Training seems to be the theme of the moment in CCIE blog land. What with Cisco launching their own 360 degree training program and bloggers like Greg at Etherealmind talking about the value of certifications versus experience. Ivan at IOS Hints and Tips also did a great post on the different ways people get knowledge. I did get to try out one of NIL's CCNA labs when Ivan was looking for beta testers and I was very impressed. If my company ever decided to purchase some training courses for me they would definitely be one of the vendors I would check out.
On the training theme IPExpert have just released their latest newsletter which if you do not subscribe to you can read by clicking here. They have finally launched their CICE blog site and there is the usual list of special offers in the newsletter. There is also a report by the Tolly Group comparing Internetwork Expert versus IPExpert. I always wonder why companies still pay for these reports as I do not know anyone who takes them seriously.
I love lines like this "While this is a head-to-head review, the Tolly Group did not contact Internetwork Expert about it's product, because information utilized came directly from the company website." Lines like that just make me laugh. Anyway to save you all some time and because I needed a good laugh (studying is not going so well these days to many changes to be managed for work) I read the report so you did not have to. To summarise the report says both companies offer great training (which I can confirm since I use them both, however I have not passed my CCIE yet so there is obviously room for improvement :-) ) but that IPExpert is more cost effective.
To me there does not seem to be a great deal of difference in price between the two vendors, however there was one comment I do agree with. Namely the information on the rack rentals. It states that IPExpert tends to be more expensive for the rack rentals (which is why you should always buy their rack rentals when they have the double rack time special offers on) but that they tend to be easier to book. Where as Internetwork Expert rack time can be bought for less money, but trying to get a rack at short notice can be a bit of a problem. My personal experience does tie up with that view and I do prefer the fact that the IPExpert sessions are longer given that you normally lose up to half an hour just logging on to the rack and getting everything setup.
The other thing I did notice on the report that was a bit strange since it was about cost effectiveness was that it did not mention Dynamips. Probably because Internetwork Expert are the only ones with a Dynamips product :-). The cost savings of using only Dynamips are huge compared to renting rack time and it seems more and more people are passing using only Dynamips or at the very least using a lot less rack time because of it.
Finally the other thing to report on the training front is that Internetwork Expert are taking registrations for their Beta Assessment Lab which is designed to asses your knowledge of key topics and technologies. Apparently it will provide you with a study plan and recommend Internetwork Expert products to suit your needs. I have registered in the hope I get accepted and that it is ready to begin testing fairly soon.
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