Thursday, August 20, 2009

The "Wake Up Call"

Tomorrow will be my 5th CCIE lab--2 for R&S and now 3 for SP. One of the interesting pieces that all 4 of my labs had in common was the "Wake up call".

I'm referring to something that comes up early in the lab, usually within the first 30 minutes of configuration, that just doesn't want to work. It typically seems to be something intentionally done by the proctor in the initial config, with a purpose to test those troubleshooting skills or make you doubt yourself early on in the lab.

Naturally, I can't get into the details of what the wake up call itself was, but I think how long it takes to find this single error has been a predictor of my success on the entire lab.

Lab 1 (R&S): My nerves were really going on this one. I was configuring the second or third task of IGP when something SIMPLE just wouldn't work. I began to doubt myself and wonder if I misunderstood the technology. Or did I screw up the switching config to break this? Finally, after an hour and a half of troubleshooting, I found the initial config problem. I couldn't believe it took me so long to find it.... Final score: 65%. That hour and a half probably cost me a passing score.

Lab 2 (R&S): Before I even started with the config, I reviewed all of the initial configs. I found a problem off the bat. And it could have been a NASTY one if I just started with configuration right away. Final score: PASS

Lab 3 (SP): I actually hit this one in MPLS--unfortunately I didn't realize it until VPN. That hurt! I spent over an hour (maybe 2!) troubleshooting a VPN problem because my MPLS config wasn't sound. I never had a chance on this lab. Final score: 45%.

Lab 4 (SP): I hit the problem right off the bat in the first few tasks. Within about 15 minutes I was able to workaround this issue, but to this day I still wonder if I did the correct fix. I ran into some funky vpn issues later on that I think may have been related to an incorrect fix early on. I also surprisingly lost some points in switching, while I was perfect in everything else leading up to vpn. I think I missed something in the beginning that killed my whole lab. Final score 65%.

Gameplan for lab 5: Review configs before I start, and trust my troubleshooting skills, not my config. In other words, use show and debug commands to check EVERYTHING. Are required adjacencies present? Do pings work? Is the LSP good? Take nothing for granted.


Steve Bowes said...

Sounds like a good plan mate - I've got my 2nd SP Attempt in November and I agree the that large amount of initial pre-config on the SP can be more of a curse than a blessing.

Best of luck.

amplebrain said...

All the best 2moro.
Hope to hear the GOOD news soon!

Aragoen Celtdra said...

I wish you the best tomorrow!

Vignesh said...


My heartly wishes and prayers for you.

All the very best.


Barry said...

Good luck tomorrow.