In alignment with CCIE level requirements, Cisco is adding L2 switching features to the CCIE R&S Troubleshooting exam through L2 IOS software on Unix (L2IOU) virtual environment. The new feature will be available starting January 17, 2011.
The CCIE R&S exam consists of 2 sections – the troubleshooting (TS) section which runs two hours, and the Configuration (Config) section which is six hours. The Config lab utilizes actual physical devices in racks, whereas, the TS lab uses a virtual environment under IOU. IOU offers a very realistic simulation of router (L3+) features in the TS lab but until now had no L2 switch capability. With the addition of the new L2IOU, the TS lab will now include both L2 and L3 capabilities in the virtual environment.
With this new capability you may notice some subtle cosmetic and functional differences between the behaviors of the physical switch and the virtual switch. However, the function of the devices is fundamentally the same, and these differences should not affect your ability to apply what you have learned to succeed in the lab exam.