good Narbik's bootcamp is that some people could not wait but instead fly down to a faraway place just for the bootcamp. Khaled is taking his lab in August 2009. Beside him is Sai, a Mynmarese who currently works in Singapore. He spent quite a sum to just come and attend Narbik's bootcamp. Another testimony of Narbik's bootcamp's superb quality. Besides Sai is of course me. Yes I notice I am getting fatter and have messy hair (I had a hair cut today after the missus complained a lot ;-)).
Narbik and Yap. They might not be the twin towers of the NBA or NFL or NBL for the record but they are probably the best team combination to offer CCIE bootcamp classes in Malaysia.
Narbik signing all the attendance certificates for those who are new to his bootcamp.
Narbik handing me my CCIE bootcamp attendance certificate. I know it would be nice if the cert would instead be a CCIE certification in Routing and Switching ;-)
The CCIE June 2009 (June 1 to June 5 2009) bootcamp students. Some are reattendees, some are lecturers and some or rather one is a nice Japanese-food loving dude. Guess who.

That's it for now. The next time that I will blog about Narbik and his bootcamp would have to be in October 2009 where he plans to return back here to give us a R&S/SP bootcamp and also to gobble "hot and spicy food" as much as he can.

Narbik Kocharians CCIE Bootcamp Day 4

Day 4. This is sounding like those 'Survivor' series :-). Today Narbik's plan is to finish teaching us Multicast and then we go on to another big topic, QoS and no ... it does not mean Queen on Steroids. Where do you people come up with this kind of stuff???

I got up early. Again the same toothache problem. I suddenly realized that I finished the paracetamol tablets I have with me but the pain was still bearable. Went and had breakfast with my wife and after that it's off to TrainPro Academy ( for today's class with Narbik. Thank God Yap had some paracetamol pills.

Narbik started today's class with a refresh of yesterday's RPF lab. Now after we did a short refresh of yesterday's RPF lab, we got online with Emmanuel Conde, the CCIE agent ( fondly known as Eman to speak with us, the bootcamp students, via Skype on my laptop. We had a very good conversation where the candidates here asked about the prospects of finding work for a fresh CCIE, the tying of your CCIE number to vendors and what are the current overall market for a CCIE. Eman joked with us that Narbik isn't good looking but I let you girls do the analysis yourselves ;-). Eman was kind enough to share with us a few tips as well as saying that Narbik is the best when it comes to a CCIE routing and switching bootcamp. Now as a student of his class, I couldn't agree more. Cheap price, free retake policy, excellent teacher, excellent labs, you tell me what else is missing. Narbik also has an excellent sense of humour except when he downs three bottles of scottish whisky but that's another story for another day ;-).

Now after the chat with Eman, Narbik finished up the remaining topics on Multicast from manipulating multicast traffic all the way to UDP helper map. Man ... I tell you this was the game people. Narbik gave us countless of Multicast scenarios today to prove every single thing there is to know about multicast and more. Now when I mean Narbik teaches you every single thing you need to know, I do not mean he teaches you for the CCIE lab. Narbik teaches you to be a very good Cisco engineer which is the foundation of a good CCIE. Narbik DOES NOT teach you to just pass the CCIE lab as Eman says. Cool huh? ;-). If you guys do not believe, attend one of his bootcamps and if I am wrong, I am prepared to be flamed :-). One example that I can give straight off my memory as I write this is that Narbik says that we should not think of sub-optimal routing when it comes to RP in Multicast. What he says, what he writes on the whiteboard and what he proves are all in his labs in his workbooks.

We had lunch at about 1300hrs today after spending time on all the Multicast labs before then. We had lunch at a dine-in restaurant which during this time I took the opportunity to network with some of the guys whom I did not really had the chance to speak and talk with them. Lunch was good, we took some pictures, Narbik fixed his glasses, Yap and two of his trainers joined us, life was good with laughter and then *ringgggg*!!! Time to get back to reality!

Once we are back in class, we tackled one of the most dreaded topics in the CCIE lab blueprint at least for me namely QoS. This is also covered heavily in ONT of the CCNP track so if you guys feel you need a basic introduction to QoS, the ONT track in the CCNP is a good choice. In QoS, Narbik covered PQ, CQ, classification, double-somersault triple punch, marking, LLQ and others including shaping and compression. Now this is layer 3 QoS. We also did cover layer 2 QoS to wrap the whole QoS topics. During the QoS session, Narbik taught us a few new things at least to me which includes a very easy way to calculate the AF number. He also taught us traffic shaping with a lot of cool tricks that can be done including changing the outgoing information table. We were also taught on DSCP value rewriting. Narbik also introduced his own way of calculation which I am sure you will find it very worthwhile to listen if you attend his bootcamp and understand what he means.

Class ended up at about 2115hrs. Narbik and I together with two CCIE candidates who will be going for the CCIE lab exams next week in Singapore (mobile lab). We had a good dinner at Madam Kwan and again I saw Narbik devouring the chillies like nobody's business. You got to admit it. This man means serious business when it comes to chillies/hot/spicy food. We had a lot of joke telling and some serious CCIE discussions especially Narbik giving advice to the candidates and motivating them. This my friends is a very good quality in a teacher. He guides you. As Narbik says, our relationship does not end when his class ends. Instead the relationship begins.

After dinner, I went back home, saw my sleeping wife, I took a bath, did some labs, wrote this post, did some more labs and then hit the bed. I am very excited and interested to see what will Narbik teach us tomorrow since it will be RIPv2. Knowing how simple-to-understand RIP can get and knowing what person Narbik is, I am sure he will whip our asses, pulls a few carnivous rabbits out his hat and show us things we have never seen before with RIPv2. I hope I don't dream of murderous RIPv2 labs tonight ...

Note: I have received a few e-mails asking me for a copy of Narbik's materials or anything I can share. My philosophy is simple. If I am allowed to share, I will, but it must be with the concern of the author. I also don't think it's fair for people to pirate Narbik's work (please consider the amount of time and effort he has spent on his workbooks. He is a one-man army and he write labs even during break sessions during our bootcamp and also at nights when he is supposed to be enjoying a warm bath and watch TV). I don't agree as well to sharing my personal copy of his workbooks to people since I been saving up for quite some time (after all I spent all my entire life savings on two CCIE products from Internetwork Expert and IPExpert :-) so I had to start from scratch) paying to get the workbooks myself. Please people I do not own a money-printing machine and even if there is a one in a gazillioni chance that I own one, the next question is would you like it if someone pirated your hard work and make profits out of it and you did not get anything at all for your work? Go figure.

Also, my strong message is this, if you are damn serious in getting your CCIE, you should attend Narbik's bootcamp. Buying and going through his workbooks is NOT enough. You need to speak with Narbik, ask him questions CCIE questions and finally ask Narbik if you are ready after Day 3 or Day 4 of his bootcamp. Believe me. Narbik is honest :-). That my fellow candidates and friends is not something you can get by pirating ;-).

This is the labs on QoS and Switches that I worked on before and after typing this post and before going to bed. Note that this is still in beta and the final version will have a lot more labs according to Narbik.

A little teaser for those who are joining Narbik's bootcamp and for those who are planning to join Narbik's bootcamp. There will be a BIG surprise coming soon and I mean it's BIG. I have seen it so it's no vapourware and I have 'tasted' it so it's not fake either. Wait for it guys and girls ... you'll be freakin impressed ;-).

Narbik Kocharians CCIE Bootcamp Day 3

Day 3. Had a rough night. Couldn't really sleep well due to a crazy toothache but the time was not wasted with me tossing around in bed hoping for a tooth fairy to put her magic dust on my pain-in-the-ass tooth. I did EIGRP labs from Narbik's workbook :-). Not all of them though. If I did that, I'll probably be a zombie in today's class and today's class is no joke people. Why? Two reasons.

BGP and Multicast (we did 1/2 of Multicast today with a really cool RPF check lab which I will talk a little later). Now a lot of people seem to fear multicast (of course not forgetting the people who fears BGP) and I am no different. I was also feeling a little tired today and I feared that this would get in my way of paying full attention to Narbik's class. BGP after all is the Internet protocol as some engineers would say and that's a point taken with the abundance of options it has while multicast ... well let's put this way. I have a unicast mindset at the moment ;-). Hence these two topics required absolute concentration! I am not saying the other topics does not need concentration but personally for me, I knew I had to give it more than 'more' of my concentration to understand what Narbik will be teaching.

Narbik came in a little late today looking rather tired so both he and I went to get a dose of 'Red Bull' (an energy drink) in our veins to try and really focus. He focusing on the class and me focusing on listening to what he has to teach. After 10-15 mins, the battle begins ...

Narbik started the BGP class and like every other sections in his bootcamp, he will first list out what he will be teaching us today. Topics such as BGP optimization, MSS, Hold Queue In, PMTU, scan-time, dampening, conditional advertisement and a host of others including BGP states, aggregation and attributes are also covered. Now I found out one interesting point today. Typically people who have problems with BGP is not with BGP as a whole but a very specific topic and that's BGP aggregation. Why? Attend the bootcamp and see how Narbik tears your brains apart with his labs on this topic. Narbik will carefully explains to you what is aggregation and what are the commands in the IOS to manipulate this topic. Commands such as 'aggregate -add xx summary-only AS-SET advertise-map TST' is an example. You will be TESTED to the limit :-).

One more thing to note about Narbik. He LOVES to use TST (meaning 'test' for short) in most of his configuration work like access-lists, policy maps, route maps, prefix-lists, etc. So if you see a colleague or friend or even a stranger doing the same thing, it's a possibility that he or she attended Narbik's bootcamp and got the 'TST' virus. I know I did.

Apart from teaching us BGP, Narbik taught us that we cannot assume we know the meaning of certain words in our CCIE studies. For example, virtual routing and forwarding actually means routing table. It has NOTHING to do with an abstract route or a forwarded route (if you look up on virtual, routing and forward in an English dictionary, you'll know what I mean).

We did BGP for most of the day but of course again we had lunch in the afternoon to supplement our waning body batteries after it was being sucked dry by Narbik's labs. Come on guys/girls. Don't tell me you don't eat during bootcamps ;-). Narbik, Sai and Aung (two cool dudes from Myanmar) and I had Japanese food today at 'Oh Sushi! ' restaurant. Now for a little secret to share with you guys. Narbik can eat hot and spicy stuff and I don't mean your average hot and spicy. This dude can eat HOT and SPICY man. My impression of the 3xCCIE teacher has changed.

After lunch, we wrapped up BGP and on to one of the most common problematic topics that a lot of CCIE candidates fear. Multicast. Now I don't really like multicasting. Even when I studied for my CCNP, I was always complaining how hard is it to understand multicasting. Now after today's class even though Narbik only taught 1/2 of his multicast class (the other 1/2 will be in Day 4), I begin to enjoy multicast. Why? Simple. The way Narbik explains how multicast works with his chalk talk and proof that what he writes can be done in the right and correct way on the IOS are the main reasons.

He of course taught us stuff on multicast like the delivery method but the highlight of the day was a RPF lab. Narbik taught us that RPF check can be done in very few steps (2-3 commmands/steps). He proceeds to get us to do a simple topology (which for some strange reason mine didn't work probably due to a typo error which is usually the fault of mine) and he guided us on every single step to locate the RPF. Genius I tell you! Pure genius! This is the kind of style I like. Teacher guidance for a really tough exercise. I will not post the RPF lab topology here nor will I talk more about it but I can tell you this. If you spend your money on Narbik's bootcamp, this RPF lab will be one of the many reasons that you will say it's money well spent. I don't usually praise an exercise/lab scenario but I give full credits to this RPF lab for making me know how weak I am in multicasting :-).

Narbik's quote for the day which I will always remember. "Respect your boundaries". "Don't act over your work limit". "There is a start and end to one's work". What this means is that we must know when a network engineer's work begin and when it ends. A network engineer does not need to know how BGP was programmed into the IOS but he has to know how to manipulate BGP and makes it work the way he wants it to.

And for those interested, although it's not really new since it's Day 3 now but from Day 1 itself, Narbik often says "My grandmother does this all the time/everyday" and "This is ridiculously easy" :-).

We ended up early today (by Narbik's standard) at around 2015hrs since Narbik, Yap, Christina and I will be having dinner later tonight at a Japanese restaurant called Ninja Jones. Yeah Narbik ate Japanese food a lot (thanks to me always fooling him into taking Japanese food). He's trying to be one of those foreign samurais with Cisco blades (check the pics later in this post if you don't believe).

After a filling dinner with some serious QoS discussion and how Narbik got to find out several stuff that he did not know before, I went back home, spoke very little to my wife (since I was dead tired), took a bath and the moment my head touched the bed, it was dream time for me no thanks to BGP and 1/2 of Multicast.

Tomorrow will be a BIG and tiring day. The topic that I disliked the most QoS will be next. Bring it on Narbik! Show me who's the boss!!!
Tea is my energy booster throughout this bootcamp. I don't know why but it doesn't makes me sleepy or tired even though I am supposed to feel it that way ;-).
You see that secret agent 007 dude there. I have absolutely no idea how he got associated with a Ninja and the Ninja's master ;-).
A great night. Great dinner. And best of all, not only Narbik is a teacher to me but a very good friend. He does not bite folks only if you give him a dose of three glasses of scottish whiskey.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Narbik Kocharians CCIE Bootcamp Day 2

Day 2. What did we do in Day 2? We did hell lots of stuff on OSPF and a little later at around nearly 1900hrs we did EIGRP. For those who are unaware, Narbik's bootcamp starts at 0900hrs and it ALWAYS finishes after 1900hrs. On the first day, we finished a little after 2100hrs but today we left the battlefield at around 1945hrs.

Narbik highlighted and teached a lot on OSPF. We nailed pretty much there is know about OSPF including the LSA types, network types, database overloaded protection, authentication (a simple topic to understand BUT also a very simple topic to be overconfident and make a lot of mistakes) and a few other topics which is lapsing from my memory now but they do include one of the most difficult if not the most difficult topic on OSPF, filtering. Filtering in OSPF or to any other protocol to that matter is not a joke. Look at my notes below. That, people, is ONE ... let me repeat that ONE of the many tutorials that Narbik has taught us today. I chose this particular notes to be screenshot because this to me, is one of the hardest scenarios I came across my life for OSPF stuff.
This is the notes I did on one of the OSPF filtering out of Narbik's teachings today. You need to forgive me for such a crappy image and it's not even in the right position. Blame the iPhone's lame camera and Google for repositioning my image when it was in landscape mode originally.

Now one VERY important thing that I learnt from Narbik today. His theory that for OSPF, from a non-0 to a 0 area, the flood process is done. From a 0 area to a non-0 area, a distribution process is done. Now this is INTERNAL to the OSPF process ONLY. He of course proved this via a OSPF topology. I am not going to spoilt it for you. Come to his bootcamp and you will know what I am talking about :-). Make sure you ask him about this. It's really incredible I tell you on how he found these things out.

By the way, OSPF lecture was not done the whole morning and afternoon. We had lunch in between for goodness sake :-). Today however, I had an upset stomach so I didn't really had much to eat. Lesson of the day. DO NOT I repeat DO NOT take milk if you are weak to lactose. Falsely beliving you can handle a little milk is not the right way to think if you plan to sit in a whole-day class or event. I had to rush back to the hotel during lunch and after doing what I need to do, I was back to the training centre to continue listening to Narbik's teachings on OSPF for the afternoon.

After massaging our brains as Narbik says, we did OSPF labs from 1600hrs to 1800hrs (one thing I learn about Narbik. He always gives us extra time for our labs and NEVER starts so far at 1800hrs for his next presentation but instead 15-45 mins after 1800hrs ;-)).

EIGRP time. Now I think you guys will probably think you know EIGRP inside out. I thought I did for sure and boy was I wrong! I was humbled beyond words and after listening to a 45 minutes presentation of EIGRP by Narbik which again includes an intro to EIGRP (or summary as he likes to calls it), authentication (which is a lot more easier to configure than OSPF), vector metric, composite metric, metric calculation, stub configuration and of course the dreaded EIGRP filtering which again proved to be the most difficult topic in EIGRP. Narbik throws in the occasional joke (it may be true by the way) that little men with big green ears who works for Cisco tried to confuse the world by introducing a ridicuously stupid (that's what I feel not what Narbik says) formula for the metric calculation. But I also found out that this metric calculation will take into place ONLY if the value in K5 is not 0. Trying to be funny eh Cisco? You are NOT funny ...

Narbik finished a little earlier today. He was rather reluctant to let us off early but we finished up for the day anyway :-). Today was pretty intensive. Narbik with his witty humour had us laughing at times and this was really good to keep up the tempo and energy for us to not fall asleep or feel sleepy in his class. Now, I am going to stress this. Narbik is NOT boring. He is way too far from being a boring person. But after going hours and hours of teachings and labs, it is very easy to feel tired and thus sleepy. This could apply to the CCIE lab in my humble opinion and Narbik has a solution for that. Today Narbik's famous saying was "you should take wasabi before the CCIE lab". Hehe ... you would have lightning fingers if you did that and you will finish the lab in less than an hour ;-).

Tomorrow will be a killer for me since we are going to tackle the almighty BGP and no it DOES NOT stand for Boys Got Penises. BGP although not my weakest subject, it is still however one of the topics in networking that I continue to struggle with. Working with BGP in a very minimal amount of experience does not help me either hence tomorrow I plan to have a theoritical approach towards BGP and then lab it further using GNS3 or doing Narbik's BGP labs from home (like I will be doing for the EIGRP labs tonight after this post from my hotel room).

That's not it. There's still one of the most dreaded topics that a lot of people seems to be having problems with. Multicast. There ... shiver in fear my friends :-). As with BGP, I will probably do the same with multicast. Take a theoritical approach then lab on it further.

Day 2 ends a little tougher than Day 1 and I believe Day 3 which is tomorrow will leave me exhausted and crying for more mental strength if I am to believe what I will be facing tomorrow. I'll end this post with a picture of how Narbik writes on the whiteboard and a little comment on that picture.
Narbik ALWAYS lists out the sub topics of the major topic he will be teaching us. In this case, it's EIGRP. And again no ... EIGRP does not stand for Excellent In Getting Racoons' Penises.

Narbik Kocharians CCIE Bootcamp Day 1

First day :-). Went to TrainPro ( at about 0845hrs (GMT +8 since the bootcamp is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Narbik wasn't here yet but Yap, the ever-friendly owner of TrainPro told me that Narbik will be here before 0900hrs ;-). Set up my work laptop (trying not to go through the abundance of e-mails that I have missed as I was in Athens, Greece the previous work for project management work). As I was surfing the net for awhile ...

POOF! Narbik with his magician hat appeared out of nowhere and started to greet us in a warm smile. He asked us to give us a brief introduction of ourselves, where are we from, what are our preparations for his bootcamp, our lab dates if any, where we heard of his bootcamp and the occasional one or two jokes that came in between. By the way, his grandmother still has two CCIEs for those who wonder and is probably working hard to get her CCDE ;-).

Ok serious stuff now. Narbik started with telling us he will NOT use a projector. He instead will use a whiteboard utilizing the old school-style of 'chalk talk'. He emphasizes that this is the most efficient way of getting information into a person and I totally agree. Projector slides make me sleepy to be honest hence this is really a refreshing idea for me. Narbik also says that he teaches, he does not lecture and to me this is an important fact as he with regards to this, he stressed that we are all network engineers, we would be bored with the theoritical stuff and instead would love to see something practical. Don't we all feel like that? ;-)

Narbik gave us the laydown on the schedule for the week. We will be covering switching and frame-relay on day 1 with the usual labbing on some times of the day. OSPF and EIGRP will come on day 2. Day 3 will the one of the most intense with BGP taking the whole day. Day 4 will cover multicasting and QoS and finally Day 5 we would be spending it on RIPv2 and probably he will end it up with some lab strategies. We have about 15 participants and three of them will be taking their CCIE exams next month (mobile lab in Singapore).

For today (or yesterday since I am typing this in the morning of Day 2), Narbik gotten us to do lab work in the morning and after lunch he will teach us about switching from the security aspect (QoS will be on Day 4). He expects us to know basic switching and with that, he will not be teaching stuff such as "What is a VLAN", "What is VTP", "How do you create VLANs" and other basic stuff like that. Instead, he will be concentrating more on improving and strengthening our core knowledge in switching and to add "007" tricks of the trade as he called it to our arsenal of weapons when we face the CCIE exam in the future.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Narbik. We ate Japanese food at Sushi King and we talked about stuff such as the economic situation in Malaysia, salary range in Malaysia, etc. We also talked about the CCIE market in Malaysia and we talked about Emannuel Conde (dude when are you coming to Malaysia to do a talk on CCIE recruitment? ;-)), Ethan Banks, Josh Atterbury, Darby Weaver, Arden Packeer, Lessaid, Blindhog (the other Josh ;-)) and all of you other people who have been guiding and walking with me on this yet-to-end journey (don't flame me if I didn't put your names here. I was writing this out of pure memory which Narbik nearly killed last night). Narbik insisted that he payed for lunch and we made a deal that I will treat him when I reattend his planned R&S bootcamp again in October 2009 (I might attempt the lab before then but who knows ;-)).

After lunch, Narbik started teaching on the switching class. Narbik gave his very famous quote today "IOS DOES NOT LIE" while proving a few proof of concepts on how this applies when we configure stuff. Narbik also encourages us by telling us even if we fail the test the first time, at least we know how it feels. He told us that it was easy to misintepret questions with him failing the first time as well. He also told us that he took the CCIE because he was told that he has to be a CCIE in order to teach CCIE courses (he still grins at this). Narbik ended today's class telling us we will be CCIEs IF we really want to be and even if we are not CCIEs or don't plan to take the CCIE class, we will be better engineers by understanding the technologies within the CCIE blueprint.

After this, I went home, talked a little with my wife and then I was snoring on the bed (of course I took a shower before then). Onwards to Day 2. Bring it on Narbik!!!

By the way, we are already using his Advanced CCIE Routing & Switching Workbook 2.0 for this bootcamp. Narbik also gave us a sneak preview of his upcoming and updated materials. He will not be touching the CCIE R&S 4.0 blueprint at this point since it is still 4-5 months away (besides only MPLS and layer 3 VPN is added to the blueprint). He prefers us to understand and dig into 3.0 and not worry about 4.0 just yet.

I will be adding pictures when I complete this bootcamp. That's just because I prefer not to pay RM 60/day for Internet access at the hotel I am staying (Cititel-RM 225/night).

Update: Some pictures while I was taking a break during lunch to update this post.

This is the class I was in. Look at the whiteboard. All Narbik's work :-). There are NO projectors. You can attend his class if you don't believe it.
My personal copy of Narbik's workbooks. It has my name on it as a watermark. This is one of those rare cases where people actually spell my name correctly.
These are the workbooks in its full glory. Imagine when a person walks into Narbik's camp thinking that it's going to be easy to attend his class with a few labs to do and that's it. Boy ... are they going to be surprised with the amount of depth and information they have to master in Narbik's workbooks.
And here's the man himself, secret agent 007 Narbik Kocharians :-). I got him to pose like this believing that he was going to be nominated for the Grammy Awards 2009 (but little does he know he is being tricked).