Friday, July 12, 2013

96hours and counting RTP CCIE/RS

I'm all ready for my official "2nd attempt" &  at the CCIE/RS lab.

I feel confident that I will do much better, and really hoping I'm going to pass on my 2nd attempt.

The 1st attempt , and with technical lab difficulties at my 2nd trip, gave me a lot of knowledge on what I need to work at & in ordering to  score the passing grade.

I've been reviewing my studies notes based on the cisco blueprint and objectives.  I've have been maintain theses note since Dec 2011, and adding to it,  as I found new and interesting things doing my  studies, personal labs, and the attempts.

One thing that's interesting and helpful that I want to share;

If you builds labs using GNS3 or real-gear, the problems you encounter in that buildout, only helps you more with your trouble-shooting knowledge

What this means;

Problems you created intentional or not, helps you  to trouble shoot them. It could be something like a simple typo, wrong interface, missing statement, or just configured wrong, etc.......

I'll give you a simple example,

A few days ago I was crafting a DHCP pool  ( something very  simple btw )  and inserted the wrong gateway. I spent  5-10mins scratching my head as to why my  dhcp-client was not reachable , until I slowed down and parsed  my config and found my error.

In all trouble-shooting process, 1> you need to see the problem ( the lab make it easy by telling you wants wrong ) and 2> then think of what could contribute to that problem. Most of this will come from "show  commands" and person experiences & encounters that you have part-taken of. And finally 3> insert the correction action to  fix the problem.

Always validate your work and make sure you meet the goal and requirement of the task.

A few friends and associates that I 've known for a decade + ( CCIEs and non ), has given  me some pointers over the last feew weeks.  And a  few of my former associates,  just went to the ccie lab in SJC & RTP, and where not successful. So that's been weighing on my mind for the last 3 weeks.

They are both  outstanding engineers ( Rick & Ed  you know who you  are :) ) and I'm sure they will get it on the next trip around

This trip  breakdowns for cost so far;
  • 1,500 USD ( lab fee  actually it was voucher from my technical difficulties during trip#2 )
  • 36 USD  ( enterprise car rental )
  • 286 USD  ( iflyswa )
  • 88 USD ( hotel stay wingate+durnham )

I'm figuring another 100USD for any misc stuff ( food, starbucks/dunkin donuts, red-bulls and parking garage,etc......).

There's a few decent eateries on page road near my hotel,  and I-expressway. So I plan on eating a good dinner on  Sunday when I do arrive.

Maybe at the Mez

Or the other place directly down the street on the same side. They have some nice dishes, but slightly too much salt on the fries ( can't remember the name  tho but it's a red brick building directly across from the fedex  shipping center )

I also found a problem with one of my 1841ISR router, so I've been using a odd-ball  3550 for some L3 route injections in a few customs labs that I've crafted & that was able to keep me rolling for the last 3 weeks. I believe it's bad cookies or corrupt flash. If i can't fix it, I will be force to buy a another 1841 router.

So my  rack gear is down one 1841ISR at this time;

Current rack Gear inventory;

2x 3825ISR 15.1 ( various ) (  WIC-2T )  ( NAM )  (WIC-1DSU-T1 )
2x 1841ISR  12.4 advsecurity ( various ) (  WIC-2T ) (WIC-1DSU-T1 )
2x  3560  12.2.44 ( 2x GLC-SX-MM  + 2x  SFP-T transceivers )
1x 3350ISR   12.2-44.SE6
1x 3620    12.2 ipbase ( 1 WIC-2E )
1x ASA5505  9.1.1   ( not require for CCIE RS )
MacBook or MacBook Pro for GNS3 and console via zterm for any async  ( Snow Lepoard and Lion )

Also GNS3 was crashing my new Lion MacBook Pro,  so I had to delete the gsn3 ini file and rebuild all of my  GNS3 stuff.  I also lost most of my  custom GNS3 topologies and labs. ( over 30+ )

Here's the gns3 initialization file that you might need to delete if GNS3 has problems.

So that's the only way to  clear out all  gns3 initializations (unix  rm .gns3/gns3.ini )

btw, here's the GNS3 version I'm using now under macosx ;

Outside of this, it has been  straight forward with/ 2-3hours  &  3-4 nights per week &  for the last  5 weeks. I 've been using the micronic trainingbooks, and mainly the  "t-shooting  section" and it's has been very helpful.

You can locate this study guides at the following links;

I also been following  Laurent  CCIE trek  & as my motivation. You can read more about his journey  here;

For technologies covered over the last few weeks, and months, I've listed them below . I've  been refreshing myself since my current role has me doing little to no cisco activities ;

L3 redundancy gateway protocols
EIGRP redistribute concepts and techniques
MPLS sham-links
Smarter ACL list crafting
ssh rotary
ip http server and authentication
ppp authentications 
ospf virtual-links
multicast t-shooting

So I feel very confident in the above technologies. I 'm also planning on trying somew new techniques to speed up the insertion of my configurations, by using the  windows notepad & crafting the relevant config for ALL actions in the configuration sections of the CCIE lab  and then pasting it in.

Maybe for example, I do all L3 interfaces  on the router objects and including the routing process and then dump it into router  and move on to the next, and then the next. 

Speed & accuracy is what's required to pass this exam.  Disabling logging to the console during the configuration, would also free up any output and clutter, keeping your cli clear and clean.

I even phantom building a quick alias-cmd set, but since I had a hard time remember my own aliases & rarely use them,. I figure I would drop that and not waste my time on alias.  How much time does a "show run interface "  vrs "srin"  gives you,  is disputable.

note: Anything that you can do, to  reduce you configuration time, can only help you later. It would give you more time to re-evaluate and for diagnostics.

Stay tune

 Ken Felix
 Freelance Network & Security Engineer
 kfelix -a--t- socpuppets ---d--o--t--- com

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