CCIE RSv5 Equipment Build

1235720

Comments

  • I purchased a pre-built "workstation" on eBay for less than $900. Here are the specs:

    2x Quad core Xeons @ 3.14 Ghz (8 cores)

    64GB DDR2 RAM (expandable up to 128GB)

    2x Sata drives with RAID controller

    2x Gig nics

    nVidia Quadro FX 4600 Graphic Card  (not that I really care about the video card anyway)

     

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/380797319099?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

    I don't need a rack as this is a workstation. This has turned out to be very convenient for me.

     

    Have you successfully installed ESXi 5.5 on this system?

  • Yes, mine is running ESXi 5.5.

    By default it has virtualization disabled in the BIOS and I ran into some issues because of this at the beginning. Make sure you go into the BIOS and enable all virtualization enabled settings before proceeding with the install. 

     

  • So Brian and Plucena, are you both running ESXI in the native/barebones mode? You don't have an os underneath ESXI? 

  • I've done both. Currently its a native install of ESXi 5.5. However, I have run ESXi as a VM running on Vmware workstation on Windows (its like inception of virtualization! =) ).

    If you want to run the CSR using this "extra nested" virtualization then you have to make sure your CPU supports Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) or the equivalent. CSR is a x64 VM, so some CPUs wont allow you to run x64 vm inside of a virtualized ESXi host. Talk about extra overhead...

    The other benefit of running it directly on ESXi is that configuring the vSwitch is easier. You dont have to worry about mapping vNics of workstation/fusion into vNics of ESXi. Instead you just use the physical interfaces of your server. 

    If you want to do just a quick proof of concept lab with 3-4 CSRs then running ESXi as a VM is doable. But if you are looking at building a full blown CCIE rack lab then I would suggest going with a native install. 

     

  • So Brian and Plucena, are you both running ESXI in the native/barebones mode? You don't have an os underneath ESXI? 

    You'd pretty much have to build it as a dedicated machine.  You don't want to run it inside another OS, as it just adds overhead without adding any additional features.

  • That's one way to do it. I have a Dell C1100 with 24 GB RAM and 2 Xeon Processors. I installed ESXI but had issues so I rolled back to Windows 7 Pro and use VMware workstation and ESXi 5.5 and vSphere to launch CSR1000v's. I successfully connected the CSR and 7206VXR with a cloud in GNS3 and formed and EIGRP neighborship. Honestly whatever you have to do to get it to work is just that, get it working. From chewing through IOS 15.3 docs for the past 5 months, there is about 25 things that 15.3 does that 15.2 doesn't, give or take a few.  I have 20 7200s runnig 15.2(4)M2 with no trouble in GNS3. I am able to dot1q trunk from my server to my switches and have no issues with it. I'm just really looking forward to the v5 workbook relaase, and the videos of course but I can be patient [;)]!!!

    Brian is partially right, no real benefit to running a hypervisor on top of an existing OS. But it still works lol!

    HTH

    Rob

  • Hi Brian,

    I'm using a machine with an Intel Core i5-3570 processor, 32 GB of RAM and and two Intel PRO/1000 CT NICs. On this machine I'm running VMware ESXi 5.1 with 20 * Cisco CSR1000V and a Windows 7 Pro x64 machine for wireshark captures. It's running quite good as long as you don't boot up all the CSR1000v all together. I't using about 55% of my CPU and 24GB of RAM.

    I'm almost completed my CCNP, I only need to do my exam for TSHOOT. After that I'm going to start with the new materials for CCIE you're releasing. Do you probably have some good tips about the configuration management in the lab? I'm looking for a way to automate my config backups in my lab envoirement.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Did you build the system from scratch or custom configured a branded PC?? and how much did it cost?

     

    Regards,

    Vikrant

  • Did you build the system from scratch or custom configured a branded PC?? and how much did it cost?

     

    Regards,

    Vikrant

    I've build the system from scratch. It cost me around the 700 euro. Beside the earlier mentioned configuration I've used a gigabyte motherboard and a seagate 2 TB harddisk.

  • Hi Brian,

    I'm using a machine with an Intel Core i5-3570 processor, 32 GB of RAM and and two Intel PRO/1000 CT NICs. On this machine I'm running VMware ESXi 5.1 with 20 * Cisco CSR1000V and a Windows 7 Pro x64 machine for wireshark captures. It's running quite good as long as you don't boot up all the CSR1000v all together. I't using about 55% of my CPU and 24GB of RAM.

    I'm almost completed my CCNP, I only need to do my exam for TSHOOT. After that I'm going to start with the new materials for CCIE you're releasing. Do you probably have some good tips about the configuration management in the lab? I'm looking for a way to automate my config backups in my lab envoirement.

    Thanks a lot.

    Since you already have a Windows VM in the environment, your easiest way is going to be to do TFTP backups, and use config replace.  You can say something like this:

     

    Router#config replace tftp://10.0.0.100/ipsec.vpn.cfg
    This will apply all necessary additions and deletions
    to replace the current running configuration with the
    contents of the specified configuration file, which is
    assumed to be a complete configuration, not a partial
    configuration. Enter Y if you are sure you want to proceed. ? [no]: y
    Loading ipsec.vpn.cfg from 10.0.0.100 (via GigabitEthernet1): !
    [OK - 1474 bytes]

    Loading ipsec.vpn.cfg from 10.0.0.100 (via GigabitEthernet1): !
    [OK - 1474 bytes]

    Total number of passes: 1
    Rollback Done

    R3#
    *Apr 30 19:20:25.741: Rollback:Acquired Configuration lock.
    R3#
    %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface Loopback0, changed state to up
    R3#
    %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface Loopback0, changed state to up
    R3#

     

  • I was thinking about building a system myself, but looking at some of the posts here i noted it would be cheaper to go with a used workstation. Thanks for you post though as its nice to know all the options. :)

  • Hi Brian,

    I'm using a machine with an Intel Core i5-3570 processor, 32 GB of RAM and and two Intel PRO/1000 CT NICs. On this machine I'm running VMware ESXi 5.1 with 20 * Cisco CSR1000V and a Windows 7 Pro x64 machine for wireshark captures. It's running quite good as long as you don't boot up all the CSR1000v all together. I't using about 55% of my CPU and 24GB of RAM.

    I'm almost completed my CCNP, I only need to do my exam for TSHOOT. After that I'm going to start with the new materials for CCIE you're releasing. Do you probably have some good tips about the configuration management in the lab? I'm looking for a way to automate my config backups in my lab envoirement.

    Thanks a lot.

    Since you already have a Windows VM in the environment, your easiest way is going to be to do TFTP backups, and use config replace.  You can say something like this:

     

    Router#config replace tftp://10.0.0.100/ipsec.vpn.cfg
    This will apply all necessary additions and deletions
    to replace the current running configuration with the
    contents of the specified configuration file, which is
    assumed to be a complete configuration, not a partial
    configuration. Enter Y if you are sure you want to proceed. ? [no]: y
    Loading ipsec.vpn.cfg from 10.0.0.100 (via GigabitEthernet1): !
    [OK - 1474 bytes]

    Loading ipsec.vpn.cfg from 10.0.0.100 (via GigabitEthernet1): !
    [OK - 1474 bytes]

    Total number of passes: 1
    Rollback Done

    R3#
    *Apr 30 19:20:25.741: Rollback:Acquired Configuration lock.
    R3#
    %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface Loopback0, changed state to up
    R3#
    %LINK-3-UPDOWN: Interface Loopback0, changed state to up
    R3#

     

    Thank you Brian. As I understand from you're answer the windows PC will be available throughout the labs in the new workbook? Is this also the way you are using it in the rack rentals or is this a different method?

  • I was thinking about building a system myself, but looking at some of the posts here i noted it would be cheaper to go with a used workstation. Thanks for you post though as its nice to know all the options. :)

    Ofcourse it's always to good to look at all the options. I'm very happy with my system and it's running very stable. I've used this system before to get my VMware VCP certification, so I already had it before I build it for CCIE.

  • Thank you Brian. As I understand from you're answer the windows PC will be available throughout the labs in the new workbook? Is this also the way you are using it in the rack rentals or is this a different method?

    Well we have a separate custom written automation system to deal with intial config loads and saves.  But in your case if it's your own internal environment then you can put the windows VM wherever you want.

  • So how does the running config get saved if you're running 20 CSRs in ESX? Do you copy and paste into notepad.... seems a bit lengthy to save the config like that ... Rack rentals will be calling my name during prep, I've looked but can't find a way to buy them, how can I buy more rack rental tokens... I only have 400.

  • Bryan, I have access to plenty of 2801 Routers. According to Cisco Feature Navigator it only goes up to 15.2GC (which I only have 15.1T). Would that router be suitable for a traditional lab & the new workbooks? 

  • So how does the running config get saved if you're running 20 CSRs in ESX? Do you copy and paste into notepad.... seems a bit lengthy to save the config like that ... Rack rentals will be calling my name during prep, I've looked but can't find a way to buy them, how can I buy more rack rental tokens... I only have 400.

    The routers still have NVRAM.  When you save the config it writes it to the datastore disk.  So if the router reboots you still retain the config.  Otherwise you can use TFTP/FTP to backup your configs, or just copy and paste them like any other routers.  With CSR1000v you could also use the REST API, but you'd have to write something to interact with it.

    The easiest way by far to support these labs will be to use rack rentals.  You of course can build your own physical or virtual topology, but both of these take considerable time to build.  You might save some money in the long run doing the build yourself but you'll never get that time back.  You can always make more money but you can't make more time ;)

     

  • Bryan, I have access to plenty of 2801 Routers. According to Cisco Feature Navigator it only goes up to 15.2GC (which I only have 15.1T). Would that router be suitable for a traditional lab & the new workbooks? 

    You'll be able to do most of the tasks in 15.1T but not all of them.  If you already have the boxes then I would just use those.

  • Bryan, I have access to plenty of 2801 Routers. According to Cisco Feature Navigator it only goes up to 15.2GC (which I only have 15.1T). Would that router be suitable for a traditional lab & the new workbooks? 

     

    There is actually a special release of 15.3 for ISR G1 platforms (1800, 2800, 3800). Its a special engineering image for LISP, 15.3(3)XB12. I currently run this in my home 1841. This image is also supported for the 7200, which you can use in GNS3. 

     

     

     

  • I am guessing you have to request the 15.3 release from TAC

  • I am guessing you have to request the 15.3 release from TAC

    No, you don't. You just need a service contract and you can download it. Here is the link:

    http://software.cisco.com/download/special/release.html?config=24c1f36de0333113c51085c38cb857b1

     

     

     

     

  • I tried to down load that special 15.3 image and you need more than CCO registered guest like I have. If it was available to download without having a service contract I would totally get it. I have 15.2(4)M2 advanced enterprise for 7200 in GNS3 running fine. For now I'm fine with 15.2 but eventually I will have to get racktime with 15.3 before I hit the lab. FYI, CCIE v5 written is available to be taken in the Milwaukee, WI area. My company is paying for it. 
    On Thursday, May 1, 2014 12:47 PM, webman <[email protected]> wrote:
    I am guessing you have to request the 15.3 release from TAC



    INE - The Industry Leader in CCIE Preparation


    http://www.INE.com





  • I have a support contract but 15.3 does not show up in the 1800 series.  Latest is 15.1



  • Ahh, hidden link.  Got it,
    thanks






    image

    May 1, 2014 at
    1:03 PM

    I am guessing you have to request the 15.3 release from TAC

    No, you don't. You just need a service contract and you can
    download it. Here is the link:

    http://software.cisco.com/download/special/release.html?config=24c1f36de0333113c51085c38cb857b1

     

     

     

     







    INE - The Industry Leader in CCIE Preparation



    http://www.INE.com





  • Hi,

    I downloaded the c1841-adventerprisek9-mz.153-3.XB12.bin.

    The note say: "These release notes are based on Cisco IOS Release 15.3M&T and are updated as needed"

    http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/ios/15_3m_and_t/release/notes/153xbrn.html

    I tried to compare this image in Cisco Feature Navigator, but it does not recognize this image.

    Let's see if this image supports ALL features required for R&Sv5.

  • I tried to compare this image in Cisco Feature Navigator, but it does not recognize this image.

    Like I mentioned earlier, this is a special engineering image that was released with new LISP features a few months ago. It will most likely never make it into the feature navigator.

  • I just stood up my ESXi 5.0 update 3

    20 CSRs (minimal setting 2.5gb 1vCPU) on

    HP DL360 G5

    4x3.0Ghz Cores

    32Gb RAM

    10k scsi array

     

    After they all start(takes a while) it idles at

    7.2/12Ghz

    20/32GB

    I havent had the chance to program much into them except Hostnames so far.  I wonder how much the labbing would bring it up, i doupt it will cap it out. So sounds like

     

    HP DL360 G5 is a go!

     EDIT: U can prob pick one up for 400-500 on ebay

     

  • I have a DL380 G5 with 20GB of Ram. I can get about 10 CSRs + a small mgmt VM in the memory.

    The memory usage seems so far to be a little unpredictable, sometimes they sit at 2GB memory, other times 900MB even though they are idle, or have minimal config. I've had the memory usage up to ~19GB with 10CSRs so want to avoid oversubscription problems.

    I also have a DL360 G6, again with 20GB and it runs fine and also has slightly better processors than the G5. These seem very cheap (one I was watching went for £183) on ebay to pick up used. These have more slots for memory, so you could either save some money by using the cheaper smaller capacity dimms, or use the 16GB dimms and create something with 100+GB!

     

     

  •  

    Id love to know what tasks we wont be able to do.  There doesnt appear to be anything on the blueprint that 15.1(4) cant do?  I've already labbed dmvpn/bfd/named eigrp/ipsec vti's on this code.

  • I know eigrp frr, ospf lfa eigrp add path wont work on 7200 15.2(4). I havent tried dmvpn yet. I am also curiius to see what tasks i wont be able to do in the workbooks, i know brian will be using 15.4 code on csrs. Beyond that im not sure. Cisco fn wasnt very helpful discerning between 2900 & 15.3 code to 7200 & 15.2 code. Hopefully i have no issues.


    Sent from my Cricket smartphone


    -------- Original message --------
    From: ukwill
    Date:05/02/2014 11:40 AM (GMT-06:00)
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Re: [hardware] CCIE RSv5 Equipment Build

     

    Id love to know what tasks we wont be able to do.  There doesnt appear to be anything on the blueprint that 15.1(4) cant do?  I've already labbed dmvpn/bfd/named eigrp/ipsec vti's on this code.




    INE - The Industry Leader in CCIE Preparation


    http://www.INE.com



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