Dynamips, Building a lab, New Certs, and What Ya’ll Want in 2010

A Brief Look Forward to this Blog for 2010

Taking 16 days off for Christmas was wonderful. I occasionally did one of the items on the infinite length honey-do list (I marked off 20 items - but the list is longer still - how?). I played, ate, cleaned the house before the next visitors, ate more, visited, ate - the usual - but there was a lot of time to kick back. One of my first tasks this year was to plan out some of the known topics for this blog for the coming months and year. Today I'm going to tell you a few directions I'll head this year, including an update on my Dynamips progress, and ask you for input.

First goal: Give away more stuff. This month, Network World will give away 10 copies of the (relatively) new CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide, 4th Edition book (written by Rus Healy, Denise Donohue, and me). I get a few dozen free copies when a new book comes out, and I don't have enough relatives and friends who want another book that they'll never read. (Not having any IT folks in the family makes for shorter answers to the usual "what's up at work" question at the holidays!) So, I'm going to try and give away more books this year. I've got at least one other stack in the basement that I know I'll do sometime soon, and probably a few more new ones that I can't talk about yet during the year. My wife thanks you for helping me clean out the basement! Contest details are here.

The Dynamips Journey. (For those of you who haven't already, you might want to look at my December 09 posts about what I'm up to with Dynamips for this entry to make sense.) The next step with DM is to get it working with 12 concurrent routers running on some computer. Step 1A, at the urging of some of ya'll, is to try to load it up on my Mac (Mac OS X, 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard), Intel Core 2 Duo @ 3.06 Ghz, 8Gig DDR3), rather than buying new hardware. If the Mac won't handle the load, Step 1B is to buy new hardware based on the info we together gathered last month in this blog space. If I go that route, I'll likely overbuy the hardware, or maybe get the Dell T110 that we discussed so much.

I hope to have made some progress by next blog post, but that'll likely be about how I intend to stress that DM installation on my Mac. I'm thinking a 4 router MPLS cloud (2 P's, 2 PE's), 4 CE's, 4 internal OSPF routers, lots of Type 1 and 2 LSAs, and then do a lot of shut/no shut on interfaces to drive SPF calculations and force BGP to withdraw/advertise the routes over and over. You DM folks - suggest away on this, it's my next blog post most likely.

I'll do a winter review of CCNA and CCNP lab builds, just like last year. However, I've discovered that writing about used lab gear in a blog works in some ways, but in other ways the blog format is problematic for finding reference info about the labs. I'm already working on getting the reference stuff organized, on a web site - eg, one page on the 2500 series, one on the 2600 non-XM, etc. This year in the blog, once I finish the reference info, I'll write about the prices, which combinations of gear make sense for certain certs, and so on - the usual types of discussions we have had in the past with the labs. Hopefully it'll be easier to reference the core data about IOS images, feature sets, routers, supported IOS versions, and so on.

Finally, a plea to you, particularly for you long time readers: what other things do you want to see here? Is it time to take a CCNA/CCNP/CCIE topic and dive into some sample questions again? Or to look to other certs related to Cisco's certs? More DM, and/or more on lab gear? More on prep strategies, and on study plans? Please list away, and thanks for the input!

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