Building home lab

binaticalbinatical Member Posts: 52 ■■□□□□□□□□
I passed the CCNA collaboration last month, is it wise to build a CCIE home lab now and go for the CCNP or by the time I finish the CCNP could all the gear be outdated? I'm unsure of where to go from here?


  • clarsonclarson Member Posts: 903 ■■■■□□□□□□
    a ccie lab takes about twice as much hardware as you need for a ccnp lab. So, all that extra hardware is just going to be depreciating till you start using it. So, I'd just buy the equipment that I would need for the ccnp. Then reassess when you get ready to lab for the ccie.
    And, I'd be keeping an eye on improvements to virtual tools. The virtual tools might be a better/cheaper solution in the future.
  • negru_tudornegru_tudor Senior Member Member Posts: 473 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You're better off buying a VIRL license from CISCO. You can pretty much lab everything you want in it or you can use GNS3 as well (works just fine) or give this a try:
    2017-2018 goals:
    [X] CIPTV2 300-075
    [ ] SIP School SSCA
    [X] CCNP Switch 300-115 [X] CCNP Route 300-101 [X] CCNP Tshoot 300-135
    [ ] LPIC1-101 [ ] LPIC1-102 (wishful thinking)
  • mbarrettmbarrett Member Posts: 397 ■■■□□□□□□□
    It depends which track of CCIE, if you are doing R&S then VIRL is definitely a way to go. I'm doing Security in 2017, and a most of the lab I've found to be available on VIRL, except for maybe a couple things (wireless AP, switch, etc.) For collaboration track, you might end up having to get some things there is no virtual equivalent for. Your other option might be to rent some rack time online, depending what's available.
  • OctalDumpOctalDump Member Posts: 1,722
    It's extremely likely that gear you get for the CCNP now will not be what you want/need for the CCIE.

    For CCNP ROUTE exam, I'd suggest VIRL. For CCNP SWITCH exam, real equipment has its benefits (ASICs used for CEF). For the current iteration of CCNP SWITCH, you can get away with 2x 2960s and 2x 3560s running IPBASE 15.x. CCNP TSHOOT uses a combination, which you can do. However, you could get away with VIRL even for switching, as long as you are comfortable not to lab everything (technically, even the 3560s don't allow you to lab everything, but that extra little bit isn't really necessary).

    If you don't want to pay for VIRL, you could use GNS3.

    It depends also on which tracks you want to pursue. Currently, the trend is towards virtual labs, even most of wireless and voice can be virtualised.

    I think it's still useful to get hands on with the gear, particularly if you don't get the opportunity in your workplace to properly mess around with stuff. And there's hidden extra learning in setting up a physical lab, like learning to load IOS images via serial, factory reset gear, what cables or racks or WICs to buy, what gear has what features (and how to find that out), what the flashing lights mean, exactly how long it takes for a 2851 to generate a 2048 bit RSA key. Not necessarily stuff you need for exams, but very useful in the real world.
    2017 Goals - Something Cisco, Something Linux, Agile PM
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