Threats of Tornados and Redistribution, Oh my: The final day of Narbik’s Training Class

Today started out a typical day in Narbik’s class – lots of labbing and mind-bending topologies, today’s subject being QoS. Until today, I have never sat through a lecture on or read a book about QoS that wasn’t just a slight step up from a root canal in terms of pain and frustration. However, today’s lab demos really helped clarify what various methods of QoS were really doing, and as a bonus, I didn’t feel an overwhelming desire to be anesthetized while listening to the explanation.  My loose grasp on previously confusing terms like single rate, two color policers versus dual rate, three color policers was significantly strengthened.

We then made an attempt to talk redistribution.  Now apparently Narbik has a history with redistribution, when he tried to talk about it in Poland, they ended up with a fresh coat of snow on the ground, and today Dallas nearly took a tornado for it. The warning sirens went off, literally, and we all got to trudge down to the first floor of the hotel and cram into a small space with a few hundred other guests. As Narbik himself said, “sh** happens when you do redistribution.” Hilarious and so true!  When we got back to class, we looked at about a half dozen scenarios where redistribution sent a perfectly good network into the crapper. Incredibly fascinating to see and start to really understand the vulnerabilities inherent in the processes.

Now a typical Narbik class would not have ended after that, stories of Thursday nights are legendary – the night usually ending about 4:30am or so I am told. Since, however, we missed our window for the last mock lab attempts while slumming around in the tornado shelter, we decided to finish the lectures for the entire week and class came to an early close at a mere 7pm. Fortunately all the students get an opportunity to make up the mock lab attempt on our own within the next couple of months, so it all works out.

I can honestly characterize this class as one of the best educational experiences I have had.  Much of this stems from the philosophy of learning espoused by Narbik himself and shows in the quality of his teaching and methods. His pronounced idea that he is creating and shaping better engineers, not just folks that can pass a test really resonates with me.  He talked about how engineers are like artists and that how we do our work is our signature. He went on to say how we should pride ourselves in the quality of our work even when no one is watching or grading it. I just couldn’t agree more.

On that note, I’d like to thank Eman Conde and CCIE Flyer one last time for giving me the opportunity to sit the class, couldn’t be more grateful for the experience!

Published 5/8/2014

Disclaimer: While Eman and CCIE Flyer were very generous to grant me a seat in this class and I am very grateful for it, my opinions are totally my own, as all redheads are far too stubborn to have it any other way.


Can I get a hardware upgrade please? Narbik’s CCIE training, Day 3

Pretty sure I need a vAmy upgrade on memory and disk space to make it through the end of this fabulously exhausting week.  It’s the third 12-14 hour day of class and I have resigned myself to seriously constrained sleeping and eating.  I have been smart enough to bring snacks for the afternoons and that definitely helps keep energy levels up, especially since dinner is a luxury this CCIE training class opts out of entirely.

We covered BGP and MPLS in-depth today and I really wish I had these lectures years ago when studying for the CCIP track. Narbik certainly has a gift for explaining the overall big picture without glossing over the intricacies of how things work.

I was encouraged when he presented one scenario and I immediately saw the impact and suggested a possible solution – the solution he was just about to present.  Always nice to be on the right track!

Today was also focused on developing a troubleshooting process – a methodology that could be worked over and over again and help keep me from stumbling around and getting lost on troubleshooting tickets.  Definitely want to work on some flow charts/lists/processes for this and commit them to memory.

Also learned some pretty cool tricks for troubleshooting BGP today, pretty sure I will be seeing AS numbers in my sleep. Which actually isn’t that unusual for me…

Narbik says tomorrow is our long day, this worries me and I think I’d better get some sleep…

Published 5/7/2014

Disclaimer: While Eman and CCIE Flyer were very generous to grant me a seat in this class and I am very grateful for it, my opinions are totally my own, as all redheads are far too stubborn to have it any other way.