Rick Mur

Limitless Networking

CCIE Data Center

The long rumored, highly expected and very desired has finally been released and it’s a beast!

Since the release of the Nexus platform there has been talk about when these platforms were to be introduced in a CCIE track. With the introduction of UCS in 2009 this became an even higher request especially since UCS really took off in sales. When I started my CCIE Storage studies in 2010 I initially wrote an article for IPexpert about my predictions for the CCIE DC (http://blog.ipexpert.com/2010/01/13/storage-and-datacenter-ccie/). Most of them where very easy guesses, but those also became reality in the track, though with new hardware that is now available (2 years later).

You might have already read most information on other blogs, but I’m trying to consolidate that information. During the coming weeks/months more and more information will become available and during Cisco Live in June there will be a huge amount of information and questions during the 4-hour Techtorial (TECCCIE-9544).

The scope of the exam is pretty much based on the usual suspects, so in summary you should know the:

  • UCS B-series blade systems
  • UCS C-series rackmount systems connected to UCS Manager via FEX
  • Virtual Interface Cards (virtualized NICs and HBAs) in all servers
  • Nexus 7000 with all features like VDC, OTV, FabricPath, etc.
  • Nexus 5500 with all features like FCoE, FEX
  • Nexus 2000 connected to either the 5k or the 7k
  • Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch in ESX
    • There is no mention of any VMware product in the blueprint, so expect ESX and vCenter to be pre-installed on the UCS blades and FC boot to pre-configured disks
  • MDS 9222i for connecting FC storage to UCS
  • ACE appliance
  • DCNM management software

Availability

From May 1st the written exam is available in BETA all the way up to June 15. They specifically mentioned that the beta test is available for testing during Cisco Live, which is also when I’m going to take it. The live exam is available from September 1st.

Currently there are no dates when the lab is available.

Written exam

The written exam has an extensive blueprint published to Cisco Learning Network (CLN) including a reading list. As mentioned before the beta version of the CCIE Data Center Written Exam will be available for scheduling and testing at all worldwide Cisco-authorized Pearson VUE testing centers beginning May 1 through June 15, 2012. The beta test will also be offered during Cisco Live San Diego event from June 10-14, 2012. Candidates may schedule and take the exam on the same day.  The beta exam will be offered at a discounted price of US$50, with full recertification or lab qualification credit granted to all passing candidates.

The current published reading list:

Data Center Fundamentals (ISBN-10: 1-58705-023-4)

NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching (ISBN-10: 1-58705-892-8)

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) (ISBN-10: 1-58714-193-0)

I/O Consolidation in the Data Center (ISBN-10: 1-58705-888-X)

Storage Networking Fundamentals (ISBN-10: 1-58705-162-1)

Please find the extensive blueprint published by Cisco on the bottom of this blogpost.

Lab exam

There is not much information available regarding the lab exam. Availability is not mentioned. There is however information regarding the hardware list and this is an immense list of expensive hardware you require:

Hardware blueprint:

Cisco Catalyst Switch 3750 = Switch for management connections
Cisco 2511 Terminal Server = Lab terminal server
MDS 9222i
Nexus 7009
– (1) Sup
– (1) 32 Port 10Gb (F1 Module)
– (1) 32 Port 10Gb (M1 Module)
Nexus 5548
Nexus 2232
Nexus 1000V
UCS C200 Series Server
– VIC card for c-series
UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnects
UCS-5108 Blade Chassis
– B200 M2 Blade Servers
– Palo mezzanine card (VIC card)
– Emulex mezzanine card (2 vNICs and 2 vHBAs)
Cisco Application Control Engine Appliance – ACE4710
Dual attached JBODs (prepare for pre-configured disks)

Software Versions
NXOS v6.0(2) on Nexus 7000 Switches
NXOS v5.1(3) on Nexus 5000 Switches
NXOS v4.2(1) on Nexus 1000V
NXOS v5.2(2) on MDS 9222i Switches
UCS Software release 2.0(1x) for UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnect and all UCS systems
Software Release A5(1.0) on ACE4710
Cisco Data Center Manager software v5.2(2)

How do I get my hands on this?

Now this is a huge list. I’m so fortunate that I work for Telindus-ISIT a Cisco Gold partner with huge focus on Nexus and UCS, so we have most of this already available in our lab! Cisco knows that not everybody will be able to purchase a lab or even lab rental companies can’t afford this. Therefore they confirmed at Cisco Live Melbourne that Cisco will start offering rack rentals for the CCIE Datacenter, probably through the Cisco 360 program.

Other available information

During the session at Cisco Live Melbourne, more information was provided than already mentioned. Some important topics are:

CCIE Storage?

There are currently NO plans for replacing CCIE Storage for CCIE Datacenter. Because of this, there will not be a large focus on MDS/FC configuration as there is another track for that.

What about P and A tracks?

A CCNA Data Center and CCNP Data Center will be released soon!

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting will be a big part of the exam, which is also pretty clear in the blueprint. There is no confirmation yet how this will be introduced, either using tickets in the CCIE R&S or just by pre-configuration on the lab. I can imagine that they pre-configured a broken Nexus 1000V on a ESX installation on one of the JBODs. More information on how this troubleshooting is done will be available during other Q&A sessions. The implication is that it might be trouble tickets like the CCIE R&S.

Written Blueprint

Cisco Data Center Architecture

  • Describe the Cisco Data Center Architecture
  • Describe the products used in the Cisco Data Center Architecture
  • Describe Cisco unified I/O solution in access layer
  • Determine which platform to select for use in the data center different layers

Cisco Data Center Infrastructure—NX-OS

  • Describe NX-OS features
    Describe the architecture of NX-OS
    Describe NX-OS Process Recovery
    Describe NX-OS Supervisor Redundancy
    Describe NX-OS Systems file management
    Describe Virtual Output Queuing (VoQ)
    Describe Virtual Device Contexts
    Configure and Troubleshoot VDCs
    Describe fabric extension via the nexus family
  • Design and implement NX-OS Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality
    Describe VLANs
    Describe PVLANs
    Describe Spanning-Tree Protocols
    Describe Port-Channels and Virtual Port Channels
    Compare and contrast VPC options
    Describe basic features of routing protocols in a data center environment
    Implement jumbo frames end-to-end in a data center
    Describe FabricPath
    Describe VRF lite in a data center environment
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands.
  • Describe Multicast
    Describe Multicast Operation in a data center environment
    Describe Basic PIM configuration
    Describe IGMP operation and configuration on the Nexus Platform
    Validate Configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands
  • Describe basic NX-OS Security features
    AAA Services
    RBAC, SSH, and SNMPv3
    Control Plane Protection and Hardware Rate Limiting
    IP ACLs, MAC ACLs, and VLAN ACLs
    Port Security
    DHCP Snooping, Dynamic ARP Inspection, and IP Source Guard
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands
  • Implement NX-OS high availability features
    Describe First-Hop Routing Protocols
    Describe Graceful Restart and nonstop forwarding
    Describe OTV
    Describe the ISSU process
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands
  • Implement NX-OS management
    Describe DCNM LAN features
    Implement SPAN and ERSPAN
    Implement embedded Ethernet analyzer and Netflow
    Describe XML for network management and monitoring
    Describe SNMP for network management and monitoring
    Describe Implement Embedded Event Management
    Describe configuration management in Data Center Network Manager
    Describe Smart Call Home
    Detail connectivity and credentials required for Data Center Network Manager
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands

Cisco Storage Networking

  • Describe Standard-based SAN Protocols
    Describe Fiber Channel Standards and protocols
    Describe SCSI standards and protocols
    Describe iSCSI standards and protocols
    Describe FCIP standards and protocols
  • Implement Fiber Channel Protocols features
    Describe Port Channel, ISL, trunking and VSANs
    Design basic and enhanced zoning
    Describe FC domain parameters
    Describe Cisco Fabric services and benefits
    Design and implement proper oversubscription in an FC environment
    Validate proper configuration of FC storage based solutions
  • Implement IP Storage based solution
    Implement FC over IP (FCIP)
    Describe iSCSI and its features
    Validate proper configuration of IP Storage based solutions
  • Design and describe NX-OS Unified Fabric features
    Describe Fiber Channel features in the NX-OS environment
    Describe Fiber Channel over Ethernet Protocol and technology
    Design and implement data center bridging protocol and lossless Ethernet
    Design and implement QoS features
    Describe NPV and NPIV features in a Unified Fabric environment
    Describe FCoE NPV features
    Describe Unified Fabric Switch different modes of operations
    Describe multihop FCoE
    Describe and configure universal ports
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands
  • Design high availability features in a standalone server environment
    Describe server-side high availability in the Cisco Unified I/O environment
    Describe Converged Network Adapter used in FCoE topologies
    Configuring NIC teaming
  • Implement SAN management
    Describe Device Manager for element management
    Describe configuration management in Data Center Network Manager
    Describe connectivity and credentials required for DCNM-SAN
    Describe how to monitor and trend utilization with DCNM Dashboard

Cisco Data Center Virtualization

  • Implement Data Center Virtualization with Nexus1000v
    Describe the Cisco Nexus1000v and its role in a virtual server network environment
    Describe Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) on Nexus1000v
    Describe Virtual Supervisor Module (VSM)
    Describe the Cisco Nexus 1010 physical appliance and components
    Describe Port Profiles and use cases in Nexus1000v
    Describe QoS, Traffic Flow and IGMP Snooping in Nexus1000v
    Describe Network monitoring on Nexus1000v
    Explain the benefits of DHCP snooping in a VDI environment
    Describe how to intercept traffic using Vpath and its benefits
    Describe and implement Nexus1000v port channels
    Describe Virtual Service Domain
    Validate configurations and troubleshoot problems and failures using command line, show and debug commands

Cisco Unified Computing

  • Unified Computing System components and architecture
    Describe Cisco Unified Computing System components and architecture
    Describe the Cisco Unified Computing server deployment and implementation model
    Describe Cisco UCS Management features
    Describe Cisco UCS Connectivity from both LAN and SAN perspective
    Describe Cisco UCS High Availability
    Describe what the capability catalog is and how it is used
    Describe Cisco UCS C Series Integration
    Describe the functional differences between physical and virtual adaptors
  • Describe LAN connectivity in a Cisco Unified Computing environment
    Describe Fabric Interconnect for LAN connectivity
    Implement server and uplink ports
    Describe End Host Mode
    Implement Ethernet Switching Mode
    Implement VLANs and port channels
    Implement Pinning and PIN groups
    Describe Disjoint Layer 2 and design consideration
    Describe Quality of Service (QoS) options and configuration restrictions
    Design and verify scalable Cisco Unified computing systems
  • Describe Implement SAN connectivity in a Cisco Unified Computing environment
    Describe Fabric Interconnect for SAN connectivity
    Describe End Host Mode
    Implement NPIV
    Implement FC Switch mode
    Implement FC ports for SAN connectivity
    Implement Virtual HBA (vHBA)
    Implement VSANs
    Implement SAN port channels
    Describe and implement direct attach Storage connectivity options
    Describe and implement FC trunking and SAN pinning
  • Describe Cisco Unified Computing Server resources
    Describe Service Profiles in Cisco UCS including templates and contrast with cloning
    Describe Server Resource Pools
    Implement updating and initial templates
    Describe Boot From remote storage
    Detail best practices for creating pooled objects
    Explain how to use the Cisco UCS KVM with Vmedia and session management
    Describe local disk options and configuration protection
    Describe power control policies and their effects
  • Describe role-based Access Control Management Groups
    Understand Cisco UCS Management Hierarchy using ORG and RBAC
    Describe roles and privileges
    Implement integrated authentication
  • Cisco Unified Computing troubleshooting and maintenance
    Understand backup and restore procedures in a unified computing environment
    Manage high availability in a Cisco Unified Computing environment
    Describe monitoring and analysis of system events
    Implement External Management Protocols
    Analyze statistical information
    Understand Cisco Unified Computing components system upgrade procedure
    Describe how to manage BIOS settings
    Describe memory extension technology

Cisco Application Networking Services—ANS

  • Data center application high availability and load balancing
    Describe standard ACE features for load balancing
    Describe different Server Load Balancing Algorithm
    Describe health monitoring and use cases
    Describe Layer 7 load balancing
    Describe sticky connections
    Understand SSL offload in SLB environment
    Describe Protocol Optimization
    Describe Route Health Injection (RHI)
    Describe Server load balancing Virtual Context and HA
    Describe Server load balancing management options
  • Global load balancing
    Describe basic DNS resolution process
    Describe the benefits of the Cisco Global Load Balancing Solution
    Describe how the Cisco Global Load Balancing Solution integrate with local Cisco load balancers
    Implement a Cisco Global Load Balancing Solution into an existing network infrastructure

Lab Blueprint

Cisco Data Center Infrastructure – NXOS

  • Implement NXOS L2 functionality
    Implement VLANs and PVLANs
    Implement Spanning-Tree Protocols
    Implement Port-Channels
    Implement Unidirectional Link Detection (UDLD)
    Implement Fabric Extension via the Nexus family
  • Implement NXOS L3 functionality
    Implement Basic EIGRP in Data Center Environment
    Implement Basic OSPF in Data Center Environment
    Implement BFD for Dynamic Routing protocols
    Implement ECMP
    Implement FabricPath
  • Implement Basic NXOS Security Features
    Implement AAA Services
    Implement SNMPv3
    Configure IP ACLs, MAC ACLs and VLAN ACLs
    Configure Port Security
    Configure DHCP Snooping
    Configure Dynamic ARP Inspection
    Configure IP Source Guard
    Configure Cisco TrustSec
  • Implement NXOS High Availability Features
    Implement First-Hop Routing Protocols
    Implement Graceful Restart
    Implement nonstop forwarding
    Implement Port-channels
    Implement vPC and VPC+
    Implement Overlay Transport Protocol (OTV)
  • Implement NXOS Management
    Implement SPAN and ERSPAN
    Implement NetFlow
    Implement Smart Call Home
    Manage System Files
    Implement NTP, PTP
    Configure and Verify DCNM Functionality
  • NXOS Troubleshooting
    Utilize SPAN, ERSPAN and EthAnalyzer to troubleshoot a Cisco Nexus problem
    Utilize NetFlow to troubleshoot a Cisco Nexus problem
    Given an OTV problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given a VDC problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given a vPC problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given an Layer 2 problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given an Layer 3 problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given a multicast problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given a FabricPath problem, identify the problem and potential fix
    Given a Unified Fabric problem, identify the problem and potential fix

Cisco Storage Networking

  • Implement Fiber Channel Protocols Features
    Implement Port Channel, ISL and Trunking
    Implement VSANs
    Implement Basic and Enhanced Zoning
    Implement FC Domain Parameters
    Implement Fiber Channel Security Features
    Implement Proper Oversubscription in an FC environment
  • Implement IP Storage Based Solution
    Implement IP Features including high availability
    Implement iSCSI including advanced features
    Implement SAN Extension tuner
    Implement FCIP and Security Features
    Implement iSCSI security features
    Validate proper configuration of IP Storage based solutions
  • Implement NXOS Unified Fabric Features
    Implement basic FC in NXOS environment
    Implement Fiber channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
    Implement NPV and NPIV features
    Implement Unified Fabric Switch different modes of operation
    Implement QoS Features
    Implement FCoE NPV features
    Implement multihop FCoE
    Validate Configurations and Troubleshoot problems and failures using Command Line, show and debug commands.

Cisco Data Center Virtualization

  • Manage Data Center Virtualization with Nexus1000v
    Implement QoS, Traffic Flow and IGMP Snooping
    Implement Network monitoring on Nexus 1000v
    Implement n1kv portchannels
    Troubleshoot Nexus 1000V in a virtual environment
    Configure VLANs
    Configure PortProfiles
  • Implement Nexus1000v Security Features
    DHCP Snooping
    Dynamic ARP Inspection
    IP Source Guard
    Port Security
    Access Control Lists
    Private VLANs
    Configuring Private VLANs

Cisco Unified Computing

  • Implement LAN Connectivity in a Unified Computing Environment
    Configure different Port types
    Implement Ethernet end Host Mode
    Implement VLANs and Port Channels.
    Implement Pinning and PIN Groups
    Implement Disjoint Layer 2
  • Implement SAN Connectivity in a Unified Computing Environment
    Implement FC ports for SAN Connectivity
    Implement VSANs
    Implement FC Port Channels
    Implement FC Trunking and SAN pinning
  • Implement Unified Computing Server Resources
    Create and Implement Service Profiles
    Create and Implement Policies
    Create and Implement Server Resource Pools
    Implement Updating and Initial Templates
    Implement Boot From remote storage
    Implement Fabric Failover
  • Implement UCS Management tasks
    Implement Unified Computing Management Hierarchy using ORG and RBAC
    Configure RBAC Groups
    Configure Remote RBAC Configuration
    Configure Roles and Privileges
    Create and Configure Users
    Implement Backup and restore procedures in a unified computing environment
    Implement system wide policies
  • Unified Computing Troubleshooting and Maintenance
    Manage High Availability in a Unified Computing environment
    Configure Monitoring and analysis of system events
    Implement External Management Protocols
    Collect Statistical Information
    Firmware management
    Collect TAC specific information
    Implement Server recovery tasks

Cisco Application Networking Services – ANS

  • Implement Data Center application high availability and load balancing
    Implement standard ACE features for load balancing
    Configuring Server Load Balancing Algorithm
    Configure different SLB deployment modes
    Implement Health Monitoring
    Configure Sticky Connections
    Implement Server load balancing in HA mode

 

Happy studying!

1 Comment

  1. Thanks… for listing everything… its going to be a hot summer and great winter…

    Regards,

    PtrO

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