I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a free online JNCIA training seminar held last week by Juniper. Entitled "Certifiably Simple," the free training is part of Juniper's certification incentive program (which ends December 31st) and includes a free voucher for the JNCIA exam. The course consisted of three 2.5-hour remote sessions, hosted by Ken Mayer. Along with the traditional course material (which is freely available on Juniper's Fast Track site), the session included a number of two-hour lab slots for students to use as they see fit.
I'm a Junos newbie, so I was pretty excited to be getting some formal Junos training and a chance to play with a Juniper lab. The first two days of the training went well, and Ken covered a great deal of the Junos CLI in a relatively short time. The third day we were not so lucky, as the Adobe Connect service on which the training was hosted took a dive. After an hour of trying to get Adobe to restore service the Juniper folks unfortunately had to cancel the final session. However, they did make available a recording of a sister session which had taken place earlier in the day, which I still need to watch.
After attending the instructor-led sessions, I turned my attention to the labs. Four formal labs were offered, including initial CLI configurations, operational monitoring, OSPF and static routing, and firewall filters and class (quality?) of service. We were also encouraged to expand beyond the scope of the official labs (without breaking anything) if we felt comfortable.
Junos is pretty nice. Its CLI is certainly more feature-packed than Cisco's IOS, but does take some getting used to. Junos is built on top of a customized FreeBSD base, which makes available to the administrator some very powerful tools. The software service modularity and single-image approach also lends a nice sense of modernity.
Going through these practice labs make me want to break out the old J2300 that's been sitting idle in my basement for some time. At any rate, I'll probably try for the JNCIA by year's end, not just because I have a voucher, but also because I'm curious how the experience of taking a Juniper certification exam compares to that of the Cisco world.