I sat my second attempt at the CCIE security lab on Monday, March 5th, 2018. This time I got the pass. It was not without a bit of drama.
TL;DR: It’s a very tough exam, harder than you think, harder than you remember. Fight with everything you have until the proctor tells you to stop.
The longer version.
Had the usual anxiety thing in the days leading up to lab day. Did what I could to minimize it. Got ok sleep the night before. On Lab day I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I was in January.
Tshoot. I came out swinging and quickly solved most of the tickets. Then I had an issue with ISE that left me dead in the water for half an hour. left one ticket unsolved.
Diag was like last time, pretty easy, chance to take a breather and get ready for the main event.
Config started out well, was flying through the first few tasks. Had some annoying issues related to code and platform differences between my personal lab and the actual exam, don’t recall that happening the last attempt.
Then the trouble began.
ISE was acting up, so I attempted to restart it. Application shut down dirty with database errors and would not start. While all this was going on I was trying to work on other stuff and keep moving. Eventually the proctor got ISE running somehow, but the database corruption was an issue and ISE wasn’t adding endpoints to the database, which made several tasks impossible to complete. The lowest point was when he was sending people home, and I knew I didn’t have the points. When he said I could continue I put my head down and kept grinding.
I was just about out on my feet but I kept battling. When I was told I’d have to stop, I looked at my scorecard to add the points, and all the tasks that could be completed were. Scorecard said I had the points with a small cushion. Would the tasks verify though?
To my amazement I got the email about 3 hours later with the good news.
Much respect to the proctor who probably stayed at work late in order to let me make up the time lost by the ISE debacle. Those folks have a very tough job putting up with us.
Final thought: The CCIE lab is **always** so much harder than you remember it. You can’t simulate what it’s really like. Even after just 7 weeks gap I was going “what the hell!?!”.
Now I get to make things up to my wife and try to lose the 10 lbs of body fat I put on in the final push.