Do you need a home lab for your ccie? This has been a topic. That's raged on for years and I've actually changed my opinion a little bit on it over the years. So I'm going to share with you some things: we're going to take a look at the blueprint and hopefully by the end of the article you'll, Feel good about whether or not you need to build out that lab or how you're going to build it out.

So I'm getting ahead of myself now, Let's jump right into it all right. So when we talk about specifically the ccie enterprise infrastructure certification. Now, Ultimately, The topic is route switch. This is the old route switch exam.

When I took it now, Let's jump into it. Let's go down here: let's go actually check out the lab, We're not worried about the written. It's pretty simple, Read a lot of books now, When we get to the lab, Though there here's a list of the topics. Now, Let's go through this. So first we have network infrastructure which you know if you go through here, We have vlan technologies, Ether channel spanning tree. This is all layer, Two stuff we get down here.

We have routing now the interesting thing so layer two for me. I'Ve always preferred physical devices for routing. We can do all of that virtually so, And we can do a lot of the layer two stuff virtually to some degree, But routing is really really easy to do virtually so I've always been a fan of that. We have eigrp ospf version, Two and three again: I've done lots in like gns3 or with ios v.

That kind of thing again bgp. You know nothing really crazy. There we get into sd access, We have some of the underlay stuff like lisp and vxlan and trustsec. You know a lot of this too. We have cisco ice and, Of course, The sd-wan stuff as well and most of the fc-wan stuff is virtual.

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Anyway, We have you, Know, V-edges and stuff like that that we can deploy now if we continue down, We have mplsdmvpn again, I did all of those virtualized when I was studying now we go down here. Network security. This is all again well, You know storm control, Vlan access control, List, 8021x, With ice stuff like that quality of service. That's a big one layer. 3 quality of service really really easy to do.

In a you know, Virtualized environment, Layer 2 a little bit harder in my opinion, I'm just not a fan of it all right. So that said, You know I kind of blazed through here, But let's get to it. So what do I think as far as lab? What's my opinion, After getting two ccies, I personally feel like the older version of the lab. You needed an absolute. You need a lab in your your office room.

Whatever the case is you need one? You need physical hardware in the newer version. You know in enterprise infrastructure and I say newer - it's been around a while, But I'm old in the newer version. I think you can get away with it completely in software, But I there's a caveat here. So I'm going to say it depends on your personality. So if you're, The kind of person that likes to tinker and doesn't mind tinkering around with software in different versions and getting things to work, Then absolutely do it all virtualized get a server with a bunch of ram deploy everything I just described with.

You know ios v and you've. You'Ve got a lab. You can do your virtual sd-wan, Edges and stuff like that, All in software there you go you're good now for me personally, The reason that I say if you are not the type of person that likes tinker, You just want to get right to studying and spend Your time on your lab, You should get a physical lab for as much as you can now.

It's not realistic to deploy that whole blueprint in hardware. I think these days it's gotten very, Very expensive to do that, But you can do that. So I guess just sharing my personal opinion on it when I was studying for my ccis for both the data center and the route switch or now enterprise infrastructure. The reason that I was you know really a big fan of hardware was that I had limited time. I had children at home, I'm married, I you know, I have obligations.

I have work right, So I didn't have a lot of time to play around with getting different versions of software working. So I wanted to just kind of be able to flip a switch literally and have my lab come up and console in and get started learning that was kind of my thought process and it worked out really well because I passed my route switch and data center On the first try now I guess to be fair. I was doing that stuff in my day job, But the point is it did work really well for me, So I guess the takeaway from this article is. If you are really into tinkering - and you don't mind - you know playing with software and getting things to work, Then yes do it all in software, For your cci, You will be successful.

It'll be great if you're not get a physical lab. The last thing, I'll add, Is that you know if you are into traveling a lot. So at the time when I was studying, I was traveling a lot for work. I actually did a hybrid, So I mentioned before I did a lot of stuff in software.

What I meant was that when I was on the road I would use gns3 to practice all of my routing, So I would do real heavy routing practice, Filtering bgp, That sort of thing, And when I was at home I would focus more on layer two, Because I had physical switches, So there's definitely a compromise. You can reach there, But anyway. I hope this article was helpful and I hope you go for it get your ccie.

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