Friday, April 17, 2009

A long way to go...

I'm back. It's rather busy at work, but most of it is routine related and not worth posting about. But yesterday I started on the long road I have tried to get on for a while. I opened up my "iewb-vo-vol1" and booked a lab session at Graded Labs. The Labs were easy to access with SSLVPN, and it did not take long for me to get started. Even if I did have some initial issues, their support was quick to respond and I was back on track after 15 minutes.

The LABS I took was rather basic, but here are a few note about them:
- Voice VLAN
Pretty basic, but I have to practice on the 6500 commands. I am used to standard IOS, but the 6500 OS can take some time to get around.
Basic consepts in the lab: Create vlans, add vlans to ports, know when to use legacy trunk configuration and not. As I am a "server guy", battling IOS commands might prove most time consuming.

- MS Windows DHCP Server
Very easy if you have the bacground I have on servers. But be sure to understand what Cisco asks for in the requirements (Server options, std gw, and other actions).

- DHCP Server on IOS Router
Should be simple, but I never do this at work. But the same principals apply to this task: Pretty basic, but understand the requirements

- NTP on IOS Router
Again pretty basic. Understand how to set a master, create keys and timezones.
Also know the procedure to authenticate clients (keys are created on the server side, but it is on the clients you select what key to use).

- NTP on Windows server
I've done this so many times, I almost made a mistake, not reading the requirements. Bot there are not many surprises in this task. Be aware you might want to stop the NTP service when manually synchronizing the server.

- CCM Initialization & Autoregistration
This should be simple enough, but I met my first real problems here.
1. of all, this is where you should start reading ahead in the real lab. As some tasks you'll need to do later might be best done already here (to save time!!).
I first started out on this task, and had it working. But when I looked at the answer file, I had left out many configuration options (Not listed as requirements, but I guess is more related to "best practices" and preparing for next tasks). This includes renaming defaults to HQ related names.

My biggest issue was that none of the phones appeared in the CCM. I had to troubleshoot a bit before I eventually restarted the TFTP server, stopped both CallManager processes and then restarted them.

- All in all I am pretty pleased with what I accomplished at my first try. I have already discovered I have to work on speed, speed and speed (and then some IOS commands :).
- The biggest issue I had at the virtual labs was the console sessions constantly locking up on me, and I had to enter the controlpanel in order to clear/reset the lines before I could log back into the units.