How To Build a CCIE Rack for CCIE R&S v5
This document details INE’s reference topology used in our CCIE Routing & Switching v5 products, such as our CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Workbook and CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Advanced Technologies Class. Specifically this document outlines what you would need in order to build the topology on your own.
The topology can be built in a completely physical manner, a completely virtual manner, and a combination of both. Which option you choose depends on a number of factors, such as your budget, and space, power, & cooling limitations.
A full build of this topology consists of the following:
- QTY 20 IOS Routers running version 15.4S or 15.3T (virtual or physical)
- QTY 4 Catalyst IOS Switches running version 15.0SE (virtual or physical)
- Terminal Server / Access Server (optional)
- Remote Power Controllers (optional)
Physical & Virtual Wiring
Example topology wiring can be seen below when using a combination of virtual routers and physical switches, and when using a fully physical topology. For a fully physical topology a breakout switch is only required if you do not want to have to modify the initial configurations of SW1 in the INE workbook lab material.
Topology Example: Virtual Routers & Physical Switches
Topology Example: Physical Routers & Physical Switches
Physical Router Platforms
Below are some examples of potential platforms that can be used when building the topology with physical routers. Note that the IOS version and feature set is more important than the actual platform itself, and that either newer or older platforms could also be used.
Ideal platform - ISR G2 (1900/2900/3900)
The advantage of using ISR G2s is that 100% of all needed IOS features are supported when running IOS 15.3T Universal with feature sets IP Base, Data, & Security enabled. The disadvantage of this platform is generally the cost of the physical box plus full licensing is high, in addition to space, power, and cooling requirements.
Alternate platform - ISR G1 (1800/2800/3800)
The advantage of using ISR G1s is that the cost is generally lower than ISR G2. The disadvantage is that ISR G1 only officially supports up to IOS 15.1T with feature set Advanced Enterprise Services. Not all features tested on in CCIE RSv5 will be supported, but the vast majority will be. Space, power, and cooling requirements are still a large consideration with ISR G1, just as ISR G2.
Virtual Router Platforms
Below are some examples of potential platforms that can be used when building the topology with virtual routers.
Ideal platform – Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000v
The advantage of using the CSR1000v is that 99% of all needed IOS features are supported when running IOS XE 3.11S (15.4S) with premium feature set. The disadvantage is that CSR1000v has large CPU & RAM requirements, and that Serial links are not supported. If using CSR1000v it is highly recommended to run it on a dedicated baremetal Hypervisor (i.e. a native install of ESXi, KVM, or XenServer) as opposed to inside desktop virtualization software (e.g. VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation).
Alternate platform - GNS3 with 7200 series routers
The advantage of using GNS3 is that the CPU & RAM requirements are lower than CSR1000v, and that most features are supported when emulating 7200 series routers running IOS 15.2S with feature set Advanced Enterprise Services. The disadvantage is that GNS3 is not as stable as CSR1000v or physical platforms, and some features may be unsupported or have unpredictable results. IOU or IOL could also be used, but are outside the scope of this document.
Physical Switch Platforms
Below are some examples of physical switches that could be used to build the topology. Again note that the IOS version and feature set is more important than the actual platform itself, and that either newer or older platforms could also be used.
Ideal platform - Catalyst E or X (3560E/3560X/3750E/3750X)
The advantage of using Catalyst E or X is that 100% of all needed features are supported when running Catalyst IOS 15.0SE Universal with feature set IP Services. The disadvantage is generally the cost of the physical box plus full licensing is high.
Alternate platform - Non E/X Catalyst (3560/3560G/3750/3750G)
The advantage of using regular Catalyst switches is that their cost is generally much lower than E or X equivalents, while still supporting the vast majority of features needed. The disadvantage is that only platforms with 32MB Flash can run 15.0SE, and that platforms with 16MB Flash support only up to 12.2SE.
Virtual Switch Platforms – GNS3 with L2IOU
Switches can be emulated using L2IOU and GNS3, which is outside the scope of this document.
Terminal Server Platforms
A Terminal Server, sometimes called an Access Server or Console Server, can be used as a central point of management for the console sessions to any of the physical routers and switches in your lab build. A number of platforms could be used for this, such as:
- NM-16A or NM-32A modules in any modular router (2600/2800/3600/3800, etc.) with CAB-OCTAL-ASYNC cables.
- HWIC-16A or SM-32A in ISR G1 or ISR G2 with CAB-HD8-ASYNC cables.
- Non-Cisco solutions such as Opengear or Digi
Remote Power Controllers
A Remote Power Controller (RPC) can be used to remotely power-on, power-off, or reboot your equipment. These can be especially useful not only to save energy, but allow you to do remote password recovery if you get locked out of any of your devices. Make sure that the device matches your power specifications and your outlet types, as lots of variations exist. A number of vendors make RPC devices, such as: