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What are you doing to prepare for the CCIE Service Provider Lab Exam?

May 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Leon van Dongen 28 posts since
Sep 26, 2010

Despite the scarce information regarding the new CCIE Service Provider Lab Exam I see a lot of interest for the renwed CCIE Service Provider Lab Exam.


The new equipment and software used in the new exam provides a great challenge for candidates to practice the technologies that are outlined in the [extended] blueprint.


What are you doing to prepare for the CCIE Service Provider Lab Exam and how do you feel that Cisco can contribute to the success of the renewed CCIE Service Provider track?


In order to increase demand I feel that Cisco can contribute in the following ways:

  • Update preparation material on the Cisco Learning Network
  • Breakout session on upcoming Cisco Live! events
  • Development of Cisco Learning Labs for CCIE Service Provider (based on IOS on UNIX)
  • Organizing an Ask-the-Expert event for the CCIE Service Provider 3.0


In the meanwhile I am have upgraded my 7200 routers to 12.2(33)SR software to work on the technologies individually until there is more information available.


I look forward to what you think.




  • fornarina 3 posts since
    May 7, 2011

    Hi Leon,


    nice to meet you.


    I think Cisco could contribute by stop being so cryptic and answering the questions that you and other guys are asking.


    Right now, the situation is really bad:


    -no simulators

    -no vendors supporting racks

    -no Cisco 360 program

    -no information from Cisco at all


    The result: impossible to prepare the exam, because 95% of the candidates, even if they work in an ISP, they don't have access in their labs to this kind of hardware: XR 12000, 7600, .....


    So, I only see two solutions to the problem that we face, both in the Cisco Learning direction:


    - The Cisco 360 program. We know that Cisco is developing this program. What we don't know is when will be released. So, my first question: When is Cisco going to release the 360 program for CCIE SP?. Vincent, could you please answer this question?. You don't have to be precise, it would be enough to know if it is within Cisco plans for this year.


    - The Cisco Learning Labs. We know that Cisco has the intention to develop new labs for other certifications. What we don't know is what kind of certifications and when. So, my second question: Is Cisco going to develop Learning Labs for CCIE SP?. Vincent, could you please answer this question?. You don't have to be precise, it would be enough to know if it is within Cisco plans for this year.


    Also, I am doubtful about Cisco Learning Labs. Would it be really a complete solution to prepare CCIE SP Lab or only a small help?.




  • Youssef El Fathi 64 posts since
    Jul 9, 2008

    Hello fornarina, instead of waiting indefinitely you can go for another track or if you stick for the SP track go for Juniper certifications and maybe if Cisco announces something in the future you would not waste your time.





  • fornarina 3 posts since
    May 7, 2011

    Hello Youseef,


    A good piece of advise. Thank you.


    Yes, I will go for CCIE R&S if within two months all this uncertainty is not resolved.


    Juniper certifications are also a good option, but what I don't like about them is the recertification process. I think you have to pass the lab exam every two years. Am I right?. This is too demanding. Can someone with experience in Juniper certifications confirm this point?.




  • Youssef El Fathi 64 posts since
    Jul 9, 2008

    You're welcome, i don't know how it was for the recertification but now you don't have to pass the Lab every 2 years :


    'The JNCIE-SP is valid for two years. Re-certification is achieved by passing the current version of the JNCIP-SP exam.'


    from :





  • Raman 6 posts since
    Sep 3, 2010

    I think  the easiest way to start your preperation at thispoint of time would be use the old materials, lets say INE- CCIE SP v2 material and use it on 7200/7600 with 12.2 33 SR, use 7200/7600 for everything ( P,PE and CE).  Also create your own mini labs for all the technologies/features in the Blue print. Also try getting access to couple of XR 12k's and 3400 CE's to practice VPLS. Since 7600's are IOU based,  AFAIK, you cannot use vpls without es cards so my assumption at thispoint o time will be that vpls will  be tested on xr platform (gsr's)

  • Scott Morris - CCDE/4xCCIE/2xJNCIE 8,398 posts since
    Oct 7, 2008

    Thankfully, no, you don't have the pass the lab exam every two years.    That would be very irritating (especially now that I have two!)


    But you have to take the written qualifying exam (the new ones are knows as JNCIP-SP and JNCIP-ENT depending on your track), and where Cisco has the "one recert for all", Juniper does not.  Arguably a good point, but not nearly as much fun along the way!


    I don't think I'd be as quick to write off Cisco though just because there aren't answers yet.  Typically, companies like Cisco will hold things fairly close to the chest until an announcement is ready, or until their ready to make good on whatever the details are.  While smaller companies may be better about rolling with things or making them up as they go along, this doesn't translate well into large organizations!


    There's stuff that will progress out...   but I hate to be the stickler here....  But ya know...  You CAN prepare for a CCIE without formalized preparation materials, right?   I mean, that's pretty much how us old farts (aka early adopters) did it!


    You have the blueprint.  You have a checklist.  You have the doc links...  now it's just you, your equipment and your warped sense of humor....


    Worked for me! 



  • Frank Geldner 20 posts since
    Jun 25, 2008



    base vpls on 12k w/ xr 3.9.1. only vpls, no h-vpls.

    I agree, most topics can be simulated on IOU or GNS 3.

    Blueprint 2.0 is a good resource and of course cisco sp3.0 lab example. some of the configuration examples should be verified

    I have added ipv6 to sp 2.0 labs.



  • Scott Morris - CCDE/4xCCIE/2xJNCIE 8,398 posts since
    Oct 7, 2008

    IOS-XR isn't THAT much of a shift from standard IOS.  Even without access to it, if you have enough of a grasp on the fundamental technologies, you should be able to go through documentation and compare the XR docs to regular IOS docs...  Pick a technology... 


    Compare them.  And you'll find that while there are differences, they are subtle.  (IMO)


    I ran across that with a client once...  GSRs are fun boxes that COULD be running IOS or IOS-XR.  I neglected to ask which one, and was surprised getting on-site that it wasn't normal IOS.   But other than the initial shock, wasn't that hard to get around.  You'll be irritated at typing things you are used to and being told you can't do that...  But ? is still your friend, as are the docs.



  • Scott Morris - CCDE/4xCCIE/2xJNCIE 8,398 posts since
    Oct 7, 2008

    Also...   Look at the hardware list.   How much of it is capable of running XR anyway? 


    So while XR will be on your lab, it's not going to be 90% of it!



  • Hudson 4 posts since
    May 5, 2009

    I think people just make a big fuss about this XR thing...after reading XR Fundamentals and cramming the commands using pen and paper, I configured (when I had one chance) CSC with a bunch of CRS-1 routers with relative ease. The number of devices do not matter...even if there were 100 routers (hopefully not), I believe Cisco will make it possible to complete the lab within the 8 hours.

  • Leon van Dongen 4 posts since
    Jul 31, 2008

    IOS XR or any specific software on the exam is not the biggest hurdle. If you have tested each and every feature, understand the concept and technology and know where it is documented on the Cisco website, you'll be able to configure it on any Cisco platform no matter how the configuration syntax.


    However, having experienced IOS XR prior to your exam will have an influence on your ability to complete those task on the fly and apply first time right configuration. I.e. you can easly make typo's or with cut & pasting insert interfaces that are non-existant, IOS XR allows you to do that. So having a moderate experience with the hardware/software is an advantage for the exam. Also, take into account that in order to pass you either need to be very clean in your configuration and verification or have enough time left at the end to properly verify your configuration and asess if it meets the requirements.


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