CCIE CSR1000V & 4x 3560-24TS-S - Setup in Garage (Powerline)

cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hi guys,

I am about to build my CCIE v5 lab and I have a few questions about how to get it all connected.

First of all, I have a Dell R805 ESX server with 4 Cisco 3560-24ts-s switches with 32MB of flash running IOS 15. I also own a Cisco 2511 Access Server. I will be physically connecting SW1 to the Dell server, as specified in the topology diagram INE provides.

I would like to move my rack down to the garage, but still be able to connect to it as if it were next to me. I would imagine the best way to do this would be through powerline but I am looking for advice. My questions are:

1. How should I connect my PC to my lab? I have 2 extra NICs on my PC. Should I connect one to the management port on the ESX server, and one to SW1? Will that give me reachability to everything? Do I even need the access server in this setup -- is there any benefit? If there is, how do I connect my PC to the access server? My rack will be in the garage so my PC will not be able to connect to the serial port on the access server, which is required to my knowledge.

2. How does this setup look in terms of the powerline configuration (or other if you have a better idea)? Can I purchase two powerline adapters, both with two ports on it? And on my computer's end, have each NIC plug into one of the two powerline ports? Then on the server end, have one powerline port plug into the MGT port on the ESX server, and the other NIC plug into SW1 or whatever? Is there a way to do this using powerline adapters with only 1 port? Am I thinking about this wrong and there is a different/better way to set this up? Please advise on the most ideal way to set this up so I can control my lab perfectly remotely, while still having full functionality to do things such as re-install ESX through the MGMT port every 60 days.




  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Anyone? Does no one connect to their home lab rack when their rack sits in another room, using powerline or something similar?

    I am mainly curious about question #2 -- if I need to plug my PC into the management port of my Dell server, as well as SW1, how do I accomplish this with powerline? As I mentioned, my PC has 2 NICs free on it... can I purchase a 2-port powerline for my office, and 2-port powerline for my garage, and plug both NICs on my PC into both powerline ports, then on the server end, plug 1 from the management port on my Dell server into the powerline, and 1 from my SW1 into the 2nd powerline port? Is there a way to accomplish this with a powerline with only 1 port?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Hi there.

    There are quite a few moving parts here, so hopefully I will be able to give you a coherent response.

    Under 1.

    You want to connect a NIC to SW1 Fa0/1 that serves as the trunk between the ESX vSwitch and the physical switches - assuming you are doing it the INE way.

    You then want to connect your management interface to a seperate switch - I'd pick up a cheap unmanaged NetGear or something.

    You then want to connect the Ethernet port of the TS server, ALSO, to this NetGear. You could theoretically do without the TS as you'v only got 4 devices. If you wanted to save a few $$$ then you could sell that and get 4 USB -> serial converters and connect up the console cables to the ESX server. However, I quite like my TS server, it is very handy to be able to control all my gear from one box - and of course you are able to tap into the console ports directly.

    The reason I suggest the cheap switch - is so that you would then connect the PowerLine adapter to this in your garage, and then once you've connected up the PowerLine in your room where your PC is - you are still able to connect to everything. However - DON'T then connect any of your Cisco/Lab switches into this cheap-o switch.

    So for example, your PC is on the 192.168.0.x/24 network.

    You would configure the Ethernet0 port of the TS as 192.168.0.x and the same for the Management port of the Server.

    This way, you have the ability to manage the TS and your ESX server effectively out of band when you consider the lab network. You want to seperate these - because when you are labbing and you end up configuring some wild and weird stuff, there is a very good chance you'll hose the config and then all of a sudden you've brought down your whole network and it just causes way too many headaches.

    Physically demarcating your PC from your ESX/Switches/Testing environment is the way to go, trust me.

  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi Gorbrush,

    Thank you very much for your response. It cleared a lot of things up for me. Yes, I am copying INE exactly.

    Just to re-iterate what you said, to make sure I understand it correctly before I make any purchases:

    1. On my Office PC's end, I only require a powerline adapter with 1 port. It will connect up to my PC's NIC.

    2. On the garage end, where my rack is, I will have another powerline adapter with 1 port. This port will connect into a cheap, unmanaged switch. The cheap, unmanaged switch will have one port connected to the management port on my server, and the unmanaged switch will have another port connected to the Terminal Server. No ports will be connected directly to any of my switches. I will put my PC's second NIC, the TS, and the management port of my server, all on the same subnet to allow for out-of-band management of my lab, however I will ensure this is a separate subnet from my home office subnet (and my lab subnet(s)) so I keep the management traffic separate. I'll also have a trunked cable going between an ethernet port in my server, to FA0/1, on SW1 to trunk between the vSwitch and physical switches. And I'll have my Cisco switches connected to each other similar to INE's topology diagram.

    Assuming I got all of this right, my only question at this point, is regarding my TS. My question is regarding your comment "connect the Ethernet port of the TS, ALSO, to this NetGear". In my 2511 TS (I think it's 2511, might be 2509), I have an ethernet cable connected to "Console" on the TS, however the other end is a serial connector. This obviously won't work in this setup. I assume I can purchase a rollover cable with RJ45 ends on both sides, and plug one end into the Console port on my TS, and the other end into the cheap unmanaged switch? Hoping you can confirm this before I purchase what I need later today. It needs to be rollover, right?

    Thanks -- I really appreciate it.

  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Also found this rollover cable - will this work to plugin my TS console port into the unmanaged switch, which will then plugin to the powerline, to manage my TS from my PC?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Hey Chris.

    On points 1 + 2 yes, you are spot on there.

    On point 3: - Ah. The console port on the 2509 is so you can manage the 2509 itself. I would get a USB->Serial connector for that and hook that up to your ESX server.

    You should have an AUI port on the front of it - you need a AUI->Ethernet transceiver: -

    Genuine Allied Telesis Centre COM 210TS Twisted Pair Transceiver AUI TO RJ45 | eBay

    For example. This then gives you Ethernet from the TS so you can connect it to your network (i.e. the management network)

  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks Gore. Will do.

    So the purpose of connecting the ESX server to the TS server via a USB-to-Serial cable (USB end plugged into a USB port on the ESX server), is what? To allow me to assign an IP address to its' AUI port, so I can connect to it via its' management IP afterwards once I get the AUI-to-RJ45 setup and connected to the unmanaged switch? How would I connect to my TS through the ESX server? I'm used to connecting to the TS through my PC. I may not need to do this assuming my next point is accurate.

    Since my rack is currently in my office, and I already own a USB-to-serial adapter, can I connect my TS to my PC, assign it a management IP on its' AUI port, so I don't have to connect the USB-to-serial port to my ESX server? That way when I bring it to my garage, it's all ready to go once I purchase an AUI to RJ45 adapter and connect it to the unmanaged switch. I checked and I do have an AUI port on the back of my 2911 TS. I assume to assign an IP to its' AUI port, I just need to SSH in via a program such a Putty, and configure an IP on the AUI port? I've never used an AUI port so I'm just confirming.

    If I am misunderstanding anything here, please feel free to correct me.


  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    The purpose of connecting it in this manner is that so if you hose something totally via Ethernet - you've always got the console port to fall back on. You would connect both.

    You don't need to use the ESX server to connect to the TS server - you would manage ESX via vSphere on your desktop and manage the TS directly over the network with PuTTY. I never connect to my ESX server to do anything :)

    If you want to manage the TS over the console port from ESX - then you'd just share the port to a VM and manage it from that, i.e. I have a Windows Server VM with a USB->Serial port hanging out of the server, and then from the VM I can manage everything from that - maybe that's the approach you are after?
  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I don't want to manage anything from the ESX server -- similar to yourself. :) I want to manage everything from my PC.

    My question was:

    1. If I have my TS server's console port connected to a serial-to-USB cable, with the USB cable plugged into the ESX server (as you suggested), how do I manage it from my PC before I configure the Ethernet aspect? I understand I can manage it via Ethernet once I set that up, but I'm referring to managing it out-of-band in case I hose the Ethernet. You mentioned Putty -- I am probably missing something simple, but if the TS is connected to the SERVER via serial-to-USB (no ethernet at this point), how can I manage the TS server from my PC? Are you saying I can connect to the TS server's serial port, using Putty, from my PC? I've never tried that before so I just want to clarify this.

    You helped me with my main question -- the powerline. This is not a big deal. I really appreciate the advice. :)
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    My pleasure.

    Well in that case then you need a VM on your ESX server with the USB device shared to it - so you then connect to the VM (RDP if Windows for example) and then run Putty from there to connect to your TS. Though you could just configure it when it's next to your main PC first of course. My point was that later on, if you break the TS (though I never touch the config of mine) then you'd have to get it out of the rack in order to configure it again.

    Putty will let you use serial or telnet connections- I think I may have thrown too much information at you....

    If the serial port is wired to the ESX server, then you use Telnet from your PC to connect into the TS.
  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    When I get home I'll try to set this up real quick -- I'll probably know exactly what you mean once I get it setup and try it out.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Yeah - my point being that you can wire it up in many ways to manage it in the various formats.

    My 2511 in my rack is wired up to my ESX server in the way I suggested so it's my "last resort" to manage my rack from the ground up. I don't need it usually, but it's there in case.
  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    gorebrush wrote: »
    If the serial port is wired to the ESX server, then you use Telnet from your PC to connect into the TS.

    That last statement you made (which I quoted) is the one I did not fully understand. If I have the console serial cable from my Terminal Server 2511 connected to a serial-to-USB cable, which then plugs into a USB port on my ESX server, I do not understand how I can use Putty to control it from my PC at this point. Because Ethernet is not in the picture at this point, I cannot telnet into the TS (to my knowledge) from my PC because I can't assign an IP address to a console port. The only way I can see to be able to do this is to use the second idea of yours -- to launch a Windows VM from ESX with the USB port assigned to it, and Putty to it from there, selecting "Serial".

    I would prefer to use your method of simply using Putty on my PC, which is why I am trying to understand how to do that. Please note I am not talking about when Ethernet has been setup on the TS... I am aware I can use Putty to telnet into my TS once I've setup Ethernet. I would just like to know how to configure OOB management of my TS, from a separate room in my house, without having to spin up a new VM on the ESX server (if possible).

    Maybe I am mixing things up here -- you are saying I can connect the Terminal Server's console port into a USB port on my ESX server, and then somehow telnet into it from my PC BEFORE Ethernet has been configured on the TS (i.e. out of band management), right?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    OK - Sorry I think I have confused matters here.

    Let's say that we have your blank, new TS in your rack in the garage. Then yes, no Ethernet is configured at this point.

    You then need to connect the TS via the console port to your ESX server. I don't know how your ESX knowledge is - but I assume you know how to share a device to a VM and then you can use the VM to Putty (over serial) into the TS server. Once you've set the Ethernet port up, you then have the option of *both* methods to connect to the TS but personally, Telnetting from your PC is going to be faster. Serial ports are slow, by default at least.

    Without having the VM - then out of band management from your house is going to be difficult... no?
  • cwestmaccwestmac Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the clarification, much appreciated. I think I was just mixing up what you said. It sounded like you were saying I could either **initially** Putty in, OR start up a VM and share the USB drive. How I should have interpreted what you said, is that I can setup a new VM, share the USB port, Putty in via serial from the server, and then afterwards I can simply Putty in from my PC.

    I'm familiar enough with everything you mentioned to be able to set it up that way no problem -- it just sounded like you were saying I could Putty in from my PC right off the bat, with no Ethernet setup. My apologies -- I completely understand what I need to do here.

  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□

    It's how mine is wired up and I'm very pleased with it.
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