To kick off the new year, I will give you a review of the CCDE Practical Workbook by Orhan Ergun, CCIE #26567 and CCDE #2014:17.
Orhan is a friend and has provided the workbook to me for reviewing. I would like to make it clear that being a friend or providing a product for free does not give any leverage when I review a product. I always give my honest opinion when reviewing a product.
Orhan is a CCDE trainer running the website orhanergun.net and he writes and blogs a lot about network design. He has written a practical workbook to aid CCDE candidates in their studies for the CCDE practical.
As with any workbook for any exam, your expectations must be realistic before purchasing a product. You can only get as much out of a workbook as the effort you put into your studying. A workbook is not a complete solution that will be your only source of studying. You must do additional reading, and lots of it.
The CCDE practical workbook is divided into sections such as layer two, layer three, MPLS, BGP, multicast and so on. Each section starts with some introduction to each technology and describes pros and cons with different designs. It will explain scenarios with diagrams such as why choosing HSRP at the Internet edge may be more benificial than GLBP in some designs.
Orhan has a lot of experience in design and it shows in this workbook. He describes many situations which may not be known to the general reader such a BGP wedgie. A BGP wedgie is where a BGP policy may not have the desired effect depending on the timing of events.
The IGP section contains a lot of details on LSA types, what are the scalability concerns with OSPF and ISIS and what is the effect of having L2 only ISIS as opposed to a mix of L1 and L2. It also has a scenario describing the process of migrating from OSPF to ISIS.
Orhan has definitely put effort into creating scenarios in each section to describe different design concerns.
At the end of the book there is a full scenario which is created to simulate the experience of the CCDE practical where you have to answer questions and motivate your answers and where you receive information from the customer to aid you in your design choices. I really like this type of scenario and I hope future editions of the workbook will add more of these scenarios. I also really like that Orhan also motivates the answers in the answer guide and not just types out the correct answers without motivating them. This helps a lot in the learning process.
This book is still relatively new and I’m sure there will be content added in the future but my opinion will be based on the content as provided in this edition.
The book is very focused on L3 which is indeed the meat of the CCDE practical but I would still like to see some content added for security and load balancing type of designs. I would also like to see some more content on MPLS-TE and QoS in future editions.
I’m not sure if Orhan is using any reviewers (technical and editorial) yet but the book could be a bit more polished. The language and spelling should be more tightly reviewed to produce a top quality product.
The scenarios in the book is definitely the selling point of this book. With more technology content, better reviewing and more large scale scenarios, this book would be very helpful for the CCDE practical candidate.
Based on the current edition, I would give the book 3.5/5 and I’m giving it an extra 0.5 because the scenarios of the book. Based purely on the technical content, I would give it 3/5 as of today.
Orhan has a lot of other content at his site which is meant to complement the workbook but this review is based on the workbook solely. Orhan is off to a good start and this workbook may prove very helpful for CCDE candidates.