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Best workbook for SP Lab practice?


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#1 SunGodRa

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 08:58 AM

Back when I had my INE membership it seemed like the INE SP workbook was really lacking and didn't cover a lot of the exam topics listed on Cisco's website. Is that still the case or have they improved? Is there another company who offers a better workbook?

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#2 Vader2

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 11:08 AM

No, it's very basic (easy) and out of date in terms of blueprint.

#3 SunGodRa

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 11:28 AM

Thanks. Seems there hasnt been an improvement then.

I called Narbik some time ago and the rep said they stopped offering on-site bootcamps due to the lack of interest. I wonder if they even have an up-to-date workbook.

The only other workbook I can find is "
Cisco Expert-Level Training for CCIE Service Provider v4.1: Lab Workbook" from Cisco itself, which I am highly skeptical of. I feel like they would have somehow set that up in a way that requires you to use VIRL (which I dont want to use). Also, there isn't a table of contents so I can't even see what material the book covers.

Edited by SunGodRa, 10 July 2018 - 11:28 AM.


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#4 Vader2

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 03:15 PM

There are two free workbooks, one by Luke Bibby who is CCIE SP, another by Dimitry Raitses who is CCIE RS. None of them is comprehensive (even as comprehensive as INE is), and both of them have not seen much development recently.

I have done them both (you can use EVE-NG), and I would recommend them (along with INE), because it's better than nothing.

CCIE SP prep has always been patchwork, and it'll remain to be. It's not like RS. It's far more complex and far less demanded.

#5 SunGodRa

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:01 AM

Indeed indeed. I'll definitely take a look into those.

Whats your opinion on Nick Russo's book? I originally thought it was more of a traditional chapter / purely informational book. I got it here for free with plans of buying it if I thought it was good material. To my surprise it was a ton of labs which I also felt was far better than what INE had to offer. I'm like 95% sure that after I finish my first go through of this book, taking notes of terms and concepts that are unfamiliar to me, I'll be purchasing the book legitimately and testing out the labs in EVE-NG.

#6 Vader2

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:52 AM

My opinion on Russo's book is mixed. In fact, I was going to write a review on it in the forum, so your question is a good occasion.

First of all, its title is misleading. It's by no means a "guide". I guess the process of its creation has been that Nick made some notes during his own preparation (with a view of publishing a book later), and after that he just compiled it all without much reworking and published under the name of a "guide".

As a textbook, it's a didactic nightmare. First of all, there is absolutely no reasonable logic in how the material is ordered within the book. After some two hundred pages of various stuff like SR, PPPoE, MPLS TP etc. the first major cornerstone topic is Inter-AS L3 VPN, and in the meanwhile it includes MVPN, TE etc. without those topics having been previously considered. You say, if you are not familiar with MVPN, it's very difficult to follow inter-AS MVPN, and, on the other hand, if you are familiar with MVPN, then you probably do not need this book at all. This is just one example, I could give many and many more. One thing is especially funny. Upon noting that the book starts basically right away from inter-AS, without delving into the basic intra-AS L3 VPN, I thought: "OK, this might be reasonable. After all, basic L3VPN is just CCIE RS stuff, and if you are heading for SP, then you should be confident in basic L3VPN to begin with, so no need to include that in the book". You can imagine my surprise when, some three months later (it takes a long time to read this huge book) I encountered the discussion of basic L3VPN on page...  two thousand and something.

Second, the explanation in the book is somehow not very efficient from the didactic point of view. It's all very clear (beside obvious misprints), there were but two or three points which I could not comprehend or thought that the author was in error, but... somehow it's written in such a way that you don't memorize the concepts and key tricks wery well. After having read the book, I began to practice on complex topics and more than one time I was stuck with some point, then discovered the clue (after some hours of troubleshooting), then referred back to Russo's book - and voila, it turns out I've read about that! But somehow the point was completely wiped out from my head.

There's excessive filler like obvious configurations portions or all those endless "let's verify basic connectivity", which is annoying and makes the book thicker than it should have been. No doubt, this is the consequence of the book having originated from Russo's own preparation notes, as I suggested above.

So I can't recommend it as a guide, or, in other words, as a book which will teach you topics you don't know. I spared many and many hour reading it, equivalent to some two weeks net time (24x7) of my life, I think, and I'm far not sure if I would not have done better and quicker just reading Cisco's documentation. Mr. Russo definitely is an expert and knows what he writes, but unfortunately the talent of a teacher is not found among his numerous talents.

It may be good as a workbook, like you say, but I did not try it in that fashion. It may also be great as a reference to reinforce your already existing knowledge by exploring various complex scenarios. But not as a textbook, no way.

It's also worth noting that it's already outdated in terms of the blueprint. It has some hundreds of pages dedicated to the stuff out of the blueprint (such as PPPoE, NTP etc), so you can omit that, but, at the same time, it already lags behind in terms of MVPN (does not cover all profiles), SR (very basic coverage) and some domain 5 topics such as security or monitoring.

Edited by Vader2, 11 July 2018 - 11:56 AM.


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#7 SunGodRa

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:38 PM

I actually can't disagree with any of those points.

I generally like to divide my notes by major topic (BGP, OSPF, etc) just because I like to have all my flash cards divided using the same method and it makes looking for specific information much easier. Probably one of the first things I noticed after getting several hundred pages in was the lack of order. Topics are all over the place.

I thought the book definitely has been doing a good job of introducing me to unfamiliar topics but I'd be lying if I said I didn't go through Cisco documentation for better definitions for my own understanding and for my flash cards. The book is filled with a ton of labs and explanation of the labs themselves so explaining concepts but have just been an afterthought for him.

To be honest, with the lack of information out there in regards to the SP track the book is definitely a gem. Unfortunately, I am still not 100% sure how to make the best use of it. Now that I think about it the topics might be too scrammbled to use it purely as a workbook. It might serve as a great reference guide for different setups or troubleshooting advice once I started creating my own labs + scenarios instances.

#8 Vader2

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:35 PM

View PostSunGodRa, on 11 July 2018 - 06:38 PM, said:

It might serve as a great reference guide for different setups or troubleshooting advice once I started creating my own labs + scenarios instances.

Yes, only mind that a good deal of troubleshooting issues is related to virtual environment, and in that respect the book is already a bit outdated. E.g. if I remember correctly, it states that XRv has problems with MVPN forwarding, but I did experience no problems except for partitioned trees in IPv6 MVPN. For another example, it suggests that XRv does not support Flowspec, but in my experience it does not support only local installation of policies, while policy creation and propagation work fine.

#9 kcrnjak

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 07:05 AM

View PostSunGodRa, on 10 July 2018 - 11:28 AM, said:

Thanks. Seems there hasnt been an improvement then.

I called Narbik some time ago and the rep said they stopped offering on-site bootcamps due to the lack of interest. I wonder if they even have an up-to-date workbook.

The only other workbook I can find is "
Cisco Expert-Level Training for CCIE Service Provider v4.1: Lab Workbook" from Cisco itself, which I am highly skeptical of. I feel like they would have somehow set that up in a way that requires you to use VIRL (which I dont want to use). Also, there isn't a table of contents so I can't even see what material the book covers.

I bought cisco's workbook and it includes 2 cfg labs 2 diag labs and 2 ts labs, all of which are seemingly complex. Nothing too major, you don't really need VIRL to use it. You can open the config file (xml) in notepad and copy/import the configurations in other emulation software like eve-ng which i used. For the price of 250$ it's worth it as an additional study material.

Br,

Karlo

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#10 SunGodRa

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:12 AM

View Postkcrnjak, on 12 July 2018 - 07:05 AM, said:

I bought cisco's workbook and it includes 2 cfg labs 2 diag labs and 2 ts labs, all of which are seemingly complex. Nothing too major, you don't really need VIRL to use it. You can open the config file (xml) in notepad and copy/import the configurations in other emulation software like eve-ng which i used. For the price of 250$ it's worth it as an additional study material.

Br,

Karlo

Appreciate the insight. After doing more digging into the topic a few days ago I realized it was a service, not necessarily a book. You pay the fee and then you have access to the CCIE SP labs + all updates they offer for like 500 days. Im still on the fence about dropping the money on it though lol.




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