VCP-410 Real Exam Question (Part 2)

Note: Highlight for Answers

1: After upgrading an ESX host to vSphere 4, which of the following three actions should be taken(Choose Three)

A.restore files to the service console
B.boot into Troubleshooting Mode for proper operation
C.configure licensing
D.verify virtual machine operation
E.connect the host to vCenter if managed
Correct Answers: C D E

2: Before you upgrade an ESX host:

A.back up /proc, /mnt, /tmp, custom scripts and all VMFS datastores
B.back up /home, /etc/init.d and /boot
C.back up /etc/passwd, /etc/groups, /etc/shadow, /etc/gshadow, custom scripts and local VMFS
D.back up /var/logs, /usr, /bin and the dmesg output
Correct Answers: C

3: Before you upgrade an ESXi host:

A.update the ESXi restore CD with the current ESXi image the current ESXi image to another ESXi server
C.copy the embedded ESXi image to a USB flash drive the ESXi configuration using vicfg-cfgbackp s from the vCLI
Correct Answers: D

4: Before you upgrade an ESX/ESXi host (Choose Three):

A.verify current hardware is supported per the vSphere Systems Compatibility Guide the md5sum of the downloaded file to the value on the VMware download website
C.schedule a maintenance window for 32-bit hardware the vSphere 4 Pre-Upgrade Script from the command line the VMware CPU Identification Utility
Correct Answers: A B E

5: The following ESX versions are supported for direct upgrading to vSphere 4 (Choose Two):

A.ESX 2.1
B.ESX 2.5.5
C.ESX/ESXi 3.5
D.ESX 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 3.0.2
Correct Answers: C D

6: In order to upgrade to vSphere 4, an ESX host must have a /boot partition of at least:

A.150 MB
B.200 MB
C.100 MB
D.50 MB
Correct Answers: C

7: The vSphere 4 Host Update Utility upgrades the (Choose Two):

B.virtual machine hardware
C.VMFS datastores
D.service console if present
Correct Answers: A D

8: The vSphere 4 Update Manager upgrades (Choose Three):

A.virtual machine Tools
B.VMFS datastores
C.virtual machine hardware
D.vSphere Client
Correct Answers: A B C

9: vCenter Update Manager is capable of upgrading which of the following (Choose Three):

B.Service Console
C.Virtual Machine Hardware
D.vSphere Client
E.VMware Tools
Correct Answers: B C E

10: The ESX 4.x Service Console Virtual Disk can be located on (Choose Two):

A.a VMFS datastore on software iSCSI attached storage
B.a VMFS datastore on non-shared FC attached storage NFS datastore
D.a VMFS datastore on locally attached storage
Correct Answers: B D

11: Securing an ESX service console is important because:
A.Service Console actions can affect all VMs on an ESX host
B.Service Console permissions are applied to users when logging in to a host via vCenter
C.VMs run in the service console
D.VMs depend on the patch level of the service console
Correct Answers: A

12: ESX Service Console patches should be applied (Choose Two): instructed by VMware authorized technical support personnel
B.when an issue is identified Red Hat makes patches available VMware makes patches available
Correct Answers: A D

13: ESX Service Console patches should be applied (Choose Two): accordance with VMware Security Advisories
B.when notified on the VMware Security Blog
C.when advised by VMware authorized technical support personnel accordance with VMware and RedHat Security Advisories
Correct Answers: A C

14: The ESX Service Console file system structure should (Choose Two):

A.provide separate mount points for /tmp, /var/log and /home
B.avoid filling /
C.avoid filling /home
D.provide separate mount points for /tmp, /var/log, /home and /etc
Correct Answers: A B

15: Which of the following are true regarding the ESX Service Console file system structure (Choose Two)?

A.separate mount points are created for /tmp, /var/log and swap by default
B.running out of space on /var/log can cause vSphere Client connectivity disruptions
C.running out of space on / can cause vSphere Client connectivity disruptions
D.separate mount points are created for /var/log and swap by default
Correct Answers: C D

VCP-410 Real Exam Question (Part 1)

Note: Highlight for Answers

1: An administrator is installing ESX 4.0 on a physical server. Which of the following components would need to be modified or replaced to support a successful installation?

A.4 Intel PRO 1000 Network Adapters
B.2 LSI Logic LSI7202XP-LC Fibre Channel HBAs
C.2 AMD Opteron CPUs
Correct Answers: B

2: Which of the following partitions is specific to ESXi 4.0?

Correct Answers: C

3: An ESX Administrator plans to install additional supported components on the ESX Server that would increase the memory requirements for the Service Console. Which ESX Server partition would also need to be increased during installation as a result?

Correct Answers: C

4: Which of the following tasks can be selected from the home page of an ESX Server (Choose Three)?

A.Download VMware vCenter Server
B.Browse Objects Managed by this Host
C.Browse Virtual Machines in this Host’s inventory
D.Browse Datastores in this Host’s inventory
E.Download VMware Web Access Client
Correct Answers: A B D

5: When installing ESX 4.0, where is the Service Console file system located?

A.In a virtual disk on a local VMFS datastore
B.In a virtual disk on a local or shared VMFS datastore
C.On a local physical disk or on a mapped SAN LUN
D.On a local physical disk
Correct Answers: A

6: The default swap partition size for ESX 4.0 is which of the following?

Correct Answers: D

7: Creating which of the following optional partitions would change the default partition size for /?

Correct Answers: D

8: Additional licensing is required once the number of cores per CPU reaches which of the following?

A.16 or more cores
B.12 or more cores
C.8 or more cores
D.6 or more cores
Correct Answers: C

9: What is the maximum number of cores that can be used with Standard licensing?

Correct Answers: D

10: Once vCenter 4.x has been installed, a License Server is required in which of the following instances?

A.A License Server is always required
B.To support ESXi 4.x Hosts
C.To support ESX 3.5 Hosts
D.A License Server is no longer required
Correct Answers: C

11: Which of the following features is not a part of the vSphere Advanced Edition?

A.VMware Storage VMotion
B.VMware VMotion
C.VMware Data Recovery
D.VMware Fault Tolerance
Correct Answers: A

12: Which vSphere Editions include VMware Data Recovery (Choose Two)?

A.vSphere Essentials Plus or higher
B.vSphere Advanced or higher
C.vSphere Standard or higher
D.vSphere Essentials or higher
Correct Answers: A B

13: What are the minimum vSphere Small Business and Medium/Enterprise Editions that include VMware Data Recovery (Choose Two)?

A.vSphere Essentials Plus
B.vSphere Standard
C.vSphere Advanced
D.vSphere Essentials
Correct Answers: A C

14: Which of the following functions cannot be performed remotely and must be performed from the ESXi Direct Console (Choose Three)?

A.Configure DNS Settings
B.Restart Management Agents
C.Test the Management Network
D.Restore a Standard Switch
E.Configure a Static IP Address
Correct Answers: B C D

15: The vSphere 4 Host Update Utility provides a graphical user interface for (Choose Two)

A.performing a host compatibility check
B.upgrading standalone ESX/ESXi hosts
C.upgrading ESX hosts in DRS/HA clusters
D.keeping guest operating systems patched
Correct Answers: A B

CCIE Routing and Switching Reading List – RFCs

A listing of RFC’s that should be reviewed for the CCIE Lab.

This list was based from the list over at Internetwork Expert, with some additional RFC’s added (mostly recent ones).

Links will go to another page on this wiki with any CCIE-relevant notes that have been added regarding that particular RFC. For full reading, check out the main IETF page for RFCs at:


Frame Relay

General IP Routing




Multicast Routing



IOS Security

IOS Management

IP Features

Source From:

CCIE Routing and Switching Reading List – Books

Books that have been suggested for reading when preparing for the CCIE Lab exam

    Online Resources

    Source From:

    General Troubleshooting and Verification Techniques

    A listing of articles discussing CCIE Lab exam troubleshooting.

    • You can limit your debugs to certain conditions with the debug condition command, thanks to Roy at Route Leaker for pointing that out.

    Source From:

    CCIE Exam Study Suggestions and Plans

    Here’s a collection of links with study tips and suggestions for preparing for the CCIE Routing and Switching exam

    CCIE Routing and Switching Written/Lab Information

    • Some thoughts on the Routing+Switching 4.0 Blueprint from Scott Morris (Be sure to read the comments after – especially the one from Laura O who mentions that much of the basic routing and switching will be pre-configured!)

      CCIE Routing and Switching Study Hints and Materials

      • Brandon, from the CCIE Blog with his name on it, has some tips for making the most out of your lab study time.

      CCIE Lab Personal Experiences

      Source From:

      The Journey to Becoming a CCIE

      Antonio Cunanan is an engineer with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) team in Richardson, Texas. Two-and-a-half years ago, when Antonio was part of the Cisco TAC team in Australia, he embarked on a journey to attain his Cisco CCIE® Routing and Switching certification with his friend and colleague Andy Wang. When they completed their journey, Antonio and Andy assembled this slide deck to present to their fellow TAC engineers.

      Antonio created the presentation, which he and Andy have presented five times, so that they could share with their peers what it was like to prepare for the CCIE exam. Antonio and Andy found that partnering up to study was very helpful. "You have all the motivation in the world that first week, that second week. Then, life catches up with you," Antonio says. Studying together made it easier for them to stay focused and motivated.

      Over the course of four months, Antonio and Andy studied every weekday from the time that they got home from work until late in the evening, and then all day on the weekends. Antonio even set up a sleeping bag in Andy’s lounge, so that they could begin studying first thing in the morning. This rigorous schedule left them with little time for socializing. They missed parties and nights out with friends, who would ask, "You already graduated—why are you still studying?" Balancing family and friends (not to mention their sanity) was challenging.

      Studying for the CCIE left Antonio and Andy emotionally and physically exhausted, with no time to do anything else. Slide nine of their deck shows one of their methods for staying motivated. They wrote down the CCIE numbers that they thought and hoped they would get and the amount of money they would potentially earn as CCIEs. They posted these motivators on the wall behind their work area and often looked to them for inspiration.

      Antonio and Andy took their CCIE exam on the same day. Both failed their first attempt. After taking a weekend off, they immediately returned to their studies. Though Andy’s apartment where they studied had sliding glass doors and a view of the airport, Antonio says it "started to feel like a little prison." He admits that he wondered how much longer he would be able to keep up with this commitment and this lifestyle.

      To stay positive, he reminded himself that with every attempt he was one step closer to passing. "I knew my technical skills were definitely more developed than they were before starting on the journey," he says. "I knew I was becoming a better engineer." He adds that studying for the CCIE is a "test of your character."

      "After failing it the first time the journey to the second attempt was much different," says Antonio.  "It was definitely more a mental/emotional challenge then a technical one. I felt after the first attempt I was definitely there technically but my exam technique was lacking." He worked on his time management techniques. "I made it a key point to question the proctor on anything I was unclear about on the second attempt.  My thinking was even if the proctor does not help at least I know deep down I had done everything I could to give myself the best opportunity to pass." Thirty days later, both men passed the exam on their second attempt. Their happy celebration is captured in slide 13.

      When giving their presentation, Antonio and Andy try to emphasize the emotional side of the journey. You need to have "everybody on board" as a team, especially spouses or partners, they say. Andy’s partner would often cook for them while they studied. Antonio, engaged at the time, had little time to spend with his fiancée. (We were glad to learn that they have been happily married for a couple of years now.) Slide 12 shows "The Team" taking a well-deserved break.

      Lack of time for family obligations is something with which Antonio is all too familiar. He tells the story of his mentor, who passed his certification exam after a full year of studying. When he called his wife to tell her the good news, she was so overwhelmed with emotion that she almost got into a car accident. Another of his female colleagues said "I got my life back" after passing her certification, to which her husband replied, "I got my wife back."   As difficult as the journey toward obtaining his CCIE was, it has become a very fond memory for Antonio. He is proud that he was able to "overcome the obstacle and get through it." And after having a couple of years to recover, he is studying for his CCIE Voice with a group of his coworkers. "The power of doing it as a group is a lot stronger than doing it yourself," he says.

      Click the attached Powerpoint document below to view The Journey.

      The Journey to Becoming a CCIE_final.ppt

      CCIE at Age 21: Zeeshan Zanaullah’s Story

      “Our father bought our family computer initially for his video recording business. I started using the machine at home at first for games, but then I also used to corrupt the machine and then fix everything again on my own,” says 21-year-old Zeeshan Sanaullah, CCIE #25196. He earned his Cisco CCIE® in 2009. Sanaullah’s early family experiences inspired him to attend classes at the local learning institute in Karachi, Pakistan, where he still lives. “I was working on going into a career in web design, and my teacher was working on his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) certification. He would bring books into the class and talk with me about what IT and networking was all about,” says Sanaullah.

      An early turning point for Sanaullah was when one of his distant relatives, who already worked in IT, advised him to steer toward a Cisco CCNA® certification. “I found the subject matter much more interesting and appealing,” he says. Sanaullah earned his CCNA at age 15 and had to prove himself to the CCNA class instructor, who initially turned him away, insisting that he was too young and that he would be wasting his money to attend a class at such an early age. “At the end of a few weeks time, I found myself helping the older students in the class [in their 20s] to learn the concepts.”

      Sanaullah says his personal connections with instructors and relatives, as well as online resources, were useful tools for CCIE preparation. “The Cisco Learning Network and blogs really helped me in getting my CCIE certification,” he says. “I used to read blogs to get motivated. The Cisco Learning Network, blogs, and online community really helped me out. Theseresources will continue to be helpful to me as I move on to studying for upcoming Cisco certifications.”

      Sanaullah now works for Future Technology, a Premier Cisco Partner in Pakistan. As a result of his experience and certifications, he is the team lead for the Routing Team. He works with individuals of all ages and finds friends who share his passion for technology. “In my work life, I find very few people who started their careers as early as I started,” he says. “I study Cisco because I love it. I study technology because I have a real passion for it. Money is important, but what motivates me most is the technical challenge.”

      Sanaullah says that he plans to pursue a Cisco CCDE® after many more years of work and network design experience. He is now working on his CCIE Security certification to help with his job at Future Technology. As a personal interest, the blueprint topics that are associated with the CCIE Service Provider are next on his list. As a final area of focus, Sanaullah is in search of a Learning Partner in Pakistan who is willing to sponsor him so that he can become a Certified Cisco Systems Instructor. With as much passion as he has for technology, it is a lot for him to look forward to in the coming years.


      CCIE Study Tips


      Listed here is the collection of tips and strategies that I found helpful in passing my CCIE exam on my first attempt. This information is provided as my personal recommendations, and are not endorsed by Cisco Systems. Furthermore, I took the exam before the switch to the one-day format. Unfortunately I do not have much advice to offer based on the new format (except to type fast!), but the core topics and advice below should still apply.

      Basic Strategy

      I cannot provide any better strategy than that already provided by Bruce Caslow and Val Pavlichenko in their book Cisco Certification: Bridges Routers and Switches for CCIEs. (I’ll refer to this as the BRS book for short) The strategy they provide for test preparation AND test taking was vital to my success in passing the exam. If I had to try and summarize the 900+ page book into a single key concept, it would be the explanation of how the CCIE lab exam attempts to test your networking knowledge and an appropriate preparation strategy. This concept is often described by the phrase "spot the issue", which has become sort of famous among CCIE candidates who are familiar with this book (which is quite a few; see for yourself on or

      The strategies outlined in the BRS book is the basis for the 5-day course Routing and Switching NetMaster Class (RS-NMC-1) [NOTE: This is the new version of the famous Expert CCIE Preparation 1 (or ECP1) class which was offered by Mentor Technologies, but is no longer available. Bruce and Val, as well as Fred Ingham, teach this class regularly and can be scheduled by visiting the website for the class. There is also a follow-on course called RS-NMC-2 that will be offered in 2002. Both of these courses are some of the most intense, hands-on classroom training offered anywhere. You can expect to work from 8:30am until close to midnight most every day of the course.

      People often ask what is so special about the RS-NMC-1 course; there are other 5-day courses available for less money. I had the very fortunate opportunity to work as a lab assistant for the class 4 times before I took my exam. Based on this experience, I would answer the question this way: It is the "issue-spotting" and test taking strategies that are taught by the instructor and through the specially designed lab scenarios.

      In addition to reading the BRS book and attending the RS-NMC-1 course, a basic home lab and a commitment to spend a lot of time studying is necessary. I’ve listed other study resources below that I personally used and believe are critical for CCIE preparation. One of the most important is the creation of your own personal study notes for all of the relevant CCIE topics and your checklists. While the BRS book covers this, I provide my own recommendations and example of how to create the notes below.


      Self-Assessment and Schedule >

      Probably the first step as you begin preparation for the CCIE exam; you want to assess your strengths and weaknesses; a good guide is the blueprint for the CCIE available on the Cisco website; you may consider using the spreadsheet I created based on the blueprint, available here. I highly recommend filling in the Due Date column-you really need to set milestones to get through this long process!

      Develop Personal Study Notes >

      See below for recommended technique; these notes should include a summary of tricky configuration tips, things to watch our for (landmines!), key show commands, and key debug commands BUT, do not try to re-write CCO!

      Develop Your Checklists >

      Trust me, these will save you in the exam! You need to have at least the following lists: Getting Started, End-of-day Wrap-Up, and Desperation. The details of these are covered in the BRS book and even more in RS-NMC-1.

      Build a Home Lab >

      Yes, it is expensive, but you really can’t get around this necessity. Hopefully you have some resources at work to augment your home lab for very expensive items such as ATM, LAN Switching, ISDN, and Voice. You should be able to cover a lot of topics with just 3 routers (BGP, OSPF, and the other core topics you need to know forwards and backwards). The good news is that most of the equipment maintains its value over time and is easy to sell. Check out some of the deals offered by Brad Ellis at Optimized Systems or on eBay. If you don’t have resources available at work, check out the various remote labs that will rent rack time (e.g. ccbootcamp and vLab listed below)

      Practice Lab Scenarios >

      The more lab scenarios you can get the better! Keep practicing various scenarios in your home/work lab until about a week before your exam (take a break during the last week so you’re fresh for the test). Once you think you know how to configure a protocol or technology one way, do it again using another technique. Remember, the lab will not tell you how to do a given task, but it will often tell you what you are NOT allowed to configure. Therefore you need to be able to accomplish the same task 2 or 3 different ways (when IOS provides the opportunity).

      Get a Study Partner >

      While not critical, this sure makes the long process easier. Try to find someone at or above your skill level so that you can push each other along. If you can’t find someone locally, the idea of a virtual study group is how got started (see below).

      Other Resources
      • Routing TCP/IP Vol 1, Jeff Doyle (note: Vol 2 recently came out. I have not read it, but I do know that it covers additional topics such as NAT, Multicast, BGP4, etc.)
      • Internet Routing Architectures, 2nd Edition, Basam Halabi and Danny McPherson (the definitive BGP4 source)
      • Enhanced IP Services, Don Lee (source for IPSec and QoS)
      Online Information
      • This is a virtual study group that has grown quite popular among CCIE candidates. You can subscribe to the email list for the lab after you pass your written, though it may take a while to get added. In the mean time, you can read the archives online. TIP: Despite what the welcome message for the list may say, do NOT introduce yourself to the list with a ‘hello’ email. Also, it is probably better to ‘listen’ for a while before posting a question and you should check the archives first to see if the question has already been answered. Ignore this tip at your own peril or if you enjoy being flamed!
      • If you need some good white papers to get up to speed quick on a topic you are weak on, this is a great site and worth the $99 for a 6-month membership. This site is also very useful if you are still prepping for your written exam.
      • Cisco Technologies Page Yes, a Cisco site might seem a bit obvious. However, this is a link to the Technologies support page maintained by the TAC. It often offers much clearer explanations and examples for certain concepts that the IOS documentation. This was one of my favorite sites during my study time.
      • vLab Since we developed this technology and host the labs, you shouldn’t be surprised to see this link. Our latest version of vLab, vLab Assessment, should be available soon and will provide the additional value of providing instant grading of a given lab scenario. Stay tuned for a version of vLab Assessment that will specifically assess your readiness for the CCIE lab exam. [This resource was lost with the demise of Mentor Technologies–there was some talk that a company bought the rights, but I am not sure the status]
      • This site gives quite a few good, FREE lab scenarios to practice your skills on various technologies.
      • Probably the most popular site for complex, multiprotocol lab scenarios specifically designed to prepare you for the type of scenarios you may see in the exam. These are not cheap ($650.00) and you only get paper copies of the labs with the solutions sent to you electronically. One nice feature is that it is like a subscription service where you get new labs for free. It is also probably worth noting that our last 6 CCIEs all used these labs.
      Personal Study Notes

      As mentioned previously, I feel that creating your own personal study notes is one of the most important test preparation tasks. I considered providing a copy of my notes as part of this web page, but decided against it because I feel the real value is the effort required in creating your own set of notes. Instead, I want to provide some tips for creating your notes and will also provide the MS Word Template that I used to create my notes. Several people will think that this is way to much trouble for taking notes, but I think it pays off in the long run (if you can type, which is a skill you will need in the exam anyway!) The template should save you significant time in getting your notes file setup.

      To see how I would recommend you create your own personal notes, please see the "Taking Electronic Notes" tip in the Consulting Tips and Tools section of my web page. A snapshot of the file I used for all my notes is below. The advantage of this method is that it helps you to keep your notes organized as you make them and allows for very fast lookup for almost any topic. It is probably not visible in the graphic, but my notes were about 38 pages long. However, I could very quickly jump to any topic using the document map feature in MS Word.

      As can be seen in the graphic below, the document map on the left side of the screen is organized according the strategy described in the BRS book. Underneath each of the major headings for each level of preparation, there is a standard set of headings for each technology. These headings include ‘How to Configure’, ‘Landmines!’, ‘Key Show Cmds’, and ‘Favorite Debug Cmds’. The significance of each heading is apparent after reading the BRS book and/or attending the RS-NMC-1 course.

      Example of Personal Notes:

      Download MS Word Template for Electronic Notes: You will want to save this file to your templates folder (you can verify location from the Tools | Options | File Locations menu). To create a new electronics notes file, select File | New and the new template name (‘electronic-notes’ if you didn’t change it). For more info on taking electronic notes, see my Tips and Tools page. ELECTRONIC-NOTES Template


      A Sneak Peek at the CCIE R/S Lab

      The recently announced changes to the CCIE R/S written and lab exams took effect this week. I recently had the chance to take the R/S lab again, as part of the Beta testing – so I decided to save up some observations and post them around the time the new exam has come out. Today I’ll look at a variety of things about the lab exam, and make another post next week concentrating on the biggest change: The 2-hour troubleshooting section.

      You know, the strange thing is that many times over the years, I’ve wondered if they’d let me take the CCIE R/S Lab again – and not take away my CCIE number if I failed. It has certainly changed a lot since I took it back in 1995. I’ve always had the itch to try for another CCIE, but I think I’ve had a cumulative 3-4 weeks in the last 5 years without a book to work on (that’s definitely not a complaint), and it obviously takes more than casual effort to prep for another CCIE lab. And getting a CCIE in your spare time pretty much changes your life until you get it done, and I’ve never wanted another CCIE bad enough to make that sacrifice. But, I just always thought it’d be interesting to sit the lab again. And then Maurilio asked a few of us Cisco Press CCIE authors, plus others I’m sure, to sit the lab and give it a test. And it was fun.

      OK, on to stuff you folks might care more about. I came to the exam with several specific items to keep an eye out for – things like the impact of adding a 2-hour troubleshooting section, how the config section would be different now that it’s 5.5 hours instead of 7.5, and the supposedly-dreaded open-ended questions. But the biggest surprise was obvious from the first few minutes of lab time – they changed the user interface of what you see to access the lab, and as a result, there’s no printed lab exercise book. The only paper for the lab is the note paper they give you to write on.

      In the old days, you got a lab booklet that you couldn’t write on, but you could do the natural thing and pick up the book to look at the various lab requirements. I believe it’s true that the book had some lab diagrams as well. Now you get a GUI interface from which you can pull up the many different lab diagrams, read the various lab exercises. My gut reaction was that I didn’t like not having a book. After experiencing it, I thought the replacement GUI would have been reasonable if I had had time to practice with it.

      The good part of the GUI was that once I was used to it, I could navigate to the next topic for both troubleshooting and config easily. The GUI essentially indexed the main lab exercise tasks, which may be a bit more convenient than flipping pages in a booklet. Once I got used to it (20 minutes maybe), I stopped to ask myself if the user interface itself would slow me down compared to the paper booklet, and I decided that if the small bugs were removed (e.g., no back button on the browser to get to the docs), AND if I had a chance to practice before the lab (so that 20 minute learning curve wasn’t part of the timed test), that it wouldn’t have hurt. Otherwise, call it a 20 minute hit for the day, wild unscientific guess. (I did ask, and as of now, there is no tutorial available before the exam; if it’s your first lab with this interface, you’ll get to learn it concurrent with doing the troubleshooting. I’d suggest asking as many questions as you can about the user interface before starting the timer.)

      There were negatives to the GUI, but of course GUIs often have to do with personal preference. In this case, a few of my author friends and I were allowed to discuss amongst ourselves our impressions, and we all agreed that the navigation in the GUI was a bit of a problem. EG, to view a figure, you click, and a window pops, which is fine. However, you can’t minimize the window so that the bigger window behind it, where you access the console windows, is hidden. You can re-size, and move, but not minimize. To see another figure, the figure shows up in the same window, so to view both – like a cabling reference and a different VLAN reference – you have to toggle back and forth, and never see both at once. Then, to see the console term emulator windows, you have to move the figure window to the side, and then drag it back to see it again. No minimize/pop-open toggle like with Windows. Each figure required a different window size/shape to see the whole figure, and all the figures showed up in this one window, so there was no ability to make it the right size and find a good place on the screen for it.

      Sorry for the ramble, but I wanted enough detail out to make a point: If I were taking it again to pass, I’d consider drawing a few of the figures for the config section, particularly the LAN layer 2 figure – both cabling and VLANs – on paper before even beginning to configure. (I would do this for the config section, but not for the t’shooting section.)

      Next, let me give you some idea on the whole "is it too much" issue.

      Most CCIE lab candidates that pass seem to do so with at least a little time to spare, and those that fail often run out of time, or don’t have time to review. So, I came to the test asking myself "if I were truly prepared for the lab, could I have finished on time enough to review my work?" This question has a new twist, now that it’s 3-part: open ended questions, then 2 hours of t’shooting, and then 5.5 hours config. (FYI, I didn’t study except on the flight to Raleigh, and I don’t stay current on everything so I could go fast enough to pass – so I estimated what "well prepared" meant.) The short answer is that I think that the troubleshooting section was attainable for a well-prepared candidate, and maybe a little too much (maybe shave 10% of the tasks to be fair), but the config section was too much by at least 20%. (My buddies co-authors thought roughly the same on config, and maybe that the t’shooting needed to be shaved more than my 10% guesstimate.)

      Sitting back contemplating the whole "is it too much" thing, I came to two conclusions:

      • 1) It was a Beta, and Cisco needs some experience with specific lab exams to figure out how much is too much. I’m sure they didn’t write all new lab exams, so the trick is to figure out how to compress the former 7.5 hour lab into 5.5 hours. They want you to pass if you know your stuff, and fail if you don’t. They don’t want you to fail if you truly know your stuff but they just gave youtoo much . From a systematic perspective, I think they’ll get the right mix. (Granted, I’m sure some of you have contradictory experiences on this point!)
      • 2) I wonder if Cisco considered that the shrinkage from 7.5 to 5.5 hours on the build section was like removing the final 2 hours – the hours in which you are most familiar with the lab – rather than removing the first two hours. By the end 3rd hour of the build section, I needed the figures less and less. From a sheer mechanics perspective, I worked faster. Call it 3 hours in the config section before I was somewhat comfortable with the topology. With a 5.5 hour build, that splits the unfamiliar/familiar time as 3/2.5 hours. The old 7.5 hours would have given a 3 /4.5 hour split, so it felt like I was losing 2 hours of very productive time.

      The next thing I was particularly curious about was the open-ended question section. Frankly, I’m a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde on this one. Wendell the cert guy looked at my open ended questions, and asked himself: "If I was truly prepared for the lab, would these questions be a problem?" Absolutely not. As a guy who has an interest in seeing Cisco certs thrive, I see the open-ended questions for what Cisco claims them to be – a cheating prevention tool. However, Wendell the imaginary CCIE R/S lab candidate says that the whole idea scares me to death, and may be too unfair to use as a cheating prevention tool. If I had been taking the lab on my nickel for real, rather than just kicking the tires, I would’ve been pysched out by the open-ended questions. You could get an unlucky draw of questions and get sent home. For real CCIE R/S candidates, I think this means that you don’t get ready for 70% of the topics, and go take the lab to experience it – you may not get past the questions. However, from what I saw, and from other discussions, I think if you’re ready for all aspects of the lab, you’ll be ready for the open-ended stuff. It’s just a little scary.

      Last thing for today: general difficulty. I tried to imagine myself as a well-prepared candidate, but not over the top – you know, if I took the classes, did labs from a few lab books, read Doyle/Halabi/etc, practiced a lot for speed, then the lab I got was not too difficult. In fact, I did not see a single item that I viewed as a "trick" – no wording that made me do function X using methods no one in their right mind would try. Everything I saw was detailed – it required mastery of a lot of topics – but it was all stuff that you might come across as something you’d really use in the real world. Really. That was a nice surprise. The difficulty level comes from seeing the requirements, mentally putting it all together, deciding what to configure, configuring, t’shooting to make sure it works, and doing that 5X faster than you would have to do in real life. But it was refreshing to not see anything that looked like tricks just to make sure you knew how to make one parm on one command do its thing.

      One more note on the difficulty level: I think if you prepared with the traditional tools – books, classes,  lab books, lots of hands-on practice, and understood it, that the difficulty level was very fair and reasonable.

      OK, that’ it for today. Next time, I’ll look at the Troubleshooting section in particular.

      From: By Wendell

      CCIE Methodology

      This is from a doc I created related to non-technical (almost) aspects of the CCIE labs. It may help many people that fail for some reason that may not be technical sometimes. It does not apply to a specific track.


      · Lab is impossible to pass

      · 2000 hours of lab practice are necessary

      · 10 years of experience

      · Sacrifice your life for the lab


      · Blueprint is very important

      · Try to see where you will have to make an effort

      · Understand the parts of the labs

      · Speak with your family – sometimes they may not understand why you work so hard and it may not help

      · Where will you practice labs?

      · Relax


      · Work every part separately (if possible). By doing a lot of master practice labs you might lose precious time that you could spend on getting a deeper knowledge of some point ofthe lab. Usually we do not have infinite time to prepare for the lab so time management is a key point.

      · Be sure to know every way a technology (protocol…) can be configured

      · If you think you don’t understand some point at 100% then work harder to understand it.

      · If you think “ this topic will not come at the exam” you are probably wrong

      · Do scenarii "mentally" and repeat step by step how to configure any topic of the lab blueprint

      · When close to the lab date I (you don’t have to do it) enter in "lab mode" where I recheck mentally again and again everything so at lab time configuring a specific topic should be easier.


      · Sleep well

      · See where the lab will take place

      · Remind all the steps for configs to refresh what you know

      · Try to avoid last minute work , just do it to sleep well if needed!!

      · Relax (if possible)- Stress is your worst ennemy at the lab. Many people I know failed because of the stress even if technically ready!! This point is 50% of your lab, don’t forget it.


      · Write down all configuration steps that you may forget later.. This would depend on the lab you are taking

      · Read the lab

      · Spot tricky points (and annotate not to forget later)

      · Better go slow but well instead of fast and bad

      · Try to avoid troubleshooting more than 10 minutes

      · If there is a question you don’t know then don’t fight, do not do it, you would lose time for what you know

      · At the end of the lab check if what you have done is still working

      · Do not change a critical part at 30 minutes of the end

      Between Attempts

      · Learn from failure

      · Try to figure out what you did not understand well

      · Prepare for next attempt

      · There should be a short time between attempts not to forget what you’ve learnt

      That’s it.

      Fabien CCIE #6684 R&S/Security/Voice

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