Welcome to the Flackbox Resources section, a curated list of the top training resources I 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 – 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:

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:

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, Linux and VMware clients.

Best Books:

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.

Cisco CCNA Training

Best Comprehensive Course

This complete package gets you ready for the exam in 6 weeks and is the highest rated CCNA training online:
Over 35 hours of HD video tutorials.
300 pages of configuration lab exercises.
An extra 150 pages of bonus troubleshooting labs.
Quizzes for every technology area.

Best Free Resource:

Complete lab exercises with full solutions covering everything on the latest 200-301 CCNA exam.
You can run all the labs completely for free on your laptop, no additional equipment is necessary. Full instructions are provided.

Best Practice Tests (Free Trial):

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.

Best Training Website:

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 Books:

I used the original version of these books to study for my CCNA way back in the day before video courses.
Todd updates regularly and his easy to read style means they’re still my first choice CCNA books. If you want quality physical resources you can read on the train or in bed, this is it.

Cisco CCNP Training

Best Premium Training:

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 Practice Tests (Free Trial):

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.

Best Training Website:

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 CCIE Training

Best Premium Training:

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.

Best Free Resource:

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 CCIE Routing and Switching Books:

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.

Python Training

Best Bargain Python Course:

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.

Best Python Network Programming Book:

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

Best Free Course:

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.

Best Premium Bargain AWS Course:

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.

Best AWS Certification Book:

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

Best Book:

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.

Best Free Resource:

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

Best CompTIA Training:

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

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 $13.99

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.