Living the dream

Two things that really pushed me or inspired me to go corporate when I was teaching: Firstly, when one of my students asked “With the cert that you have why are you teaching here at TAFE…” and when one of my teachers said for young guys like you tutoring/teaching in TAFE should just serve as a jumping board to bigger things. Gain experience and then just go back to teaching. He was most definitely right. Got myself out there and finally landed into something amazing.

I’ve always dreamed of getting my CCIE number but find no reason to get one. There’s really no point of getting it if I am not working with routers/switches in the enterprise level. This week I’ve started working for a service provider down the Gold Coast as part of their NOC team. I guess I’m still in the hibernate stage for the next few weeks since I will be introduced to all their technologies and products. This week I’m shadowing the senior level 1/2 tech engineer, next week I will be shadowing the service design manager and will be shading the level 2 engineer who I will be replacing in a couple of weeks/months.

It’s amazing being surrounded by people who are so passionate about what they do. These guys who are way younger than I am and knows so much more of the network are amazing. They don’t have their CCNA, well there are about to get theirs but I realized my CCNP is nothing compared to what they know. They showed me the data center, the equipment. I feel like a kid in Toys R Us. It was amazing.

Feels like CCNA all over again

I believe I used the same title of a blog I wrote two years ago when I started my CCNP exam prep. It does feel like CCNA in a sense there’s just so much stuff to cover but I don’t know where to start. I am pretty sure I still know my basics, its just that going through the CCIEv5 blueprint is daunting. My description is, its like preparing for the 3 exam of CCNP plus so much more into a single exam.

Rene Molenar of GNS3vault was right when he said, there’s a huge gap between the CCNP and the CCIE. It’s not like between CCNP and CCNA where little by little some of the topics are being brought down the CCNA level. It just so happens that I did a couple of advance CCIE reading during my CCNP studies so in a way I am a bit familiar with some topics.

I am still undecided if I should sign up for INE this early on my studies. Firstly, they are expensive. I just signed up for an annual subscription with CBTnuggets because I thought I was going to get my MCSA and ITIL this year. 2nd, I’m thinking of passing the written exam first then get into INE or IPExpert.

As much as possible I wanna invest on the best training materials and equipment so there’s really no excuse for me not to pass the exam. I am even thinking of setting up another server to run either VIRL or CSR1000v, then again I would probably do that after the written exam.

On a lighter note, new work is starting next week. All the way to the Gold Coast, an hours drive away from me. So I don’t know how that will affect my studies.

Road to CCIE R&S

Yes you are reading this right. I am about to embark on my CCIE R&S journey. The dream job of working for a service provider happened, It was really an awkward moment leaving my current job as an IT Officer after only 3 weeks. I had to do what has to be done. I told myself that the only reason I can start on my IE is if I can be surrounded by Cisco routers and switches (aside from home) and with network engineers to mentor me.

I’ve started researching on CCIE v5, like what are the hardware/software recommendations and study materials. From the looks of it, I really need to get myself some proper gear. My 1800, 2900, 3700s routers and switches running IOS 12 won’t cut it anymore. Going through the exam blueprint, there’s a huge gap between the CCNP and the CCIE in terms of exam topics. I have acquired the official CCIE guide by Narbik volume 1 and probably start reading on that ASAP. I will also be going through all my CCNP materials as a refresher minus the removed topics.

I am excited to be honest. What motivates me to get CCIE? It is not really the potential pay rise but learning more. That feeling of pushing your limits and getting to understand all these technologies.

Tentatively I intend to take the written exam either mid or late this year. Depending on how work and family time goes this year. Road to CCIE v5 begins…

PS: Unfortunately, MCSA will not be a priority this year. Brocade will still be on the radar as the new company I will be working with has some serious Brocade gear…

Configuring cisco with NTP server and correct timestamps

As I was setting up the cisco switches at work with SNMP and syslog traps to send messages to my PRTG server, I realized a couple of anomalies with the network. There were a couple of flapping ports and upon further investigation figured some of them are just failing cable connections. However, I still can’t figure out the reason behind the others.

At first I noticed that the clock on the switches were set back at 1993, that did not help me at all. So what I did was configured the DNS server on the router and set up ntp.

config t
ip name-server
! Yes this is not the actual dns ip address of our domain server:)
ntp server
ntp server
clock timezone AEST 10
do wr

That set the clock of our cisco switches to the correct clock. I cleared the logging buffer by typing

clear logging

Then after a few minutes issued the show logging command, yes the date was all good but the time was still wacked out. The date is synced however the time is like 10 hours delayed or something.

After further research I was missing out one command that did the trick: Under global config…

service timestamps log datetime localtime

viola! time is synced!

Running Windows Server 2012r2 w/ Hyper-V on VMplayer…

Have you seen the movie Inception? There was a part there where they were doing a dream within a dream, which is typically what I wanted to achieve with my nested virtualized lab. I am running MS Windows Server 2012r2 as a virtual machine on vmplayer, however I wanted to play around with hyper-v. Considering that my server is already virtualized and installing hyper-v would give me the following error message…hyper0

I’ve googled around and most of the work around involved typing a couple of powershell commands to make it happen. I just can’t be bothered typing a number of scripts, don’t get me wrong, I love powershell but I know there’s gotta be a way simpler way around this. The best solution I’ve come up with success is what I will be sharing with you in this post:)

What do you need? Definitely you need a PC capable and powerful enough to run nested VMs, installed with VMPlayer and a copy of Windows Server 2012r2 iso.

  1. Once you get vmplayer running, click Create a New Virtual Machine, choose “I will install the operating system later” radio button, and click Next >
  2. Now the next step is really crucial, on the “Select a Guest Operating System” page, tick “Microsoft Windows” radio button and under the version drop down menu, choose “Hyper-V (unsupported)”. (Again I can not stress out how important this step is) Click the Next > button for the next couple of pages until you reach the “Ready to Create Virtual Machine” page .
  3. Click the “Customize Hardware…” button and device list, click on processors, under the “Virtualization engine” section, make sure you tick “Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI” and the “Virtualize CPU performance counters” check boxes.
  4. Click “New CD/DVD (SATA), and on the Connection section, tick the “Use ISO image file:” radio button and browse the location of your Windows Server 2012r2 iso file.
  5. It is now up to you if you want to add more Network Adapter and other settings you may want to set up for your lab.

And your done! Fire up the VM and go through your typical installation of your server and once everything is up and running you can install the hyper-v role and features. happy days…

* Btw, assuming you have installed Server 12r2 and installed hyper-v, please do not forget to restart your server for changes to effect.