A lot of my day to day work consists on managing and implementing firewalls primarily Check Point and configuring Cisco/ProCurve switches. When it comes testing new Check Point features/blades (Identity Awareness, Mobile Access etc) in the lab I use Oracle VirtualBox and build a virtual machine using the 15 trial license. Where I cannot run a virtual machine I have purchased hardware, over the years I have a gathered a vast collection of hardware from multiple vendors including Juniper Netscreen 5GT firewall, Cisco PIX 501 / ASA 5505 firewalls, HP ProCurve 2610-48 switches as well as a number of Cisco switches (2960, 3550, 3560) and routers (871W and 2600). Having now decided I should start studying for the Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching certification I went through my home lab and ripped out the kit that isn’t up to scratch.
For the Cisco 642-813 SWITCH (Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks) exam I have 2 x 3560-8 switches running IP Services 12-55.56 IOS and 2 x 2960-24 switches running LAN Base 122-53 IOS.
For the Cisco 642-902 ROUTE (Implementing Cisco IP Routing) exam I will use GNS3 running inside a virtual machine. I have a Shuttle XPC SH55J2 computer with an Intel Core i5 processor and 12Gb RAM with 2 x Intel Dual NIC cards with which I can directly connect into the physical Cisco switches in my lab. The great thing about running VirtualBox virtual machines in my lab is I can also run Windows Servers when it comes to configuring authenticating users/computers with 802.1x etc.
In envisage more posts relating to my CCNP studies soon!