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Darby Weaver

Super Labs of the Internet

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Super Labs of the Internet

 

Just a few pics of some of the largest and most elaborate labs I've seen to date. I heard that a CCIE named David Dai(Day)? also has a few interesting large/complex/impressive home lab however, I've not seen it yet and have no references to it.

 

I always found this kind of stuff inpiring a bit and I hope others find this at least interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most people know of Scott Morris and his home rack. Not everyone knows of Shane Edelman aka E-Shane. Shane's lab is actually my own inspiration and I've modeled a lot of my own racks from Shane's now non-existent rack. He dismantled it and sold it some years ago, however it is the most impressive in terms of labeling, documentation, and functional explanations. Shane was doing in 2001/2002 what others would not be doing few a few years or so and are still working to do today in many Campus/Enterprise Networks.

 

The only other networks I've seen that rival these towers of power are usually exclusive to training companies, academic institutions/programs, Cisco Networkers or other vendors' road shows, etc.

 

I'm sure there may be others with similar totem poles created to help CCIE's and other similar higher level techs reach their goals - it is just really hard to find them in the wild.

 

Anyway - I don't think anyone ever combined them all in one place on a single page. So take a peak - go to each site for more info on each lab and enjoy!

 

Be inspired! Remember the physical topology is only one vantage - once we get past the physical topology, then we have to look at what is or is not going on when we open the hood. That's when things get really fun and interesting.

 

I'm designing my own racks to meet my Enterprise planning and design goals as well as to help with my study of the technologies involved.

 

Others either did the same either before or after attaining the goal of the CCIE. Practice makes perfect.

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I also bought some of Shane's equipment back in about 2002/2003 or so when he sold it off. Ouch! I hated to see it go, but I've got some good experience as a result of it all. Thanks Shane!

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Why bother?

 

You can build a balls-to-the wall CCIE rack to the highest specs with c~15 devices.

 

Save the time money and environment and do it that way. Even major ISPs dont have labs of that magnitude. There is a reason why too.

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Too late - I'm committed to the task now.

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Umm... and you know all of this only leads me down the darker path of development...

Edited by Darby Weaver
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I really can't see the point. Isn't the whole idea to get more for less with less? I mean Virtualization and all that jazz?

 

Each to their own I guess. Whatever floats your boat.

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I like to keep things simple.

 

GNS3...ok, a few layer 2 issues, but I don't care because 90% of the R&S is layer 3.

 

I feel I can practice every tech in GNS3, am I right or wrong?

 

I feel a big real lab is a waste of money, time to setup and electrical power.

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That's my point a6 mate.

 

We are under constant pressure from men in grey suits that have these meeting in Europe to go Green. Cisco for that reason has invested in a "Green" technoogy. Why? So our kids still have IOS to play with in the future.

 

Building wall to wall of racks is just insensitive and goes against everything we should stand for. Total waste of resources.

Edited by ManishBehal
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That's my point a6 mate.

 

We are under constant pressure from men in grey suits that have these meeting in Europe to go Green. Cisco for that reason has invested in a "Green" technoogy. Why? So our kids still have IOS to play with in the future.

 

Building wall to wall of racks is just insensitive and goes against everything we should stand for. Total waste of resources.

 

 

 

Wow!

 

Sorry - I paid for it and I've got the need for it. I know some CCIE's who are great at builing and designing MS Exchange Servers and hooking them into Foundry gear...

 

That's not quite what I do for a living.

 

That mountain of gear I'm building represents what I do for a living and I'm expected to do it pretty decently.

 

There is some gear that that has not been virtualized yet and I have a few misconceptions I'm planning to get out in the open and put to the test with this little puppy.

 

Sure green is good - no argument here and maybe I'll wind up with VSphere and my VMWare Servers - the yellow google appliance that are connected to the Cisco MDS Switches which are connected to that SGI FC JBOD Array (the purple guy)...

 

However, I still need my racks. I paid for them on a CCNA/CCNP's wages/credit, and I pay for the lights to turn them on when I need them. That's as green as it gets for the time being.

 

I did not mean to be insensitive to the CCIE's of the world - I assure you of this.

 

My racks are my portfolio and are a symbol of my achievements and level of skill. Secondary to that, they are great for doing study or mock ups or even from time to time helping friends get over the hump.

 

I visited a mansion this past year - it was totally awesome... Lots of Rolls Royce cars in the garage and over $40 million were spent on recent renovations... Seemingly decadent for the deceased but the guy wanted these things and now he's gone... but his legacy is still alive. He worked hard to do what he wanted.

 

I'm not telling everyone to go out and buy a Data Center... Nope!

 

I'm doing my thing and I really like being able to share in detail what I've done, why I've done it, and what I earned from my experiences of doing it that way... Kinda hard to do when you are bound by NDA of the companies you work for sometimes.

 

And then... Then I have my own home network with things I can discuss and security - well that's me... If I disclose me network - it's up to me to defend and protect it too.

 

I love the video conferencing from the house... Priceless!

 

Not terribly hard but not everyone is doing it either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey some people have old Mustangs in the garage too... one piece at a time.

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I like to keep things simple.

 

GNS3...ok, a few layer 2 issues, but I don't care because 90% of the R&S is layer 3.

 

I feel I can practice every tech in GNS3, am I right or wrong?

 

I feel a big real lab is a waste of money, time to setup and electrical power.

 

 

 

Maybe every tech for R&S mostly... Not all the technologies I play with.

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I really can't see the point. Isn't the whole idea to get more for less with less? I mean Virtualization and all that jazz?

 

Each to their own I guess. Whatever floats your boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No argument - perhaps later - I've already prepared most of my Server Fleet for Virtualization.

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I also bought some of Shane's equipment back in about 2002/2003 or so when he sold it off. Ouch! I hated to see it go, but I've got some good experience as a result of it all. Thanks Shane!

 

Correction 2003/2004. I still have the PP transactions.

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Hi Darby

 

My input was no way meant as a criticism of your effords.

 

I meant it as a "what do I need to practice for the R&S" lab.

 

And, having done the basic training in GNS3, now I'm training on

hired racks. To have hands-on with real equipment.

 

I just don't want to waste time, space and electical power on doing home made labs.

 

Makes my focus easier, -just learn the damm technologies.

Edited by a61971
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I'm not saying I won't virtualize at some point. I very well may. It probably won't be with Dynamips as much as with VSphere. I do like some of the options presented by Dynamips/Dynagen/GNS3 and I like how they've made the IOS available to the masses.

 

However - my own plans linger around Enterprise Virtualization all the fruit loops that are wrapped up in that bag.

 

It may not be as obvious at the moment...

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the GSA's each is capable of handling up to 12GB for virtualized apps. That's 48GB fo starters. So I've already got an entire Voice Lab - think CCIE Voice worth of gear virtualized for one of the GSA's. There's more... there are still 3 more GSA's and any of the GSA can be multitasked easily. Each has 1TB Raid-5 and is interconnected to the SAN Fabric - Several more Terabytes of Storage for lots more options.

 

So I am thinking of the greener side of the Data Center...

 

I've gotten rid of all my larger gear for smaller gear and made great strides in this direction... so I'm getting there...

 

By the time I get all the power constraints under control it will be the eve of Winter Solstice in the year of 2012 and I'll probably be the last straw causing the End of Days... - Basically meaning I killed one transformer too many and popped my own grid and started some kind of domino effect...

 

One movie too many for me...

 

:)

 

I'm going to keep what I have for a bit.

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Hi Darby

 

My input was no way meant as a criticism of your effords.

 

I meant it as a "what do I need to practice for the R&S" lab.

 

And, having done the basic training in GNS3, now I'm training on

hired racks. To have hands-on with real equipment.

 

I just don't want to waste time, space and electical power on doing home made labs.

 

Makes my focus easier, -just learn the damm technologies.

 

I know what you mean. I was thinking about that last night. I've been upgrading so much IOS and selecting the "right" IOS for different purposes...

 

One of my major goals was not to have to ever have to throw around another ad hoc lab of misc gear ever again.

 

I waste a lot of time and resources keeping up with where I've stored the stuff in my house and whatever component I might need to buy to max it out or prepare it for a certain upgrade, or whatever else.

 

This is a huge drain sometimes. I had to get it together and finalize it.

 

I calculated my purchases for Books, Labs, and for Equipment last year alone... A hair under $18,000.00 and then add 1 CCIE Lab attempt + trip to Seattle.

 

It's a lot. I could have bought the wife a new kitchen.

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Almost forgot - I physically setup each rack deliberately to limit the amount of electrical power being drawn at any one time. Hey - I have to pay the bills for this stuff.

 

Example - My GSA Servers and the SAN will be up most of the time 24/7/365, however, the other racks are to be up as needed. No more 24x7x365.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small set of 1605/1721 Routers will be available most of the time for remote testing if I need to look at something - maybe I'll go Virtual with this at some point. Not right away.

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Something else to consider...

 

I'm putting myself out on the line a bit here to be under the public microscope and expose my flaws.

 

It's a bit of a risk or gamble in a sense. No one else has done it. Even most of the Cisco Design Docs do not always if ever mention the authors for whatever reason.

 

I am hoping to create the concept of the "portfolio" for the Network Architect and/or Engineer.

 

While I still seek certification as a means of pursuing professional education, I'm still of the mind that due to the current extreme conditions of the industry, that they are not as relevant as a benchmark and to be truthful may have never been in the first place, aside from to say that we at least have something to do to proclaim expertise and initiative in the workforce (there are those who do nothing).

 

At the same time I find it interesting that certifications are also the key to getting ahead in our industry despite all else that might be in the contrary. It's a paradox.

 

Well I gotta get some sleep and send some quality time this weekend getting things installed or else I'm going to have a hard time burning through a hell of a lot of labs this year.

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Maybe I was a little harsh. Sorry. I guess there are a (more) worse waste of resources out there than a few routers!!

 

If I gets you a pass, it's all worth it - Good luck mate :) Must admit though, does look dammed impressive.

Edited by ManishBehal
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Maybe I was a little harsh. Sorry. I guess there are a (more) worse waste of resources out there than a few routers!!

 

If I gets you a pass, it's all worth it - Good luck mate :) Must admit though, does look dammed impressive.

 

Thanks - It's a few tracks built into one set and doubles for large troubleshooting (30+ small routers) scenarios that my electrical outlets can safely handle on physical gear. Gotta admit 30 routers even on Dynamips might be tight.

 

I've not rules out Dynamips and a local friend of mine has offered to help me get a pod set up and tweaked so I am thinking about shaking the habit - to some degree.

 

I still have real life to consider as well. This is the hard part but if you look carefully I've shopped and re-shopped to be able to mimick my career on my racks.

 

Finally, I have an idea for a consultancy or service offering at some point in the future and this is a prototype for it as well. Or I may just sell the design for the working model - I'm not sure that will be feasible if I publicly publish the details.

 

However, a similar idea is in production and people do pay some pretty large numbers with a lot of zeros for one of the working designs that is somehow entangled in my racks... well a similar design concept - I know well the boundaries and am taking very careful measure to in no way infringe or step out of the generic spectrum. The same concept was in place for a non-profit that I had worked for in the past but of course is not a for-profit company and the whole idea has been discussed more times over the years. The idea is what matters most - not the hardware, not the software, and not the specific context. I'm skilled enough to take a technical concept to a practical implementation successfully and then build the infrastructure to support the design. This is the plan.

 

I'd have you know my design extends that concept by a few technologies and after the proof of concept has been tested will be quite fertile for a new vertical... No one like legal suites over non-competes or such matters.

 

However the highest level of the concept is not subject to such legal issues - and if one steers clear of the same vertical - then we never have to test such a matter legally.

 

Everyone is happy.

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It's been a while and I read this thread with a certain level of interest.

 

I'm moving around my racks again and it is quite the physical task all by itself.

 

I guess virtualization is great and I do virtualize to some degree but I still have the brick and mortar physical gear.

 

I'm still not a CCIE yet and it looks like I still owe another 1-2 or even 3+ years before I'll be of the caliber required to actually sit and pass the CCIE v4.0 (by then v5.0) version of the lab all by myself. I'm not everyone else and yes I estimate at least that long and it could be longer.

 

I am however well-qualified and quite able to plan, design, implement, and maintain greenfield sites like state of the art hospitals, co-located facilities that serve a lot of colleges, theme parks, entire public school districts, and the list goes on of networks for routing/switching, firewalls, VPNs, wireless, and even the entire server architecture not to mention poxy services, load balancing, and content switching...

 

Um... My current project is valued at about $30 million on the Cisco GPL and that's probably not too bad for a CCNP. My home lab gave me the confidence to help make sure I was qualified to pull it off and not hold my breath while doing it.

 

That's kind of kewl in a certain way.

 

But...

 

Still 1-2, or even 3+ years out before I'll be able to do all the thing currently asked in the CCIE v4.0 lab.

 

I'm guessing a lot of people just have me beat when it comes to this kind of thing.... maybe I'm just slow... as a crow flies.

 

Perhaps.

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My newest laptop has 16GB of DRAM and an I7 Processor with like 8 Cores... It's been a while for me since my A+ days but I think this is more than either dual or quad core processors... just a little.

 

I guess I can try to take Dynamips more seriously now.

 

I also have Packet Tracer and a couple of other simulators and I'm promised IOU access from Cisco in addition, to the access to the IOU I've paid for from the CLN.

 

I'm just kind of slow to get around to all these tools... I've used some of them a little up to now.

 

Still keeping my racks.

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16G RAM, 8cores? sounds nice. I'm just in middle of simulating a customer's migration from RIP to OSPF. I still managed to get 20 routers running on 4cores an 4Gig RAM :) the next task will be DMVPN and my guess is the IPSEC will sure have some hit on the CPU.

I don't want to know what you'll be able to run on that beast of yours...

Still adding ASA pretty much kills it for me :(

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All this virtual routing is still kinda new to me - I've thought about it, dismissed it, toyed with it, and then not had time to work it out.

 

Lots of excuses not to but mostly I never thought I had a box quite worthy of the experience.

 

Now with Dynamips for Routers, MPLS, and Wireshark capabilities... and Packet Tracer for diagramming and switching capabilities...

 

That's a lot of emulation and simulation possibilities.

 

I still need my gear at the house for failsafe, sanity checks, and some gear that is not emulated or simulated.

 

I just spent the night working with a friend as a consultant for an HP/ASA network and working out how to configure what was asked and then how to help him explain the design flaws to the bosses. It's harder cause he's new on the job and while I saw a pretty nice MDF/Data Center in terms of racks, switches, structured cabling, cooling, and enough power for twice the gear in the room (over 60+ servers)... I also saw netgear switches and HP is an upgrade for them... I suppose. Not my pick but... it wasn't my choice to make.

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What laptop is that? Dell? soon if I have some savings, I'll try to buy that kind... :)

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