If you do not have the money / space or desire to build yourself a CCIE Home lab, then the best way to get hands on lab experience is through a CCIE Rack Rental.
What is a Rack Rental?
Basically you pay a company who has a full rack for remote access for a set period of time. The benefits of rack rentals are you will get access to the latest hardware running all the correct images and don’t have to worry about electricity costs and cables, upgrading flash/dram etc.
The downside of rack rentals is you are locked in to a fixed time period i.e 5 hours where you have access to the rack and after that your session is terminated. This can be positive as you will then focus for that period of time knowing you only have so long, however it does tend to cut you off in your prime if you were just getting into a technology.
How do you connect to your rack?
Normally you will just telnet to the terminal server of your rack company which will give you access to all the devices. If you wish you can setup your own shortcuts to the routers and switches with details provided by the company.
How much do rack rentals cost?
Depending on the time of day and day of week the costs usually vary but can cost from $15 for 5 hours up to $50 for 5 hours. Some companies offer longer slots and you can also string the slots together if you require more time.
You have to decide if rack rentals are the way to go and do the maths / time calculation and see if it is going to work out better for you personally. With the advent of the CCIE Data Center rack access for that is going to be a requirement but not sure as yet who will be providing it?
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