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Welcome to the Flackbox Resources section, a curated list of the top training resources I can recommend for building your career in IT. Each of the resources listed here are the absolute best I've found in their class. My courses are included but hopefully their review scores justify that! :-) 

Before getting into the resources I know and trust the most, an important disclosure:

I earn commissions on some of the paid options below. This commission comes at no additional cost to you (on the contrary - where available I actually take you to special offers, you're always getting the best possible deal I can find). Please understand that I recommend these resources because they will help your career - maintaining my integrity and providing the best service I can is way more important to me than the small commission I make if you decide to buy something.

I've broken the list down into sections covering training in these categories (scroll down to see all resources or click on a topic to be taken there): 

NetApp Training

Best Comprehensive Course: Flackbox NetApp ONTAP Complete Training Course.

Taking my NetApp Storage course will give you the advanced level knowledge and hands-on skills you need to configure, manage and maintain NetApp ONTAP.

The course provides a structured approach which shortcuts your path to learning NetApp storage to an expert level.


Best Free Resource: How to Build a NetApp ONTAP Lab for Free eBook.

Simple and complete step-by-step instructions, with screenshots, about how to build a fully ready NetApp lab from scratch, using NetApp’s latest operating system ONTAP 9... for free. 

The lab features two NetApp simulator ONTAP 9 clusters with Windows and Linux clients in separate IP subnets.


NetApp Documentation

Best Books: NetApp A-Z Product Library

There aren't many NetApp books available so I recommend the official documentation site as your best source for written guides. Create a free login account for access.

You can get all ONTAP documentation as a single zip file here.

Cisco CCNA Training

Cisco CCNA Premium Bootcamp

Best Comprehensive Course: Flackbox Cisco CCNA Premium Bootcamp.

This complete package gets you ready for the CCNA exam in 6 weeks: Personal video coaching calls with me. Over 35 hours of HD video tutorials. 400 pages of configuration lab exercises. An extra 150 pages of bonus troubleshooting labs. Full access to AlphaPrep CCNA adaptive practice tests to ensure you’re ready for the exam.


Cisco CCNA Course

Best Bargain Course: Flackbox Cisco CCNA Training Course.

If the Premium Bootcamp isn't for you then my CCNA training course offers excellent value. It includes over 35 hours of HD video tutorials and 400 pages of configuation lab exercises.

The normal price is $200 but you can get it for just $10 using the link above. 


Cisco CCNA Lab Guide

Best Free Resource: Cisco CCNA Lab Guide eBook.

Complete lab exercises with full solutions covering everything on the latest 200-125 CCNA and 100-105 and 200-105 ICND exams.

You can run all the labs completely for free on your laptop, no additional equipment is necessary. Full instructions are provided.  


AlphaPrep Practice Exams

Best Practice Tests: AlphaPrep Adaptive Practice Tests.

The main reason people fail IT exams isn't because they don't know the material, it's because they're not prepared for the 'exam style' questions.

The AlphaPrep adaptive testing engine gives you the practice you need for the exam, and tells you exactly when you're ready. This makes the difference between passing and failing.


Network Lessons

Best Training Website: Network Lessons

Network Lessons is the best website I've found for understanding Cisco routing and switching.

There's a super concise and easy to understand explanation for each and every technology, further illustrated with a configuration example which is ready to use in your real world or lab network. 


Best Official Resource: Cisco Learning Network

Sign up for free to get permanent access to video training, seminars, study groups and and other CCNA and CCNP training resources.

You also get a free 7 day trial of premium features including Cisco Learning Labs and exam practice questions and answers.


Best Lab Software (Free): GNS3 and Packet Tracer 

GNS3 and Packet Tracer have some limitations but using them in combination gives you all you need for CCNA level lab exercises. Use GNS3 for your routing labs and Packet Tracer for switching.

I walk you through how to install them in my mini-course here.


Todd Lammle CCNA Study Guide

Best Book: Todd Lammle's CCNA Study Guide

This is the book I used to study for my CCNA way back in the day before video courses.

Todd updates it regularly and his easy to read style means it's still my first choice CCNA book. If you want a quality physical resource you can read on the train or in bed, this is the one.

Cisco CCNP Training

Best Premium Training: CBT Nuggets 

CBT Nuggets have my favourite CCNP trainers in Jeremy Cioara and Keith Barker. 

Subscribing to the website gives you access to the entire CBT Nuggets library covering nearly all IT topics (the other instructors can be a bit hit or miss), you can get a 7 day free trial using the link above.


Best Bargain Course: CCNP All-in-1 Video Boot Camp With Chris Bryant

The 'Boss Bulldog' Chris Bryant also has an excellent CCNP course, available for a low one-off price.

The training covers all 3 exams you need to pass your CCNP, plus you also get free access to his CCNA Security course when you sign up. Use the link above for a special discount.


AlphaPrep Practice Exams

Best Practice Tests: AlphaPrep Adaptive Practice Tests.

The main reason people fail IT exams isn't because they don't know the material, it's because they're not prepared for the 'exam style' questions.

The AlphaPrep adaptive testing engine gives you the practice you need for the exam, and tells you exactly when you're ready. This makes the difference between passing and failing.


Network Lessons

Best Training Website: Network Lessons

Network Lessons is the best website I've found for understanding Cisco routing and switching.

There's a super concise and easy to understand explanation for each and every technology, further illustrated with a configuration example which is ready to use in your real world or lab network. 


Cisco Learning Network

Best Official Resource: Cisco Learning Network Sign up for free to get permanent access to video training, seminars, study groups and and other CCNA and CCNP training resources. You also get a free 7 day trial of premium features including Cisco Learning Labs and exam practice questions and answers.


Cisco VIRL

Best Lab Software: Cisco VIRL 

GNS3 and Packet Tracer are fine for CCNA study, but you'll need to beef up your lab when you move up to CCNP and CCIE.

Cisco VIRL has none of the limitations of the other software - it has full routing and switching support in the one interface and also supports other Cisco devices such as ASA firewalls and Nexus switches.


Cisco VIRL Book

Best VIRL Training: Speak Networks

Cisco VIRL is much more full featured than other lab software, but unfortunately it also has a steeper learning curve.

Jack Wang at Speak Networks is the VIRL guy with training books, videos and lab guides. 

Cisco CCIE Training

INE

Best Premium Training: INE Internetwork Expert

As far as I'm concerned there's only one show in town as far as CCIE training is concerned. INE have top quality full packages including video training, lab workbooks and rack rentals for all tracks.

They cover all types of IT training now with a subscription model similar to CBT Nuggets, but CCIE training is where they made their name.


Network Lessons

Best Training Website: Network Lessons

Network Lessons is the best website I've found for understanding Cisco routing and switching.

There's a super concise and easy to understand explanation for each and every technology, further illustrated with a configuration example which is ready to use in your real world or lab network. 


Cisco VIRL

Best Lab Software: Cisco VIRL 

GNS3 and Packet Tracer are fine for CCNA study, but you'll need to beef up your lab when you move up to CCNP and CCIE.

Cisco VIRL has none of the limitations of the other software - it has full routing and switching support in the one interface and also supports other Cisco devices such as ASA firewalls and Nexus switches.


Cisco VIRL Book

Best VIRL Book: The VIRL Book: A Step-by-Step Guide 

Cisco VIRL is much more full featured than other lab software, but unfortunately it also has a steeper learning curve.

Jack Wang gets you through the curve and provides sample topologies to get you up and running quickly in 'The VIRL Book'. 


Routing TCP/IP

Best CCIE Routing and Switching Books: Routing TCP/IP by Jeff Doyle Vol 1 and Vol 2

Jeff Doyle's Routing TCP/IP books have been a mainstay of CCIE study for as long as I can remember. They are weighty and fantastically detailed but surprisingly easy to read and understand.

If you're serious about building a next level understanding of networking then these books should be in your library.

SDN and Python Training

Network Programmability

Best Free Course: Network Programmability Framework with Kevin Wallace 

Kevin Wallace's introductory training teaches you how the pieces and parts of Software Defined Networking (SDN) fit together.

It's your first step on the road to becoming a 'hybrid engineer'.


SDN and OpenFlow

Best Bargain SDN Course: SDN, NFV, Whitebox switching and OpenFlow Intro with David Bombal

This introductory course introduces SDN and OpenFlow concepts and technologies.

It goes well beyond just an overview though with practical labs featuring Ubuntu, Docker Containers, OpenDayLight and OpenFlow.  


Python Programming

Best Bargain Python Course: Python Network Programming with David Bombal

This practical course teaches how to quickly and easily start network programming with Python.

Within 20 minutes you will be configuring Cisco devices with examples such as multiple VLANs on multiple switches and OSPF on routers.


Software Defined Networks - A Comprehensive Approach

Best SDN Book: Software Defined Networks: A Comprehensive Approach 

This book delivers a broad understanding of SDN, the technologies that are used and their development.

The case studies clearly explain practical usage in the real world.


Mastering Python Networking

Best Python Network Programming Book: Mastering Python Networking by Eric Chou 

This book includes easy to understand demonstrations of using Python in real world networks, practical configuration examples on multiple vendor's equipment (including Cisco of course), and the Python Automation Framework with Ansible etc. 

AWS and Cloud Training

Practical Introduction to Cloud Computing

Best Free Course: A Practical Introduction to Cloud Computing

This course is designed to clear up the many misunderstandings about Cloud Computing and to give you a crystal clear and easy to understand explanation of exactly what it is, how it works, the different options available, the advantages provided and how much it's going to cost.  


A Cloud Guru AWS Associate

Best Premium Bargain AWS Course: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate with Ryan Kroonenburg 

This is the most popular online training course for the most popular cloud certification.

acloud.guru operate a premium subscription model, but you can get the course at a huge discount using the link above. 


AWS All In One

Best AWS Certification Book: AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate All-In-One by Joyjeet Banerjee

This book takes a well structured and straightforward approach to breaking down the exam topics.

Many practice questions are included to get you ready for exam day.

VMware Training

Pluralsight

Best Premium Courses: PluralSight 

PluralSight are similar to CBT Nuggets in that they offer training in most IT disciplines, and are hit or miss depending on the course topic.

I find CBT Nuggets the best for CCNP training, and PluralSight have by far the best VMware training. You can get a 10 day free trial using the link above.


Mastering VMware vSphere

Best Book: Mastering VMware vSphere by Nick Marshall et al 

This is the classic vSphere book which gets updated with each new version of the software. It clearly explains all features and includes comprehensive configuration examples. 

It's an essential companion for VMware study and real world work.


Enterprise Daddy

Best Free Resource: How to Setup VMware vSphere Lab in VMware Workstation Guide

Enterprise Daddy have written a guide which shows you step-by-step how to set up a vSphere lab within VMware Workstation on your PC.

It's an essential lab to get hands on practice with all the vSphere features.


CompTIA Training

Mike Meyers

Best CompTIA Training: Mike Meyers 

Rather impressively, Mike Meyers has the best online courses and books for the CompTIA Network+, Security+ and A+ exams.

You can find his courses at a low price here (scroll down the page to see them).

And his books here.

Other Certification Courses

The courses listed above cover topics and certifications which I've studied myself, I can recommend them because they're the best training material I've found. If you want to study a different topic then I can't make a personal recommendation but you can't go far wrong with Udemy. Click the banner below for courses starting at just $9.99

Other Certification Books

I've handpicked all the books above for their quality, they're my favourite in each topic. Another excellent resource if you want to do your own research is Amazon's Best Sellers in Computer & Technology Certification Guides list.