Hello everyone! 😀
I know i know… I have been quite away from the blog (sorry about that). I have been veeery busy with work and studies. Actually, now I am a little bit more “free” than before, because I took the ARCH exam. So, no deadline now! 😀
I will be writing the pending stuff from IPv6 (here is the first IPv6 friendly post) and some other new stuff requested by some of my students/friends in Venezuela (yeah guys, finally i will). Feel free to post your suggestions and i can try to write something and make a decent lab with some examples (and funny names like my world-famous Potato-ACLs 😀).
Now! As the tittle says: I passed the ARCH exam! 😀 So, that makes me a CCDP certified professional (sounds fancy, right?) and i am aiming for CCDE.
Talking about the exam: its a very hard one. You need to know a lot of stuff from other branches (like Service Provider, Data Center or Security) in terms of design. How technologies work, the details that can change everything! From my perspective, this is not an easy and fast exam. And I don’t think any CCNP R&S guy will pass ARCH exam in the first attempt without studying properly the technologies and having the correct mindset. Actually, as the CCDP Official Certification Guide (link here) is not released yet, i was studying with the CCDE Official Certification Guide (and some stuff are deep) but there is a difference, a big one. You must know some stuff before even trying to get it. Like how MPLS works, how OSPF and IS-IS work, what are the differences between them, and stuff like that. Knowing how they work means deep knowledge (like forwarding address in OSPF, for example). I handle a lot of DC stuff (ACI and non-ACI environments) daily, and that helped me. That being said, I would strongly recommend anyone taking this exam to wait for the OCG and then read some stuff additionally (like Cisco Validated Designs) to grasp the stuff very well and remember best practices and stuff like that. In my opinion, the exam is quite fair according with the responsibility you will have being the design guy there! Some months ago the exam was not good (some confusing wording in the questions and very model specific questions). A friend, Daniel Larsson wrote a post about it in CLN (link here) giving his feedback back in February. After that, several folks have been posting there their feedback regarding the exam. Feel free to take a look (i will write my feedback there also). Additionally, i must say that the exam is not that “Cisco Centric” as you may think. My experience was a very open exam, considering technologies and conditions to implement them. Yes, you will see some (few of them) questions about Cisco technologies) but the overall exam is quite wide and open. I enjoyed it, actually (and felt like i was going to fail in the middle of it).
As I wrote before, a different mindset is needed. You will need to think in business needs and application needs before thinking in technologies that are going to be implemented. The needs will give you the direction and correct technology to implement. In Cisco Learning Network you can watch free CCDP webinars (yeees! free!) taught by Andre Laurent and Marwan AlShawi (link here) and that can help you a lot. They explained incredibly well the mindset you must have (which is the most important element you need IMHO) and gave excellent examples. If you want to go deeper, you can also read CCDE posts (link here) written by Elaine Lopes and you will also learn a lot with interesting information, challenges and more! Everything is done in CLN and its free! (ruuuun!)
Use those resources to learn and get yourself closer to the CCDP and CCDE certifications. I really enjoyed reading and watching videos about design and discussing stuff with other people. The best answer ever whenever someone ask you a question about network design: “It depends”
Again, sorry for the delay. Will be back shortly with more posts for you. Study hard, learn a lot, ask questions, be curious!
See you around.
PS: I am writing this post using the time in the maintenance windows scheduled while other guys are checking firewall rules. I already did my part 😀 Use your time wisely, young Padawan! 😀