CCIE R&S Lab Equipment

Hi Bruce,

Do you mean something like the labs on or a CCIE lab book?



I originally meant the labs on GNS3vault. But now that you mention it, a CCIE lab workbook would be great!

Thank you.


Hello Rene,
Thanks for the great points. I believe that rack rentals are better and more efficient. Thanks


Hi Rene-

The thing about rack rentals is its hard to get the time that you’re available and have the most energy for studying. I’d hate to have to study after midnight or start at 4am. Is is it possible to get the same slot each and every time?

Hi Michael,

That can be an issue yes. The delay on the console could also be annoying sometimes. When a router/switch is sitting next to you, it’s very responsive…when it’s on the other side of the planet, not so much :slight_smile:

R&S rack rentals are very affordable nowadays so perhaps you could book them for 2x 4 hours or 2x 8 hours in a row.

Cisco VIRL is also a good alternative for CCIE R&S labs.


19 posts were merged into an existing topic: CCIE R&S Lab Equipment

Hi Rene,

Can you suggest the desktop requirement if I want to run CCIE lab ( from 20 to 30 routers) on ESXi and also on GNS3?
What is the recommended RAM size and hard disk space for a smooth performance on a desktop for the above purpose?
Also do we need a server for this or desktop is fine? Also please give any other recommendation if you have in mind when buying a new laptop specially for a CCIE lab preparation.


Hello Nanu,

If it’s for CCIE R&S preparation, I would highly recommend Cisco’s VIRL. You’ll have the latest IOS versions and it supports L2 switching, it’s similar to what is used in the lab. Cisco has a resource calculator for VIRL:

You will use the IOSv image most of the time, that’s the Cisco IOS router. Each router requires about 512MB of RAM so that’s ~10GB of RAM for 20 routers. They also recommend 6-7 CPU cores for this. My VIRL installation uses about 40GB of hard disk space.

I would recommend to run it in VMware, you could use VMware workstation on a desktop/laptop or ESXi on a server. If you only have one computer that you work on then VMware workstation is a good idea. You might want to use an SSD drive to speed things up a bit.

If you work from multiple locations, then it might be easier to use a server so that you can remotely access your VIRL setup.

I’m using an older HP Proliant DL360 G7 server with 64GB of RAM since I work from the office, home and sometimes on the road. These servers are very affordable nowadays, for example:

That’s a machine with 8 CPU cores and 32GB of RAM in total for $399, pretty good deal.


Hi Rene

Thanks for your sharing your experience about establish VIRL at server.
Also I prepare to make it since the I can do R&S lab test at anytime. Could you please suggest the best way or share your experience to remote the server at other location? Because my public ip is not fixed so cannot use it by remote desktop. Currently, the solution is install the teamviewer at server for remote control. Thank you.

Hi Tommy,

If you have a dynamic public IP address, you can still use port forwarding in combination with dynamic DNS. There are some free dynamic DNS providers like

You get a hostname and whenever your public IP address changes, it is updated automatically. There are clients for windows, linux, but most NASes and routers also support dynamic DNS.


“GNS3 does not support switches, only routers.”. Really?

Hello Jason.

Yes, this is true in its strictest sense. In other words, you can’t simulate a Cisco switch in the same way that you can do so with a Cisco router. So you can’t load a Catalyst 2960 in GNS3 like you would a Cisco 1941 ISR.

Having said that, you can however simulate advanced switching mechanisms in GNS3 using other options. These are described fully and in detail in the following GNS3 link:

I hope this has been helpful!


If this helps anyone, I have completely reconstructed a CCNP TSHOOT Lab which consists of quite a few devices using 5 real Cisco Switches and 4 NIC cards on one PC while mixing it all with GNS3 :slight_smile:

I was even able to write some simple pythonic script on a docker with a tftpd-hpa server configured on it. The script would have loaded a randomly selected configuration and run config replace on a specific device and than I would have tried to fix that :smiley:

It has allowed me to pass my CCNP TSHOOT exam within a week from my CCNP SWITCH and now I finally am CCNP :stuck_out_tongue:

The question is where to go next and even though I would love to do CCIE the price for the lab seems crazy, although it is not like it will take me 2 months to prepare for this and written exam price is much more affordable I think.

Was also thinking about SEC OPS/CCNA Security or CCNA Wireless studies as eventually I would love to land in security somewhere (at the moment still posting letters … really feel like I am wasting most of my day doing this).


p.s. I know this is a lot about a CCNP lab … although the idea can be applied to CCIE studies I guess in case if anyone want this option.

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Can someone help with the step by step process to setup GNS3

Hello Byron

The best place to get a detailed step by step set of instructions on how to set up GNS3 is from the GNS3 web site. They have an excellent document on how to achieve this,.

I hope this has been helpful!


How about using the Virl IOS Image with GNS3 IOU emulation?
I guess GNS3 IOU is more easy of use compare with VIRL and it seems like VIRL consumed more memory resources.
Please give me your though? Thnaks

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Hello Jiwon

VIRL uses embedded images to be used only with VIRL, and they’re delivered as part of the OVA in the OpenStack repository. Even so, some have found ways to download and use these IOS images. However, this use is prohibited based on the VIRL End User License Agreement. Specifically it states that:

The Customer is prohibited from: (a) copying the Software onto any public or distributed network; (b) using the Software to operate in or as a time-sharing, outsourcing, service bureau, application service provider or managed service provider environment; © using components of the Software independently; (d) changing any proprietary rights notices which appear in the Software; or (e) modifying the Software (except where and to the extent such prohibition is prohibited by law).

In general, both GNS3 and VIRL use a lot of resources. I have found however that GNS3 uses more resources as you increase the number of devices being run, while VIRL seems to have a somewhat constant use of resources regardless of whether your topology is small or large. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but just the experience I have from using them.

I hope this has been helpful!


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Hi, Laz.
I tested MPLS lab with GNS3 and had an issue, first lab can’t ping to
my question is, what is the best lab environment to do the lab from the topology?
should I purchase real gear but Rene does not recommended it, and my INE rack rental has lots of error.
so please give me the best option to finish all the lab from this site.
by the way, I have a 32g memory macbook pro, so I do not have issue to run the ios image.
Thank you.

Hello Jiwon

It really depends on your experience. Some people have used GNS3 and have not encountered problems. Others have found that there are many glitches. But experience aside, I believe that the solution with the the least number of problems is VIRL. This is because it is certified by Cisco, and if you do run into problems, you have support to help you resolve them. The only downside compared to GNS3 is that you require a subscription. But at a cost of just under $200 a year, I believe that it is a very reasonable price.

I hope this has been helpful!


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Hi, apologies if this has been discussed already, but I’m looking to setup a home lab for the v6.

I found the updated equipment list here, but wondering about the topologies, and if there is like a ‘base’ build topology which could be used for all the tech studies?

Reference link from here ->


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