Best Cisco ACI course 2019 update

Short version: Configuring Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches in ACI Mode (DCAC9K) is an awesome ACI course, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in ACI, but you need to supplement it with CiscoLive On-Demand Video Library to get the most out of it.


I can’t believe it’s been four years since my first post about learning resources for Cisco ACI and other related technologies. In 2015, 2016 and 2018, I provided recommendations for additional resources for learning ACI. Now in 2019, I would like to share two resources which I think are CURRENTLY the best options for learning Cisco ACI. If you know of better options, please let me know in the comments below! 🙂

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How to achieve the CISSP certification

I passed my CISSP last week on my first attempt! – YAY! 🙂

Short version: If you decide to go for your CISSP certification, carve out ~300-350 hours in your schedule, and at least get started with one or two of the free resources listed below. If you feel that you are ready to continue, then buy the books and read them. After that, buy the then-most recent version of Larry Greenblatt’s video series just a month or so before your exam. After that, go through ALL of the practice questions that come with the books and from Larry – and then schedule your exam.


There are a ton of other posts on the web that outline a study plan for passing your CISSP. One key issue that I ran into was that all those posts listed either way too few (just one or two) or too many (more than 10) resources to study from. In my personal experience, neither finds a good balance between spending too much or too little time required to actually pass your CISSP. I settled with six resources (3 books and 3 video series) which worked out well for me.


Now before we get into which specific resources to study from, I will quickly outline why CISSP is truly an awesome certification:

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The reference fallacy

Short version: Based on my experience, large majority of good jobs in Canada and America are fulfilled based on merit – your qualifications, experience and soft-skills. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you won’t get a job until you get to know someone inside a big company. Focus on your merit instead; do certifications, improve your communications skills, achieve more, work hard and work smart!


Being blessed with the opportunity to mentor hundreds of individuals over the last decade or so, I am always learning about real and perceived obstacles to employment or advancement faced by many individuals.

One of the most consistent perceived obstacle is the false belief that a reference from an inside a large organization is required to get a good job. One of the key sources of this false belief are cultures from which many of my mentees are from, particularly India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. I am a Pakistani-Canadian, and I have seen this in practice myself. It’s certainly true that many people in these countries get jobs based on nepotism, reference, favoritism and bribery. It’s an unfortunate fact.

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IP/Ethernet to Fibre Channel Translation Guide (Including Brocade FOS vs Cisco NX-OS)

Being very familiar with NX-OS based Fibre Channel (FC) Fabrics, when I was presented with a Brocade (now Broadcom) FC fabric, first thing I googled was “Cisco to Brocade FC translation” and a few other variants. My searches mostly came up empty. That’s why I decided to create my own “translation” table.






This table will definitely help me in being able to learn about and manage Brocade FC fabric.

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Free Brocade Fibre Channel Training

Continuing on with a series of free and/or cost effective training options, here is yet again another blog post about free training! – this time courtesy of Brocade (aka Broadcom).


Now this training would be quite job specific and/or organization specific. If you are already working in an environment where Brocade fibre channel infrastructure exists, want to learn about Fibre Channel technology in general, or have an interview coming up where you need to brush up on your fibre channel skills, this is a great FREE resource to get you up to speed.

How can you get started?

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Free CISSP Course on

I feel like I have been on a roll with blogs relating to free or very cost effective training options!

Latest in the series is a great FREE course by Kelly Handerhan on



This course is really meant as an introductory course to CISSP. In it, you will gain about 20-30% of the knowledge you need to pass the CISSP exam. You will need to supplement this course with other training material if you plan attain the CISSP certification…

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