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Cisco Continuous Learning: how do you monitor the progress?

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Cisco Continuous LearningRecently I wrote a blog post on Continuous Learning: what is it, why did Cisco introduce it and how does it work exactly? In this blog post I will expand on the monitoring of the progress.

  • How can you find out how many Cisco Continuous Learning points your organization has obtained until now?
  • Where can you find what activities generate points?
  • How can you see what has been done by which employee?

Cisco Continuous Learning: the dashboard

Cisco has built a dashboard that allows you to find all this information in a quick and easy way. This dashboard can be found in Partner Self Service under the tab ‘Program Management & Application’.

Cisco Continuous Learning: how many points did your organization obtain?

After opening the tab you will see the architecture specializations, the technology specializations and the other programs your organization is certified in. Behind those you will find the ‘Anniversary Date’: the date of expiration of an obtained certification. This date is important, because in the Cisco Continuous Learning program obtaining a certain amount of points is mandatory for every renewal after 31st October 2016.

When you click on a certain specialization you will be shown the details of that specialization. You will see the amount of points that is required to obtain the specialization ánd you will see the amount of points your organization has already obtained.

Cisco Continuous Learning: what activities provide points?

A bit below the required and obtained amounts of points you will find the option to click to the Cisco Continuous Learning Library. There you will find an overview of all activities and knowledge sessions with which you can obtain points, within that specific specialization, that will count for the Cisco Continuous Learning program.

At this moment it is not (yet) possible to click to SalesConnect to start the knowledge session immediately. Perhaps Cisco will implement this possibility in a later stage. For now the easiest way is to copy and paste the title of the knowledge session of your choice in the search box in SalesConnect. When you have found the right knowledge session you can start it by means of the ‘view’ button. The difference between ‘view’ and ‘download’ can be found in my previous blog post.

Cisco Continuous Learning: which employee has done what?

Below the tab ‘Program Management & Application’ in the menu you can find a Cisco Continuous Learning overview. When you click on this you will be shown the specializations again for which your organization is certified, with the required and obtained amounts of points. At the right side you will find the option ‘Continuous Learning Detailed Overview’. When you click on this an Excel file will be opened with an overview of all completed activities and knowledge sessions, including the name of the employee and the obtained amount of points per activity.

Other questions concerning Cisco Continuous Learning?

These are the answers to the questions that are most frequently asked of me. Do you have other questions? Please let me know. I will be glad to help!

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Citrix training in the new, modular set-up

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Citrix trainingThe Citrix training courses cover products in the area of Virtualization (XenApp, XenDesktop, XenServer), Networking (NetScaler, NetScaler Gateway) and Mobility (XenMobile).

A frequent complaint among trainees is that the courses take too long or don’t offer the exact subjects one is interested in. This is especially the case when it concerns updates or new technologies.

There is good news: Citrix has taken these critiques to heart and has launched a complete new set-up of training curriculum in 2016. The courses have gotten a set-up that is highly modular. The courses in the area of Networking are already available in the new set-up. In the area of Virtualization new modules are also already added; there will be more titles coming out later this year.

Because the courses were renewed anyway the additional labs are also refreshed straightaway, resulting in assignments that will fit the practice better. Furthermore the explanation is improved (video’s with commentary by experts are now part of the courses, among other things,) and the lab performance is highly improved.

Changes in Citrix courses for Networking

I mentioned it before: the courses have gotten a set-up that is highly modular? What does that mean exactly?

Nowadays the 5-day courses CNS-220 and CNS-222 consists of a 3-day ‘base training’ and a 2-day ‘specialism’. There are 2 specialisms available:

The specialisms can only be followed after the 3-day base training of CNS-220 or CNS-222 has been taken or if the participant has taken a NetScaler training (CNS-205, CNS-207, CNS-220 or CNS-222) in the past.

The advantage? Instead of 10 days of training with overlap in subjects the participant is finished in only 7 days with a very broad orientation. Furthermore it won’t be necessary to take the courses consecutively which will make the planning more flexible.

The set-up of a real follow-up training (Citrix NetScaler 11 Advanced Implementation (CNS-301)) will be maintained. Moreover, also this training will be provided with new labs and content.

Changes in Citrix courses for Virtualization

For the sales channel Citrix has launched the ‘Long Term Service Release’ (LTSR). Customers who are satisfied with what they have waive the continuous flow of new (and often unused) functionalities and rather choose a version that is guaranteed not to be extended during the next 5 years. Alle Citrix Virtualization courses are based on the LTSR. At this time that is XenApp/XenDesktop versie 7.6.

The current range of courses consists of a 5-day entry level management training for daily managing (Managing App and Desktop Solutions with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 (CXD-203)) followed by a 5-day deployment training for the deploying of an enterprise-wide environment (Deploying App and Desktop Solutions with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 (CXD-300)). There is also a 5-day FastTrack Deploy and Manage Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 Fast Track (CMB-300), that is a compilation of the CXD-203 and the CXD-300.

For more depth these courses can be extended with 2-day add-on modules:

The goal is to provide the Virtualization courses with the same set-up as the current Networking courses: less lengthy courses that offer more extra subjects that can be taken modular.

Changes in Citrix courses for Mobility

At this time nothing will change in these courses.

Tip: keep an eye on our blog

Citrix will keep on implementing changes in the coming period. As soon as more is known about the actual details of these changes we will inform you through this blog. Do you have any questions in the meantime? Let me know. I will be happy to help!

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Continuous Learning: new for Cisco partners

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Last year Cisco announced ‘Continuous Learning’ as a new component of the Cisco partner program. What is it? And more important: what does it actually mean for your organization and for you as employee?

Why Continuous Learning?

With Continuous Learning Cisco wants to achieve that partners keep on developing themselves all the time. The developments in the IT world succeed one another rapidly and partners will have to keep up with their knowledge constantly.

What is Continuous Learning?

But what is it exactly? Continuous Learning is a rating system wherein numerous knowledge-related activities (so-called knowledge sessions) are awarded with points. E-learning modules, video’s, instructor-led training or workshops for instance. Everything that is aimed at the broadening and deepening of the knowledge of the partners, for both the account managers and the engineers. The knowledge sessions are connected to one or more Architectural Specializations.

A partner collects points by letting its employees partake in the knowledge sessions. Those points are necessary for the partner to extend its specialization(s), the so-called ‘renewal’. Every specialization has a minimal amount of points that need to be collected in the 12 months previous to the renewal. The collected points will be set back to zero after the renewal.

How will Continuous Learning influence the existing Cisco partner program?

Continuous Learning is an addition to the existing Cisco partner program that stays the same in all other aspects. The conditions required of account managers, system engineers and field engineers for obtaining a Technology or Architecture Specialization and the conditions surrounding Hybrid IT will continue to exist. But on the other hand, the introduction of the no-retest strategy by Cisco will also ensure that the partners save time.

What does Continuous Learning have to do with the no-retest strategy?

Cisco accounced Continuous Learning at the same time as the no-retest strategy. The no-retest strategy entails that employees of Cisco partners will not need to retake exams that have not or hardly changed. (attention: this does not apply to career and specialists certifications!) Instead of retaking the same exam once more Continuous Learning will ensure that partners are able to obtain new knowledge. So yes, Continuous Learning is an addition to the existing Cisco partner program, but with the no-retest strategy on the other hand Cisco ensures that partners will save time and money.

Continuous Learning: how does it work exactly?

There are 5 Architecture Specializations within the Cisco partner program:

  • Collaboration
  • Enterprise Networks
  • Security
  • Data Center
  • Service Provider

Every architecture has focus areas. For instance: the architecture Security has the following focus areas:

  • Next Generation Firewall & IPS
  • Policy & Access
  • Web & Email Security
  • Advanced Threats

Within every focus area knowledge sessions are defined that will be awarded with 1, 5, 10 or 20 points, depending on the duration. All training courses (and accompanying focus areas and architectures) are located in SalesConnect, the successor of the Partner Education Connection (PEC).

In SalesConnect you can select and start (‘view’) or download (‘download’) a knowledge session. Attention: the start of a knowledge session will be registered in the system, but not the download. The download option is meant for attending sessions that prepare for an online assessment. After successfully taking the online assessment the points will be registered after all.

How many points will your organization need to collect in 1 year?

A partner that wants to obtain or renew an Architecture Specialization will need to collect 100 points per specialization. Technology Specializations require 80 points per specialization and Express Specializations require 40 points per specialization. This goes for every specialization that needs to be extended after October 31, 2016. However, as a transitional measure half of those points will suffice for renewals between October 31, 2016 and January 28, 2017.

SpecializationRequired points at renewalRequired points during the transitional period (October 31, 2016 till January 28, 2017)
Architecture Specialization10050
Technology Specialization8040
Express Specialization4020

What measures will your organization need to take now?

  1. Determine when your specializations will need to be renewed.
  2. Is this in the near future? (November 2016 till January 2017) In that case, draw up a plan at short notice that contains the relevant focus areas and which employees will be given a role, and determine how you will keep track of the progress.
  3. Is this in the long term? In that case the same measures apply, but you will have more time to conduct them.

My advice: don’t miscalculate the time demand. 1 point will readily equal 1 hour.

Soon I will write a blog post about progress monitoring, as it is available in Partner Self Service.

Do you have questions about Continuous Learning in the meantime? Let me know. I will be happy to advise you!


What does IT training have to do with your brand new Audi?

Friday, August 19th, 2016

IT trainingYes! After an extensive track with one of your customers you have closed a mega deal. You can implement a new solution that matches the business of the client perfectly and with it comes a sizeable revenue and an even better margin. Your job is finished.

Or isn’t it? Didn’t you forget something, perhaps?

Does your client know the ins and outs of the environment you sold him? Does he know how he can work best with that environment? Does he know how he can get the best return on investment?

Audi: always a training with the car of your dreams

Let’s make a short detour to Audi. Audi believes that someone who is going to drive a new Audi can only be truly satisfied when he knows the vehicle really well and is familiar with all the possibilities of that recently ordered dream car. And a satisfied customer is a returning customer. Audi understands that quite well. That is why everyone who buys an Audi will receive a training at the Audi dealer.

IT projects without IT training

Back to the IT market. At Fast Lane we often encounter partners, a Cisco partner for instance, who completely forget the component training while making a hardware sale. The result is that after a while an end customer will discover that there is a lack of knowledge within his organization. All this time the product hasn’t been used in the correct way and now the following problem arises: there is actually no budget whatsoever to attend IT training and to acquire that knowledge after all.

Consequently only half of a solution is chosen. The end customer sends its employees to a short training or an IT training that doesn’t meet the precise need. Or the end customer sends 1 or 2 of its employees to a training who are supposed to transfer the knowledge to the rest of the team afterwards. The result? A dissatisfied customer. Dissatisfied with the product (“Next time we will chose a product of another vendor”), dissatisfied with the service of the partner, or both.

How do you prevent this?

Quite simple: by making IT training part of the project. After all, the sum training is often only a fraction of the total budget. When IT training is planned after the project it will not be payed from the project budget, but from the educational budget. And the latter is often subject to cut backs.

Satisfied customers and extra margin, but no extra effort

As an account manager of a partner you don’t have to be an expert in IT training.

A fair share of my partners come to me with these kind of questions. The partner is leading and my advice in the area of trainings is non-binding. I will ensure there is an intake to map out the precise educational needs, an offer, a subscription, IT training, evaluations and feedback to the partner of end customer. Training as a Service. As a partner you thus extend your portfolio with an extra service that will cost you no additional effort. It will cost you no time and energy, but it will generate margin. And a satisfied customer. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

And of course, training is not your core business and of course the sale of IT training will not help you to meet your target. Consider the training an extra service to help your client best and to make him a returning costumer. That is your focus!

Do you want to know more about this process? Do you want to spar together to see how you can set this up in the best possible way? Do you want to find out how you can apply, for instance, Cisco Learning Credits or NetApp Training Units in a smart way? Don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to help!

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Changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

CCNAToday, 17th May, 2016, Cisco announces that they will be making changes in the CCNA Routing & Switching certification. What will change exactly? And what does it mean for you?

What will change within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification?

The courses and exams within the CCNA Routing & Switching certification will change from version 2.0 to version 3.0. This means an introduction of 3 courses and exams. The names and abbreviations of the courses stay the same, but the exam numbers change.

v2.0 courses and examsv3.0 courses and exams
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-101 ICND1Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 1 (ICND1)100-105 ICND1
Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-101 ICND2Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices Part 2 (ICND2)200-105 ICND2
CCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-120 CCNACCNA Bootcamp (CCNABC)200-125 CCNA

To certify for CCNA Routing & Switching you need to pass either the ICND1 and ICND2 exams ór the CCNA exam. More about the obtainment of the CCNA certification can be found in my blog post ‘CCNA: how to pass your certification

Why is the CCNA Routing & Switching certification changing?

Pim Leemans, Cisco instructor, says it as follows: “There are several reasons for Cisco to take a closer look at the CCNA courses. The most important reason is not of a technical nature: the way we learn has been changing a lot in the previous years. We see that on (primary) schools, where they expect more independence, and this trend is spreading to the business world. People want to acquire knowledge in their own time and on a location of their own choosing.

Cisco has incorporated this in the newest framework of the CCNA courses. Unlike before there will be less theory and more learning by ‘just doing it’. This is achieved by deployment of the ‘Discovery Labs’. Such labs are also being used at the CCNP courses. During the Discovery Labs part of the theory will be acquired by performing lab practices based upon scenarios from the course material.

When the technological and practical knowledge is acquired at the end of each module, the students are able to use those in the ‘Challenge Labs’. During these assignments the students will not be coached anymore, but expected to rely on previous acquired knowledge.

Because the assignments are performed at the Cisco Virtual Labs the students can also study the subjects in their own time áfter taking the course. Furthermore the dependencies are gone. You will never get ‘stuck’ anymore. So the purchase of hardware to prepare for an exam is ancient history!”

What will change specifically in the courses and exams? Which subjects will be added and which will be removed?

Pim: “Apart from the framework of the courses and the deployment of virtual labs Cisco has also adjusted the courses to new technologies of course. During the ICND1 course only RIP as routing protocol will be treated. Subjects on device management (upgrades, licenses and such) are removed from the ICND2 course and are now part of the ICND1 course.

The ICND2 course has changed the most. The emphasis on outdated technologies like Frame Relay has been replaced by Multi-Link PPP en PPPoE. The tougher subjects of EBGP and Quality of Service, RADIUS and Tacacs+ authentication will also be treated. Those are subjects that were previously part of the CCNP curriculum. So the stakes have been raised.”

When will the new courses and exams be available?

The new courses and exams have been made available today, on 17th May, 2016.

Until when can the ‘old’ exams be taken?

The exams 100-101 ICND1 and 200-120 CCNA can be taken until August 20, 2016, the exam 200-101 ICND2 can be taken until September 24, 2016.

Is there a problem if you take the ICND1 exam on v2.0 and the ICND2 exam on v3.0?

No. The old and the new exams can be combined. After successfully passing the old ICND1 exam and the new ICND2 exam you will obtain the CCNA Routing & Switching certification as usual.

What do you have to do if you are CCNA Routing & Switching certified at this moment?

In that case you don’t have to do anything. The CCNA Routing & Switching certification is valid for 3 years and will also stay valid for 3 years after the changes in the courses and exams.

Can’t find your question in this post?

Do you have another question you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help.


CCIE: what is it and how to become it?

Friday, April 29th, 2016

CCIE, in full: Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, is one of the showpieces of Cisco’s Career Certification Program. From time to time I am asked how the CCIE certification exactly works. In spite of the large quantity of information that can be found on the Cisco website a lot still seems unclear. Ample reason to write a blog post about it.

When you understand how the CCIE certification program works and know where you can find more information you are already halfway there.

CCIE: what is it?

CCIEThe certification CCIE is meant for senior engineers and belongs to the top of the certification program by Cisco. The image shows the structure of the certification program in the form of a pyramid. This is a well-known image.

There are CCIE certifications for several domains:

  • Routing & Switching
  • Data Center
  • Security
  • Collaboration
  • Service Provider
  • Wireless

Besides the CCIE certifications there are the CCDE and the CCAr Architect certifications. The CCDE certification is comparable to the CCIE certifications, but mainly in the design area. The CCAr Architect certification is one level up from the CCIE and CCDE certifications and is meant for architects who need to translate business strategies to solutions that support those strategies. I will not elaborate on the certification last mentioned in this blog post. You will find more information here.

But here comes the key question: how do you become a CCIE?

CCIE: 2 exams

To become a CCIE you need to pass 2 exams. Every CCIE certification has a so-called ‘written exam’ and a ‘lab exam’.

CCIE written exam

Like many other Cisco exams the written exam is an exam that will mainly asses the theoretical knowledge and that can be taken on a Pearson VUE exam location. The written exam is comparable to the CCNP level, but contains a broader domain. You can find the subjects that will be treated in an CCIE written exam on the Cisco Learning Network. The subjects in the CCIE Routing & Switching written exam, for instance.

CCIE lab exam

The lab exam is completely focused on the degree to which you are able to put the theory into practice. This is by far the most difficult exam and a stumbling block for many candidates. You are not able to pass the lab exam without years of practical experience. You can compare it to getting your driver’s license: you can pass the theoretical exam by studying hard, but for the practical exam you need to spend hours on the road during your driving lessons.

Dutch and Belgium CCIE candidates can take the lab exam on the Cisco location in Brussels. Entrance to the lab exam is only possible after approximately two weeks after you have passed the written exam. Keep a considerable waiting time in mind when you make the reservation. You can register for a CCIE lab exam at the Cisco Learning Network.

CCIE: how do you prepare optimally for the exams?

I can only answer this question by presenting the challenge again. To obtain the CCIE certification:

  • you need to possess profound knowledge of a broad technology segment.
  • you need to be able to practice this knowledge in a lab environment, where there will be no room for mistakes, long deliberation or consulting books due to the time constraints.

In preparation for the exams Cisco has developed an extensive self study package with courses, lab practices and the so-called graded labs that closely resemble the lab exam. The package offers all additional subjects for the CCNP exams in several study modules and can therefore also be used in preparation of the written exam.

CCIE: when are you ready to start with the preparation?

To obtain a CCIE certification you need a lot of practice experience. Only then you will be able to complete the lab exam in the available time. You can only obtain that experience by years of working with Cisco in various environments.

Are there specific advantages to having a CCIE certificate?

There are several advantages:

  • The CCIE certificate extends the validity of all underlying certificates, like CCNA, CCNP and CCDP.
  • In case of service calls CCIE holders will receive a preferential treatment in the TAC.
  • During Cisco Live CCIE holders will get a private lounge/working space with all facilities available. They will furthermore be invited for a CCIE lunch by the CEO of Cisco.
  • CCIE holders with a 10 year possession of their certificate can apply for the CCIE Emeritus status. This ‘sleeping’ status will exempt you from having to re-certificate every two years. Your CCIE status will no longer be active, but can be reactivated immediately by taking a written exam.
  • CCIE holders are important for the Gold partnership of a Cisco channel partner.

In conclusion: the most important recommendation and relevant links

Don’t take it lightly. A CCIE lab exam is a difficult exam that is frequently and repeatedly failed by candidates, even though they have prepared themselves thoroughly. Without approximately five years of practical experience in the center of your work area and the iron discipline to study after working hours and during the weekends you probably won’t make it.

Finally a number of relevant links:

Do you have any questions about the obtaining of a CCIE certification? Let me know. I will be glad to help you with them.

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Baseline measurement: what is it and how does it help an organization?

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Baseline measurement“We would like to identify where we stand as an organization at this time, Faysal. In terms of knowledge. So that we know what we need to work on to meet our targets. Can you help us with it?” I was recently asked this question by one our customers. We advised this organization to have a baseline measurement conducted. But what is it exactly and how does it help an organization?

Baseline measurement: what is it?

Firstly: you identify the current level of knowledge within an organization by looking at the level of knowledge of its employees. Together they make up the organization, after all.

The level of knowledge of IT staff members, because that was the essence of the question by this organization, can be estimated by looking at the obtained certificates, of course. The level of knowledge of a staff member who possesses basic certificates differs from the level of knowledge of a staff member who possesses expert certificates.

That’s right, ‘estimated’. Because there is a lot that certificates won’t show. Does the staff member still possess the knowledge he or she had during the taking of the exam(s), maybe two years past by now? And how about his or her other skills, the so-called soft skills?

A baseline measurement measures all these things. Gut feeling and ‘estimations’ make way for hard results. The measurement consists of generic and specialized questions that are answered digitally by the staff members, and of interviews taken with the staff members. During interviews with staff members we validate the outcome of the question list and we evaluate their level of knowledge, ambitions, soft skills and ability to develop.

Baseline measurement: how does it help an organization?

To achieve targets it is important to know first where you stand at this time. Actions can only be taken after that. You can compare it to an athlete: when Usain Bolt aimed to become the Olympic champion in the 100 meters sprint they looked at his status of that moment before a training schedule could be made.

Many organizations base their current status for a large part on a gut feeling. The consequence is that the actions that are taken are not always the right ones and thus that targets aren’t met. A baseline measurement shows clear results and is a means for achieving targets in a concrete and focused way. As an organization you know exactly what state you are in.

Important with a baseline measurement: communication

Imagine this: you work on a IT department and your supervisor asks you to fill in a question form that will evaluate your knowledge. Your first question will probably be: why do I need to do this? And your second and third: what will they do with the results? Will they have consequences for me and my employment? The result is unrest within the organization.

Try to avoid such a situation at all times.

Communication with the staff members concerning a baseline measurement is of the utmost importance. Staff members need to understand the significance of a baseline measurement, but more important: all kinds of fear need to be taken away. The results of a baseline measurement has, after all, no effects on the employment of the staff members.

Baseline measurement at Fast Lane

When we apply a baseline measurement at Fast Lane we work according to a roadmap. In this roadmap the division of roles and responsibilities will be addressed, but also the compilation of an extensive report and (possible) training plans.

Curious about the roadmap? Or about the added value for your organization? Let me know. I will be glad to help.

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CCNP Wireless certification: a list of Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

CCNP WirelessToday, on March 22, 2016, Cisco announces some changes in the CCNP Wireless certification. What will change exactly? And what does it mean for you?

In this blog post I will explain what you need to do to obtain the CCNP Wireless certification and what options are available to anyone who (almost) possesses the CCNP Wireless certification.

What will change in the CCNP Wireless certification?

The CCNP Wireless certification will still consist of 4 courses and 4 exams. The current courses and exams will however be substituted by completely new courses and exams.

Why will the CCNP Wireless certification be changed?

The use of wireless applications increases and therefore the importance of wireless technologies will increase too. Those technologies are also developing rapidly. This means growing pressure on the engineers responsible for the wireless networks within an organization.

The new CCNP Wireless certification responds to these developments. The certification is based on the software versions Cisco AireOS 8.x, Cisco IOS XE 3.6, Cisco Prime Infrastructure 2.2 and Cisco ISE Version Release 1.3, and thus completely up-to-date again.

The courses and exams will focus specifically on the design, implementation, security and troubleshooting of wireless networks. With the addition of a troubleshooting training and exam to the certification Cisco will follow the course it has taken with the other CCNP certifications.

Which courses and exams are part of the new CCNP Wireless certification?

The CCNP Wireless certification consists of the following courses and exams:

Designing Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WIDESIGN)300-360 WIDESIGN
Deploying Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WIDEPLOY)300-365 WIDEPLOY
Troubleshooting Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WITSHOOT)300-370 WITSHOOT
Securing Cisco Wireless Enterprise Networks (WISECURE)300-375 WISECURE

To obtain the CCNP Wireless certification all above mentioned exams need to be passed.

You follow the courses at a Cisco Learning Partner, like Fast Lane, and you take the exams at Cisco’s exam institute Pearson VUE.

In what order do you best follow the CCNP Wireless courses?

There is no special order in which to follow the courses.

When will the new courses and exams be available?

The new courses and exams will be available today, on March 22, 2016.

What prior knowledge is required for the CCNP Wireless certification?

To obtain the CCNP Wireless certification you need to pass the 4 exams ánd you require at least a valid CCENT certification and a valid CCNA Wireless certification.

You are preparing for obtaining the CCNP Wireless certification at this moment. What are your options?

You have 2 options:

1. You pass the exams 642-732 CUWSS, 642-742 IUWVN, 642-747 IUWMS and 642-737 IAUWS and obtain the CCNP Wireless certification this way. Please note: these exams can be taken until September 21, 2016.

2. You combine the CCNP Wireless exams you have already passed with the new CCNP Wireless exams. The ‘old’ exams provide exemption from the new exams.

CCNP Wireless

What do you need to do when you are already CCNP Wireless certified at this time?

You don’t have to do anything. The CCNP Wireless certification is valid for 3 years and will also stay valid for 3 years now the courses and exams have been changed.

Will the CCNA Wireless certification also change?

No, the CCNA Wireless certification will not change. This certification has already been changed in September 2015 with the introduction of the course Implementing Cisco Wireless Network Fundamentals (WIFUND) and the exam 200-355 WIFUND.

Can’t find your question in this post?

Do you have another question you can’t find in the above? Please let me know. I will be happy to help!

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Cisco Partner Summit 2016: what is important for your organization?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Cisco Partner Summit 2016


Two weeks ago I took part in the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego. And not just me: there were more than 2.200 participants in total, divided over 1.000 Cisco partners. What was it that brought so many partners to San Diego? What was the most important message Cisco had for its partners? And even more important: what do Dutch and BeLux partners need to do with it?

In this blog post I will offer a summary of the summit, aimed at the most important messages to the Cisco partners. The quotes mentioned are not the exact words, but my interpretation of them.

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Cisco Partner Summit: theme and subjects

The theme of this Cisco Partner Summit was ‘Powered by Partnership’. Wendy Bahr, Senior VP Global Partner Organization, indicated that partners are making the difference. 85% of the Cisco revenue is realized by partners. Besides partnerships another 5 subjects were central:

  • Digitalization
  • Security
  • Software
  • Innovation
  • The business determines the IT investments

What opportunities do these subjects offer to the partners?


To be able to survive organizations do not have any other choice than to join the digitalization. With ‘digitalization’ Cisco means, besides the possibilities of the Internet of Everything and Internet of Things, the analysis of these data and guidance of the organization based thereon. By connecting to the world through the internet organizations gain insight in the way the business needs to be steered. Organizations that don’t follow in this development lose their position on the market. In other words: the deployment of IT determines whether an organization will meet its targets.

Everywhere in the digitalized world data is being generated, resulting in decentralized datacenters. The intelligence to analyze data and to determine the right actions from this is guided by the business. The digitalization therefore leads to a different customer demand than today and the demand comes from the business managers instead of the IT department.


Security will become crucial. Chris Dedicoat, Cisco’s Executive Vice President, promised that Cisco will become the best security provider in the world. The network is the only spot that is right for an end-to-end integrated solution and thus Cisco is well positioned to become the most important provider. The announcement of the integration of Cisco’s ASA Firewall with the SourceFire technology is an important innovation towards integrated network security.


Cisco is fully committed to software. Kelly Kramer, Cisco’s Chief Finance Officer, indicated in her presentation that 28% of the Cisco revenue at this time involves software and that the increase of the software share and recurring business models are the main focus points. New products from the Cisco Capital will help the partners to support the transition from hardware sales in one deal to software in a subscription model.

The increasing significance of software represents a change for the required knowledge of a Cisco engineer. Software knowledge will become a crucial component in this.


During every Cisco Partner Summit Cisco announces important technological innovations. The most important announcements for this year are:

  • Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) for the Nexus7K.
  • HyperFlex: an on UCS based solution for storage, computing and networking.
  • Completely integrated solution based on SourceFire/Asa.
  • Digital Network Architecture (DNA): an architecture that offers data analysis, realizes simplicity in the roll-out based on automation, and delivers intrinsic security from the network.
  • Spark, a product that combines calling, meeting and messaging in 1 completely cloud-based platform. I predict big opportunities, especially combined with an open API and the possibility to integrate Spark with business applications.
  • The acquisition of CliQr, by which Cisco takes an important step in the automation and orchestration of applications in different clouds.

The business determines the IT investments

The most important message of Chuck Robbins, CEO, was clear: the business managers determine whether there will be investments in IT. This means that the account managers of the channel partners need to be able to speak with the client about the way IT will influence the business. It is all about adding value for the client: business outcomes.

Todd Hewlin, CEO of TCG Advisors and strategic advisor for Cisco, recommends a B4B model instead of a B2B model. Cisco and the Cisco partners should not sell to other organizations (B2B), they need to make sure that the solutions they are selling improve other organizations. So B4B instead of B2B. He explains this further in his ‘Gap-Bridge-Fish-model’. I will write a blog post that summarizes this model soon.


The current technological challenges are impossible without strong partnerships with channel partners and technology partners. Cisco gives a high priority to the profitability of the channel partners. On the other hand channel partners have to recognize that new chances are, at the same time, challenges.

All about the base

Chris Dedicoat reminded all attendants of the fact that the current installed base cannot be forgotten. With the help of the track ‘All About That Bass‘ that thought has inserted itself in everybody’s mind. And now hopefully in yours as well!

The future with Cisco

The Cisco Partner Summit gave direction to the future with Cisco. Like I said: the new chances are also challenges:

  • Network engineers need to build a solid software knowledge.
  • Account managers need to switch from product oriented sales to business outcomes.
  • The intermediary at the client will change towards the person who is responsible for the business.
  • Organizations need to develop different propositions that match the changed customer demand.

Next Cisco Partner Summit

The next Cisco Partner Summit will henceforth take place shortly after the worldwide sales meeting and thus early in the fiscal year of Cisco. The next summit is from 1 to 3 November. Will I meet you there?

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VCP: how do I obtain my certification?

Monday, March 14th, 2016

VCPSystem managers need to prove their possession of certain skills. Of all certifications the VMware certification has been among the most popular for years. The certification for Virtual Certified Professional (VCP) for Data Center Virtualization (DCV) is the most common. You obtain the current certification VCP-DCV for VMware vSphere 6.

The certification can be obtained in several ways, depending on your previous knowledge, previously passed exams and previous obtained certifications. It can be pretty difficult to decide which way is best for you. That is why I have summarized all options for the obtainment of the certification VCP6-DCV in this blog post.

A VMware training is mandatory

Before you can take part in an exam at all, you need to take part in an official VMware training. This is mandatory. Further on in this blog post I will address which training is right for you.

Period of validity VMware exams

A while ago VMware gave the certifications a period of validity: certifications are valid for a maximum of 2 years.

But if that is the case, do you have to retake the exam for the same component every 2 years?

Yes and no.

If you only work with, for instance, the VMware vSphere environment and you want to keep your certification VCP-DCV, you will indeed have to retake the exam every 2 years.

But if you pass your exam for another solution within those 2 years, VCP6 Desktop and Mobility for instance, you will renew your VCP-DCV for another 2 years automatically.

Situation 1: you have never taken an VMware training or an VMware exam

You always start with an official VMware training, because, as mentioned before, taking a training is mandatory.

You take one of the training courses mentioned below.




After following the training you take the Foundation exam (exam code 2V0-620). This is an online exam that you can take at home or at the office. So you are allowed to use your book and Google, as long as you answer the questions in the designated time. By passing the Foundation exam you show that you have mastered the basic knowledge of VMware vSphere, the foundation for all other VMware products.

After passing the Foundation exam you take the exam VCP6-DCV (exam code: 2V0-621) at a Pearson VUE exam location. When you have passed these exams you are certified for VCP6-DCV.


Situation 1

Situation 2: you have followed a vSphere 5.x training in the past, but have never obtained the certification VCP (not applicable when your VCP is expired)

You start with following the VMware training VMware vSphere 5.5 to 6: What’s New (VIWN). Consequently you take the online Foundation exam and after that the exam VCP6-DCV on a Pearson VUE exam location. When you have passed the exams you are certified for VCP6-DCV.


Situation 2

Situation 3: you possess a valid certification VCP5-DCV

You are not obligated to follow a training, but it is recommended to follow the training VMware vSphere 5.5 to 6: What’s New (VIWN). Consequently you take the delta exam VCP6-DCV (exam code: 2V0-621D) on a Pearson VUE exam location. When you have passed this exam you are certified for VCP6-DCV.


Situation 3

Situation 4: you possess the certification VCP of another VMware solution (VCP-CMA, VCP-DTM, VCP-NV)

Depending on your previous knowledge you can follow one of the training courses VMware vSphere 6: Install, Configure, Manage (VICM), VMware vSphere: Optimize and Scale (VOS) or VMware vSphere 6.0: Troubleshooting Workshop (VSTS). You take the exam VCP6-DCV on a Pearson VUE exam location. When you have passed this exam you are certified for VCP6-DCV.


Situation 4

Situation 5: you let your VCP, of any kind, expire

If you let your old certification expire, VMware certifications are after all valid for 2 years, you are in the same position as anyone to whom situation 1 applies. You follow a training, take the online Foundation exam and consequently the exam VCP6-DCV on an Pearson VUE exam location. When you have passed the exams you are certified for VCP6-DCV.


Situation 5

Exam preparation VCP

Some of the subjects that will be addressed during the exams will not be treated in the official VMware training courses. Do you want to prepare for the exams in the best possible way? In that case the exam training VMware vSphere 6.0: Exam Preparation Workshop (VMWAREPREP) might be just the thing you need.

How do you book your VMware exam?

Click here for booking the vSphere 6 Foundation exam (exam code: 2V0-620).

Click here for booking the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization exam (exam code: 2V0-621)

Click here for booking the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Delta exam (exam code: 2V0-621D)

Click on the button ‘Register Now’, log in and book your exam.

Good luck!

Good luck with obtaining the VCP certification! Do you still have questions after reading my blog post? Please feel free to contact me or one of my colleagues. We will be happy to help you!

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