So today was my first vRack rental with ProctorLabs.com and I thought I would write up a quick post of this so others would know what to expect. My lab started at 7am local time so I had setup my work area before I went to bed to get a little extra sleep. I use a Mac but had to decided to train for the CCIE on Windows using SecureCRT to closely resemble the actual lab. I downloaded a trail of v6 but will buy it soon. I just hope that by the time I take they lab they are running v6. I also printed out a couple sets of the diagrams and task lists for the sections I was planning on doing. I planned on completing just Vol 1 section 1&2 which is estimated 5 hours. I would use the rest of the time to get used to the interface and whatever else came up that I did not expect.
Just before 7am I logged into to proctorlabs.com, opened up notepad and launched SecureCRT. As soon as 7am hit I clicked on the time slot under “Connect to vRack” and the interface launched. It was a simple layout and was easy to see where to load configs, how to power cycle routers and connect to the terminal server. I connected to the terminal server opened a tab for each router/switch which of course was something very familiar to me since I am logged int rotuers and switches all day long. When I first connected I was not sure what username/password it was asking for. I tried cisco and ipexpert but was my actual ProctorLabs.com login. That really was the only stumbling block. From there on out it was just like working on any other router. It was nice that the routers are 2800/3800′s since they are pretty fast (especially with nothing on them.) After that I just worked my way though Vol1 Section 1. This is a very simple lab and really should be nothing new. I felt this was really helpful to get an understanding of the layout of the lab and how everything is connected. They only thing that did catch me off guard was using a ? in a password, never tried that before so did not know how to do that. I did work a little slow just to make sure I was understanding the topology and trying to determine the process that works best for me. I spent about 2 hours start to finish on this, it was estimated at 1.5 hours and since it was my first rental session I thought it went well, I was not trying for speed. I did go on and complete section 2 also, that was more challenging.
To sum up the experience it was very easy and smooth. You will need no training the vRack at all as long as you are used to connecting to routers/switches via terminal server. My advice is just get your setup laid out ahead of time and you know what works best for you so do what your comfortable with. I would make your goal to complete Vol 1 Sections 1&2 on your first rental. Don’t rush, make sure your understanding the questions. I would also have a separate web browser open to the DocCD. All in all it was a simple enjoyable experience. My next vRack rental is tomorrow so I am off to review the weaknesses I found today before that starts in less then 24 hours!