lab equipment vs great notebook and gns3,dynamips

inscom.brigadeinscom.brigade Member Posts: 400 ■■■□□□□□□□
what do you guy think about lab gear these days, and what are you using? Notebooks, rack rental, own equipment?


  • RouterroninRouterronin Banned Posts: 76 ■■□□□□□□□□
    what do you guy think about lab gear these days, and what are you using? Notebooks, rack rental, own equipment?
    You can connect lab equipment with a gns3 topology. Its not an either/or kinda thing. Mixed works best for me.
  • inscom.brigadeinscom.brigade Member Posts: 400 ■■■□□□□□□□
    mix is cool yeah, I should have begun with, I do have all my same gear that brought me through ccnp certification. I guess what I need to find out is, whats my new budget. and what I need to put on my list. I do want an ASA 55xx, . and I would like a couple 28xx , and a 3570 that has sfp ports,,,. I just picked up a programmable APC 42u PSU. What are you guys liking for lab gear these days, I mean affordable , and the best bang for the buck.
  • 64:61:6e64:61:6e Member Posts: 63 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I use a home lab simply because I don't want to be tied to having a specific time slot for a rack rental. I like the flexibility of being able to lab something up and if I get pulled away, I can get back to it later exactly where I left off. I bought rack rental tokens from INE long ago but only used about 50 up to this point. I'm planning on using them for Mock Labs.
    CCIE-DC Written - Q1 2015
    CCIE-DC Lab - Q3/Q4 2015

  • FlyingputFlyingput Virtual USAMember Posts: 114 ■■■□□□□□□□
    used 28xx routers are dirty cheap on eBay now. Go grab them. I have my own home lab 24 x 7. I jumped on it whenever I got a new idea or found a possible mistake. Also I made my home lab pretty slow on purpose so everything was faster when I sit in the real lab, not like others complaining slowness, LOL
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Having tried GNS and IOU and really not feeling it for IE (GNS saw me through CCNP BSCI...) And having spent the last two days and a lot of money building my own lab - there is just no substitute for having real equipment. Period.

    While GNS suffices - the problems with Switching and instability just make it too much of a headache to earn a CCIE on, let alone learning the technologies intimately too
  • RouteMyPacketRouteMyPacket Member Posts: 1,104
    I just can't see leveraging GNS3 for IE studies...I absolutely hated GNS3 for NP Security scenarios. I had to go with real hardware personally.

    I would assume rack rentals or piecing together a rack at home would be ideal and not present you with bugs like GNS3 can/does.
    Modularity and Design Simplicity:

    Think of the 2:00 a.m. test—if you were awakened in the
    middle of the night because of a network problem and had to figure out the
    traffic flows in your network while you were half asleep, could you do it?
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    Well there are benefits and drawbacks to the "lab at home approach"

    * Can lab all day everyday if you like
    * Real hands on experience
    * Fun of building it!
    * Resale value (Can't sell used lab rental time!)
    * Introduces challenges you might not see with lab rental time - for example, I found two of my routers didn't have the right IOS on them to run IPv6 today. So, I learned again how to upgrade the IOS, and ended up stuck in ROMMON mode a few times - all good learning, and you'd not get that with a lab rental - it'll all have been setup for you..
    * Massive outlay (but offset with the resale value, you'd get most of it back)
    * Expensive to run (I'd imagine running 14 switches and routers won't be cheap, but again it is an investment)
    * Can be loud if you have to share a room with it
  • carterw65carterw65 Member Posts: 318 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Real gear is the way to go in my opinion. GNS3 has a purpose too though. If you travel or can't access your lab at home for whatever reason, GNS3 on a laptop might be the ticket to keep going and do some short scenarios.

    I started out with GNS3 then added real switches to it, but eventually broke down and bought the real stuff and don't regret it a bit.
  • gorebrushgorebrush Member Posts: 2,743 ■■■■■■■□□□
    GNS definitely has it's place. I was fiddling with some quick and dirty Frame Relay stuff earlier. It is a bit more convenient than trying to power equipment all the time.
  • EdTheLadEdTheLad Member Posts: 2,111 ■■■■□□□□□□
    My vote goes for a virtual lab, i use iou. It covers 95% of topics, for the last 5% i will use rack rental.
    At one time i had lots of routers and switches, then i moved to 4 switches connected to desktop with loads of nics, now i've got a sunblade 1500.
    I leave my workstation running 24/7, dont have to worry about power bills.
    Networking, sometimes i love it, mostly i hate it.Its all about the $$$$
  • down77down77 Member Posts: 1,009
    I used GNS with a breakout switch for a bit of my studies, but I also spent a bit of time using rack credits as well. If you are budget constrained you can use 3 x 3560 and 2 x 3550 switches and GNS for routing (3725 with 12.4 ios image).

    At some point though, make sure you practice on real gear.

    CCIE R&S lab – QinQ with virtual switch option - GNS3
    CCIE Sec: Starting Nov 11
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■■□
    The only "real gear" you need for CCIE is the 3560 switches. And those switches can be connected to your virtual lab. Does Dynamips have some quirks that need to be planned around? Yes. Is it still worth it? Yes. Now if it's true that the 28xx are super cheap on ebay now, that certainly helps. I'm seeing completed auctions in the $75 range which is really nice and hopefully not too much more for DRAM/WICs.

    Of course, the ability to have all of INE's base configurations saved into a topology file and loaded at will is not to be underestimated. :)
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
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