Sunday, August 23, 2009

You've got to be kidding me...

I got my score report back about 2 hours ago. I totaled my score up 3 different times, because I couldn't believe my eyes.

76%

That's right, 76%

100% in 4 different sections, and not quite enough in the rest.

Not even any point in a reread, because I'd need them to give me 2 tasks, not just 1.

So it looks like I'll be back in November...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lab Recreates

Ok, I've officially verified that I missed 6 points this lab and 12 points on my last lab due to the same stupid mistake. Remove the command and I get the exact same failure. Add it back in, and everything works like a champ.

On top of that, I recreated another 3 points and sure enough one of my ideas did the trick. I actually went down that road but the "?" led me astray. Probably exactly why they have that question in the lab--it doesn't look possible unless you really trust what you're configuring.

So now I'm up to 9 points that I really should have got.

Regardless of the outcome, I'm feeling really good anyway. I KNOW this stuff and I can definitely pass this lab. The core knowledge is there, I just need to work my way through their "gotachas".

The Waiting Game

Had the lab again today. It was fair and about 50% of it was pretty simple. My progress was almost identical to last time. I had about 60% by lunch and just had to eek out another 20% to pass.

Yet again, as soon as I get back from lunch, I get stuck. I give it an hour and decide to give up the 6 points. I'm now at home researching and I think I found out why I got stuck. And it's ridiculously stupid. I'm pretty sure I needed those 6 points too. Ugh...

So my best possible score is 85%. This includes 3 points I nearly missed but got back during verification, and 3 points I completed with literally 2 minutes to spare.

Of the 15 points I know I missed:
6 points were pure stupidity...
3 points I had no idea how to do and didn't want to muck of my core by messing with it
3 points I looked up in the doccd, and it was such a mess I chose not to mess with it
3 points I knew wasn't a strong point of mine so I chose to spend more time on other issues

So really, I'm not too concerned about 9 of the points I left on the table. And if I got the other 6 points, I would have had more time to go after those 9.

So it's all basically going to come down to how solid my vpn setup is. I have my fingers crossed.

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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Still going...

Completed IPX vol 2 lab 3 and IPX vol 1 l2vpn and CSC labs.

At this point I'm getting real tired of labbing. As I run through these things over and over again, I rarely find anything new. For the most part it's just refreshing all of this information in my head.

The bottom line is that it's pretty much all in here. As long as I don't get caught on something stupid again on Friday, I should do just fine. I'm done with full labs at this point. I'm going to redo some of the vol 1 IPX labs and maybe some vol 1 INE labs tomorrow, but more than anything just try to not burn myself out before the real thing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

IPX Lab 2 complete

My lab is on Friday and my goal is to get through vpn and multicast sections on IPX labs 2-4.

I completed lab 2 today and didn't really run into too many issues. On to lab 3 tomorrow. I'm not going to be spending too much time on the writeups, you'll just have to take my word for it that I'm completing these :).