Here is part one of my “How to build a CCIE rack”.
Of course there are also some howto´s in the internet how to do it, but every howto is understood differently and maybe you like the way I did it :).
The “howto” consists of some parts because I do not have time to do the complete setup in one big part. Here they are:
Part 1 : Preparation and intention
Part 2a: Building the GNS3 server (Hardware)
Part 2b: Building the GNS3 Server (Software)
Part 3 : Building up the 4 switches and the server into the rack
Part 4 : Connecting the 4 switches to the server
Part 5a: Remote power switch
Part 5b: New 19″ case for the remote power switch
Part 6 : Building the GNS3 topology and configure the IdlePC values
Part 7 : Configure the serial lines and remote access to the server and the routers
Part 8 : Run the LAB
So first of all, like it is with many things in life, we need to know what we want to have!
My goals of setting up a rack/lab were the following:
– Although I have racktime at http://www.gradedlabs.com I wanted to have a own lab because sometimes the racks are booked out or sometime slots are not available
– you can just book one 6h block of labtime. So if you are learning a technology and want to tests a specific configurationyou have to pay for a whole 6h session
– I wanted to have the possibility to use traffic generating pcs and take a look what happens with real packets
So as you can see you are a lot more independent with an own lab. To the rented racks I have a RTT of 200msec, which is okay…but not as low like in my own LAN.
+++ positives +++
So here are the good things about an own LAB:
– independence (time and slot reservations)
– gaining hands-on experience
– learn about gns3/dynamips
– topology can be changed to whatever you want
– the possibility to build in real pcs/voip phones etc.
– the strange look in your friends faces saying “what the hell is this? are you sure this is legal?” 🙂
— negatives —
Here are the drawbacks of a LAB:
– it costs more or less money (depending on how big you want to set it up), but it costs money 🙂
– takes time to install
– requires some space in your room
– can usually not be deployed in your living room as it is noisy and heating up the room
– for comfort you would need a 19″ rack
– depending on how often you use it you thin that the electricity bill has been sent to the wrong receiver 🙂
– you got to keep the lab intact when using it
Here are the steps that I started with:
1. build the “what do I want-list”
2. build the “what do I need for that-list”
3. where to place
1) What do I want?
– 1x PC/server with enough power so simulate the INE.COM router-topology this can be found here -> http://www.ine.com/l/rs_rrhs
– 4x switches with console connection to them (each costs about 100$ at ebay)
2) What do I need for that?
– Components for the server (details for the server are covered later on). Recommendation for the server is a quad core with at least 4G of ram, at least 3xPCI slots and 4 USB ports) (about 550$)
– 4x usb to serial converters (to access the switches) (about 5$ each)
– 3x 4-port PCI LAN Adapters (to bridge the virtual router interfaces of GNS3 to the real switches) (about 50$ each)
– 1x 19″ rack (optional) (costs for that differ very much, I got one for free but if you buy one you probably need about 100-400$)
– 1x remote power switch (optional) (this one is covered in a part later on)
– 18x crossover cables (about 35$ at ebay)
– 12x straight trhrough cables (about 20$ at ebay)
– 4x Cisco console cable (some dollars at ebay, won´t be more than 15$)
3) Where to place?
– Well the answer for that question depends on your local environment. If you live alone you can put it in your living room or anywhere else. But always remember that the rack will warm up the room. In summer this can be really annoying! I have put mine in the basement. Cooling there is absolutely no problem and there is no noise for me. A drawback for this is just, that I need to implement remote administration which costs some dollars and some time. But if it works it is fine!
Noise here is a big topic…for one or two hours it can be okay but any longer its just killing your brain!
I have put all the hardware into a 19″ rack because it looks gook and everything is sorted
Here is a picture:
You can also give me feedback within the comments what your choice was and where you put it!