Worth it to purchase lab equipment vs online rack rental - CCIE Security lab

Unanswered Question
Sep 19th, 2010

Wanted to collect some thoughts on purchasing the recommended lab v3 equipment vs online rack rental.

Is it worth the investment?  Effectiveness of online CCIE rack rentals.  Pros, Cons Etc...

I have this problem too.
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henrygrant Mon, 09/20/2010 - 11:01

Charles - About 5 years ago I passed the CCNA test. At that time I purchased enough equipment on eBay to build up a suitable home lab. I since sold the equipment and recovered some of the costs. So, consider that option - i.e. selling your lab equipment after you pass the exam. My certification has since expired - and I am faced with yet another lab build-up. Again - this time I'll be purchasing used equipment online and building my own lab. I think the experience you gain from actually owning the gear is more valuable that just renting. Good luck to you in your certification endevor.

charradke Mon, 09/20/2010 - 17:14


Thanks for the advice.  I too feel that it is of great benefit to own and love some lab gear.  If money were no object, I'd already be playing with my CCIE rack.

The issue is that even on ebay, we're talking thousands of dollars (maybe 10k+ if you get absolutely everything).  Here is the equipment list for the V3 lab:

• Cisco 3800 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR)
• Cisco 1800 Series Integrated Services Routers (ISR)
• Cisco Catalyst 3560 Series Switches
• Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances
• Cisco IPS Series 4200 Intrusion Prevention System sensors
• Cisco Secure Access Control Server for Windows

Good luck on the re-cert! 

henrygrant Thu, 09/23/2010 - 05:44


Ok I missed the fact you are going for the CCIE. My experience is a little out-dated (5 years) and the for the CCNA. The equipment I used at that time was not the latest Cisco stuff and the IOS I was using in the switches and routers was a version or two behind - but it allowed me to practice all the functionality needed for the CCNA. So I was able to get away with some relatively cheap equipment - my total expenditure was around $1,000 including books.

Since the CCIE covers more advanced topics and requires more complete functional hands on capabilities, I suppose the equipment would be more expensive. So to your point - it may be more cost effective to rent time.

Best of luck on your CCIE.


charradke Mon, 09/20/2010 - 17:05

Awesome.  Thanks for the words of wisdom Todd.  Did you happen to try any of the other online rentals like IP expert?  Obviously the cost is a Pro for rack rental.  Do you have any Cons for going that route exclusively? 

You mention you used the INE materials.  Is that to say you used their training material?  If so, did you use anything else to supplement?   

I was thinking I might try to get a scaled down mini-lab to have for smaller scenarios.  e.g.  5510/05, 2811 and ACS perhaps an IPS module of some sort.  I really feel it would be beneficial to have these items at my disposal.  Does anyone have thoughts on whether it's better to have the full rack for everything of would it be beneficial to have a mini-lab and piece things together?    

Todd Pula Mon, 09/20/2010 - 08:31

For my lab prep, I used the Internetwork Expert materials.  At the time, it was more cost effective for me to rent rack time from them rather than trying to build out my own lab environment.  You can often times save a fair bit of money if you keep an eye on their weekly sales. I have seen rack credits sell for up to 50% off which is a significant savings.  I would suggest that you call the different rack rental providers to see who is willing to deal before going out an purchasing your own equipment.


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