How many switches do you need to perform the labs for CCNP SWITCH 642-813? At the last San Diego Cisco User Group, one of our members educated us on HSRP. As you know, you cannot emulate switches in GNS3.
Take a look at the image above. To get hands on with a HSRP, VRRP, and GLBP you need at least four switches. The distribution switches would have an L2 link for Hello messages and the access switches have a link to each distribution switch for redundancy. This topology would also help you understand how STP works when converging after a failure.
Which Switches Will I Need?
HSRP is supported on a Cisco 3550 and 3560. But to tackle the private VLAN topic you will need Cisco 3560s. At a minimum, I’d say you need two 3560s and two 3550s. This would be enough to create a lab to do the following:
- HSRP, VRRP, GLBP
- Spanning Tree
- Private VLANs
You can purchase 3550s on eBay for under $100. The 3560s, on the other hand, go between $250-$300 per switch.
Can’t Spring the Cash Right Now
Four switches will cost about $800 or so. That would definitely leave a hole in my wallet and one that my wife would not appreciate. Luckily, there are some cheaper alternatives:
- Proctor Labs – At $15 per session, this is a good alternative to lab out as needed.
- PacketLife Lab – A free community lab. At the time of this writing the lab is currently offline during a move.
- Cisco IOU Learning Labs – Straight from Cisco. You can purchase many hours of lab time. I haven’t used this yet but I will try it out very soon.
There are others out there if you do a simple search. So far I am liking Proctor Labs and will use them more frequently if I am in a bind for more hardware.
What’s in your lab?