CCIE Security: 1 month until Bootcamp and 1st Lab attempt

Wow.. 2 month went by without a blog post. I guess it represents fairly well the situation I’m in at the moment. 

What can I say.. life caught up on me, works been like crazy for the past 1.5 month, so all weekday studies have been canceled (or allmost, I have had a few evenings in the lab)

Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) though are still, and now more than ever, my little “hide away” from work, family and life.. I have started to move out of my home office in the weekends and drive to work, where I can be 100% alone and focused on the studies.

Schedule status is now that I will finish up the Technology Workbook before Bootcamp, but I will not be able to complete a full mock lab before my first Lab attempt.

Hehe, another exciting thing – we are going to have our 2nd child by March 2018.. YEAHH.., so my CCIE 12 month plan (June to June) is now 9 month and then either full stop or a pause for X amount of month.

Well, next post will be around Bootcamp time.

Any body going to INE November Bootcamp in London?

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CCIE Security: 3 month in and “off days” has arrived

It’s been awhile, but nevertheless the days have passed and the study hours increased.

I have been holding my schedule for around 3 month now and I am half way through the INE technology workbook and halfway there before my first bootcamp and first lab exam.

The feeling is right and I am confident I will be ready-set-go for the halfway mark in December – but as expected the “off days” has arrived.

It’s mostly in the weekdays when I had a tough day at work – but no matter how shitty a day, I will sit there in front of my studies, even if it’s only for a small amount of time with a technology podcast, configuration guide or a small lab. (The weekends is still full speed ahead with 8-12 hours each Saturday and Sunday and I love it)

But man oh man, the “off days” can be tough – but knowing they are perfectly normal helps a lot.

Fun fact: I kind of know it myself, but Lene my wife nailed it when she tolled me: “Henrik, it’s so fun to follow you – when you start a new learning subject you do not know/master – you get so frustrated and “down”, but after a week of training you come out from your studyroom with your hands over your head and are happy like a child who just got a present.”

That’s all for now – please comment below and keep sending me messages.

CCIE Security: First attempt lab exam booked

Here it goes – Hotel booked for CCIE Security Bootcamp in London @November 2017

I have chosen not to stay in the same hotel-conference as the Bootcamp.
Reason? The 5-10min walk in fresh air might come in handy after 14 hours of indoor training. Also I found a much larger room (25m2), at a better TripAdvisor rated hotel to a lower price than offered at the Bootcamp hotel. (yes, I am a cheap ass.. haha)

ccie-hotel-bootcamp

 

My first lab attempt is booked in Brussels 9 days after Bootcamp ends.

The days between Bootcamp to lab exam will be used part time on the couch with Netflix relaxing (I have been tolled 7x 14-16 hours of training is mentally exhausting) and part time with my family I have not been with for 9 days straight. (1 week vacation from work is needed)
I have booked the lab exam for Tuesday 9 days after Bootcamp, so from around Thursday to Sunday before exam day it’s all about last preparation for the lab (bye bye family) – I will travel to Brussels Monday during the day and “test” the walking distance (900 meters) to the Cisco Test Center prior to the big day and probably not get much sleep during the night at the very romantic “Holiday Inn Hotel”. – I am already soooo excited.

ccie-hotel-lab

CCIE Security: Learning methodologies / v5 Workbook update / Bootcamp

As I have wrote a bunch of times, I use the INE CCIE Security v4 Technology Workbook as a guideline for my labbing (I am not paid by INE, but I have not been able to find any better/cheaper materials out there.. Please comment below if you can enlighten me)

I am currently 1/3 trough the Technology Workbook, and I have found an “alternative” way of using it. (for me that is)
Instead of doing the tasks 1-by-1 and only follow what is written in the workbook – I have started to use it as a “guidance” instead, so I use it as a baseline for the topology and task assignment, and then solving the task using information found in “Cisco Configuration Guides”

i.e. a task stated:

  • Configure ASA3 to authenticate telnet sessions from VLAN 37 and console sessions via LDAP server on TEST-SRV-A

I configure my home LAB topology to match that from the Workbook and I will find the “AAA LDAP” section in the Configuration Guide for ASA version 9.6 to complete the task assigned
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/security/asa/asa96/configuration/general/asa-96-general-config/aaa-ldap.html
When finished I match my output with the output from the Workbook, and see if I have missed some important information.

I feel I learn and adopt the technologies, but as always I am eager to learn new methodologies, so please comment below.

v5 Workbook

After some writing back and forth with INE the message is that there will not be a v5 Technology Workbook as we know it from the v4 workbook. (text/image based workbook)
It’s a bit unclear if the entire workbook will be converted to a video series or it will be a combination of keeping elements from the v4 as a text workbook and only the differences from v4 to v5 will be a video series.
Honestly I am not a fan of the “video series” approach – I like to be able to have things in text so I can copy/paste and search in the content.

Bootcamp

Randomly surfing the internet for CCIE Security stuff, I saw that INE will have two CCIE Security LAB Bootcamps in Europe (London Nov/Dec 2017 and Amsterdam Feb 2018)

When I need to learn stuff I would like to be clear in my head and not be jet-lacked, so I decided to book a seat at the London Bootcamp in November/December 2017 and have the possibility to re-seat in February in Amsterdam for a fairly low price.

So now it’s official.. after approx. 6 month of labbing (400-600 hours) I will hit the first 80-100 hours bootcamp and within a month after that I will be trying out for the real Lab Exam.. It feels like getting real close all of a sudden.

By December 2017/January 2018 I will have a much better idea of what exam study should be focused on.

1st month of “labbing” – Am I keeping up?

First of – thanks to all of you reading my blog and sending positive feedback – it keeps me running.

Are you wondering – “Is he keeping up with the tight study plan?” – simply answer: No!

But almost:
In the weekdays, Monday to Thursday study hours have been pretty steady between 19:30 and 21:00 +/- 30min, so 1.5-2.5 hours per day.
Friday is still “off day”
I have had a few on-the-job lab session where I have spend 2-4 hours. (Thanks boss)
At the weekends, Saturday and Sunday my schedule is adjusted to 09:00AM to 15:00PM (sometimes to 16-17:00PM), so around 6-8 hours per day – which fits our family perfectly fine (our baby girl sleeps 2-3 hours in that time span)

Summed up, I am still way ahead of the 1.000 hours in the next year.

Before I started I have read multiple places: “Keep an open mind and start like you know nothing” Oh my – best advise ever.
You go trough simple stuff that you thought you knew everything about and after 10 minutes you are like; FUCK – I know absolutely nothing about this simple topic.
But it’s great fun, you really learn something.

Technical summary:
The INE CCIE Security Technology Workbook version 4 does not fit the INE Rack Rentals (which is being adjusted to version 5 – //still no v5 workbook//), but as of the first to chapters, it was easy to build, both using INE Rack Rentals for CCNA/CCNP or simply in GNS3 with IOU/IOL images. You quickly will learn/find out, that IOU/IOL images does not support the full featureset of hardware switches/routers, so some of the features are either not in the CLI at all, or only partial there. (Others are there and does not work)
I have been using INE Rack Rental for stuff not supported in GNS3.

Getting to chapter 3 – Cisco WSA, I “lost” a weekend due to the fact GNS3 and VMware apparently does not support “VLAN Trunk Cloud/Link” (WCCP made the Trunk Cloud/Link silently crash), but after setting up all VLANs individually between GNS3 and VMware thinks started working.

Damn I felt like shit, loosing so much time for an issue that small.

19222915_10155591366525676_8022071629582308503_o.jpgPicture: Workbook on the left and GNS3 on the right

“Labbing” where to begin?

10 days have past since I started ”Labbing” – oh what a joy.

If you know a little about the CCIE Security Track you are aware of the Blueprint change in February 2017 from “version 4” to “version 5”.

The change removes old technologies like EZ VPN and Legacy IPS and adds stuff like Firepower and new hard-/software revisions with new functions and features.

Cisco have never been found of providing Official CCIE Security training material (though at Cisco Live 2017 Berlin telling that a Cisco 360 program will arrive — but when??)

This leaves us with “Grey Market” training like i.e. INE and Micronics Training which both still are in the development process from their current version 4 to version 5 material.

Another approach is to look at the Official Exam Topics and start reading/labbing configuration guides for each topic.

Personally I have bought the INE CCIE Security v4 Workbook (which is automatically renewed to version 5 when this is ready) and started with the Technology Workbook which helps you learn each technology one by one.

Though the Technology Workbook is version 4, many of the topics are still relevant for version 5 and should have lots of hours/days/weeks in it — I hope the Version 5 book will be ready in August/September or else I need to start doing Configuration Guide type of training.

At some point I will be finished with all the Exam Topics / Technologies (I hope around October/November) and will be ready to start the more “hardcore” stuff… Da Da Daaa.. 8 hour Mock Labs (Real like exam size Labs)

Did I miss anything or can you provide other training methods – please leave your comments below.

Thanks

Study planning

Most people tell that a golden rule for CCIE LAB practice is 1.000 hours

For me personally I need to have things structured, or else I start drifting off and doing stuff not related.

Also I want things done yesterday, so I have set my self a goal of one (1) year.

If I do not pass within 2-3 attempts, then it is perfectly OK and I have built up a skill level nobody can take away from me.

Okay okay okay, I will get to it now – my study planning.

I want to prioritize my wife and daughter, so no studies on weekdays before 19:00 (bed time for our daughter). Also I want a weekly movie night with my wife, so we have a life together after the exam.

  • Monday to Thursday: 2-4 hours per day
  • Friday: Movie night
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8 hours per day

This adds up to around 1.500 hours over a year, so there should be time to birthday parties, Christmas and New Years.. But there will be invitations I need to turn down.

I loooove beers and champagne, but the hangovers the days after I cannot afford in my studying, so the amount of golden drops will be limited the year to come.