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Re: CCIE Lab Price Increase posted 10/20/2007
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----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott Morris" <smorris@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "'nrf'" <noglikirf@xxxxxxxxxxx>; "'istong'" <istong@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: <ccielab@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <security@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <comserv@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2007 1:46 PM
Subject: RE: CCIE Lab Price Increase

It's called IOU. Or third party it's called Dynamips.

However, you can't emulate all the ASICs and other things in a switch.

But why would you need to? As I'm sure we know, the CCIE exam ain't that "switch-heavy".

I very strongly suspect that the switch functions that are on the exam can all be successfully emulated. Come on, like I said, you're not exactly loading the switch capacity very much on the exam. In fact, you're hardly loading the capacity at all.

what benefit would the virtualization have for Cisco? Increasing the number
of seats?

That's a pretty big benefit. After all, it gets to the fundamental question of why Cisco even runs the CCIE exam in the first place. Presumably it does so to provide a reliable credentialing signal to the market. But that reliable is compromised when some people who probably could pass the exam have to wait for months on end just to get a seat.

But there are more benefits than that. See below.

That's very shortsighted to believe that's where the shortfall is.

Cisco kinda owns their equipment already, so "purchasing" it internally is
not that big of a deal.  Space isn't that big of a deal.

But building a proper emulator is also not that big of a deal. In fact, arguably, it's less of a big of a deal than dealing with all of that hardware and that space. The simple labor of operating all that hardware and space is a big deal.

For example, right now, every time you roll out some new piece of hardware into the lab, you have to send out working gear to each lab. You have to have somebody test it and maintain it. You have to have spares available in case one of them conks out during somebody's test. All of that can be obviated by just making everything virtual. Overall, the capex and opex probably declines.

They have LOTS of

But that's endogenous. The reason why they have so many buildings is PRECISELY because they know that some of the space will need to be used for test space. If they had a virtual system, they wouldn't need so much space. It would also mean that they could continue to grow without having to acquire yet more real estate because they could repurpose that lab space.

It's people.  Proctors.  That's the shortfall.  That's the most
important part, and the hardest to fill.

Cisco is working on things right now (see discussion re: New Lab Locations)
to find other ways to remotely adminster exams. None of them have anything
to do with virtualization though. That would be silly to introduce more
points of confusion or errors into the standardized setup.

The number of available seats on any given day is not contrained by physical
space or equipment. It's contrained by a candidate to proctor ratio.


Uh, trust me, I AM thinking, thank you very much.

Even a proctor problem can be solved (or at least aided) by virtualization. Why not have all of the proctors available remotely? Why not connect them to users via, say, videoconferencing or web-conferencing. Why exactly do you need a PHYSICAL proctor right there? Like I said, I thought Cisco was supposed to be a networking company. If any company is supposed to know all about the benefits of teleworking and e-learning, it would be Cisco.

Think about it.