Monday, December 30, 2013

Lab Week #3

From 23/Dec/2013 to 29/Dec/2013

This was the third week of my lab preparation. I did another full scale lab from INE, a lot of IS-IS,OSPF,RIP and Inter-AS L3VPN short labs on GNS3 and i spent quite a few hours on reading about IS-IS.

Total average has increased from 50,6% to 54,2%, while the most noticeable difference has been on IS-IS and Inter-AS L3VPNs.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Countdown continues...48 days left...

Almost 10 days after i started my lab study i feel i am progressing too slowly. The major issue is with the available time for studying daily, due to many projects running on work. On the weekends things are much better. Also, i am spending a significant amount of time organizing the information and presenting it on this blog.

The positive part is that due to Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays falling on weekdays, i will be able to spend more time studying on these 3 days. Also the next two weeks will probably be less intensive on work, because many people will be on leave and we have a network freeze.

Another positive thing is that i familiarized myself with the enhanced-by-me INE's GNS3 topology, so i'm not spending too much time while preparing the virtual environment. Next full scale lab will probably run during Christmas and i plan to have another one before the end of this year. Then i'm moving to Rack Rentals for some real action.

My target is to reach at least 65% readiness one month before the deadline, which means i'll have to push myself harder in the remaining 18 days.

PS: That Google+ message that appears every time i edit a page is the most annoying thing ever!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lab Week #2

From 16/Dec/2013 to 22/Dec/2013

This was the second week of my lab preparation. I did another full scale lab from INE, a lot of IS-IS and MPLS short labs on GNS3 and i spent quite a few hours on reading about Multicast and MVPN.

Total average has increased from 48,9% to 50,6%, while the most noticeable difference has been on IS-IS, Multicast and MPLS/LDP.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lab Week #1

From 09/Dec/2013 to 15/Dec/2013

This should have been the first week of my lab preparation, but it was actually a half week. Although most time was spent on work projects, i did find some time to prepare my virtual lab in GNS3 and also do a full scale lab from INE's workbook. Also i did a quick review on some VPNv4 matters.

Total average has increased from 46,5% to 48,9%, while the most noticeable difference has been on CsC and MVPN (where i had no practical experience at all).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Countdown starts...58 days left...

Today i am officially starting my lab study. I just did my first home lab and it took me more than 11 hours to finish it, but i spent a lot of time on fixing INE's GNS3 topology and configurations.

Unfortunately INE's full scale labs do not include any initial configuration for GNS3, so i had to create my own from their rack rental configs. Also i had to create mappings between rack rental devices/ports and GNS3 devices/ports.

I'm satisfied from the end result in this first lab. I graded myself with 69/100, but i could definitely achieve a higher score if hadn't done some silly mistakes in a few minor tasks. There was only a single task that i spend around 2 hours without any success, because i couldn't think of any viable solution; and that was the Multicast BGP. Lesson learned...

From tomorrow i am planning to start writing down my notes like i did in the past, but this time i'll do it on this blog (so other people can take advantage of that too). So while i read and test things on my home lab, i will be documenting everything that i feel is important as a note or as a reference. Then these notes (to be found under "Notes: The Series" as a summary) will be transfered on my MP3 recorder, so i can have access to them any time, especially during the last days of my preparation.

I have also created a countdown at the right side of my blog, just to keep me (and all readers) informed about the deadline (58 days from now). My aim is to be 100% ready (in terms of taking notes) at least one week before the lab exam, which is on 10th of February 2014. The last week will be spent on doing labs and reviewing things.

Friday, December 6, 2013

my Last days before initiating preparation

The last two weeks i had to deal with the projects at work. There are various projects of major importance running simultaneously for the past few months and unfortunately another one came up last week, so this weekend will be spent on that one.

Although i didn't have enough time to spend on my preparation, i'm not worrying. I got my two new books from Book Depository and a full pack of inks for my Canon printer from Amazon. Also i bought 6 x 8h rack rentals from INE, but i am not planning to use them immediately; probably January will see most of them being used.

I didn't have time to prepare the dynamips/GNS3 environment, but i hope i'll have that ready during the weekend. On the other hand, i have my rate papers (a printed xls file where i rate myself and write down any remarks) ready from my previous CCIE, so i just need to change some titles and print a bunch of them.

Btw, i also made a donation to the GNS3 team who are running a crowd-funding campaign for the new GNS3 1.0. Although i am more of a hardcore dynamips user, the guys are doing an excellent job there and i hope they create one of the best training tools.

Regarding my preparation, i don't believe i'll be able to start on 10th of December as i was initially planning, but most probably the weekend after that. I don't think that will be a problem; i'll just need to spend more time the first few days in order to catch up.

I'm planning to start my actual preparation by running a full scale lab in GNS3, just to get an idea of the level of my actual/practical knowledge. I don't care about the time (i can even spend 12 hours in this first lab), i just need to provide as many correct answers as possible, while at the same time using the Cisco documentation for refreshing things of the past. This will also help me get accustomed to the documentation available during the lab exam. In the next labs, i will try to decrease the time but always focus on providing correct answers. All labs during my preparation will be rated by me and afterwards logged in "Lab Ratings".

Next update will be on 13th-16th of December 2013...