According to Cisco’s site, if you want to take the new CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure v1.0 exam, you need to pass the ENCOR 350-401 regardless of whether you have the “old” CCNP certification.
To prepare for the lab exam, take a look at Rene’s CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification course:
As for studying DNA, yes that currently is a challenge as it cannot be simulated right now. You will find that many others are discussing this same issue in the Cisco Community, and as of now, there is no virtual DNA appliance that is available for studying. It’s true that the appliances are in the tens of thousands of dollars as a list price, so that’s not an option for most users.
I believe that Cisco will come out with a virtual version for studying purposes, if enough people complain about it. @ReneMolenaar may have some more insight into this as well.
Welcome! 350-401 is a requirement yes. You can book the lab without passing 350-401, but you won’t get the CCIE certificate until you pass 350-401.
I’m not sure what the best option will be to learn DNA Center. I did some research and found this article where someone got it running on ESXi. You need 56 CPU cores and 256 GB of RAM so that’s a lot. Cisco might release a virtual appliance someday.
For now, the only way to play with DNA Center is through Devnet or Dcloud.
If you have already passed CCNP before Feb 24 2020, check the Cisco certification migration tool to see which new certifications you have been credited. I passed all three CCNP exams before Feb24, and I have been granted credits for both ENARSI and ENCOR. However I will still take Rene’s course because there is much new material not seen in the previous CCNP exams.