Author Archives: certskills

SDN Appears in Cisco Career Certs: The New CCNA (and CCNP) Cloud

Most of us probably don’t sit around meticulously reading the exam topics of vendor certification exams. But if you did, you might have noticed the announcement of a few new career certifications from Cisco this week. And if you look closely at one of the exam blueprints, for the first of two exams related to the CCNA Cloud certification, you’d see a bit of a milestone:

  • The first Cisco career cert exam blueprints that mention ACI
  • The first Cisco career cert exam blueprints that mention SDN

In today’s post, I’ll outline the key facts about the new certs, and look more closely at the exam blueprint for one of the exams. And the most interesting exam topic, given that it’s the first Cisco career cert exam with SDN in it?

“Describe how ACI solves the problem not addressed by SDN”.

Read on!

Quick Overview

Cisco refers to their CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE certifications as career certifications. The CCNA Cloud and CCNA Industrial certifications push the total number of current Cisco CCNA certifications up to 11.

As for an SDN angle – this blog is called SDNSkills, after all - the cloud certs happen to be Cisco’s first career certifications (best Continue reading

NFV Terminology and Architecture from ETSI

Well, if you thought SDN introduced a lot of terminology, you’ll love NFV! The good news is that ETSI, which defines NFV, does a great job documenting NFV, with extensive term and acronym lists to support other documents about the details of NFV architecture. Several of the ETSI NFV docs provide some great stepping-stones for understanding the basic concepts and terminology, which is where we’ll go in this post.

This is the last in a related series! The other posts:

A Brief Big Picture of NFV

One of the challenges with this blog is figuring out how much prior knowledge to assume. If you don’t know much at all about NFV, read this section for a quick intro. Otherwise, skip to the next heading.


Think of every networking device used in the IT world. Those include routers, switches, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, load balancers, and so on. Traditionally, those devices have indeed been devices – purpose built hardware, running some OS that performed the networking function.

While you’re thinking of the old way to network, Continue reading

SDN Terminology from RFCs?

80% of your job in networking is getting you and your co-worker to agree to what the terms mean.

That paraphrase comes from one of my three networking profs in college, from literally 30 years ago. But that statement is still true today. Getting to a shared understanding of what we mean helps in any conversation about networking, and failing to truly understand the terminology can cause problems.

SDN promises many things, but it certainly has a big impact on networking terminology. SDN introduces many new terms, but it also redefines some terms and reemphasizes the underlying concepts behind other long-used terms.

And then there are no terminology police to run around and make us all use terms the same way. It’s enough to drive you crazy!

Today’s post (and possibly a few more) explores some attempts to answer some of the questions about what SDN terms to use and what they mean. In this post, I’ll look at a relatively new Internet RFC: the SDN Layers and Architecture Terminology RFC.


Overview: Terminology is a Challenge

What’s a network? Is it a class A, B, or C network, as defined by IPv4? Any subset of an IPv4 class A, Continue reading

The Cisco Network Programmability (SDN) Intro Course

Four network programmability certs, two exams for each cert (with matching video courses for each exam) – plus one introductory video. Today’s post discusses that introductory video course, namely:

  • Introducing Network Programmability Fundamentals

No muss, no fuss – jump into the post for more details.


Cisco recommends their “Introducing Network Programmability Fundamentals” course to anyone who is:

  • New to SDN
  • New to network programmability

Basically, before diving into the other exams and courses, this introductory course sets the stage. Do you have to watch it to get the certifications? No. Can you benefit? Sure. But if you do want to use this course, take it first in sequence, before taking the other Cisco network programmability courses.


Figure 1: Big (and Obvious) Progression from the Introductory Course


Covering the bases, this list gives the highlights of the course:

  • Six videos of approximately 1 hour each
  • Six different presenters (one per video)
  • 6 month lease
  • $59 (at least when I looked just now)
  • No exam associated with the course – it’s just fundamental background
  • My recollection (with no way to confirm) is that the version of the course I see when writing this post came out late 2013.

To Continue reading

A Deeper Look at Cisco’s SDN Certifications

It’s time to look in depth at one of the SDN certs in the market: Cisco’s Network Programmability certs. I’ve written about the emerging SDN certifications before, and will continue to update those certs as news appears. However, I’ve not yet blogged to any depth about any one certification here at SDNSkills.com. This post begins a new series that does exactly that with a deeper dive into one branch of SDN certifications: those currently offered by Cisco Systems.

Series Intro

The plan for this series is as follows: Work through some details about at least half of the 8 Cisco exams related to SDN (billed as network programmability by Cisco). I think half of them should be enough to get a sense for the whole, even if I don’t look at every single one of the eight exams. For each exam, I’ll look at the associated courses, the exam topics, take the exams, and write a summary of impressions. I’ll probably weave in and out of this topic over the coming months, hitting the first exam here in January.


SDN Market and Certifications Perspective

Some of you might already be thinking: Cisco and SDN? Isn’t SDN what Continue reading