As you mentioned, the CCIE is quite illusive and obviously will require steadfast dedication and a good deal of time (not to mention funding). If you can swing it, I recommend that you go for your CCVP as a short term goal and then plan on preparing for the CCIE shortly after. You may find that several aspects of the CCVP will solidify your understanding on some CCIE concepts (such as QoS). Who knows ... you may like the CCVP so much...
that you may want to try for the CCIE Voice cert.
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