Monday, August 18, 2008

My Home Lab

I thought I would share my thoughts on my home lab. I’ll use this post to discuss my current and future software and hardware plans. I will avoid debating and discussing the pros and cons of building a home lab versus renting lab time. Building a home lab can be a significant financial investment; indeed over the past five+ years I have spent over $20K on equipment. However, for me, making the investment made good business sense; I’ve made what I’ve feel is a good return on my investment. Finally, since at least 50% of that investment was made for my R/S attempt, I already feel I am in a very good position to augment my equipment for a CCIE Voice.

Below is a logical diagram of my lab. For routing and switching, I own four (4) 2801 ISRs and three (3) 2811 ISRs. Please refer to the info below for cards, memory, and DSP resources; items italicized in red are devices that I plan to add to my lab in the relative near future. One of the 2811s functions as both an Access Server for reverse telnet to the console ports, as well as a frame relay switch. I also have a Catalyst 3750-24PS switch. For PSTN simulation, I have a first generation Adtran Atlas 550 with four PRI ports and 8-ports of FXS. Finally, I have a handful of analog phones, two (2) 7962Gs and two (2) 7942Gs.

I also own three servers: one DL320 G2 with two 250GB HDs and 4GB of memory; a DL320 G3 with two 750GB HDs and 4GB of memory; and a MCS7816 with two 160GB HDs. My plan for these is to install VMWare ESX on each, and then build out everything in virtual machines. This will make restoring configs very efficient and easy. Thus far I’ve gotten ESX to install and work on the DL320 G3. Next I will see how the install goes on the G2, and finally the MCS7816 (which is essentially a DL320 G5 with Celeron, if my research is correct).


  • R1 (2811): 256D, 128F, PVDM2-32, VIC2-2FXO, VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1, (2) WIC-2T, AIM-CUE, NME-16ES-1G-P
  • R2 (2811): 256D, 128F, PVDM2-32, VIC2-2FXO, VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1, (2) WIC-2T
  • R3 (2801): 384D, 128F, PVDM2-32, VIC2-2FXO, VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1, WIC-2T, WIC-2A/S
  • R4 (2801): 384D, 128F, PVDM2-32, VIC2-2FXO, VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1, WIC-2T, WIC-2A/S
  • R5 (2801): 384D, 128F PVDM2-16, VIC2-2FXS, VIC2-2FXO, (2) WIC-2T
  • R6 (2801): 384D, 128F PVDM2-16, VIC2-2FXS, VIC2-2FXO, (2) WIC-2T
  • R7 (2811): 256D, 64F, (3) WIC-2T, NM-16A
  • DL320-G2: 4GB Memory, 2 x 250GB HD, VMware-ESX (planned) for AD & Exchange Server
  • DL320-G3: 4GB Memory, 2 x 750GB HD, VMware-ESX for UC Managers, UCCX
  • MC7816: 2GB Memory, 2 x 160GB HD, VMware-ESX (planned) for Unity, MPE

I can access my lab remotely via VPN over a PIX501 that is connected to my Comcast Cable Modem. It appears that Comcast rarely if ever changes their customers' IP; I've had the same one for over a year. Once I VPN in, I have to APC SNMP enabled power strips (AP9225 and AP9211). These are awesome for remote power management, although I probably scare the heck of out of my dog when I turn my lab on remotely.


Anonymous said...

Hi mate,
Very interesting and informational blog you have. I am just wondering as how you switch on the actual call manager server with your Adtran AP9225. I have a MCS convergence server, but I have to manually press the power button on the server to switch it on. I will really appreciate if you can let me know as how you do that. This will save me a hell lot of time and will be really convinient for me.

Thanks and keep writing.

Mark G. Reyero said...

I am running everything on VMware. Basically, I telnet to my APC AP9225 to remotely manage the power. The server automatically boots (modify a BIOS setting in the DL320). Once VMware boots, I use the VMware Infrastructure Client to turn on the VMs I need.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

Nice blog, just wondering how much power does your lab consume? do you let it run 24/7 or only when you are doing your labs etc?


Mark G. Reyero said...

No, I do not leave my lab running 24/7 - too expensive! I have everything plugged into two APC Managed Power Strips. I can then either use my web browser or telnet to turn on each power port.