Having a Safari Books Online subscription does have its benefits. Whilst looking for a reference book during the week I noticed that the CCIEv5 Configuration Practice Labs appeared. I felt it was very soon for such a book to come out so I downloaded it and began to find out more.
It is very common knowledge to aspiring CCIE candidates that version five of the expert Cisco certification has changed the topics it focuses on. While frame relay has seen the end of its like the alignment to current technology I’d apparent with the inclusion of DMVPN and more IPv6. This provides a new raft of topologies and lab scenarios to study and get your teeth into.
There are three labs provided inside this book. They each cover off a subset of technologies in a scenario format. What I liked about the format is that all the questions are covered off initially through the lab overview. Topologies – both physical and logical – are provided and this allows the representation of where you current are.
I felt that on paper these labs were going to be a little easier than other vendors like IPexpert and INE. It didn’t seem to have the same depth but it was soon into the lab did I realise where it laid. The lab requirements and set ups were very real world. It didn’t say “configure x interface with y”. What the questions asked you were “a requirement of this network segment is to eliminate the need for x without using y”. This ensures the candidate knows that there are many ways to achieve an outcome and pits limitations and constraints on what the correct solution could be.
A section which I thought was good was before revealing the answer the author has placed in a section of “Proctor questions” which guide the reader to think about how to ask the proctor a question. It is well know that simply asking “do I configure this?” Is met with blank silence and that a question that shows your thought process, elimination and workings out yields a guiding response. With that in mind when using a technology it is worth sparing a thought of how you would ask for clarification with a proctor and this section is great for this.
The lab diagrams are clear and there is minimal mistakes. The book is a good start in the deluge of new content from all the providers for the new exam. Whilst the meat of this book – the lab and the answers – are polished and well done there is a lot of supplementary information that could have been included. Unless I am reading the rough cuts there is only a paragraph or two on lab preparation and study techniques. This could of been fleshed out. Maybe it will.
This is a decent first publication for the CCIE materials by Cisco Press. In the case of study for certification there can be never enough material and practice labs can help get you in the zone. Whilst INE/iPExpert/Narbik have a more detailed and in-depth approach this is definitely good supplement to your lab. Definitely a 3.5/5 and one to add to the bookshelf.