Passing the CCIE Collaboration Lab was really hard and a very nice and entertaining experience, which I feel very happy to say that I completed the challenge!!
I will be very short on this post and will make it technical and a bit emotional for the people out there that may benefit from it at all
How many times is enough?
Well I started this year thinking that it was going to take as many times as it needed to take… Financially this could be brutal and indeed it is. But the reality is that you need to make everything possible to make it happen. Just make sure you will get it, no matter what! and put every effort possible to achieve the goal.
“CCIE is not about the destination but about the journey” (I call BS on that one, at least try to tell that to my wallet)
Off course you will learn a great deal of new things useful for your life as an engineer but lets be honest, the journey to get there is very hard if you have little guidance and can be a very disappointing experience if you are a very sensitive person 😉
I give credit to all the things that you learn along the way, the many people to tell you to settle down after failing, but that also has to help you boost moral to keep going.
Now lets move to the technical details (Off course without breaking my NDA):
Own a lab
I know that I have said before that the success on this one is to use rack rentals, which is not completely a lie but it comes expensive. Having your very on lab can help you get speed and accuracy
Get a good server with at least 64GB of RAM and at least 1TB of Hard Drive, a good processor makes the difference. This is a great example
A complete list of what you need is on one of my previous posts, the only difference is the Server which I just mentioned above.
Invest in a good Bootcamp for CCIE Collaboration
I did mine with Collabcert.com, that’s right, they are not paying me to enter this information or any of that nature, these guys will help you with your studies, their videos and material are very easy to follow, and fun to learn with. Their Rack rentals are fast and reliable.
Play with CUCM enough that it feels boring
Real Time Monitoring Tool is a great friend you have, use it a lot!
Play with Regions, Codecs, SIP Trunks, Integration with UCCX, Integration with Unity Connection, also IMP (I’m from the new era, I don’t call it CUPS anymore)
Jabber may show up in the exam, make sure you know all about it.
If you have a server and not yet ready for the exam or maybe not looking to get there, its ok, but make sure you have all the rooms in your house with phones 😉 trust me is fun! – Make your home a great playground for Collaboration, Routing and Switching, Security and Wireless.
I’m not going to lie to you, its expensive, but its very rewarding and fun at the same time…..
Practice and Practice
There is not really a number of hours that I can tell you because I lost count. Just make sure you feel confident enough to complete a lab with lots of time to check your work.
CUBE, CUCME, UNITY Express, and everything that you need to do in the CLI learn it back and forth… when you think you don’t need any guidance and are a master at the CLI… make sure you are able to enter all the configuration in a notepad without context sensitive help, it will make a hell of a difference!
Plan your 8 Hours lab to take you only 5 to finish it
Now take all technologies, and a lab that you can craft yourself from scratch and make sure you are able to complete it in 5 to 6 Hours… This lab is all about the preparation and to account for the time that you may have to grade your solution yourself!
Its true, grade yourself — you will find little or big errors, its always good idea to check your work before leaving the testing computer
Relax the day before
Once you have completed the above mentioned steps and you have
My last words to you!
The CCIE Collaboration is a monster and a difficult one, but its an attainable goal, never give up on your dreams and make sure you keep yourself honest.
Ask questions, anything you don’t understand feel free to find a buddy to ask, or feel free to ask me… I received advise from many people out there and made a difference.
About the Author:
Andres Sarmiento, CCIE # 53520 (Collaboration)
With more than 13 years of experience, Andres is specialized in the Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies. Consulted for several companies in South Florida, also Financial Institutions on behalf of Cisco Systems. Andres has been involved in high-profile implementations including Cisco technologies; such as Data Center, UC & Collaboration, Contact Center Express, Routing & Switching, Security and Hosted IPT Service provider infrastructures.