CCIE Rack - Renting vs. Buying ?

Unanswered Question
Feb 21st, 2007

Hi all

As the new rack hardware is quite expensive I have e question: Which is better, to rent or to buy ?

-60 session of rack hours would be 1200USD

-a complete rack would cost me around 12000USD

Obviously the numbers are in favor of renting. Even if you resell the rack in 6-12 months you can't loose less that 1200 USD.

Now let's say you have 6 months of dedicated study. You are doing contracting and decide to take a 6 months break so you can fully use the 60 sessions or rack time you bought and achive your goal: the holly CCIE#.

Are there any problems/disadvantages in renting a rack ?

Thank you

Cristian

I have this problem too.
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jcrussell Wed, 02/21/2007 - 06:41

"Better" is subjective. What works for some people might not work for others.

I am renting rack time online, and I have built a rack at work. The one at work consists mainly of older routers and 3550s. I can practice most of what I need to do at work, and use the rack rentals for doing full scenarios and practicing the advanced stuff I can't to at work.

The benefit of having your own lab is that you can work whenever you want. I hate having to schedule rack time a month in advance. I have a CMS that allows me to telnet to the console port of each device at work. So at home I just VPN to work, and get to it.

Obviously, not everyone has 6 spare routers and 2 switches at work. So my situation might be unique. The point I am eventually getting at is that you need to decide what works best for you and do that. Do you have the "disposable" income to buy a rack? Does scheduling rack time annoy you? These are the kinds of questions you need to answer, IMHO.

cristip Wed, 02/21/2007 - 07:12

"Now let's say you have 6 months of dedicated study"..so I believe the scheduling won't bother me too much.

And yes ..if I find good reasons not to rent rack time (I don't know the disadvantages yet) I will find the money.

Thank you

tperrier Wed, 02/21/2007 - 07:53

> -a complete rack would cost me around 12000USD

No way! Well, if you buy new equipment, probably, but you can get a nice rack for much less when buying used stuff from eBay or other services. My rack consisting of 3 2500s (backbone routers, FR switch and terminal server), 4 2600s, 2 2600XMs, 2 3550s and 2 2950s cost me around 3500 EUR (all routers maxed out in RAM and flash). Ideally I'd replace the 2950s with two 3560s, which would add more than 1000 EUR to the total, but I decided I could make without them.

I don't expect to sell my rack for less than 2500 EUR when I'm finished with it (hopefully next month :), so the overall cost is quite acceptable.

For me, the comfort (except the noise :) of having a lab at home, which I can remotely use from work too, and which I can use at any time of day or night is priceless.

On the other hand, it takes time and patience to scour eBay for good deals; luckily I like that. Your mileage may vary...

cristip Wed, 02/21/2007 - 10:46

"it takes time and patience to scour eBay for good deals"

This is what I am afraid of.

I may have exagerated with 12000 but I believe that the depreciation of the equipment, the time spent to find "good deals" and evrything else costs more that 1200 spend for 60 sesions of rack time.

More than that businsess wise I believe you can write off right the way the 1200 expense if "you are incorporated" but you can not write off more than the standard depreciation for the rack you are buying.

ellis_b Wed, 02/21/2007 - 15:35

Cristian,

I think a combination of both would be good. There are a lot of technologies you can practice on a bunch of 2500 serious routers. How much can you afford to spend on a lab? If you can afford to purchase a complete lab for yourself, then by all means, go for it. Here's a sample home lab:

Three Cisco 2501 routers

One Cisco 2511 router (access server)

Three Cisco 2611 routers with modules

Two Cisco 3640 routers with modules

One Cisco 2522 router (frame switch)

Two 2610XM routers with modules

2x Catalyst 3550s (or 3560s)

serial/octal/rj45 cables

That will probably run anywhere from $6k-$8k and you can do pretty much everything that you should need to do. If you want to practice some four switch labs, rent a few sesions of rack time for that...

hth

Brad Ellis

CCIE#5796 (R&S / Security)

CCSI#30482

Network Learning Inc - A Cisco Sponsored Organization (SO)

YES! We take Cisco Learning credits!

[email protected]

http://www.ccbootcamp.com (Cisco Training and Advanced Technology Rental Racks)

http://www.routerie.com (Routing and Switching Forums)

http://www.securityie.com (Security Forums)

http://www.voiceie.com (Voice Forums)

Voice: 702-968-5100

FAX: 702-446-8012

cristip Thu, 02/22/2007 - 07:53

Hi Brad

Thank you for answering to my question.

My only concern is how much I can loose after I resell the devices.

What would be the disadvantage of working only with 2x3560/3550 instead of 4 ?

I already have 2x2600 (not the XM) I have the terminal server and the frame relay switch, I and a few 2500 (1E2S and 2E2S). I am positive I can practice some decent routing with them, I intended to build my own lab but..as the structure of the lab changed I had to review my plans and eventualy to change them.

Thnak you

Cristian

ellis_b Thu, 02/22/2007 - 10:17

Cristian,

There is not a hugh disadvantage to having 2 switches vs. 4. Try and get the 3560s vs. the 3550s. I think the 3560s will have a better resale value. Technical differences between the two devices are listed here:

http://www.ccbootcamp.com/tech-notes/3550vs3560.html

As far as the rest of your lab goes with concerns to resale value, it really depends on how long you have the lab for, and how much time passes until you resell it. If you want a few months from now, the prices wont change very much, however if you wait a few years from now, the prices will change significantly.

You'll want a couple of XM routers or ISR routers to practice some 12.4 enterprise features - the ISR routers will probably have a better resale value (IMHO).

thanks,

Brad Ellis

CCIE#5796 (R&S / Security)

CCSI#30482

Network Learning Inc - A Cisco Sponsored Organization (SO)

YES! We take Cisco Learning credits!

[email protected]

www.ccbootcamp.com (Cisco Training and Advanced Technology Rental Racks)

www.routerie.com (Routing and Switching Forums)

www.securityie.com (Security Forums)

www.voiceie.com (Voice Forums)

Voice: 702-968-5100

FAX: 702-446-8012

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