CCIE Pursuit Blog

December 11, 2007

Internetwork Expert: New Lab Rental Process

I logged into my IE account today and noticed something new.  There is now a “Schedule Your Own Rack Sessions” section.  It looks like they are changing the way that they rent rack time. 

They have put up a Class-On-Demand detailing how to rent rack time (and book mock labs). 

Basically you buy tokens at a dollar apiece.  Then you can use those tokens to book rack time.

You can book rack time pretty much instantaneously.  You can also reschedule or cancel a session (72 hour advance notice) and the tokens go back into your account.  There are also some other cool features coming in a few months:

GUI Remote Power Control – Powercycle devices with a single mouse click!
On-Demand Hardware Diagnostics – Eliminate the guesswork of suspected hardware problems!*
Configuration capturing, archiving, and loading – Automatically save your configs and resume later!*
Initial configuration loading – Automatically load initial configs for any Internetwork Expert product!*
* – coming Jan 2008

Depending on how much the discount is, this could be a very cool feature [as I type this, session 3 is currently available for 7 tokens so it looks like this is going work pretty well]:

Additionally this system allows you to book rack sessions that are currently in progress for a discounted rate.

The only downside that I see is with the token system.  Anyone who has been to a fair and ended up with 3 tickets leftover when the minimum number of tickets to ride is 5 understands the downfall to the token system.  Also, it looks like you can only buy tokens in groups of 15.  Most of the (R&S) sessions are multiples of 10 or 15 (15, 20, 30) so this might not be too big of a deal.  But if you’re doing a 99 token mock lab or nabbing some session in progress for 7 tokens, you can see how you could end up with a total of tokens that are not a multiple of 10 or 15.

Once they implement the automatic loading of IE initial configs and the ability to save your configs for reloading later (two huge timesavers), this will be a very nice choice for completing IE labs.  That coupled with the ability to schedule immediately and to nab some discount sessions will likely overshadow any leftover tokens issues.

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