I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile now. I have an extremely wonderful wife, who let me purchase and install the 45U rack pictured here a few weeks ago. What’s more, she let me set it up in an easily-accessible location in the bedroom (we currently live in a very small house). She also purchased for me the 48-port terminal server sitting atop the rack (more on that with the next entry).
The rack has made my life a lot easier with regards to space and organization. On top is a cheap 8-port gigabit switch piping in the Internet from a different room. Next is the terminal server, my CCNP Switch lab (four 3550s and four 2950s), a place for a monitor (that I am currently using elsewhere until my laptop is returned from RMA), a 3725 router, another 2950 switch, wireless printer, and finally, the storage/lab server, which contains the household media in a RAID-5-like Windows 8 Storage Spaces setup, a VM running FreeNAS with a dedicated hard drive for network-wide Apple Time Machine backups, and my other VMs and GNS3 labs which connect to the switches via two USB Ethernet adapters.
I’ve decided to pause studying specifically for the ROUTE exam for a short period of time. Once you get past the initial EIGRP and OSPF topics, which really just feel like an extension of the material covered in the CCNA, the subject material becomes quite a bit more difficult to grasp. The concepts really are no problem for me, its the memorization of the commands. I believe the reason behind that is due to the fact that I have not been exposed to a large corporate network where these types of technologies (multi-homed BGP connections and policy-based routing, etc) are being used. This means I need to spend some more time creating and running GNS3 labs.
I began studying for the SWITCH exam (and posted my notes), and found most of the material much easier. I had every intention of continuing direct study to take the exam, but an opportunity presented itself for a possible career move involving network design, but requiring CCNA Voice-level knowledge. It then occurred to me that it really wouldn’t hurt to possess that knowledge anyway, since more and more businesses are moving to VoIP. So far, I’ve found the first quarter of the course to be very interesting, and the rest very boring.