Cisco Brings Virtual Reality to CCIE Certification
This information appeared in a press release on IT Business Net on July 13. Titled Cisco Partners with VRMADA to Launch First-Ever IT Certification Virtual Reality Experience, it explains how some pretty cool stuff relevant to CCIE certification is making its way into the curriculum.
Here's the deal: The VR experience was piloted with the CCIE community attending Cisco Live in Las Vegas, held June 25-29, and received very positive feedback.
What's available in VR form is actually pretty cool. Currently, it consists of two VR applications. One is named "Troubleshoot the Lab" and the other "Be the Router." These VR apps interact with actual Cisco software in a simulated physical environment, complete with a fully virtualized computing and networking infrastructure. Thus, even though a user's experience is within a virtual world, that experience is backed by virtual machines running real Cisco software.
The press release quotes Yusuf Bhaiji, himself a CCIE and CCDE and a Senior Certification Program Manager employed at Cisco, as saying, "The beauty behind these applications is that there is a real marriage between virtual reality and Cisco networking technologies. These are not simply simulations, there is a real network running in the background that is fully in sync with the virtual world."
The first VR app, Troubleshoot the Lab, puts participants in a data center. It offers them the opportunity to experience and interact with "a Cisco-powered data center" up close and personal. It also challenges them with tasks that require real-world diagnosis and troubleshooting skills.
In my opinion, it also promises a way to make it easier for CCIEs to take the fiendishly difficult lab exam without necessarily having to travel to one of the nine lab exam locations worldwide (see the CCIE Lab Exam Locations page for details).
According to the press release, the Be the Router apps "uses a science fiction background to place the participant inside a Cisco router." There, the user takes over to operate the control plane, where they must make networking decisions based on technical information provided within the virtual reality scenario presented to them.
The release goes on to say that the partnership with VRMADA is enabling the creation and use of "state-of-the-art virtual reality software" that delivers "an interactive experience for Cisco networking and lays the groundwork for new possibilities in certification."
Here's the kicker: "With the promise of more effective and efficient certification and training possibilities, this unique VR experience offers a glimpse into the future, one that it is hoped will lead the way for new evolutions in IT certification."
Sounds pretty good to me, not to mention both engaging and interesting. Who else is ready to sign up?