CCIE Security: Is it a plane? Is it a train? No it’s my Ford Mondeo

Once again I feel lucky – this time with transportation from Denmark to Brussels.
I had scheduled a flight from Billund Airport, Denmark to Brussels the day before my lab attempt, so I could arrive with peace in mind before the “big day”.

When I arrived at Billund Airport everything was joy. We were called to the gate for boarding, and after 15min at the gateway it started to look weird that there was no airplane.

A guy checked the Brussels Airport homepage and saw that the plane didn’t even had left Brussels yet (due to wheather conditions) — after another hour with no news from the Airport in Billund it was time to take a decision, either wait at Billund Airport and maybe get on the plane, or just take my car and drive to Brussels (10-11 hours drive)

I didn’t dare to take the chance to maybe/maybe not get on the plane, so I rushed to my car.. After 5 hours it showed up as the right choise, bechause the plane in Billund was cancelled.

22:30 PM I arrived at the hotel in Brussels – and like all other CCIE candidates I could not sleep.. and of course I woke at 5 AM

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CCIE Security: INE Bootcamp Day 6 & 7

Oh boy oh boy…

The last two days of the INE Bootcamp in London ended like a nightmare.
On day 5 we finally ended the VPN section and moving forward towards ISE and new technology like FTD.
BUT… Cristian (the Instructor) was not able to get the Lab working, so everything “failed” saturday – and sunday was cancelled by an heart broken Cristian. (I feel sorry for him – but I do not understand why this was not tested prior to the Bootcamp)

All-in-all, INE should have cancelled the entire Bootcamp before it even started, so we didn’t had to experience this.
It’s pretty clear that INE has no CCIE Security v5 Material nor functional CCIE Security v5 Racks yet. (My best guess is that it will take atleast 3-6 month before something usefull is ready from INE.. maybe summer 2018??)

We recieved nothing from the bootcamp, no Study Guides, Lab guides, Mocklabs nor bootcamp schedule for what we should have learned by the end of the week.

INE has compentatiated the experience with a Bootcmap Voucher and 1 year All-Access-Pass to all participents.

Next-up: Lab exam in Bruxells on Tuesday

 

CCIE Security: INE Bootcamp Day 2, 3, 4 and 5

The last four days have been some of a ride.

We are 11 students in class, 3 from US/Mexico and 8 from Europe – all great guys.

After sitting in a frigid the first day – day 2 was like sitting in a sauna – and of course i got a cold from the A/C. (but at day 3 we finally got the A/C under somekind of control, and here on day 5 I am getting OK again from my cold)

I arrive at class arround 8 AM, the class starts at 9 AM and ends arround 9 PM (with no Dinner break) – having a mild cold is not getting it easier to stay awake in the late hours – but what the hell.

It’s pretty obiviuos that INE has no CCIE Security material yet.. The Instructor, Christian, struggles on-the-fly with creating material, teaching us and figthing with “buggy” Cisco software.. all-in-all not the best expirience for niether us students, nor Christian as the instructor. (Until now we have spend 3 days on VPNs, that should have takeing 1 day)

I’m writing today because the class ended early (7 AM), due to missing Licences. So it’s not possible to continiue before tomorrow.. hurra for the opportunity to blog.. but hey.. we paid for a full cource and are spending time away from family.. soooo….

CCIE Security: INE Bootcamp Day 1

End of day one (the short “welcome” day) with Instructor Christian Matei

Start 9am – End 7pm (includes 1hour lunch break and some minor snack breaks)

The day went with getting to know each other, INE rack access, Lab strategi, minor topics like IOS Zonebased Firewall, Redundancy, NAT and Application Inspection.. and hey – a full day in a refrigerator (15 degrees Celsius), 2 hours before leaving we got the AC working with 22 degrees.

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?

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