Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cisco Live Recap and October CCDE Class in Orlando

It has been a bit over a month since Cisco Live wrapped up. Immediately after it ended I embarked on a family vacation, and I'm just now getting my thoughts together.

First, thank you to everyone I got a chance to meet and speak with this year. My favorite parts of Cisco Live are catching up with former colleagues and students, and making new connections with other networkers. This year Cisco graciously invited me to record some video on my thoughts about the future of networking, some of which was displayed during the Keynote presentations. Take a look at the Opening Keynote and the Luminary Keynote on CiscoLive365.com for my opinions on the value of Cisco Live and the pace of change in IT.

I had two technical goals this year. One was to learn as much as possible about updates to Performance Routing. I attended two PfR sessions and I had an hour-long Meet The Engineer with Jean-Marc Barozet where we covered my primary use case. Unfortunately my requirements are not met by PfR3, so I'll be sticking with PfR2 for the foreseeable future. Jean-Marc was sympathetic to my requirements and took some good notes, so I am hopeful that my needs will be met in a future version. As I see it, Cisco removed quite a few configuration knobs between PfR2 and PfR3. I suspect this is to address competitor's claims that Cisco's version of SDN is too complicated (and maybe end users' complaints as well). I'd much rather have the knobs!

My second technical goal was to learn more about wireless LANs. My primary network uses a lot of Cisco WLAN gear. We are also nearing End-of-Life of much of our LAN gear. I would like to migrate the vast majority of my end users to wireless-only connectivity. My sessions and conversations during Cisco Live have given me reason to reconsider this. No one was enthusiastic about my plan. The major stumbling blocks are IP phones and overall throughput. Fortunately I have some time before making a decision, so perhaps wireless technology will catch up to my plans. The wireless QoS session was particularly interesting; once enough endpoints support the needed features the all-wireless campus could become a more realistic option.

This being John Chambers' final Cisco Live was quite bittersweet. The CCIE/DE NetVet reception was less of the "State of the Union" that we had in prior years, and more of a "Farewell to John". Cisco Live won't be the same without him. All attendees had the opportunity to take a picture with John. Here's mine:


Denise Donohue also organized a congratulatory card for John that many of the CCIE NetVets signed. Here is my picture of the card. There is a lot of "CCIE Royalty" in the signatures, if you look closely enough :)


October 2015 Class Update


I relocated my October 2015 CCDE Practical class from Dubai, UAE to Orlando, Florida USA. For anyone who is interested in attending, please take a look at the class registration page. Moving the class allows me to once again offer this training to remote attendees. If travel to Orlando is difficult, please consider this option.  I am excited about returning my class to Orlando this fall, and I can't wait to see many of you there!

It is becoming clear that candidate demand for the CCDE certification is higher than ever, and Cisco is putting some muscle behind the certification internally. I've had a number of recent Cisco students explain to me that their immediate managers are steering them toward the CCDE rather than additional CCIE certifications because this cert aligns better with the Systems Engineering role. At Cisco Live I spoke with several CCDE team members including Elaine Lopes (CCDE/CCAr Program Manager) about the certification. I will be incorporating that information into my next CCDE overview session scheduled for August 1st, 2015. If you are a student of mine before sure to email me so I can send you a Webex invitation for that session.


Jeremy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cisco Live 2015 is Here!

Congrats to my 70th successful CCDE student, Greg P.! Greg attended my most recent CCDE Practical Bootcamp in Orlando, Florida. He is among six students who passed the exam during the May 19th exam date. Congratulations to all of you, and good luck to those who are planning to take the exam later in 2015. For those who passed, please consider joining the LinkedIn Group for certified CCDEs. It is a low-volume group exclusively for discussions amongst CCDEs. Over half of all active CCDEs have joined, so you will have access to an incredible amount of Cisco design knowledge. Recent discussions have centered around the CCAr program and IPv6 deployment. Don't miss out on the fun!

Cisco Live San Diego


After a one year absence I will be back at Cisco Live this year in San Diego (Please Cisco, don’t ever hold Cisco Live in May again; it is too difficult to travel at the end of the school year). I can’t wait to meet up with old friends and meet new ones. I will be attending the CCIE/DE NetVet reception with John Chambers (for the last time, how bittersweet) and new CEO Chuck Robbins. I will also be at the CCIE/DE party on Tuesday evening. If any of my CCDE students (past, current or future) needs a date to the party, let me know and I will get you in (first come, first serve; I only get one guest). If anyone wants to discuss the CCDE program or my training while in San Diego, please reach out to me via email or Twitter (@jfilliben) so we can catch up. The CCDE program is closing in on 300 certified individuals, which means I am 100% confident that it has ‘caught on’ and will continue to grow like the CCIE R/S, Voice and Service Provider programs. Now if only Cisco will do something on the partner side to increase the value of this amazing certification. I’ll dig around for news and rumors at Cisco Live. If you will be there be sure to let me know so we can meet up. I plan to spend time at the Social Media area, and I will also attempt to be at the New Attendee meet-up on Sunday (I volunteered to be a mentor to a new attendee this year).

Upcoming Training


If you are looking for CCDE training, my next five-day CCDE Practical bootcamp class is scheduled for the week of October 18th in Dubai, UAE. This will be my final classroom training event of the year, and unfortunately I won't be able to offer it remotely from this training location. If that date or location is inconvenient for you, my Self-Paced Online CCDE Practice Exam Training is always available to suit your schedule. I have also scheduled a refresher Webex for August 1st for any of my students who are preparing for the August 19th CCDE Practical exam date. Send me an email if you would like to attend.

If you need convincing to attend my training, take a look at this sampling of student feedback from 2015:

“I just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for the bootcamp in April. It was a great experience. I took the CCDE practical exam on May 19th and passed. I am now CCDE 2015xxxx”

“I would like to share with you that I achieved my CCDE yesterday! I am very happy!!! Thanks for your class, it helped me a lot to have the overall impression of the exam. It made it more clear.”

“Just want to let you know that I've passed the exam! Thank you for the insights and hints to find the answers. Really appreciate the course.”

“I was about to write you an email and say a big 'thank you' to you. You helped me a lot to pass this exam. I appreciate it and never forget it.”

“Jeremy, You now have 55 students that passed.  Thanks for the great material!”


Interesting Projects


I’ve been working on a number of new projects for a Fortune 500 financial company. I plan to write a few blog posts detailing the design aspects of these projects. Here is a short list. If you have any specific interest in hearing about these, let me know which one(s) to prioritize:

Cisco iWAN deployment - Encrypted DMVPN over the Internet and carrier L3VPN. I started on this before iWAN was published, so I thought it was quite innovative. Now that Cisco has caught up to and passed me on this technology I am playing catch up. :)

AnyConnect over IPv6 - Deploying AnyConnect over IPv6 Internet for access to IPv4 resources

WAN Core Separation - Splitting up a WAN core consisting of two locations into individual IGPs and BGP ASNs. If you’ve read my blog long enough (or scroll waaaay back) you will remember when we reduced the core from three -> two locations. This project will take us to the logical conclusion. I have a Meet The Engineer scheduled at Cisco Live to work out the details concerning Performance Routing for this new design. I expect this project to occupy a large amount of my post-Cisco Live work attention :)

Campus LAN Refreshes - Is it time for white box switching in a large L3 campus? Does Meraki scale to the required size? Or is it time for my dream of an all-wireless campus LAN (probably not yet, but soon)?

Thanks for reading this far.. Please let me know what interesting projects you are working on; I am always on the lookout for new ideas.

Jeremy

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Upcoming Training Classes

Last week I was in Orlando, Florida, where I taught my eleventh CCDE Practical bootcamp class. Thank you to all of the students who traveled to Orlando to attend the class, as well as those who braved the many hour time differences and attended remotely. It was great to have all of your experiences and questions during the class. My online students and I also recently completed a review of our four CCDE practice exams over the last two weekends. These online training events are open to all of my students, until they pass the CCDE Practical exam. For those taking the exam on May 19th, good luck. I can't wait to add more names to my list of 63 successful students!

My next CCDE Practical bootcamp will be held in Dubai, UAE, the week of October 18th. Details can be found at this page, and registration is now open via Eventbrite. Dubai is beautiful in October; we will be there just after the summer heat has begun to dissipate. During my last class in Dubai I had the opportunity to tour the Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa and the Madinat Jumeirah resort. It truly is an amazing city. More details concerning my last class can be found in this blog post. Unfortunately due to the timezone and venue challenges I will not be able to offer remote access to my October class.

If travel is an issue, or you can't spare a week away from work to attend training, I am continuing to offer my self-paced CCDE practice exam training. With this class you get same-day access to my four CCDE practice exam scenarios, as well as access to my CCDE overview training and the instructor-led exam review sessions. I regularly update the content of these exams to reflect feedback from my students and to align with public news regarding the CCDE Practical exam. Feedback for this training has been great; a former student gave me a nice compliment in his blog, ccdewiki.wordpress.com. Thanks Ken!

If you are going to be at Cisco Live in San Diego, let me know so we can catch up and say hi. It is certain to be an interesting Cisco Live, considering the recently-announced CEO transition at Cisco. Chuck Robbins sure has large shoes to fill! I wasn't able to attend last year, so I signed up for a full slate of technical sessions. I even plan to slip into the self-paced labs as time permits to test some of my configuration skills. I still work on production networks every day, but we do not use every possible technology so lab time is greatly appreciated (and anticipated!).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall 2014 Training Updates


First, I am proud to announce that 54 of my students have passed the CCDE Practical exam to date! Your efforts and hard work have allowed you to achieve one of the most difficult certifications available. If you haven't already done so, please join the CCDE Exclusive Linked In group by clicking on this link. This group consists only of fully-certified CCDEs and provides a way for us to share news and contact each other when necessary. About half of all CCDEs are members.. join today! :)


There are a several new announcements regarding the CCDE certification and my training:

CCDE As a Partner Requirement


Cisco has inched closer to making the CCDE certification a Partner requirement! This is great news for everyone who has achieved this certification (by my count, 233 individuals to date). It is also the perfect justification for Cisco Partners to encourage and support their employees in their pursuit of the certification. Details of the new programs can be found on Cisco's website (partner login required). The Partner Specialization that is expected to require a CCDE-certified individual is the Master Enterprise Networks Specialization, which launches in 2015.


Classroom Training Updates


I have several CCDE Practical Bootcamp classes on my training schedule for the next few months.

I have agreed to teach CCBootcamp's CCDE Practical class the week of November 10th, 2014. If you are interested in registering, please contact them at www.ccbootcamp.com or call them at 877-654-2243. Las Vegas is always a great city to visit, and this time of year is very reasonable weather-wise. It's nothing like Cisco Live's sweltering 110 degrees Fahrenheit daytime temperatures!

I am running a CCDE Practical Bootcamp in Dubai, the week of January 18th, 2015. Details can be found on my website (click here), or you can register by going directly to Eventbrite. I am offering a 15% discount if you register by the end of October. Use the promotional code 'october' when you register.

I also have a CCDE Practical Bootcamp class scheduled for the week of April 20th, 2015 in Orlando, Florida USA. Spring weather in Florida is nice, and the theme parks are great fun for the family, so considering bringing them along! Details can be found on my website, and registration is available at Eventbrite.


Online Training


I am also offering my online CCDE practice exam training in two forms. On Saturday November 1st, I will lead the first of the CCDE Practical practice exam review sessions. The second session will be on Saturday November 8th. These live Webex-based sessions allow candidates to ask questions about the CCDE program, CCDE practical exam and the practice exams that I offer. All past students are invited to attend, until they receive a passing score on Cisco's CCDE Practical exam. Details on this class can be found on my website.

If your schedule isn't flexible, my self-paced training is always available to suit your needs. Within 24 hours of registering you will receive my CCDE training materials and four practice exams. Once you complete the exams, let me know and I will provide access to recordings of the above-mentioned review sessions which explain the correct answers. Self-paced registrants are also permitted to attend any subsequent live sessions, and will be provided access to future recordings at no charge.

As always, if you have any questions about the CCDE program or these training opportunities, please email me at jeremy@filliben.com.

Thank you,
Jeremy

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dubai Was a Blast!



During the week of March 30, 2014 I traveled to Dubai to deliver my CCDE Practical Bootcamp class. The above picture is our class photo from the week (I need to remember to do this for future classes). From left-to-right: Asad, Jeriel, Jeremy (me), Evgeny, Alexander, Hamed and Mazin. Only Hamed is a local… thank you for your hospitality! The rest traveled from Europe, Africa and the Middle East region to immerse themselves in a week of network design concepts, case studies and practice exams.
I had such a great time delivering the class that I am already planning to return to Dubai in early 2015 to teach it again. According to those who live in the area, the winter and early spring months are the best time to visit; the weather can get quite unbearable beginning in May. We hit highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C) while I was in town, which was quite a departure from the snow and ice of my hometown in the US. I couldn’t imagine trying to walk outside during the summer highs of 120 degrees F! If you are interested in attending my next Dubai class (likely January 18-23 or February 1-5, 2015) please email me and I will provide details as they become available.
As for leisure, I was able to find a bit of time in the evenings to visit the world’s largest mall and travel to the observation deck of the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa is remarkably tall; I worked for some time in New York City and became accustomed to living among the skyscrapers. Even the new Liberty Tower in Manhattan does not tower over neighboring buildings in quite the same way as the Burj Khalifa. I was also able visit the Madinat Jumeirah resort and meet up with Sam, a previous student and active CCDE who lives in Dubai. Dubai is an impressive location to hold a class; I am looking forward to returning!
Thank you once more to those who attended this class, and good luck to all my friends and students who are planning to take the CCDE practical exam in May! If you’d like to learn more about my online training, please visit http://www.jeremyfilliben.com/p/self-paced-ccde-practice-exam-training.html. If you would like to attend my next CCDE bootcamp in the US, visit http://www.jeremyfilliben.com/p/ccde-practical-bootcamp.html.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

CCDE Training Schedule for 2014


Congratulations to my seven students who successfully completed the CCDE Practical exam on November 22nd! I am honored to have trained 31 of the world’s CCDEs. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your success. Passing this exam is quite an accomplish; you should be very proud of your effort.

Interest in the CCDE program has increased considerably since I started training network engineers and architects for this certification in 2010. I’m trying my best to increase my training offerings to meet candidates needs. To that end I have opened registration for the following CCDE training classes. If you are interested in attending, please click on the links below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

April CCDE Practice Exams

My next online CCDE practice exams are scheduled for Saturday April 5th and 12th, 2014. Registrants for these sessions will receive four CCDE Practice exam scenarios, as well as my CCDE overview presentation and guidance documents. The review sessions will take place on consecutive Saturdays and are expected to last from 9am ET until approximately 1pm ET. Registration for these sessions in available at Eventbrite.



Self-Paced CCDE Practice Exams


My CCDE practice exams are available in a self-paced offering. Once you register you will receive the exam content within 24 hours. Registrations for the self-paced class are always invited to attend any subsequent live sessions as well, including the February 1st CCDE overview presentation and question & answer session. Registration for the self-paced class is available at Eventbrite. I have updated my content to reflect the most recent changes in the CCDE program, including the flexible lunch breaks and day-before registration for any Pearson Professional Center.

CCDE Bootcamp in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - January 27-31, 2014


My next scheduled live CCDE Practical bootcamp class is coming up at the end of January. It will be held at the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia, PA. My live class content has been updated to incorporate the latest CCDE updates. I have also added a new section comparing/contrasting GETVPN and DMVPN, based on feedback from recent class attendees. Registration is open at Eventbrite.

CCDE Bootcamp in Celebration, Florida - July 28-August 1, 2014

Last year’s Celebration, Florida class was quite successful. Feedback about the town (located near Orlando in Central Florida) and the Stetson University facilities was overwhelmingly positive. I have decided to bring my class back to the same location this coming July. Registration is open at Eventbrite. The course description can be found by clicking on the title above.


CCDE Bootcamp in Dubai, UAE March 30 - April 3, 2014

I am also offering my week-long class in Dubai during the week of March 30th, 2014. Registration is available in at Eventbrite. The class will be held at City Seasons Suites in Dubai. If you have any questions about this class please let me know. I am also considering a European class the month of November, 2014. If you are interested in attending a class in London or Frankfurt, please let me know. I am still trying to gauge the interest level before committing to this class.

As always, if you have any questions about my training classes or the CCDE program please write me an email at jeremy@filliben.com. I look forward to helping candidates succeed at this certification in the coming year.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Python Scripting and the Blackjack "In Bet"ween Bet

I recently spent an hour or so at the local casino (Delaware Park) playing blackjack with my father-in-law. The table we chose had a side bet called “IN BETween”, which compares the player’s two cards to the dealer’s up card. If all three cards match, the player is paid a 30-1 return. If the dealer’s card is in between the two player cards (hence the name of the game), the player is paid based on a pay table. At Delaware Park, the current pay table is:

Result Pay Ratio Example Winning Hand
All Cards Match 30-1 7-7-7
One Card Spread 10-1 3-4-5
Two Card Spread 6-1 8-T-J
Three Card Spread 4-1 2-5-6
All Other Spreads 1-1 3-7-T
For comparison purposes, Aces are the highest possible card.

After watching this side bet for awhile, I began to wonder what the house odds were for this game. Sure, I can just look it up (h/t to the State of Washington - http://www.wsgc.wa.gov/docs/game_rules/in_between.pdf), but this seemed like a perfect excuse to spend a few minutes with Python. So I dusted off my old Poker python script and modified it to simulate this game. No one actually starts a Python script with an empty notepad file, right? Smile

If you are interested in playing with this script, it takes two parameters. The first is the number of decks used. The number of decks is an important factor in this wager, as the majority of the value in the bet is due to the frequency of 30-1 payouts. Seeing three matching cards on a random draw from a single deck only happens .235% of the time (3/51 * 2/50), while the same result from eight decks happens .541% of the time, more than twice as often (31/415 * 30/414).

The second parameter is the number of iterations. Monte Carlo simulations benefit from many iterations. I’ve found that 1,000,000 iterations convergences on the mathematical results that the State of Washington has in their reference document.

Without further explanation, here is the script. If you notice any errors or anything I’ve done that is wildly inefficient please let me know; I always like improving my programming skills. If you want to improve this one suggestion would be to add the other pay tables listed in the State of Washington document. My local casino only seems to use the payouts I have listed, and since I rarely go to a casino (even the local one) these are the only payouts I was interested in.

#
# inbetween.py - Runs Monte Carlo simulation of In BETween bet
#       with user-specified number of decks and iterations
#
# Reference URL - http://www.wsgc.wa.gov/docs/game_rules/in_between.pdf
#
#
import sys
import random
def inbetween(cards):
#
# Takes array of three cards
# Returns win multiple based on standard pay table
#   return value includes original wager, if successful
#
  if cards[0][0] > cards[2][0]:
    cards[0], cards[2] = cards[2], cards[0]
  if cards[0][0] == cards[1][0] == cards[2][0]: return 30+1
  if cards[0][0] < cards[1][0] < cards[2][0]:
    if cards[2][0] - cards[0][0] == 2: return 10+1
    elif cards[2][0] - cards[0][0] == 3: return 6+1
    elif cards[2][0] - cards[0][0] == 4: return 4+1
    return 1+1
  return 0

def card_gen(num_decks):
#
# Takes number of decks (1 - 8)
# Returns three cards in array
# cards[0] = Player Card 1
# cards[1] = Dealer card 1
# cards[2] = Player Card 2
#
  card1 = []
  card2 = []
  card3 = []
  card1 = [random.randrange(0,13), random.randrange(0,4), random.randrange(0, num_decks)]
  card2 = [random.randrange(0,13), random.randrange(0,4), random.randrange(0, num_decks)]
  while card2 == card1:
#    print "Collision! " + str(card1) + " " + str(card2)
    card2 = [random.randrange(0,13), random.randrange(0,4), random.randrange(0, num_decks)]
  card3 = [random.randrange(0,13), random.randrange(0,4), random.randrange(0, num_decks)]
  while (card3 == card1) or (card3 == card2):
#    print "Collision! " + str(card1) + " " + str(card2) + " " + str(card3)
    card3 = [random.randrange(0,13), random.randrange(0,4), random.randrange(0, num_decks)]
  cards = []
  cards.append(card1)
  cards.append(card2)
  cards.append(card3)
  return cards

def readable_hand(cards):
#
# Returns a readable version of a set of cards
#
  rank_refstring = "X23456789TJQKA"
  suit_refstring = "xcdhs"
  string = ""
  for i, v in enumerate(cards):
    string += rank_refstring[v[0]+1] + suit_refstring[v[1]+1] + str(v[2]+1)
  return string
#
# Main Program Body
#
#
# Initialization
#
iterations = 0
num_decks = 0
cards = []
total_won = 0
result = 0
#
# Process command-line arguments
#
if (len(sys.argv) < 3) or (sys.argv[1] in ("-h", "--help")):
        sys.exit("\n\
First input is number of decks to be used (1 - 8)\n\
Second input is number of iterations to run the Monte Carlo simulation\n\n\
--help: This message\n")
else:
    num_decks = int(sys.argv[1])
    iterations = int(sys.argv[2])
    if iterations < 1: iterations = 1
for n in range(1, iterations+1):
  cards = card_gen(num_decks)
  result = inbetween(cards)
  total_won += result
#  print "Result[" + str(n) + "]: $" + str(result) + " Hand = " + readable_hand(cards)
print "Total Wagered = $" + str(iterations)
print "Total Returned = $" + str(total_won)
print "Total Profit = $" + str(total_won - iterations)
print "Win / Loss Percentage = %.2f" % \
  (100*float(total_won - iterations) / iterations) + "%"