Who said re-reads are useless?

As a follow up to my last post here on my CCIE lab failure… or so I thought.

Those of you who have read through the post will remember that I couldn’t really see where I had gone wrong, if you would have put me in the same exam again I would end up doing the exact same thing again and this kind of bummed me out and made me doubt myself!

When I got my score report and saw that I scored a 43% on Layer2 I thought something fishy was going on, I was adamant that I had done well (if not 100%) on that section and couldnt remember any questions that were over ambiguous.

On the back of this I decided to take the re-read option but tell nobody apart from family that I was doing it, this was to save the feeling of failing twice should the report come back with no changes.

A little under 2 weeks later my score report disappeared, where it had previously said “FAIL” it now simply said “-” which was the same as when you havent received any results at all. This was different to my second attempt where I also got a re-read but that time I just got an email saying no change and that was the end of it.

So queue a weekend of refreshing relentlessly on the site to see anything change, it was like doing the exam all over again, I looked online and found a couple of people where the same thing happened and their results went to a PASS, this really got my hear beating!

Roll on Monday and still nothing, by this point I start feeling like its going to be negative, but it was still at the back of my mind and I kept refreshing every hour or so.

I woke up this morning to an email from certification support….

I couldn’t believe it! I jumped out of bed and logged onto the CCIE portal and there it was #38338 staring me in the face!

I still can’t really believe it now, its still sinking in!

EIGRP for everyone… well, almost

If you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks you will have no doubt missed that Cisco have made the decision to make EIGRP an open* standard.

They have released an informational RFC (here) on the core workings of the protocol which means that in theory if any other manufacturers wanted they would be able to implement EIGRP into their own NOS (network operating system).

The reason for the Asterisk in the previous statement is due to the fact that whilst on the surface it may look like Cisco have drawn back the secrecy shroud from the previously exclusive protocol they have in-fact only revealed the workings of the basics.

What this means is that Cisco have decided to keep some of the EIGRP special use cases a secret; these include things such as stub networks and DMVPN.

So when can we expect other manufacturers to pick up and start supporting EIGRP? I shouldn’t think it will be anytime soon but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Why would other people want to use EIGRP I hear you say? Think of it this way, at the moment in open standards we have RIP, OSPF and BGP (yes, IS-IS as well) which means there is a gap that EIGRP fills pretty well.

EIGRP is less complicated than OSPF to set up and scales far better with large topologies (in its default setup anyway) and yet offers far more granularity and control than RIP.

In my day-to-day I can say that the only times I have ever had to come into contact with EIGRP is on the CE’s peering with the customer but even then it is extremely rare, perhaps this will all change, I guess we will just have to wait and find out…

Moving on

Well since getting the result of my 3rd lab attempt (FAIL for those that haven’t already seen) I’ve spent the rest of the week getting on with my normal day-to-day but also considering where did I go wrong?

On both my first and second attempt I felt OK but I had known there were weak points that I could lose out on; the first attempt I ran out of time and didn’t check any task through and on the second I had to skip one of the big TS tickets, although these did not guarantee a failure it put me well on the way.

This time I felt good, definitely better than the other attempts and to the best of my knowledge I had answered all the tasks while doing exactly as they asked and without breaking any guidelines.

When I got the score report and I found one of the lowest scoring areas was in Layer 2 I was gobsmacked, perhaps more so than the fail itself, L2 was something that if you had asked me I would have said I was 100% confident on passing no problem.

I’m not letting the failure stop me as I have come too far and am too close to turn back now but I just need to step back and recoup before I head into the battlefield again.

On a side note I’ve changed the theme on the site and I’ve done some initial testing and everything looks OK I can never test everything so if you have any issues please let me know.

P.S. Thanks to all the messages I got after my last post, as always it really helps to not feel like banging your head against a wall in times like that.

Third time not so lucky…

I’ve been quiet on here since my last attempt but yesterday I once again made the trip to the Lab in Brussels…. and once again have come back empty handed.

Unlike my first two attempts I felt secure with this attempt, my troubleshooting went well and all tickets were completed and the configuration was sailed through with more than enough time to triple check everything and even reboot all the kit and check it again.

Someone said before that you never really fail until you give up but this time feels like a failure, where as before I have come away saying “I did ok but….” there was no such thing this time, if I were to do the same exam today I would do exactly the same.

I need to sit down and work out how I can improve on the results and tighten the areas where according to the score report I am weak as I felt that these areas were among my strengths not my weaknesses.

Perhaps more downtime is needed to study, perhaps I need to start again from the bottom up I don’t know….