Should I Take CCIE DC or Data Center Online Course?

Got this question from a networking engineer who couldn’t decide whether to go for CCIE Data Center certification or attend my Building Next-Generation Data Center online course:

I am considering pursuing CCIE DC. I found your Next-Generation DC course very interesting. Now I am bit confused trying to decide whether to start with CCIE DC first and then do your course.

You might be in a similar position, so here’s what I told him.

As always it depends… this time on what your immediate goals are.

  • If you want to achieve another certification, or become fluent in configuring and troubleshooting Cisco’s data center devices go for CCIE DC.
  • If you want to understand how to design and build data center infrastructure in real-life multi-vendor environment my data center course might be a better option.

Like with any other CCIE track, you’ll learn tons of useful stuff while studying for CCIE DC, including technologies and fundamental principles that apply to every data center switching product (for example), but it will be (by necessity) Cisco-focused and influenced by their current product offering (= Nexus OS and Cisco ACI).

He also wondered whether there’s any overlap between the two:

Does the course Next-Generation DC cover Cisco switching and routing concepts?

The course does cover technologies like data center fabric architectures, leaf-and-spine fabric designs, storage integration… but (apart from hardware and software overview) does not include any Cisco-specific information that would be targeted at individuals trying to pass CCIE DC exam.

Also, keep in mind that any CCIE exam is a configure-and-troubleshoot exam, while our data center online course focuses more on architectures and designs.

Sounds interesting? All you have to do is to register for the next session starting on April 25th.


  1. My take - Next Gen DC. As Ivan wrote CCIE DC is config&trblsh oriented (and focused only on Cisco part). There's much more to next-gen DC than that (the whole "nine-yards" of automation in Nex-Gen DC, architecture design, multi-vendor aspects, ...).
    But hey ... I may be biased :)
  2. Take CCIE DC. By the way your reasoning is good one.
  3. As you mentioned its totally true CCIE is troubleshooting based
  4. I have done both! If you already have an advanced network engineering position, and are looking to expand your general architecture and best practices knowledge, do Ivan's course first, and then CCIE DC later. If you are however looking for best option for return-on-investment, and looking to get a promotion and or a better role at another organization, CCIE DC would be your best bet.

    You also gotta consider the amount of effort (hours) and costs involved in both options too. By the time you are done your CCIE DC, in between multiple attempts required, costs of exams, and flying out to exam centers, plus the costs of training material, you are looking at least $14,000-15,000 total costs, probably a little more. CCIE exams are also one of the toughest exams you can take - so count on spending at least 2000 (yes, two thousand!) hours of studying and practice if you want to have a serious shot at passing the exam. Having said all that, it's STILL VERY MUCH WORTHWHILE - because the return on investment is insane. You'll make that money back within a couple of months after starting a new role as a CCIE DC.

    Ivan's course is far easier, small fraction of the cost, and will require only a couple hundred worth of hours of effort.

    I wouldn't even say it's an apples to orange comparison - it's like apples to eggplant comparison ;)

    Both are very different, for different purposes, different outcomes and different return-on-investments. I'd highly recommend both.
Add comment