Thursday, October 8, 2009

CCIE Flyer Reader Exclusive Soup-To-Nuts for FREE! Why Pay More?

The journey to become a CCIE is an expensive one and in my everyday interactions I always look out for bargains. Recently Micronics, Voice Boot Camp, Global Knowledge and SkylineATS all reduced rates or agreed to for their CCIE boot camps. I thought I had really done something for future CCIEs with those announcements. The ads for training companies in the CCIE Flyer for September made history as well. Come on, have you ever seen those training companies all advertised on the same page before?

Well now the CCIE Flyer has really done it. We are offering Narbik’s Soup-To-Nuts workbook for FREE in the October issue of the CCIE Flyer . Yes you can get the hottest deal on one of the industry’s best workbooks to use as a guide book for your journey to become a CCIE from the CCIE Flyer . So for all you who have been visiting the CCIE Flyer this is our way of saying thanks!

How can you go wrong with free?

How to order? Go to the CCIE Flyer October issue out around the 17th and see.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Webinar: Official Update – CCIE R&S

I´ve just attended the live Webinar with Brad Ellis (CCBOOTCAMP), Maurilio Gorito (Cisco) and many others, and some key points were discussed in there:

Open-Ended Questions:

No news here, just a heads-up, they´re looking for straight answers, few words, sometimes only one word to answer the question. Non english speakers (like me) can relax, they´re not looking at specific words or sentences, they´ll check each and every answer and grade it manually;

Troubleshooting Section:

- Troubleshooting section will be in a “virtual” enviroment (like Dynamips) not on real equipment;

- No switches, only routers, so any Layer 2 tickets will be related to WAN issues (Frame-Relay, PPP, etc);

- The number of Routers in the troubleshooting section can range all the way from 20 to 36, 37 routers, but, not all of them will be involved in the same ticket. They need this “high” number of equipments to keep one ticket independent from the other;

- The virtual enviroment will work just as if they are real equipments, all comands available (also show and debug) so don´t freak out, just think it as Cisco Official Dynamips enviroment! ;)

New topics on the V4 Blueprint:

Any topic just added to the V4 Blueprint will be non-core, you can even take a V4 CCIE R&S Exam and don´t have any MPLS tasks, those will be really basic (according to Maurilio).

Also, keep in mind that this event was recorded (sorry, I don´t have the link here, I´ll try to look out for it and post it back) so you can watch and see all the news yourself.

Keep you posted of any other news I have!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Slowly coming back – So, what´s up!?

After some personal issues, I´m slowly coming back to my normal routine of work, study, work, study, over and over again!

So, what changed so far in the CCIE World, in my preparation, in anything else regarding my studies?!

CCIE is now reaching version 4.0, with some news, good for some of us, bad for the others, anyway… Vendors are updating their products ASAP, and some of us finally discovered the small letters in the called “Investment Protection Program”, is it fair?! In my opinion it is, but for sure, if that was really explicit when I made my choice, I would NEVER (and let me say again NEVER) get it. It looks like the “Fantastic” workbook that expires after 12 months!

Their products are AWESOME, a “must have” but when I signed for it, I wanted to be updated to any changes for the CCIE, that´s why I bought an End-to-End solution, but, again… It´s fair, they´re spending time and efforts updating the materials, but please… be a bit more specific when describing the “Investment Protection” policy, stating that the “Products” inside the “End-to-End” program are protected and not the program itself… (and please, do not ask me which vendor it was, I can tell you which vendor it wasn´t if you ask me). Again, the products are great, but the self-called “investment protection” program wasn´t very clear. It´s fair to charge in my opinion, if that was explicit explained in the website… (Old stuff, but I still mad with it).

Internetwork Expert is updating their Volume I Workbook, they´ve also released the Volume IV (Troubleshooting) workbook, with just a few labs, but those look great!

Also, anyone checked IPExpert Volume I after the updates?! Very nice! I´m working on it right now, expect some reviews soon!

One thing that made me really happy was to see Joe Astorino joining IPExpert! He´s the man! An example to be followed! Few months of hard study and dedication, he got his digits and “upgraded” his career forever in my opinion! CONGRATULATIONS buddy! :)

It seens Narbik is also out with his new Workbook, another friend of mine (Nickelby Thane) is very excited with that! I may join him if I make up my mind and actually get Narbik´s workbook (it looks I´m going for it and with the new Cisco Press CCIE Certification Guide 4.0 those will be the last thing I´ll buy for my CCIE Preparation).

One thing I will try to do, I´ll keep most of my time on the Workbooks and Books, and less time on Videos, CoDs. Those are really nice, and I´ll use it as a reference, when I have some difficults, but not as my primary resource. I plan to study each topic, each protocol like this:

- Read about it (OSPF for example) in any Book (like Doyle);

- Watch the Video-on-Demand and listen to the MP3 files for the topic in question;

- Do the Volume I labs regarding this specific technology;

I think this is a good aproach, not all the time reading, not all the time on the workbooks and not all the time on the videos, just learning each topic at a time, with reading and hands-on.

Anyway! I´ll keep you posted of my progress, and also publish any reviews, tips and advices while I´m doing that! Just give me a couple days to organize everything!

Talk to you soon!


A CCIE Widow’s Request

CCIE # 5804 was one of the very few CCIEs in Alaska. I met him at Networkers in 2008 the month before his death. I did not find out about his passing until March of 2009 when a friend and co-worker sent me a message about him after seeing his picture on my blog. I had exchanged emails with him prior to Cisco Live 2008 so when we met I was pleased to make the acquaintance of one of only 4 CCIEs in Alaska that I knew of. After Cisco shut down the NASCAR Grille CCIE party, I hosted a bunch of CCIEs at the Hard Rock Café near there at Universal Studios Orlando. The band Modest Mouse was just finishing their last set for the night and we had a few beers together along with seven or eight other CCIEs. The other guys were from Holland, Texas and a few other places. But Dave and I talked a lot that evening and I am happy now, looking back that I had that chance.

At the end of August 2009 I received this email from Lee Gahm, Dave’s wife;

Dear Eman,
My name is Lee, I am Dave's wife.  Tonight I spoke with his parents and they told me about what you had written and I looked it up.  I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your kind words about Dave.  The proudest day in his life was when he passed his CCIE test.  Actually we were all very proud.  Dave LOVED his job and by what I could tell he was very good at it.  I miss the middle of the night calls from his work..I never understood a single word he said but I was always impressed.  His trips to those conventions were always important to him.  He was proud to be a "techno geek". He was looking forward to the next CCIE gathering as he was going to speak.
I am not ready yet but I will be putting together a memory book for Abby.  I would be grateful if you and some of the others would share some of your memories or stories about Dave with me.  If you have any other pictures too, I would love to have them.  I know his parents would like to see them also.
He truly was doing something that he loved.  I was so fortunate to speak to him the night before and could hear the happiness in his voice.

So I am posting this so that anyone who knew CCIE # 5804, Dave Gahm will share in photos or in writing their experiences with Dave. CCIEs have a way of influencing others across borders so I am happy to help Mrs. Gahm and Dave’s parents in gathering what I can through this medium Dave loved so much.

If you have anything you would like to share about Dave Gahm please respond to


Saturday, June 27, 2009

How about a CCIE R&S Bootcamp in Sao Paulo, Brazil ?!

A good friend of mine just finished a CCIE Voice Bootcamp here in Sao Paulo, Brazil… This Bootcamp was conducted by the guys from CCBootcamp

Well… I know CCIE Voice is not the most “famous” track… not even in a near future, I don´t see Voice beating up the CCIE R&S and that´s a fact… Just check how many R&S guys are getting their digits and how many Voice guys…

Oh yeah! I´m not saying that CCIE R&S is better or worse than CCIE Voice, not at all! I´m just saying that Voice is not so “famous” as the R&S track! ;)

Anyway… His class was full of engineers from all around Latin America, and the class was conducted in english… Everyone was happy and the price was fair!

Travelling costs are also cheaper for a travel to Brazil (if you´re in Latin America) than to go all the way to US (hotels are too expensive over there).

So my question is: WHY NOT A “DECENT” CCIE R&S BOOTCAMP in Sao Paulo, Brazil ?!

You can ask me… Why do I say “decent” ?! I say that because we do have some offerings down here that DO NOT ATTRACT me at all… I don´t know a single guy who attended one of those local bootcamps and passed the CCIE R&S Lab Exam in less than two attempts!

Anyone around here would be interested in a CCIE R&S Bootcamp here in Sao Paulo, Brazil ?! Maybe if we have a good number of students one of the vendors would be interested in come down…

I just know one thing… If it was possible to have a full class for the CCIE Voice, it´s possible to have a full class for CCIE R&S! That´s for sure!

Leave me your comments and thoughts!

Anyone ?! :)

Two new Cisco books on their way to my HOME! :)

Just got two Cisco Press books, can´t wait to put my hands on those!

Everytime that I get something online, I look like a child in Christmas eve waiting for Santa to arrive! lol!

This time I got:

Cisco Express Forwarding (ISBN: 9781587056109)


Cisco LAN Switching Configuration Handbook, 2nd Edition
(ISBN: 9781587056109)

Many of you already have those books, many not… In my case, I was waiting for a while to buy the CEF book, and what a perfect time get it now that the new Lan Switching Handbook was realeased!

As soon as those arrives (it seens CEF is delayed, but Lan Switching Handbook is already on it´s way to my home) I´ll put a little review here! Just hang in there and wait with me! :) lol!


Friday, June 26, 2009

THE BEST OF THE BEST (Narbik on Steroids!) by Eman Conde – CCIE Agent™

I just read through this wonderful interview from Mr. Eman Conde (the world famous CCIE Agent™ and owner of the CCIE Flyer) with the “amazing” mr. Narbik Kocharians (Micronics Training).

It´s a very interesting interview, it goes all the way from Workbooks, Bootcamps to Cisco 360 Program, just check it out:


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 1, 2009

CCIE R&S v4.0 – Your questions answered by Mauricio Gorito (from the CCIE Team at Cisco)

Cisco is running a nice “Ask the Expert” with Maurilio Gorito (you can access it through this link) regarding the new CCIE R&S Exam v4.0. This section will end in June 05, 2009.

The Last day to take the CCIE R&S Lab Exam v3.0 is October 17, 2009. The new exam format – v4.0 starts on October 18, 2009.

Personaly I really like the troubleshooting idea! Ok, I´m not a big fan of the OEQ, but troubleshooting seens really nice!

Here are the answers from Maurilio Gorito that I consider to be the most important (at least to me) so far:

Exam Format:


1. Open Ended Questions: up to 30 minutes.

2. Troubleshooting: up to 2 hours.

3. Configuration: up to 5 1/2 hours. 

The candidate will be graded only at the end of the day so even if the candidate fails in one of the sections he or she still going through all three sections.

There will be a big concern on integrity of the exams as all three sections are totally independent, per example the scenario or topology presented on the Troubleshooting section will be different from the configuration section.

The v3.0 lab exam has about 36 to 40 questions.

The configuration section on v4.0 will have something around 25 to 30 questions on 5.5 hours.

The Troubleshooting section will be independent from the Configuration section, i.e., it will be presented on a different scenario.

Once you finish the Troubleshooting you will move to the Configuration section that will be presented on a new scenario or topology.

The Troubleshooting section will have a maximum of 2 hours. The candidate will be presented a series of questions or 'trouble tickets' for a given scenario or topology. The referred topology will pre-configured.

Based on the information provided such as IP addressing diagrams, IGP routing diagrams, and so on you will work to identify and fix the issues. You will be given points for working scenarios.

1. The Open Ended Questions are 4 questions total and the candidate needs to get at least three out of four, and yes, usually 2 to 3 words are enough to answer them. During this section you can ask the proctor for clarification.

2. The total score of the CCIE lab exam still 100 points, now divided between the three sections. At this point I can't disclose the exact point allocation per section but you can expect the Configuration section to have between 25-30 questions and the Troubleshooting section to have between 10 to 15 trouble-tickets.

3. Regarding of MPLS we are planning to cover the basic configurations on label switching, VRFs and L3VPN. No advanced scenarios will be part of the exam.



One good way to prepare for the Core Knowledge questions is along with your preparation to the lab exam where you will be applying the overall concepts during your hands-on practice studying.

During that section you will be asked concept questions about technologies that are listed on the lab exam blueprint so while you are preparing to take the lab exam you are implementing all those concepts and then you will be well prepared for that.

There is no memorization type of questions, like to memorize RFCs (as someone asked before) or specific protocol timers.

You may find questions the will have an output command and / or a topology for your interpretation, but not memorization questions such RFC numbers.


The questions are suppose to be clear and direct so you should not need clarification, but if the candidate feel the need to clarify something on the question because per example English is not his or her first language proctors will help to clarify that.

Proctors will not go into technical discussions or possible directions on answering the questions, but still available to clarify the meaning of the question's wording.

We do not look on language specifics. Although the questions are written in English during grading we do not look for correct grammar or perfect phrases, rather we look for key words related to the technology involved in the questions. Proctors are very careful on it as well they are available during the exam for any clarification if needed. Here is a link where you can find a sample for the Open Ended questions:


The Open-Ended Questions are graded by the proctor, no by a script.

The only available tool during the Core Knowledge section is the Notepad. No calculator is available.

 Troubleshooting Section:


A good way to prepare to the troubleshooting is when you are practicing on hands-on preparing to the lab exam try to change your scenarios, try different approaches when configuring routing protocols, different configuration on QoS, and so on. During your ‘experiments’ observe what happens, the changes on behaviors, and then record your finds. These will help you to understand how the technologies work at the same time how they behave during transitions, and then you will know how to deal when something is broken. Consider the following approach when analyzing a problem.

When analyzing a problem you should consider the following facts:

- Make sure you have a clear definition of the problem.

- Gather all the relevant facts and consider the likely possibilities.

- Create and implement an action plan and then observe the results.

- If the symptoms do not stop try another action plan and gather additional facts. If you try one thing and it doesn’t work you should take that configuration or feature off. In case you make the situation worse, always keep the basic and get back to a known position.

- If the symptoms do stop, document how you fixed the problem.

The Troubleshooting section will have a certain number of trouble tickets and points allocated to the section. You will receive credits for the points you get. Your score on this section will show as, 30%, or 50%, or 80%, and so on.
You will need to get a minimum of 80% on each section of the exam to pass on the CCIE lab exam.
Yes, we are planning to post a sample Troubleshooting questions/trouble ticket for study reference.

CCIE Lab Exam:


The main changes on the new CCIE R&S v4.0 are:

1. The addition of MPLS/VPN, EIGRPv6 and the emphasis on troubleshooting.

2. The addition of a separated 2 hours troubleshooting section to the exam.

No topics were removed from the syllabus and those topics (aka blueprint) will be covered through 3 sections:

1. Open Ended Questions: up to 30 minutes.

2. Troubleshooting: up to 2 hours.

3. Configuration: up to 5 1/2 hours.

You can find more detailed information on the CCIE R&S v4.0 at


Yes, the v3.0 lab exam has about 36 to 40 questions.

The configuration section on v4.0 will have something around 25 to 30 questions on 5.5 hours.


Performance Routing will not be a big topic, and may not appear in all exams.

IOS IPS it is also a topic that will not appear in all exams and it will not require to know the signatures but the basic configuration.

The same applies to the IOS Zone Based Firewall. This is new to the blueprint and it will be basic in the exam and may not appear in all exams.

No Radius server will be part of the CCIE R&S exam scenarios, and initially no SDM software will be installed on the ISR routers.