Two more Cisco 7204 VXRs Added to My Home Lab!

Cisco 7204 VXRs Last week, I was browsing eBay (as you do!), and noticed two Cisco 7204 VXR routers auctions which were about to end pretty soon, price was £0.99, and there were no bids! So, I figured I would go ahead and bid. To my surprise, I won both!

I managed to win one of them for £20, and the other for £0.99! £20.99 for two 7204 VXRs isn’t bad at all, just a quick search on eBay shows that the NPE-300s, which came with both routers, is generally selling for £30, so I’m quite pleased.

The I/O controllers (C7200-I/O) are a bit old, and use DB-25 connector for the console port and not the normal RJ-45 that most Cisco devices use. The I/O controller don’t have any Ethernet ports either, but I did get some FastEthernet modules with both routers. I will probably upgrade the I/O controllers to C7200-I/O-2FE/E some time this year, but for now, it’ll do. 🙂

I now have three 7204 VXRs in my rack, the first one I bought last year some time.

In the picture:

  • Top 7204 VXR has: NPE-225, 128MB RAM, C7200-I/O, Dual FastEthernet Module and an Enhanced ATM module (ATM PA-A3).
  • Middle 7204 VXR has: NPE-300 with 256MB RAM (if I remember correctly), C7200-I/O, Single EthernetModule, and an Enhanced ATM module (ATM PA-A3).
  • Bottom 7204 VXR has: NPE-300 with 256MB RAM (if I remember correctly), C7200-I/O-2FE/E, and an Enhanced ATM module (ATM PA-A3).

I’m not really sure if the Enhanced ATM modules will be of any use to me, as I don’t think it is possible to use them back-to-back (please correct me if I am wrong!). I do want to get a few Cisco PA-4T+ 4 Port Serial modules but that’s for later on.

My Goals for 2013: CCNP and RHCE?

I’ve been thinking about renewing my RHCE for quite sometime now, and completing my CCNP but I haven’t really got around to it, mainly due to the price of the exam being a little pricey (if I remember correctly!), but also due to not having enough time.

So for this year, I wanted to set a deadline for myself to complete them. With a deadline, it is easier to visualize and plan what to study and when, and allows you see your progress better.

So, my goal is to complete CCNP ideally by the end of May, or by the end of June at the latest. I think it should be possible! There are three parts to the CCNP: ROUTE, SWITCH, and TSHOOT. If I complete one per-month, it should be achievable!

Like most people, I am using the Cisco CCNP Routing and Switching Official Certification Library books as my study material, and highly recommend them.

On that note, I have added a “Home Lab” page where you can see pretty pictures of my rack, and my “CCNP Lab”. It’s nothing close to something as awesome as Scott Morris’ Lab, but it’s coming along! 😉

I have read that RedHat will be releasing RHEL7 in the second half of this year, so it is a perfect opportunity to renew my RHCE! My goal end date will depend on when RHEL7 will be released, and when the test centers are actually testing under RHEL7.

Hopefully this will be earlier into the second half of the year, so I have plenty of time to take the exam before the end of December!

Both CCNP and RHCE are great certifications, which are very highly regarded by employers and professionals.

A lot of people seem to think they don’t go well together, as RHCE is better for System Administrators and CCNP is more for Network Administrators, but I totally disagree since I feel that the lines between sysadmins and netadmins is very quickly disappearing thanks to virtualization and “cloud” technologies.

Cisco CCNP Lab Kit

Cisco CCNA Lab Kit

UPDATE: You can see the latest pictures of my home lab on my “Home Lab” page

As I have pretty much completed my studies for the Cisco CCNA exams, I decided I would build up my lab so I could “practice” for the Cisco CCNP exams. A lot of people recommend using a simulator/emulator such as Dynamips, but I don’t think that works out to be just as good as using real hardware but that’s a different matter. 🙂

I had originally bought my CCNA Lab Kit from the nice people at ITelligentsia so I decided I would buy the rest of my equipment from them as well.

My current lab consists of the following:

  • Cisco 1800 Series : 1x Cisco 1841 (I bought this separately from someone else)
  • Cisco 2600 Series: 1x Cisco 2610, 2x Cisco 2511XM, 1x Cisck 2621XM
  • Cisco 2500 Series: 2x Cisco 2501, 1x Cisck 2509
  • Cisco 1700 Series: 1x Cisco 1721 (I bought this separately from someone else)
  • Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series: 2x WS-C3550-24 SMI
  • Cisco Catalyst 2950 Series: 3x WS-C2950-12
  • Catalyst 2900 Series XL: 2x Cisco 2924XL
  • Cisco 2000 Series Wireless LAN Controller: AIR-WLC2006-K9
  • Cisco Aironet 1200 Series: Cisco Aironet 1231 (AIR-LAP1231G-E-K9)
  • 3x Cisco Unified IP Phone 7912G

Hopefully this will be enough to allow me to get going, although I REALLY need a new rack. My 24U rack is already full, so my UPS (4U), Server (4U) and new lab equipment are sitting on the floor, and being very difficult to get access to.

Hopefully I will be able to get two from work in March as we will be moving offices, and from what I can tell, they will be getting new server racks. 🙂

I also bought a UPS a few weeks ago, but I’ve had some trouble with it. The UPS is a PowerWare 5119 RM 3000VA UPS. I have connected a few of my routers to it, and left it charging for over 24 hours, but when I kill the power the UPS goes into a strange state in which it seems to keep switching on and off and lighting up random lights on the front. From Googling a bit, I found that I might need to change some settings using the management serial port. Unfortunately, the UPS does not use a “standard” serial pin out, so I will have to build a cable when I can. Hopefully I will be able to sort the issue, otherwise I will have to send it back to the place I bought it from for repair. 🙁