A few days ago I passed DCUFD and earned my Cisco Certified Network Professional in Data Center! All in all, the test had some issues with it, but I think it was a fair certification to gauge if someone has been around Cisco’s Data Center product line. As with all tests there are a few gotchas, but I wont get into that here. I will however share what I did to get to the certification. First and foremost, I created a study plan. To me this was invaluable, but I need to follow it more. Next, I went a little overboard on the books that I read for this journey, they are;
- NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching: Next-Generation Data Center Architectures, 2nd Edition
- Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cis…
- Using TRILL, FabricPath, and VXLAN: Designing Massively Scalable Data Centers (MSDC) with Overlays
- I/O Consolidation in the Data Center
- Storage Networking Protocol Fundamentals
Also, I purchased IPExpert’s CCNP DC VoD series and I read a lot of white papers and configuration guides on storage.
The plan was:
- Go though the book once, and make notes and highlight what I found to be pertinent pieces of information. From here re-read the notes I took and the highlighted sections and make notes off of them
- Take those notes and type them, either in Word or OneNote (Sometimes both)
- Watch the IPExpert VoD series and fill in gaps that I may have had
- If all else failed and I was still stuck, read the Cisco documentation on it
My track of choice next to Implementation was Design. I choose this because it is what I have been really doing or the last few years, so I kind of went with it. I took the tests in the following order;
- Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (642-999)
- Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Computing (642-998)
- Implementing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (642-997)
- Designing Cisco Data Center Unified Fabric (642-996)
My background is anything Nexus, so I figured I would save that for last, really all I had to learn was storage. Why not start out with something I don’t know and learn. Maybe in hindsight I should have flipped them and did DCUFI and DCUFD first and second respectfully, but I can’t play Monday morning quarterback now.
So another certification down, what do I do now. I can’t help but think back to the last time I was at this point in my studies… In late 2011, beginning of 2012, I was at a point in my studies where I wanted to take a shot and climb that ladder people only dream of doing, the CCIE. I went through what seemed like 3 years of torture and getting kicked down every chance the test could kick me down. I went on and took the lab 4 times between December 2012 and May 2014. There were times when I think it would have been better to just not have taken the test, to the one where I just missed getting my digits, to my last attempt, which you can read all about here, What is the CCIE even worth, but I find myself at the same crossroads and am pretty confident on what I am going to do next. I am going to re-climb the CCIE mountain and hopefully this new path will get me to the top! I am however taking a more cautious approach though.
My main issue with Routing and Switching, was I thought I knew it all and blamed everyone but myself. I got in my own way, aside from the really bad attempt in May 2014. I am going to approach this journey in a different way. With the silent announcement of CCIE DC v2 announced a few days ago, I have had to adjust the plan I had but not by much. Most times when there is a change to a certification track, people go crazy and start booking lab seats like the world is coming to an end. For a moment, I thought, could I get this done by the cut off date of July 26th 2015 and the answer is no. My first goal is to pass CCIE DC written version 1 by the cut off date of July 22nd 2015. Now what happens if I do pass before the v1 lab cut off date of July 22nd 2015, I am still going to wait to take the v2 lab. I am not going to put that extra stress on an already stressful situation that I am putting myself in. As long as I know the core of what the lab is about, any of the new stuff they added will not throw me off what my end goal is, it is just more stuff I get to learn.