The Cisco IPS class I was talking about a few days ago just finished. It was kind of ok; there were good parts and not-so-good parts. One good thing was that I had the chance of doing labs directly on a Cisco IPS 4215 sensor, which I can’t really do at home.
So far, at almost all my other exams, I practiced at home on dynamips/dynagen and later on, when they released a stable version, on GNS3. For those who don’t know, dynamips is a free Cisco chassis emulator which can simulate a variety of platforms: 1700, 2600, 3600, 7200, etc as well as a wide range of modules (serial interfaces, ethernet, etc). In this emulator you can load a real IOS image downloaded from Cisco. So basically you run a real IOS with everything that is implied, basically virtual router. Inside the simulator you can run several such virtual routers, each running its own IOS, and you can easily create and test complex networks and topologies. GNS3 is the graphical interface for dynamips, free as well.
Coming back to IPS, GNS3 is not really helping here because it can’t emulate a sensor hardware platform. That means such a course really helps because you get some hands-on training. Which I am sure I will need at the exam.
But otherwise it was not really that extraordinary. The trainer seemed like a guy who really knew what he was talking about but in the end, even he just presented us the PowerPoint slides from the Study guides we all had in front of us. I admit that some of the comments he had to the slides were very good. The organization was not bad, the training center’s facilities were very good, there was free internet access but very slow (the wired on the rooms as well as the wireless in the lobby), food was so and so, hotel room was so and so. But overall it was worth it, I’d say. Now I have until the end of the year to study a bit more and to schedule my exam at a nearby authorized Pearson VUE test center.
I apologize to my readers who thought this post was just a mambo-jumbo of technical bullshit, I promise not to do this too often ;-)