So I’ve decided to work on my CCIE (again!)

Posted On Nov-04
Being that this is the year of SDN, and very few people can refrain from tossing in some kind of SDN related acronym at every meeting, I decided to take a break from the SDN chit-chat and delve into pure networking for a bit (if thats even possible.)
Perhaps I’ll go for a certification, or two.

So then the obvious question becomes – CCIE or JNCIE? Perhaps I’ll go for both. I’ve always set my aspirations pretty high. And if Arista comes up with a certification, you bet I’ll be there as well.

But CCIE has become Cisco centric…

But that got me thinking – Lots of things have changed in the way that CISCO’s syllabus is laid out. CCIE has started to become very cisco-centric – something I’m not very happy about. Now, before yet another architect waves EIGRP in my face, and starts elaborating on how Cisco is also working towards standards, let me make one thing clear – there are very few enterprise networks that risk running their core homogeneously, using just a single vendor’s hardware. And in such multi-vendor networks, EIGRP is not the preferred choice. Come back with OSPF and BGP, and we’ll have a chat.

… and SDN is still taking baby steps (still!)…

On top of this, the SDN marketplace is still very premature. We’ve been talking, and talking and talking, and getting in several RFCs, but thats
about where we are. There is a lot of work to be done in this area. And for the next couple of years, I dont see any threat to CCIE from SDN.
Heck, I’d venture to say that with Cisco’s offerings in the SDN space, its only a matter of time before SDN gets covered broadly in CCIE.

… Commodity hardware , it is!

Another thing that came to mind, is how in a conversation last week with another industry veteran, I repeatedly heard how most companies are developing an aversion towards Cisco centric networks. Understandable. Given a choice, I’d setup networks with commodity hardware – (cumulus, anyone?). I’d offload more intelligence to software, and consider my network devices as just white-boxes, that I can toss out and replace , and avoid paying that hefty maintenance on. But I digress.

So we have CCIE with its Cisco centric syllabus, coupled with the Networking industry that is gravitating towards SDN, and one can clearly see how Cisco certifications have lost their charm. At this point, the case for CCIE starts getting more subjective.

In my opinion, as of now, there is still a lot of interesting coverage in CCIE. The lab piece is great, and totally fun. The theory is broad, sometimes very deep, and annoying. But it gets the essentials across. And it builds perseverance. So I’m set on going for the CCIE and the JNCIE. Not necessarily in that order, perhaps. 🙂