Archive for January, 2010
Every now and then Cisco update their exam tracks, and this time its the CCNP’s turn. Personally, I think the CCNP is hands down the most useful Cisco qualification to have if you work with WAN and LAN networks on a regular basis. The CCNA is too basic to be of much practical use, and the CCIE is great if you do networks full time but today people tend to expect you to know more than one area.
If you are unfamiliar with the CCNP, the previous track consisted of four exams which can be briefly summed up as follows: BSCI (routing), BCMSN (switching), ONT (QoS + wireless), and ISCW (everything else – VPNs, DSL, MPLS, security). The new track is three exams.
The changes are very interesting – I always saw the core of this track as being routing and switching and Cisco seem to be acknowledging that with the first two exams, ROUTE and SWITCH. If you delve a bit deeper into the actual exam topics you can see that they’ve actually cut a lot of the content which isn’t routing or switching out. ROUTE looks to be basically the BSCI exam, with a very small coverage of the VPN and DSL topics from ISCW. SWITCH is the BCMSN with a bit of security. The third exam is TSHOOT, which is aligning with new CCIE track by adding a dedicated troubleshooting element.
Personally I’m 50/50 about the changes. Cisco seem to be trying to make each track very specific with no overlaps (the current CCNP has some overlap with the CCVP, CCSP and CCIP), and while I can see why they would want to do this I think it will produce less rounded engineers at the end of it. If you do the current CCNP you come out of it knowing a lot about routing and switching, and enough about everything else that you can work out most issues after a little research. Its kind of the jack of all trades qualification, which you might expect based on the acronym. With the changes it is turning more into the CCR&SP. However I do like is the inclusion of the troubleshooting section since just setting equipment up in the first place is only the start of your job, you then have to go and support it.
Luckily I got my CCNP just last year so I’m not affected by the changes, but candidates who are halfway through theirs can either continue with the current track (until July), or substitute BSCI and BCMSN exams they have already completed for ones on the new track. More info on this here
We’ve just had a visit from some Microsoft guys who were going over their new offerings, and on paper it looks very impressive. They seem to be moving to fill in all the holes which previously required 3rd party applications, and it all integrates nicely with existing MS infrastructures.
One of the most interesting things is that they have finally come up with their own AV solution, which uses multiple existing engines plus one of their own. I’m also pretty happy that there is finally an IPS solution (built into TMG, which is roughly the replacement to ISA). They are also jumping on the ‘cloud’ bandwagon and providing outsourced Exchange spam filtering and mail archiving.
All this stuff is either out now or coming out pretty soon, so it will be interesting to see if it holds up to competition once it gets in the wild.
If you have ever had to install a PowerChute agent on a Linux machine, you have probably come across the problem that a Java based GUI is required to configure it.Many Linux servers don’t have a GUI and you may not want to have to worry about setting up Java. If this is the case, we can turn to apcupsd to help with our problem. The example commands here work on RHEL5, if you have a different distribution your files may be in different places. (continue reading…)