This question was popped  in front of me , when i finally decided to pursue my next certification in the Design field. Some people say that CCIE is somehow act as a prerequisite before doing CCDE. However, in my point of view it really depends on which background you are coming and what you are trying to achieve in your future endeavors. Although cisco have no prerequisite for CCDE, you can do CCDE even if you don’t have CCNA, however it is recommended that you have at least 7 years of experience in network design , implementation and operation.

In my perspective CCIE is all about implementation and troubleshooting, however on the other hand CCDE is the mind and soul behind big designs. CCDE is a control plane driven test, and in cisco world they call it as a Layer 3, where business and technology meet together.


CCDE Layer3


As a whole, CCDE breaks the problem into two pieces :-
1. Domains
Large common problem areas in designing a network.
2. Drivers
What problem are you trying to solve?
What tools do you have to solve the problem?

Domain deals with question related to Availability , Serviceability , Scalability, Security and Flexibility.

There are three main drivers. Firstly, Business drivers are supposed to be at layer 9 and answers questions related to scale, continuity , expense and advantage. Secondly , Application drivers are at layer 7 and deals with bandwidth, delay, jitter and continuity requirements. Lastly, Link drivers works at layer 1 and provide bandwidth, delay , expense and detection like features.

Cisco call it layer 3 aka control plane , where all above drivers meet and build networks that will support business and applications requirements on top of available links and hardware.