Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to get from R&S to SP

From my experience, these are the most beneficial steps to pass the CCIE SP, assuming you already have R&S.

1. Don't believe the rumors you've heard that SP is easy once you have R&S. It's NOT true. While there are a few overlaps, about 60% of the SP exam is completely different. And that 60% is going to be tough. Don't go into this lightly.

2. There really isn't much benefit in getting the CCIP first. However, I would strongly recommend passing the BGP+MPLS exam. This covers the MPLS foundation and some of the BGP topics geared towards SP. If you can read some books and pass exams, do so. If you need more hands on, do some Vol 1 labs and come back to this before attempting the SP written.

3. Unlike R&S, there really isn't a single book that prepares you well. I didn't mind Configuring MPLS on Cisco IOS Software, but it wasn't nearly as good as the Doyle books for R&S were. I really felt pretty lost going after the written. But with R&S knowledge and passing BGP+MPLS, you'll be pretty close.

4. Just like R&S, the Internetwork Expert Videos are a must. Nearly everything you need to pass the lab are covered in these 40 hours. These videos give you a great foundation, you'll just need to remember it all and learn to apply it.

5. Go through all the Volume 1 labs from your provider of choice (in my case INE or IPX). These give you a great foundation for covering the full scale labs. Don't get lazy, do them all!

6. Focus on the Following labs, in order:
a. Start off with IPX Volume 3 labs 1-4. These are great for getting you ramped up to full scale labs. I didn't care for lab 5 much.
b. Do the INE Vol 2 labs. These are especially important for having interesting VPN topologies to configure. They are tough, but keep at it until you fully understand them.
c. Do IPX lab Vol 2 lab 1. If there is a reason to spend the money on the IPX workbook, this is it. INE teaches the toplogies well, but IPX teaches the knobs and question style well. Do this lab!
d. Attend the INE SP Bootcamp. Their labs 1 and 2 are great and cover some topics that aren't really covered well anywhere else.

7. Once again, don't think you can rush through this. It's going to take a lot of work. But, once you're finished you're going to have a real respect for MPLS and the things that can be accomplished with it.


srinivas said...


Very useful info!

I have one basic query. For SP, which IOS version documentation is better to use? is it 12.4T or 12.2SR?

My basic observation is that in 12.2SR, some basic configs are not exist, where as these exist in 12.2SR (for ex: configuring TE), however in 12.2SR some advanced configs are there.


Ed said...

I typically just stuck with 12.4, since it's just easier to get to. There are some differences between the versions, so the docs don't always line up 100%. But after spending some time hunting I tended to remember the differences. About the only time went with 12.2 was when I couldn't find what I was looking for in 12.4 and wanted to do some additional hunting.

That being said, I highly recommend you get familiar with the feature guides in 12.2T, and possibly some of the earlier versions. There is great BGP and MPLS information in those that you can't find anywhere else.

KZ said...

Hi Ed,

Congratulations on becoming 2xCCIE! Also thanks for taking the time to blog about your SP experience!

Just recently cleared the RS 3.0 and looking to jump into SP right away before the "rumors" of SP change becoming a reality.

Have a few questions and would appreciate your advice/clarification:

1. Did you mostly use Dynamips for your preparation in doing both IE and IPX materials? Or you used some Dynamips and rack rental?

2. You mentioned IPX Vol 3, but I don't see that on their website. Unless you were referring to the "Lab Mentoring Kit" as Vol 3? If so, did you find the video tutorial to be useful?

3. You mentioned on your blog that IPX Vol 2 Lab 6 - 10, but their website only indicated 5 multi-protocol labs.


Ed said...

1. I used mostly Dynamips. I did do a few labs with rentals, but it really isn't required. You'll save money with Dynamips, but you'll definitely get some added headaches getting everything up and running and adjusting the configs to something that matches up with the vendor labs. For me, I just like having Dynamips available 24/7 and not having to tailor my studying around a set schedule. That way, if I wait up at 4am and don't feel tired, I can squeeze in a couple of hours of labbing.

2. Yes, the Lab Mentoring Kit. After you buy it, it's referred to as Volume 3. I would not recommend the video walkthroughs unless you really want to watch people typing in the commands with little advice/troubleshooting. This is in sharp contract to the INE bootcamp, where the videos spend a huge amount of time with pointers and troulbeshooting.

3. Must have been a mistake. I meant INE labs 6-10.

KZ said...

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the clarification!

Actually, #3 was my mistake. Looking at your blog again, you did mentioned INE and not IPX: