Finally passed CCIE R&S Lab #65257

Six years after my first attempt and four attempts later I finally passed the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab, it has been a very long journey and I am happy it’s over.

I have given up many times, I even went as far as setting up a CCIE Security Lab as that felt more relevant to my day to day consultative engagements.

However, I could not let go of the though “giving up”, “failure” thus back in June 2019 I decided to prepare for my 3rd attempt. Booked the lab for December 2019 and the sacrifice began, again….

No social life, waking up at 4am every morning without an alarm trying to balance study, work and family is never easy.

Unfortunately, I failed my third attempt in December 19 by what I felt was a very close margin. Convinced that another 30 minutes would have meant a pass. I went and booked my fourth and last attempt for second week of Feb 2020.

Thankfully I completed the lab with enough time to check everything twice and left the room early, on my way back home I kept checking the Cisco portal to see if the results are out.

This was obviously a big mistake, as I got locked out from my account for reaching the login limit for the day. So, there I was on the Eurostar heading back to London and at 8PM on the same day the email from Cisco arrives “Your CCIE lab score report is now available on the web, login to CCIE lab scheduler to view report” and I can’t login because I’m locked out.

Suffice to say that it was a very long night, around 5am the following day my account limit was removed and I got to see the long awaited CCIE number. (Cisco if you are reading this, update your CCIE lab scheduler to not apply the same limits imposed on searching for exams on viewing exam results)

There is a lot to say about this journey, I am happy this one is over and another one starts.

This would not have been possible without the tremendous support received from my family along the years, and most recently my employer #Cisilion for giving me the opportunity and supporting me on this journey. Thank you all!

I wish everyone the very best of luck and know that hard work always pays off!

CCIE Security v5 lab hardware

As promised, here is a follow-up on the lab hardware selection, I’ve decided to loosely follow the INE lab specification and acquired the following Cisco hardware:

Physical Devices

  • R1 2911-K9/SEC
  • R2 2911-K9/SEC
  • SW1 3750X-48P-S
  • SW2 3560X-24T-S
  • 2x ASAx 5515X
  • LWAP 3602
  • IP Phone A 7965G
  • IP Phone B 7965G

Virtual Devices

In addition to physical Cisco hardware, the following virtual Windows machines and Cisco security appliances are part of the SCv5 Rack,

  • (2) Cisco ACS (Access Control Server)
  • (2) Cisco ASAv (Adaptive Security Appliances virtualized)
  • (10) Cisco CSR (Cloud Services Router)
  • (2) Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine)
  • (2) Cisco ESA (Email Security Appliance)
  • (2) Cisco FMCv (Firepower Management Center virtualized)
  • (2) Cisco FTDv (Firepower Threat Defense virtualized)
  • (2) Cisco NGIPSv (Next Generation Intrusion Prevention System virtualized – aka Cisco Firepower)
  • (2) Cisco WSA (Web Security Appliance)
  • Test PC A (Windows 10 x64)
  • Test Server A (Windows 2012 Server)
  • Test PC B (Windows 10 x64)
  • Test Server B (Windows 2012 Server)
  • WiFi Test PC (Windows 10 x64)

To host all of the virtual machines needed for the lab I used a Dell Poweredge R720 Server with 2x E5-2650L v2 (10 Core/20 Threads) CPUs, 144GB RAM and 2TB NVMe for local storage.

For power management I went with a APC Switched PDU as this will allow me to remotely turn the lab on and off.

For console/terminal access I used an old Raritan KSX2-188.

Here is a quick rack layout of the equipment, actual picture to follow.


The lab is wired as per INE’s Wiring Diagram for simplicity, this may or may not change when I find more time to fiddle with the setup and decide on what training providers to follow.751497dabe5cb990edf1ba1748a01b6620f4a118