CCIE Data Center
Written and Lab Exam Content Updates


The CCIE Data Center exam topics have been revised from version 1.0 to version 2.0 to certify candidate’s knowledge and capabilities based on the latest skills and technologies required of expert-level data center professionals. CCIE Data Center v2.0 exam curriculum comprises of six domains.

Each domain lists specific tasks that a minimally qualified candidate to perform is expected to perform in a data center job role requiring expert-level skills. Note the exam topics serve as a general guideline for the content likely to be included in the exam. However, other related topics may also appear on any delivery of the exam. All of the domains or tasks listed appear on both the Written and the Lab exam making it a unified blueprint for both the exams.

Domain comparison between CCIE Data Center v1.0 and CCIE Data Center v2.0
Below you can find a domain level comparison between the CCIE Data Center v1.0 and CCIE Data Center v2.0.
CCIE Data Center Domain v1.0 versus v2.0

CCIE Data Center v1.0 CCIE Data Center v2.0
1. Cisco Data Center Architecture Cisco Data Center L2/L3 Technologies
2. Cisco Data Center Infrastructure-Cisco NX-OS Cisco Data Center Network Services
3. Cisco Storage Networking Data Center Storage Networking and Compute
4. Cisco Data Center Virtualization Data Center Automation and Orchestration
5. Cisco Unified Computing System Data Center Fabric Infrastructure
6. Cisco Application Networking Services Evolving Technologies

The Exam Topics changes reflect both the evolving Data Center environment and the evolving CCIE Data Center job role. Compared to CCIE Data Center v1.0, CCIE Data Center v2.0 domains were designed to focus more on skills and technologies then on the hardware. All the v2.0 domains include skills focused on design, implement and troubleshoot. Domains like Application Networking Services, which were focused on products like ACE and WAAS has been removed. Meanwhile evolving technologies like Cloud and ACI has been added in the v2.0 blueprint. Storage and Compute has been refreshed and combined into a consolidated domain in v2.0 as Data Center Storage Networking and Compute.

CCIE Data Center v2.0 Changes
Please refer to the Exam Topics more detailed information.
Topics added to the CCIE Data Center v2.0 Exam:

  • Implement and Troubleshoot Data Center Automation
  • Implement and Troubleshoot Data Center Orchestration Tools
  • Integrate Cisco Cloud Offerings into existing Data Center Infrastructure
  • Design, Implement and Troubleshoot policy and non-policy driven Internal Fabric Connectivity
  • Design, Implement and Troubleshoot Infrastructure policies and elements
  • Design, Implement and Troubleshoot External Fabric Connectivity
  • Evolving Technologies

Topics no longer included in CCIE Data Center v2.0

  • Implement Data Center application high availability and load balancing
  • Implement FCIP features

The hardware and software list have been updated for version 2.0, the required implementation and troubleshooting skills have changed significantly for several of the tasks. The figure below is a high level overview of the changes in hardware and software, please refer to the Lab Equipment and Software List for more detailed information.

CCIE Data Center v1.0 CCIE Data Center v2.0
MDS 9222i APIC Cluster
Nexus7009 Nexus 9336 ACI Spine
(1) Sup Nexus 9372
–  (1) 32 Port 10Gb (F1 Module) Nexus 7004
–  (1) 32 Port 10Gb (M1 Module) Sup2E
Nexus5548 –  48 Port 10Gb (F3 Module)
Nexus2232 Nexus 5672
Nexus 1000v Nexus 2348
•   UCS C200 Series Server Nexus 1000v
–  vic card for c-series UCS C220 M4 Series Rack Server
UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnects –  VIC card for C-Series
UCS-5108 Blade Chassis UCS-6248 Fabric Interconnects
B-200 Series Blades UCS-4308 M-Series Chassis
Palo mezzanine card –  UCS M142 Compute Cartridge
Emulex mezzanine card UCS-5108 B-Series Chassis
•   Cisco Application Control Engine Appliance – –  B-200 M4 Series Blades
ACE4710 Palo mezzanine card
Dual attached JBODs –  VIC 1340 Card for B-Series
Dual attached JBODs

Unified Blueprint

CCIE DC v2.0 unifies Written and Lab Exam Topics documents into a unique curriculum, while explicitly disclosing which domains pertain to which exam, and the relative weight of each domain.
CCIE Data Center v2.0 Exam Format

The Written exam v2.0 (400-151) includes a new educational approach ensuring that expert-level candidates can demonstrate knowledge and skills with “Evolving Technologies (E.T.)” such as Network Programmability, Cloud and Internet of Things (IoT). The intent behind this change is to ensure that certified experts are well equipped to participate in meaningful discussions with business leaders about these new technical areas that already greatly influence business globally.

The web-based delivery infrastructure supporting the new Lab exam is very similar to version 1.0. The format of the Lab exam itself however has changed significantly compared to version 1.0. The Lab exam format has been updated similar to other CCIE tracks to include a Diagnostic module.

As a result, the CCIE Data Center v2.0 lab format is designed follows:

  • Part 1: Diagnosticmodule
  • Part 2: Configuration & Troubleshooting module.

The new Diagnostic module, which has a length of 60 min, focuses on the skills required to properly diagnose network issues, without having device access. The main objective of the Diagnostic module is to assess the skills required to properly diagnose network issues. These skills include:

  • Analyze
  • Correlate
    • Discerning multiple sources of documentation (in example e-mail threads, network topology diagrams, console outputs, logs, and even traffic captures.)

In the Diagnostic module, candidates need to make choices between pre-defined options to indicate:

  • What is the root cause of an issue
  • Where is the issue located in the diagram
  • What is the critical piece of information allows us the identify the root cause
  • What piece of information is missing to be able to identify the root cause

The Configuration and Troubleshooting module consists of one topology, similar to CCIE Data Center v1.0. The length of the Configuration and Troubleshooting module is seven hours. At the beginning of the module, the candidate has a full overview of the entire module; and can make a choice of working on items in sequence or not, depending on the candidates comfort level, the overall scenario and question interdependencies.

The Diagnostic and Configuration and Troubleshooting modules in the Lab exam are delivered in a fixed sequence: the candidate starts the day with the 1 hour Diagnostic module, which is followed by the 7 hours Configuration and Troubleshooting module. The entire Lab exam lasts up to eight hours. Note that candidates are not allowed to go back and forth between modules.

Diagnostic Module

For the Diagnostic module, no device access is provided. Candidates are provided various pieces of information (example emails, debug outputs, example network diagram information that is provided to a Data Center support engineer assisting a customer in determining the root cause of an issue, or an analogy of information that is provided by a colleague who is stuck in a troubleshooting issue).

Within the Diagnostic module, the items are presented in a similar format as within the Written exam. The module includes multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, or even point-and-click style items. The major differences between the Written exam and the Diagnostic module is that the items in the Diagnostic module (called troubleshoot tickets) contain a set of documents that the candidate must consult in order to be able to understand and identify the root cause of the issue presented. Candidates need to analyze and correlate information (after discerning between valuable and worthless pieces of information) in order to make the right choice among the pre-defined options provided.

The troubleshoot tickets will not require candidates to type in order to provide the answer. All tickets will be close-ended so grading will be deterministic, ensuring a fair and consistent scoring process. The new module allows us to grant credit to candidates who are able to accurately identify the root cause of a networking issue, but fail to resolve it within specific constraints (as in the Configuration and Troubleshooting module).

Real-life experience is certainly the best training to prepare for this module. Candidates with limited experience should focus on discovering, practicing and applying efficient and effective troubleshooting methodologies that are used for any realistic networking challenge.

Passing Criteria

In order to pass the Lab exam, the candidate must meet both of the following conditions:

•The minimum cut-score of the each individual module must be achieved.
•The total score of both modules together must be above the minimum value of the combined cut-score.

The point value(s) of the items in each module is known to the candidate. Note points are only granted when all requirements and sometimes restrictions of the item are met. There is no partial scoring for any items.


View more CCIE Data Center certification program information