Category Archives: Announcement

Site Maintenance

I am performing some site maintenance in conjunction with a move to a new VPS server. (Thank you Hetzner (some irony may be involved)).

Hopefully everything should be reachable, but some minor UI tweaks may occur.

Thanks for understanding.

/Kim

Time to say goodbye to Barcelona

As im sitting here in the hotel, waiting to leave for the airport, the only thing on my mind is: Wow.. what an amazing week this has been.
I have met so many old friends and made a bunch of new ones. All of the Tech Field Day delegates and staff are so bright and friendly that its hard to put into words. We have debated, discussed, thought out loud, shrugged our shoulders and laughed hard.
If you are not already following these guys on twitter, you really should go ahead and push that follow button. Here they are:Β @al_rasheed @TechFieldDay @ioshints @networkautobahn @darkkavenger @bockcay @OrhanErgunCCDE
In the coming weeks I will put together my final impressions of both the Cisco Live event and the entire Tech Field Day Extra event. Also to come is an analysis of some of the presentations we were fortunate enough to receive.
A big shoutout to Ben Gage (@BenTGage) and Tom Hollingsworth (@NetworkingNerd) for inviting me to this amazing event! Thank you guys!
Time to leave for the airport. Take care!
/Kim

Tech Field Day @ CiscoLive Europe 2019

I am honoured to have been selected as a delegate for Tech Field Day during Cisco Live Europe 2019 in Barcelona!
Cisco Live Europe will take place from the 27th of January until Friday 1st.
I am really looking forward to this opportunity. There are some really great names among the list of delegates that I hope to be interacting with quite a lot, both during and after the event.
I am still to receive the official list of presenters, so I can’t tell you just who all the presenters will be, but im sure the Tech Field Day crew will release that information shortly.
When possible, I will be blogging about the presenters for sure. Also, during the event I will be posting to twitter so stay tuned.
A big thank you to Ben and Tom from Tech Field Day for extending an invitation! I can’t wait!
Until then, take care!
/Kim
https://techfieldday.com/event/cleur19/

Onto the next one…

Yesterday I passed the CCNA-W exam. Now onto the next partner certification I need to do before summer.
Its calledΒ 500-452 ENCWE – Enterprise Networks Core and WAN Essentials and a large part of it involves iWAN, which im not too familiar with.
To that effect I have ordered the official Cisco Press iWAN book and downloaded all the presentations I could find on iWAN from CiscoLive365. That should keep me busy for the foreseeable future πŸ™‚
I will hopefully be doing some labs on iWAN and will post any findings I have here. It should be fun!
Im still debating whether or not I will goto CLUS this year. Whats really pulling me over there is the people I rarely get to meet. I need to make up my mind soon though.
Take care!
/Kim

CCDE – A different Journey

Wednesday the 22nd of February, in a testing center in the middle of London, my journey towards achieving the CCDE certification, finally ended in me passing this beast of an exam.
This learning journey was a very different one than either of my CCIE’s. Whereas going for the CCIE meant spending countless hours at the command-line, the CCDE meant spending all of those hours reading and discussing use cases for technologies. It also meant stepping my toes into the business side, picking up the “Why?” behind selecting a specific technology.
It all started a few years ago when my friend Daniel (lostintransit.se) and I started going back and forth on how to approach this thing. We decided we should team up and share notes, discuss technologies and generally use each other as a sparring partner.
At that point I had already decided, that this was going to be a marathon for me, because I could at the time, not allocate as much time each day for study, as I had been for the CCIE’s. Fast forward a good amount of time and I had finally passed the written part of the exam and was ready to really focus on the practical aspect.
Anyone reading the CCDE Practical blueprint basically come to the same conclussion in that it involves every technology under the sun and then some. This in turn made us start a small study group using Slack, with only 4 members to begin with. This was the turning point for me as we had discussions around scenarios and use cases. It helped tremendously that we all come from different backgrounds and industries as well as diverse geographies.
I attended Jeremy Filiben’s CCDE bootcamp in Orlando in April 2016 (http://www.jeremyfilliben.com), which was a great experience. Jeremy is a very good teacher and his scenarios are top notch. Going over them really makes you think in a completely different way than fx. the CCIE track(s). As an implementation engineer, you tend to think in a certain way which is not doing you any good in a design context.
Early on, I also purchased access to an All Access Pass from INE in order to gain access to their CCDE training material. Unfortunally it has not been updated since and they have no plan to πŸ™
I also used the Self-Paced material from Orhan Ergun, especially the Quizzes was of help to me. (orhanergun.net).
I had my first attempt at the practical in late summer 2016 and I did fairly well, but it certainly opened my eyes to what i had gotten myself into. At the same time I had the fortune of meeting up with some of the Slack study group members which was an added bonus! (Thanks Andre for introducing me to a proper beer πŸ™‚ )…
At this point I had some real life stuff to attend to (we purchased a house with all that entails). So I was unable to commit to the November testing date. However a good number of people from our study group passed which really motivated me to get on with my studies. So ever since late November I have been doing 3-4 hours of study each week day and 5-6 hours each day during the weekend.
The last month and a half before the exam i focused on doing practice scenarios and watching recordings made from our study group discussing designs. I can also highly recommend watching the new Safari Livelessons on QoS and Large Scale Network Designs. If time is of the essence to you, do some speed-viewing which is what i did as well.
I left for London on the day before the exam and checked into my hotel, which is only a 10 minute walk from the testing center. I had already mentally prepared on what to do on the day itself, so basically the day before was the last day to recharge my “batteries” and try and find some focus. I spent an hour or so going over my notes, especially the QoS and IPv6 parts, then went for dinner. I went to bed early as planned.
On the day I woke up very early, which is not unusual for me in any way, so I basically followed what I had mentally prepared for myself which was to take a long and hot shower, get a decent breakfast (hard part for me as i dont normally have breakfast) and then back to the room to collect my things (Exam registration, wallet and passport (You need two forms of ID)). I left the hotel at 7:20’ish and took the short walk to the testing center. Since I was early i waited outside for a bit waiting for the other guy from our study group to show up to say Hi before the exam, but he was running a bit late, so I finally decided that I had to get started and went inside.
Since the exam is under heavy NDA like any other Cisco exam, I wont get into any details regarding the experience, except to say that at no point in the exam did i feel really comfortable about passing it, quite the contrary in fact. However I knew this is a feeling most candidates experience during the CCDE, so I just decided to press on and do my very best.
At lunch I took the advice of several people and had a bite to eat (even though i still didnt feel like eating) and some water and used close to the full hour of lunch available. It being London and all, there are several good places for lunch very close by to the testing center, so you dont need to go very far at all.
The afternoon went by and I finally clicked the End Exam button and instantly my mood picked up. I had passed!! I honestly didnt know what to do with myself at this point πŸ™‚
I had a brisk walk back to the hotel where i could finally put my “guard” down and smile a bit!
I called my better half and told her the good news and she was even more estatic than I was.
So what sort of advice can I give to others?
Read, Watch Sessions (Cisco Live, Safari, Nanog etc.), constantly asking “Why?” to everything. Learn to read through documents and pick up on Business requirements and details that will pertain to certain design choices. Read some more.
If you are like me and you are easily distracted during your studies, I can highly recommend using the “Pomodoro”-method (Look it up), which is essentially 25 minute slots of focus on your studies and then a short break. It gives you a scope of focus and helps keep you on track. On top of that I mark down everything i do, study wise, into my calendar so I can look back at it and get a good “feel” for how much time i spend on it. It helps to give you a boost when you feel that you havent put enough effort into it.
If you want some recommendation on which book(s) to read, here’s a subset of the books I’ve read:
1) Definitive MPLS Network Designs.
2) CCDE Study Guide.
3) Optimal Routing Design.
4) End-To-End QoS.
These are by far the most important ones, but by no means the only ones you want to read through. You have to assess which technologies you need to learn (more) about and then pick the right material for those cases. The books above are very good for general theory but especially Definitive MPLS Network Designs is good for putting all the relevant pieces into 4 distinct use cases.
Some of the Cisco Live sessions i went through includes:
– Scaling BGP (BRKRST-3321)
– Wan and Remote-Site Deployment using CVDs (BRKRST-2040)
– Highly available Wide Area Network Design (BRKRST-2042)
– WAN Architectures and Design Principles (BRKRST-2041)
– Layer 3 Network Virtualization Design Concepts over the WAN (BRKRST-2045)
– Deploying a virtualized campus network infrastructure (BRKCRS-2033)
– Best practices to deploy HA in SP edge and aggregation architectures (BRKSPG-2402)
– Advanced enterprise campus design: routed access (BRKCRS-3036)
– Deploying BGP Fast Convergence / BGP PIC (BRKIPM-2265)
– The QoS Paradigm Shift (BRKRST-2056)
– Deploying OSPF in modern networks (BRKRST-2337)
– ISIS Deployment in modern networks (BRKRST-2338)
– IPv6 Transition Technologies (BRKSPG-2067)
– Choosing the right VPN technology for your network (BRKSEC-1050)
– Firewall architectures in the Data Centre (BRKSEC-2021)
– MAP-E/MAP-T IPv6 transitioning (BRKSPG-2606)
There are a bunch of others and I recommend you search for “Design” and “Use Case” on CiscoLive365.com (It really is an awesome resource for learning).
The last piece of advice I can give, is to join a study group, or if you are more inclined, create one yourself along with some of your friends who are serious about the CCDE as well.
Have discussions revolving around technologies and have even more discussion on scenarios and use cases for those technologies. It really is quite important to expand your horizont in order to be successful in this exam.
If you would like, at certain times we have openings in our study group (which counts 60+ people at the time of writing, including several well known others and vendors), so get in touch if thats your preference.
With that said, I would like to thank you for reading through this post. Its been a fun learning experience all the way through my CCDE – Journey!
/Kim (CCDE #20170021)

New practice lab(s) available…

In case you are serious about going for the CCDE certification, I highly recommend you check out my friend Martin Duggan’s new lab(s) on Leanpub. His writing style is very good and its easy to follow along and i look forward to hitting this lab myself.
So go ahead and pay the man and get an additional CCDE lab for your studies. Take care!
https://leanpub.com/ccdepracticalstudies-practicelab1
 

Cisco Live US! 2016

I am fortunate enough, to be able to goto Cisco Live US! again this year.
Last year was such an experience, that my hopes are really high for this year as well.
I will be arriving on Friday the 8th and leaving on the 15th. Not a long stay this time, but it was what my boss could arrange for.
Again this year I will be bringing my better half, so she can experience the city and hopefully we’ll get a few hours of sightseeing in between commitments.
One of the things that im really looking forward to, is meeting up with friends and peers. This year is a bonus for me, as I get to say Congratulations to my friend Daniel (lostintransit.se) in person and not just on the phone, on passing the CCDE practical exam!
Also, a first for me, will be meeting up with Darren (mellowd.co.uk). We have been talking for a long time on twitter, mail and webex and im really looking forward to meeting him in person.
When we get closer to the event, I will be posting my Cisco Live! schedule here.
If you happen to be around the Las Vegas area, or even at Cisco Live!, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up!
See you there!

Passed the CCDE written. Now what?

I was fortunate enough to finally pass the CCDE written exam yesterday morning.
That begs the question of “Now What?”
Well, I will spend a couple of days putting together a study strategy, based on where I am now compared to where I need to be in order to pass the exam. As it looks now, I am probably going for a fall 2016 exam date. That gives me enough time to settle into a new job with everything that entails.
It also means that I will need to spend 2-3 hours of study per day (some weekends more than that), with a combination of watching Cisco Live 365 videos and reading CVD’s/Books.
On top of that, my good friend Daniel Dib and I, along with hopefully a few others will have some design discussions using Webex. We have been told its really important to iron out different design ideas with other people. Especially if we can get a group together with people from different areas of expertise (Datacenter, Service Provider, Enterprise etc.).
Alas, an update to this story will come shortly! πŸ™‚
Take care!

Time for change

Its time for a change!
It was a tough decision, but i’ve decided that I need some new challenges in my professional life. To that effect, i’ve quit my old job and joined a different VAR/SP where I will be working in a skilled team of network engineers.
My duties will include maintaining and expanding a growing MPLS network, with all the services one can build on top of such a beast. Along with that, I will be attached to large enterprise customers, helping with design and implementation.
The new job is very supportive of my effort to go after the elusive CCDE certification, which was a big part of my decision as well, so expect more updates in that direction!
I’ve had some great years with awesome coworkers, but I have great confidence in the coming years as well!
Finally, a big thanks to my family and friends for supporting me through this decision process!
/Kim

Stay tuned for important news in December!!

I’ve got some important news which I will reveal in the beginning of December!
So stay tuned πŸ™‚