For those of you whom are already Cisco Certified this lab will explain the major differences between Cisco and Juniper Certifications and bridge the gap so you have a better understanding of what level of technical material falls upon which Juniper certification track(s).
or years engineers have been battling each other regarding who is better at what and who sucks more at what. This website is not going to get into that battle but we will say that both Juniper and Cisco have their pro’s and con’s. In order to bridge the gap between those who are already Cisco certified and want to become Juniper certified we’re gonna talk about the certification differences and similarities. This lab will also go into depth with the JNCIA-Junos and JNCIS-ENT Exam objectives and how they compare to existing Cisco certifications.
Most people who obtain Juniper certifications already have Cisco certifications and are looking to diversify their skill sets which is quite normal however there are those few that go straight into Juniper skipping Cisco which is not that common but if you work for a company that is strictly Juniper then completely understandable.
Lets take a closer look at the market battle between Juniper and Cisco. Where does Juniper shine? Where does Cisco Shine?
Juniper has been a serious threat to Cisco when it comes to regional and global service providers. In the beginning, Juniper was the first manufacture to incorporate packet-forwarding ASIC’s into carrier grade hardware to increase performance of their platforms. Of course competitors followed shortly after.
From a price perspective, Juniper has an edge for businesses that are not large customers of Cisco. So smaller businesses such as smaller enterprise companies and regional carriers get Juniper hardware cheaper for the same performance than it would take to purchase Cisco. This of course changes when you have large customers of Cisco buying millions in hardware as the more you buy the more you save. But lets face it the facts, not every start-up business or small carrier has millions to spend.
Lately many medium sized businesses have been cutting cost and cutting Cisco out of their network infrastructure portfolio and moving towards Juniper or other cheaper vendors such as Arista Networks which was started by executives that left Cisco or even Force10 which was recently acquired by Dell. The simple fact is, Cisco is extremely expensive compared to everyone else in the market and sometimes from a business decision, buying the most expensive is not always the best decision.
Think of it as in buying a car. You could of course buy a brand new Honda Accord or you could buy a brand new Porsche 911GT Turbo. Are they both capable of getting you from point A to point B? Of course, do they cost the same? Hell no… From a business decision most executives with MBA’s that don’t understand technology tend to lean towards the numbers. Why pay more for something that does the same thing as something that cost 70% cheaper?
Juniper Networks offers a vast portfolio from Carrier grade routing hardware to closet access switches. For example, the closet access switches they offer such as the EX3200 Series are a wire rate switch capable of supporting 4 SFP 1Gig optics or 2 XFP 10Gig optics. You should keep in mind that most Cisco closet switches are NOT wire rate and if you put a significant load on them, they will have large amounts of interface transmit drops or ASIC drops which is due to the architect of the switch. These switches include the Cisco 2900 Series, 3560, 3560G, 3560E Series, 3750, 3750G, 3750E Series and others. For a true wire-rate switch from Cisco you would need a 4948 Series switch which new can run you around 30k with license and smartnet. A EX4200 can be purchased for under 10k with the same capabilities and even support virtual chassis which is layman’s terms for stacking.
One of the biggest mistakes commonly made with Cisco is putting the wrong switch in the wrong spot. Far too often you’ll see engineers put Cisco 3750G stacked switches in top of rack positions in large data centers without understanding that the switch and the stack is not line rate. Those types of decisions can lead to discoveries of impacted performance during peak hours and dropped frames on the ACIS’s when the switches are hit with a significant load.
Enough wish bashing Cisco, lets talk about Junipers downfall. While deploying a Juniper Networks infrastructure may be significantly cheaper, the cost and ability to find talent and retain that talent is much higher. This is due to a simple problem, there just aren’t enough Juniper Certified engineers running around. I’m sure if you looked hard enough you could probably find a homeless Cisco certified engineer however those with Juniper Certifications tend to be harder to find due to the lack of numbers.
Often times businesses will make the decision to switch and train Cisco engineers to become skilled in Juniper as well but this does not always work out and could easily backfire and result in talent leaving the company. For example you wouldn’t hire a CCIE and then surprise him with the notion that the business made an executive decision to switch to Juniper. First off this engineer would feel left out of the loop, second he may take it the wrong way after potentially spending thousands of his own money to obtain a Certification which effectively would be useless as he would have to retain on Juniper. Hey may of course be open to the move if he has interest in Juniper. However a lot of Cisco certified engineers are loyal to their brand and of course an engineer with the CCIE could easily find another job if he didn’t like the decision made behind his back.
One of the biggest reasons why this website was created was to help Cisco engineers understand the difference between Cisco and Juniper and help them obtain the Juniper Certifications so that they may diversify their skills thus resulting in a more attractive resume. With that being said lets move on and take a look at the Juniper Networks JNCIA-Junos Certification.
Lets take a look at the JNCIA-Junos shall we?, At the of writing this workbook has the exam number JN0-101. The JNCIA-Junos certification is valid for two years and after which you must recerify (renew) by passing the JN0-101 exam again or a newer exam if the current exam has been retired. Not that different from Cisco right?
For those who want to tackle the JNCIA-Junos certification you’ll be expected to know the following exam objectives;
So a commonly asked question is how does this compare to a Cisco certification?
Its hard to compare apples to oranges but in a nutshell Juniper represents the JNCIA-Junos certification in the same manner as Cisco represents CCENT. Juniper however has significantly more advanced technical content on their lower exam.
The JNCIA Certification is the first step along your journey to obtaining Juniper Certifications. This certification introduces you to the Juniper Software, JunOS and their architectural principals. This is a pre-requesit to the JNCIS (Juniper Networks Certified Internet Specialist) and even further precursor to the JNCIP, which is the professional certification.
This website will concentrate heavily on the JNCIA-Junos certification and JNCIS-ENT (Enterprise Routing & Switching).
One of the most beautiful things about Juniper Networks is that you can learn their certification exam objectives using software you can find online with little effort of searching. Unlike Cisco which requires hardware based emulators to run and are often times unstable, Junos runs on top of FreeBSD and can easily be executed in a Virtual Machine. This is also known as a Junos Olive which is discussed in one of the JNCIA-Junos Labs.
The JNCIA-Junos Exam is 105 minutes long and consist of 65 single and multiple answer multiple choice questions. Unlike the Cisco CCNA exam, the JNCIA-Junos exam does NOT contain any simulations, drag and drops and simlets.
The exam cost $100 USD and is provided by your nearest Pearson VUE exam center. The exam must be renewed every 2 years by passing the same exam or a higher level exam. Which effectively is the same as Cisco Certifications.
The JNCIS Certification exam is known as the specialist certification however it is comparable to the Cisco associate level certifications. There are multiple general tracks for the JNCIS certification which include enterprise routing and switching, security and service provider however Juniper offers specialized exams for specific types of hardware such as QFabric, FW’s, Wireless LAN, E Series, Pulse and others.
The JNCIS-ENT is primary what this website will focus on as its equivalent to the CCNA Routing and Switching in most aspects with the addition of more technical content such as IS-IS, BGP, Tunneling and HA which you may be unfamiliar with if you’ve not obtained the CCNP. None the less these technologies are a must know for any engineer in the field for Juniper, Cisco or any other vendor for the matter.
The JNCIS-ENT Exam number JN0-343 is a 90 minute exam with 70 questions administered at Pearson VUE testing centers around the globe. The exam is a pass or fail and your results are immediately available upon completion of the exam. The exam is based on Junos 11.1 and is multiple choice. There is no simulations or drag and drops in this exam as there is in the Cisco CCNA Certification exam.
The price of the JNCIS Exam(s) are $200 dollars pass or fail and you failure to reschedule or cancel 24 hours in advance means you forfeit your exam cost.
The JNCIS Enterprise Routing and Switching are based around the following objectives;
Now that you’re familiar with the Juniper Certifications you should dive into some cooler stuff by checking out other labs.