Just want to let you know ** and what I did to achieve this status. Coming from a very loaded Mainframe z/VM/VSE/OS & Network field SNA/IP, I entered the storage field 5 yrs ago while assigned to a datacenter migration project. Started with EMC certifications and saw my first live MDS's.
About 3 years ago started to get the regular (Cisco) professional certficates. Did that by doing studying Cisco press and some old firefly material. In addition, I followed, lot's of Cisco presentations as long they had the word MDS in it.
Two years ago in 2009, started to other aspects and to layer a firm theory foundation, finished that by a year ago by succeeding an almost flawless CCIE written.
In between, we arranged a reasaonable personal LAB consisting of a Brocade 16B2, two N5K's and two 9222i's plus a Clariion CX300. Finished off with the usual LAN connectivity and a couple of servers (CNA cards) running VmWare with Win2K3 and Linux etc.etc. Big investments were done but invaluable as building your personal LAB learns you a lot ... not to say all....
Naturally, the Cisco CCIE LAB had to be challenged . . . . without much thinking, did already quite a lot of difficult things, I naively booked the LAB.
To support my journey, I quickly ran into IeMentor. The best and most complete (and perhaps only) place to get workbooks at the highest level. I rented also a 7 day rackspace-trip for the real Rack experience. High quality books arrived and starting August 2010, I assimilated everything. I had the experience, very wide professionalism and nothing would be in my way (in Nov 2010) to get the number. Like mother's days-out I was (too) relaxed, was very social (talkative) and enjoyed a great lunch.
Wrong... totally wrong, I missed the requirement you need your serious focus...... although I anticipated a failure as training, as everone said you would on your first, I was very disappointed only to have finished only 1/3 of the questions ... crappy results arrived a day later.
I felt depressed, thought I knew all of the theory, remembered the fine command details but was not able to implement them quickly. 10's of blackspots arrived. Strange here, is the fact I am active as SAN Specialist in a DataCenter environment with having more then 200 MDS's (figure that out). Though beneficial as a MDS won't fear you, the level of technology in abig environment is quite elementary and didn't offer any CCIE level like experience.
Back to the journey. I found a new seat for Jan 2011 as the social/family life demanded me have Xmas available fo them. Asked Iementor to squeeze me in for a couple of VRack days, went over all notes again including a quick re-read of my 30 cm pile of prints and other books (ENDL Fibre Channel reference & Cisco Storage & Networking Fundamentals). My head was almost exploding to contain all and it survived by shifting out information.. hence forgetting.
Bang ...again a nopass.... with some improvement as I was able to touch all questions....(no real excuses, but I encountered also 10's of disconnects of RDP@SanJose).
So, I started a 3rd attempt in Feb 2011. Knew already my way around and heavily trained myself on blindfolded commandspeed and learned that your LAB-day really begins the days before you go. Built a routine, exercised all basics, re-read the notes, sleep well, eat light and isolate yourself from everything else.
Now things went much better as I didn't try to smartout the exercises though I was able (stupid me) to have IVR crashed giving me a costly incomplete reload and balanced me out.
I did not really had a mental plan what to do if something went out of control... I didn't had plan B fully ready.
Beng..... and again started arranging resources for the 4th time... April 2011. An other month a very intensive (and rather boring, I know all) training.
Finally in April 2011, I was able to run the LAB instead the LAB ran me. Sticked to the questions, did what I learned by experience, handled the rule not to spend more as 5 minutes on any issue, keep your focus and so on. With an hour to spare, I was able to start some verification and eliminated two nasty typo errors.
Correctly typing is very important. Configuring interface fc1/3 while fc3/1 is asked.. will give a 0 pointer and risking you blank an other question also.
One big advice, to stress here.... never ever use your automated "switchport trunk allowed vsan xxx" but get used to always use the " vsan add" sub option. You don't want to figure out which VSAN's were trunked when you unintentionally wiped them out on both sides.....
Of course, there are quite some challenges, but when you understand (and in my case I have done already) all, you will not have big problems other then time management. Nonetheless, you need to train and get a good strategy how you do things.
Can remember, I once was considering GUI use but must admit that CLI is far more reliable. Of course you must know the GUI thorougly also, as that can be required also to finish challenges. Frankly, I can not state which are more or less important subjects, you simply have to master all what's in the BluePrint. Furhemore don;t forget the external aspects, on knowing workstations and networkas as that will able complete the picture.
One thing for sure you must know are Vsan, Domain and (all types) interfaces like the back of your hand. In case you still need to think for these, don't expect a(ny) great success other then a costly training experience.
Coming to here, my journey finished with receiving my pass-age within 8 hours after the LAB was finished. Never, ever had so much emotion on receiving a mail... So much work finally paid off.
In case of questions or support, let me know and again I want to thank all for your support and corrections.
Regards & signing off,
amazing story, great work and very inspirational. The CCIE is serious business! I can't agree with you more about the "switchport allowed vsan" commands, I learned the hard way and had to lookup all my VSAN's for a trunk, then go back and re-check every other trunk to make sure I didn't do this! Costs way too much time, you can't make mistakes you may not have time to go back and re-check.
Hardest thing about the lab is time. I am a very fast typer, I know MDS inside out, but to get through the tasks you must be an expert, no question.