If you havn’t heard by now you should probably crawl out from under the rock you’re hiding. GNS3 1.0 is coming! And today marks their kickoff crowdhoster campaign. Basically GNS3 is offering package deals to get an early release to their software. For as low $5 you can have access to the new GNS3 software a year early! Personally I went with the Premium Package since GNS3 has provided me so much help ever since I began studying Cisco. So check out the link below and contribute to the software that we all know and love! GNS3 FIGHTING!!!
Our fantasy is finally becoming a reality! No more having to set up breakout switches or purchasing quad NICs for our PCs! We will all soon be able to run switching software inside GNs3! Not set to release till late 2014 this news is still very exciting to many Cisco certification candidates. Personally I have never relied on GNS3 for my labing since I have a home lab, but if this switching feature works well then I may have no choice but to switch over. GNS3 has been a life saver for me when I was studying for my Route exam at work. The convenience of the program can simply not be beat. Well I take that back since Cisco VIRL is also set to release soon
I do have plans to begin studies for my CCIE in the coming year so a feature like could save me a lot of money on home lab equipment. I have always been an advocate of having a home lab since it can teach you so much more than using an emulator. However I believe I am at a point where having physical gear really makes no difference to me. I understand the layer 1 aspects of routing/switching so there really is no other benefit to running a home lab when I could have it all virtualized.
Only time will tell though since it hasn’t been released yet. I signed up for the early release so hopefully I may get lucky and get to demo it out and make a final decision. My ultimate recommendation to new Cisco candidates going for CCNA is still to get a physical home lab. I truly believe that it teaches you things that you would otherwise miss out on. Below is a link to the GNS3 switching announcement.
So as many of you probably have already heard Cisco announced at Cisco Live that they will be releasing their own routing simulator called VIRL – Virtual Internet Routing Lab. Basically it is similar to GNS3 simulator, but offers a lot more flexibility in terms of what sorts of IOS you can run on it. The Cisco Virtual Platforms that will be supported are IOS, NX-OS, IOS XR, and IOS XE. You can imagine my excitement about this product because of my interest in data center and having Nexus equipment in my home is not very feasible. I was unable to find out if VIRL is going to support switching but I would assume that it would. At least I really really hope it does.
I do not want to speak to soon since VIRL has not been released yet but I think this may actually replace my home lab. This is hard to say since I have spent so much time and money on my home lab already, but it’s true. There really will not be a need for me to have expensive physical gear running in my home in order to get in some good lab sessions. I must say though I would still recommend new CCNA candidates to have a home lab. Getting just that little it of hands-on experience can go a long way. It sure helped me out a lot in my early days of studying. Plus its kind of nice to have a rack in your home. However now that I am getting deeper and deeper into my studies I came to the realization that I really will not need a home lab if VIRL lives up to its expectations. Release date I’ve heard is around January 2014.
Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches are the next generation of the world’s most widely deployed access switches, providing Layer 2 and Layer 3 access features. They are scalable to meet your growth needs, and smart with intelligent services.
Features and Capabilities
Designed for operational simplicity to lower TCO, this platform also offers superior security capabilities. The switches deliver best-in-class energy efficiency, while preserving your investments through mixed stacking with existing Catalyst 2960-S and SF switches.
Scalable and Resilient
Allows stacking of up to 8 switches and 80 Gbps bandwidth with the optional Cisco FlexStack+ module
Provides PoE and PoE+ support with up to 740 W of power (without an external power source)
Offers control plane redundancy across the switches in the stack
Provides redundant power supply for power resiliency
Built with true stacking — enables cross-stack QoS and cross-stack high availability
Built for network programmability — is ready for onePK and software-defined networking
Built for application visibility and control — NetFlow Lite prioritizes business applications
Built for Cisco Unified Access — offers one policy and centralized management
Automates software installation for zero-touch deployment with Smart Install
Automatically configures ports based on device type for rapid deployment with Auto Smart Ports
Offers proactive diagnostics and remediation of hardware and software issues with Smart Call Home
Uses standards-based 802.1X for port-based network access control
Helps enable scalable and dynamic role-based access control with Cisco TrustSec
Protects against IPv6 address theft and malicious attacks with IPv6 First Hop Security
Saves energy during off-hours with Cisco EnergyWise
Downlink hibernation mode puts the downlinks to sleep when not in use
Switch hibernation mode puts the switch to sleep, consuming less than 10 watts
Helps enable dynamic power savings on all switch ports with Energy Efficient Ethernet
Protect Your Investment
Can be stacked with Catalyst 2960-S and 2960-SF switches
Enhanced Limited Lifetime Warranty with next-business-day hardware replacement (where available)
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