My CCIE EI goal started on January of 2020, again. Again, you might ask? Yes, I already started in 2013 when CCIE V4 was still the one to take, but the planning was poor. I will elaborate this in another post about my whole career so far, choices I made and what they have brought me.
My plan is to close the gaps between the old CCIE V4/V5.x and the new CCIE EI V1.0. The topics that are new to CCIE EI V1.0 are SDN Technologies, like SD-Access, SD-WAN and programmability. After the gaps are closed I will recap all the knowledge that I have and deepdive into other topics that I lack. Study was doing well, but not at a very high pace. Suddenly it got jumpstarted.
But before I dive into my experience a little disclaimer to the reader to prevent potential assumptions and to make clear way of this experience review.
The reader needs to be aware of the fact that I actually won an Instructor-Led CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure Course by Orhan Ergun. Totally randomly chosen. Does this make me an independant reviewer? No, it doesn’t. I’m not objective and I don’t have to be. My goal is not to influence readers to choose the best Instructor. That research is up to them to do and what fits best to their needs. That’s also not why I blog. I blog to share experiences and knowledge that I’ve gained.
In the end it’s also a bit of :
“Quid pro quo”.
I’m going to be straight honest how I experienced the course that jumpstarted my studies even more. I do hope you’ll find it usefull.
:: The Course
The course is made up of 10 weekends of 2 days each via Skype. This is currently the only way to do trainings since most of the countries are in a form of lockdown and do not permit any large group of people to gather.
Each day 4 hours of instructor-led is done. One day is led by Orhan, discussing design topics. The second day is spent on showing the technology in the labs.
The design discussions are very good. Orhan leads you through the topics of that weekend, elaborates the why and the how. To my opinion other training resources do not dive into the why that deep. Also from a design perspective he changes the way you think. Most of us learned that RIP is a bad protocol and it’s better to use OSPF instead. But it all depend on what the requirements are that we need to meet.
After a few weeks I’ve noticed that I was thinking the same way. I was pushing our team to answer why we would consider certain options over other options and what the tradeoffs were. Eventually leading from an assumption-based approach to a real design approach.
The slidedecks (with a lot of slides) are complementary to these discussions. Also there are a lot of comparisation charts at your disposal to learn. Should some topics pass to fast for you or you were just not ready at the time of the instructor-led on OSPF or BGP you can still re-run the self-paced e-learnings and re-cap.
On the second day of each weekend we ran though the same topics discussed a day earlier but then from a configuration perspective. In these sessions it is also shown how specific configuration can cause a protocol to act differently, why and what the effects are on convergence. If you don’t get it the first time during these sessions it will be explained again if needed.
:: Self-paced content
The self-paced content is very up to date. And to my views Orhan constantly selects the best classes to be in the self-paced content. It’s not like your looking at video content from 4 years ago. You can watch these over and over again. Also there are a lot of video’s about setting up your lab which helps you getting started.
For almost each topic there are labs available. Some are considered multi-labs, some dedicated. Workbooks are included with Lab files to run through. All labs run in EVE-NG. If you haven’t heard of this yet I suggest you dive into this. I consider it a multi-hypervisor simulation tool to run almost anything available in the market today. Off course some technologies depends on hardware ASICS, but as long as you know the why, how and when it’s only a matter of reading the detailed platform whitepapers from that vendor.
If you have a decent server at home or in the “cloud” (on someone else’s computer) you can run the labs in EVE-NG and go through all the tasks to test you knowledge yourself. The workbooks also explain what you’ve just configured and how that protocol is reacting. It give you that “aha” connection between what you’ve learned and what you see in the labs.
:: The Studygroup
The studygroup was just awesome. Felt like one big family. All of the other students were happy to help to setup labs or if you have any questions they would answer them. Some students already did the course and know a lot. And they stay in the group after the course.
:: AOA (Ask Orhan Anything)
The 10 weekends of instructor-led are done, your running through the self-paced material one more time. Suddenly you hit a detail that you have a hard time to understand. You can still ask Orhan or the other instructors for some explanation via Skype. You can even re-join that session when it’s planned again to ask the questions you need.
:: My experience
At first I did not now what to expect from the course so I just went with the flow. The first weekends I was OK. All the topics discussed weren’t that difficult and I have worked with them a lot. But then it came clear that I needed more preparation during the week for the weekend classes. Orhan is an instructor that pushes you to study more, even before such a session. Just to make sure you ask the right questions during the sessions.
Be prepared and come prepared.
Also it is impossible to cover certain topics in just a few hours. Some CCIE topics require at least one or two weeks of study. So preparation was key and asking the right questions became essential.
Looking at my own personal experience this course was just the one I needed to get off my lazy butt and add actions to my words. The level of deepdive is just what I needed. Orhan’s main focus is that you get the knowledge to be the best engineer, the GoTo guy in your organization.
I also have the need to highlight a few extra points which made this experience one of my best so far:
- Some topics will be discussed even outside the scope of CCIE EI V1.0.
- Some protocols will be discussed to the extend of Service Provider.
- If you crunch the Multi-Toplogy labs then you’re good. CCIE EI lab topology is expected to be easier.
- Labs are continuously being added and updated for you to use.
- Within the studygroup Orhan frequently asks if someone needs more knowledge, just to see if it’s worth having a new session if enough people respond. Free knowledge, People!
- Have I mentioned lifetime access already? No subscriptions, just knowledge in packages. Learn at your own pace without the issue that the subscription has expired.
Due to my experience I decided to buy the self-paced BGP and Service Provider course as well. For me this is the best investment by far.
If you need more information, please check his website for the CCIE EI V1.0 training or check CCDE, Service Provider or the other courses as well.
CCIE EI V1.0: https://orhanergun.net/courses/ccie-ei-training/
I hope you find it usefull. For all other answers, it’s 42!