CCIE Certification in a Software-Defined and Vendor-agnostic WorldPaul Adam
You must be thinking, Ok here we go again! Seriously, when I look at the cumulative time and $ investment that we have all made into CCIE certification, I think that is a fair question to ask. There is hardly any doubt that anyone (including Cisco) can turn clock back on SDN, infrastructure disaggregation and the commoditization of networking hardware that is well underway at this point in time. In fact, Cisco is getting ready to jump with both feet as project Lindt gets ready for prime time (Juniper, Arista and Cumulus already there). I have said this before that SDN/NFV is a major technology shift that will take a decade if not more to before adoption really takes off, but it is easy to see which way the wind is blowing.
CCIE served us well over the last 20 years or so in guaranteeing six-figure income right out the gate in return for the effort we put into both passing the Written and Lab exams (in addition to bragging rights with family, friends, co-workers and employers). Cisco CCIE team has done a good job to evolve the program to keep pace with industry shifts including the recent addition of Evolving Technologies (ET) that includes SDN, Cloud and IoT. I’d also applaud their recent efforts in more aggressively updating exam blueprints (yearly vs every three years) piloting with SP track.
Having said that, current blueprint is obviously not enough to prepare anyone when rubber meets the road with these new technologies. To that, I humbly suggest that Cisco should step up their efforts in transforming existing blueprints as well as adding a new CCIE track focused on NGN (NextGen Networks). Cisco can drip feed contents from new NGN track into existing track over time to set the stage with revolution in evolution approach.
- CCIE NGN (NextGen Networks) Track: To boot, it can consist on SDN (ONOS/ODL) / NFV (ETSI framework components esp. NFVI) / OpenStack (with more focus on Neutron/KVM, Nova and Cinder) / DevOps tools such as puppet, chef and ansible (50%), Cloud such as VPC, IaaS etc. (25%), and finally IoT connectivity and authentication (25%). This track can become the proving ground for testing new technologies and open source software and tools.
- For existing tracks, ET should be applied to lab exams (not just written) with the goal where certification program evolves to be more focused on open source software (e.g. OpenStack) and automation (devops tools such as puppet/chef, ansible etc.) and away from proprietary hardware and CLIs (where not much changed between 1994 and 2014!).
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Please leave any comments or suggestions below on how CCIE program can evolve to keep pace with technology shifts and I will be replying to them over the next few days.