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Friday, August 13, 2010

Cisco 360 and INE SP comparison

I'm using Cisco 360 and the Service Provider package from INE.  They're covering different tracks so they are not directly comparable. I will share some thoughts of the two.

360

This is pure VoD in the sense that it's not a recorded class. They follow a script and it's very smooth. If something doesn't work as planned they have the ability to stop, go back and do over. If it's a recorded class you need to live with the Demo Ghost that inevitably slows things down.

There's a lot of written material available for those times when you get bored with VoDs. I like this a *lot*. If they published it in book form I'd buy it.

It also has excellent tips for the lab itself. How to structure your lab with a work sheet and such. Very good!

The material covers all protocols but other parts also helps you understand how to actually apply the knowledge in the lab itself. I guess this is a great thing if you don't have a lot of experience.

A few bad things. You need licenses to be able to view the materials. This is of course included in the 360 fee. You're limited to 2 computers and the VoD player doesn't work in OS X which is a problem for me. The pdf viewer works in OS X, though. However! When you open a workbook scenario in OS X you get the message "you are not allowed to view this file on Mac OS X". This is not acceptable! Cisco can not control what platform I'm using! I figured I could run the viewer of remote desktop to a Windows machine but alas, the software recognizes when you're trying to do this and tells you kindly to go away.

One of the instructors is rather aggravating. Annoying intonations and also a habit to repeat himself.. "so I will now do *insert a lot of things* and I will do that now so I will go ahead and do that right now". That gets a bit annoying after a few hours ;)

The SP materials from INE

This is a recorded class. This is noticable in the sense that by the end of the day the instructor is beginning to sound tired. Sometimes it loses tempo and you start to drift off. 360 has shorter segments and who knows how long breaks the instructors takes between recording.

There's no written material apart from EXCELLENT lab materials. You're simply expected to have more knowledge to begin with while the 360 materials can be used by a less experience person (I'd recommend at least CCNP for faster processing..).

The sessions can get a bit long. Expect at least an hour per session and it's a LOT of information. It's easier to stay focused if you attend the class than if you're watching the recorded materials (at least for me).

A very good thing is that there's a lot of real configurations as well as a lot of good tips regarding debug and such. Most of the configuration steps are supplemented with debug information which really helps you understand what actually happens when you do stuff. I like this a *lot* as it's something you need in your real life if you're actually working with it and not just polishing your framed diploma.

There's no license required for the viewer which means that you can run it on any computer with a browser. This is really good!


 Summary

 I like them both, they compliment each other nicely and in the long run I hope I will be able to finish both RS and SP before they update SP to include features that I don't have access to in my labs. Would be waste of time and money if I have to start over..

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