As of February 24th, 2020, the old Cisco exams go bye-bye and we herald a new era of examinations. This is across every track. Some of these changes are quite welcome, such as CPE and the fact that three professional-level exams can renew a CCIE. So, for those of us looking to start studying now and continuing past this change, what options do we have for the CCNP Data center reading list?
Old style CCNP Data Center reading list
Currently, the exams are:
300-175 – DCUCI
300-165 – DCII
300-170 – DCVAI
300-160 – DCID
300-180 – DCIT.
In terms of official certification guides, there is zero out of five. I have commented before about how woeful Cisco is when it comes to OCG, so this comes as no surprise. There is one book available, for DCUCI, which is a DCUDI Quick Reference Guide and is pretty cheap on the Kindle. Therefore, we must turn to the long list of study references Cisco gives us.
DCUCI Study Material
We have two storage books listed:
Storage Networking Fundamentals: An Introduction to Storage Devices, Subsystems, Applications, Management, and File Systems (Vol 1)
Storage Networking Protocol Fundamentals (Vol 2)
The rest of the martial is either on their learning store ($$$$) or PDFs.
DCII Study Material
Here we start to see a very popular and important book start to appear (as well as the Storage Networking Fundamentals above):
Centers with VXLAN BGP EVPN: A Cisco NX-OS Perspective
The next book is another favorite (across all tracks); Cisco Access Control Security: AAA Administration Services
DCVAI Study Material
Just this one (again) Building Data Centers with VXLAN BGP EVPN: A Cisco NX-OS Perspective
DCID Study Material
And again: Building Data Centers with VXLAN BGP EVPN: A Cisco NX-OS Perspective
DCIT Study Material
And again: Building Data Centers with VXLAN BGP EVPN: A Cisco NX-OS Perspective, with a bit of Nexus thrown in for good measure; NX-OS and Cisco Nexus Switching: Next-Generation Data Center Architectures (2nd Edition)
CCNP Data Center Essential reading
Definitely, definitely get these books:
Probably not so much the AAA book, it is fairly generic and just talks about TACACS mainly. Useful, but not essential.
So, does the new exams look to be better supported?
New style CCNP Data Center reading list
350-601 – DCCOR
We are off to a good start and have an DCCOR Official Certification Guide!
300-610 – DCID
300-615 – DCIT
300-620 – DCACI
Unsurprisingly, we do have an OCG for this (it is unsurprising as Cisco is pushing ACI heavily). CCNP Data Center Application Centric Infrastructure 300-620 DCACI Official Cert Guide.
300-625 – DSAN
300-635 – DCAUTO
So, two out of six here. Meh.
Stuart’s recommended CCNP Data Center reading list
There are lots of books around though, so here is a little list I have come up with. Some of these may be recommended for the CCNA, but I am skipping that and going straight to CCNP.
Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cisco Nexus, UCS, MDS, and Beyond
Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) (Data Center): A Complete Reference Guide to the Cisco Data Center Virtualization Server Architecture
Using TRILL, FabricPath, and VXLAN Designing Massively Scalable Data Centers with Overlays
Hyperconverged Infrastructure Data Centers: Demystifying HCI
Troubleshooting Cisco Nexus Switches and NX-OS
ACI Advanced Monitoring and Troubleshooting
Cisco ACI Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Maximize Automated Solutions and Policy-Drive Application Profiles
The Policy Driven Data Center with ACI: Architecture, Concepts, and Methodology
Deploying ACI: The complete guide to planning, configuring, and managing Application Centric Infrastructure
Programming and Automating Cisco Networks: A guide to network programmability and automation in the data center, campus, and WAN