Neil Anderson is a fellow blogger and our readers know him for his Free How-To Guide To Build Your Own NetApp ONTAP 9 Lab. Today he contacted me about another project which he just finished, and it is also useful for a virtualization admins. This time he is focusing on networking, and especially on Cisco CCNA. He has created a Free PDF guide (350 pages) called Free Cisco CCNA Guide. The guide is free, you just need to give your e-mail to Neil… -:), but I'm sure you're in a good hands.
While I'm unsure if many folks are still up for passing Cisco CCNA certifications, for real life with IT and virtualization, you'll need this knowledge. The knowledge about networking is essential.
I remember a few years back learning my socks off about VLANs, trunking, and all that stuff. During this time I bought my first L3 switch for 199 Euros and played with all the VLAN goodness. It wasn't easy in the beginning, but I had a good teacher and finally managed to get through.
Neil has also a video course which will prepare you for passing Cisco CCNA exam, but the PDF guide alone is Free. Fair enough.
It uses free software GNS3 and Packet Tracer. For each lab Neil provides a link to a download of a lab startup file for each exercise. This file loads either GNS3 or Packet racer, so you can be up and running very fast. Note that you can also use your own physical lab as each exercise has a lab topology diagram.
Free guides are cool and need usually a lot of commitment from the author. It takes time to prepare the course, to write it down, chapter after chapter, and while it may not be the complete course about all networking features, it covers the essentials what a virtualization admin should know about networking.
Comprehensive lab exercises and solutions which cover everything on the latest 200-125 CCNA and 100-105 and 200-105 ICND exams. You can run all the labs completely for free on your laptop, no additional equipment is necessary. Full instructions and startup files are provided so you can immediately get into the hands on practice you need to pass the exam.
Let's have a look at some content. At the beginning of the guide, Neil explains how it works. In fact, he has a complete course online at UDEMY, which you can get for as low as $10 with a discount code which you'll find in the PDF. The video guide is 30 hours of video….
The PDF is basically only a collection of a lab exercise where each lab has its own answer key so you can see what's the right answers. Whether the lab guide is enough to do the labs without understanding the networking concepts, I'm not that sure.
Free Cisco CCNA Lab Guide – The Chapters:
- The IOS Operating System
- The Life of a Packet
- The Cisco Troubleshooting Methodology
- Cisco Router and Switch Basics
- Cisco Device Management
- Routing Fundamentals
- Dynamic Routing Protocols
- Connectivity Troubleshooting
- RIP Routing Information Protocol
- EIGRP Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol
- OSPF Open Shortest Path First
- VLANs and Inter-VLAN Routing
- DHCP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
- HSRP Hot Standby Router Protocol
- STP Spanning Tree Protocol
- Port Security
- ACL Access Control Lists
- NAT Network Address Translation
- IPv6 Addressing
- IPv6 Routing
- WAN Wide Area Networks
- BGP Border Gateway Protocol
- Cisco Device Security
- Network Device Management
Where to get it?
I can only highly recommend it to my readers and subscribers. I hope it will help many people who start with IT and virtualization, to get further in their career and their job. Usually folks working for SMBs or small shops, who need to wear two or free “hats” need to learn more because usually within those organizations there is only one IT guy who does it all. Virtualization, networking, security, and storage.
I've seen many small shops where part of the IT tasks was done by an accountant or the manager itself as those small shops simply cannot afford to have an IT person working full-time. So this is sometimes a real challenge.
The lab PDF guide itself is good for walking you through the labs. But learning the technology just with labs might not be enough so you'll need to understand what is OSPF, what is RIP, VLAN, or inter VLAN routing… So it's only logical to take the video course as well. If you're not into video courses, you can always seek online to learn the different network terminology and technologies. The internet is a waste resource.
More from ESX Virtualization:
- VyOS – Vyatta Open Source
- How-to enable PvSCSI and when
- Free Tools
- What Is VMware Identity Manager?
- VMware vSphere Essentials Kit Term