Edit: R&S Rack Rental Sessions have been dropped from 15 tokens per session to 10 tokens per session for the month of August.  Starting September 1st R&S Sessions will cost 15 tokens per session.

Over the past few months we have been working hard to overhaul our rack scheduling system. Initially we released a new rack system for our the CCIE Service Provider racks which covered the latest version 3.0 blueprint.  The feedback for this system was very positive.  Racks are set at a fixed price, and the session length was dropped from 6 hours down to 3 hours, each with a 30 minute tear-down at the end of the session.  Doing this allowed us to provide more spots for those looking to get their hands on the new GSR equipment.

With the positive feedback we received from the Service Provider rack rentals, we decided to implement this new schedule across all of our rack rentals.  This includes: Routing & Switching, Security, and Voice. Now these rack sessions are all rented for 3 hour session blocks and at a fixed cost per rack rental.  The benefit of this is to allow more sessions for the customers to choose from to help mitigate unused time on the racks, and to allow for better token estimations when planning your studies.

So what’s new:

  • Loading previously saved configs, or workbook configs can now be done 45 minutes prior to the start of the session.  This allows you to specify the configuration to be loaded onto your rack before the start of your session.  Previously, you had to do this yourself at the beginning of your session, which reduces your usable time by about 30 minutes. (Currently supported on R&S and Service Provider rack rentals)
  • Rack control panel for power cycling, and clearing lines are now supported on all rack rentals.  For Security and Voice rack rentals you can also control attached servers.
  • Rack control panel for loading and saving configs are currently available for Routing & Switching and Service Provider.
  • Sessions can be scheduled out up to two months in advance with a single one-click interface.
  • Sessions scheduled back-to-back and at the same time will be grouped and you will be placed on the same device.  Previously, back-to-back sessions might fall on different devices.
  • Back-to-back sessions booked at the same time will not undergo a rack tear-down, giving you 30 minutes of extra time on the racks without any additional cost. When booking multiple back-to-back sessions the duration would be: 2 session – 5.5 hours, 3 sessions 8.5 hours, etc.
  • Rack rental prices are no longer dynamic.  Prices are fixed across all sessions.  This makes for a much more predictable and stable token cost assessment for your studies.  You now know exactly how many tokens are needed for a specific amount of rack time.
  • Rack rentals may not be booked later than 45 minutes before session start.  This is to give the automation time to prepare the system and your rack for your session.
  • Scheduling and un-scheduling sessions are now done through the same interface.
  • In order to provide users the ability to maintain their current rack through multiple booked sessions, rack allocation is now dynamic.  Racks allocations are made 30 minutes prior to the start of the session.
  • Reminder emails about sessions are now sent out prior to your session.  These emails contain your rack assignment.
  • Booking CCIE R&S mock labs now require clicking 4 consecutive blocks in the schedule.
The prices for these sessions are now based on the previous rack rental schedule’s rolling average.  The initial price per session may changed depending on utilization, availability, and overall demand.  However, the current prices are very competitive.  Based on current token prices, the typical cost per hour on our R&S racks is now $3.00 per hour, whereas our competitors charge around $3.22 per hour.  Also, your rack rental sessions come with 24/hour hardware support and are supported by the best CCIE workbooks in the industry.
In development:
  • Loading and saving configs on Voice rack rentals
  • Single click mock lab scheduling
  • R&S user loaded configs
About Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13:

Brian McGahan was one of the youngest engineers in the world to obtain the CCIE, having achieved his first CCIE in Routing & Switching at the age of 20 in 2002. Brian has been teaching and developing CCIE training courses for over 10 years, and has assisted thousands of engineers in obtaining their CCIE certification. When not teaching or developing new products Brian consults with large ISPs and enterprise customers in the midwest region of the United States.

Find all posts by Brian McGahan, CCIE #8593, CCDE #2013::13 | Visit Website

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “New Rack Rental Scheduling System”

  1. Stejarel Veres says:

    Hi Brian,

    Just wanted to confirm – are all SPv3 really booked throughout the end of September? If so, do you plan to add more racks anytime soon?


  2. Nicolas Beusen says:

    Nice job!

    The interface is clear and the price are still correct!

    Thanks INE.

  3. Kenneth Ratliff says:

    I’m confused, why do I need to schedule 4 blocks for a Mock Lab now? That works out to 12 hours, with 11.5 being usable with the 30 minutes for the teardown.

    Scheduling 3 sessions would seem to be more useful, as that turns into a block of 9 hours, with 30 minutes lost for rack scheduling, resulting in 8.5 hours of time instead. True, that eliminates the breaks, but scheduling another rack session essentially gives 3 hours of break time… how is that supposed to be representative of the real lab exam?

    • It’s actually the same as before. Previously when you booked a mock lab you were assigned two sessions of 6 hours each, or 12 hours total. This gives extra leeway for the automation system to verify that there are no physical problems in the rack, to load the troubleshooting section, for you to configure the troubleshooting section, for the scripting system to capture your troubleshooting results, then to tear down and load the configuration section, for you to configure the configuration section, and then finally for it to capture your configuration section and tear down the rack. The extra time also gives you some flexibility on the start time, where if it was 3 x 3 hour sessions you would have to start *exactly* at the start of the session, but with the 12 hour block you can click the “start” button say 15 minutes after the session time starts and it’s not going to negatively affect you. We considered dropping it down to 3 x 3 hour sessions but in the end it’s cutting it too close from an operational point of view.

  4. Amit says:

    ” Based on current token prices, the typical cost per hour on our R&S racks is now $3.00 per hour, whereas our competitors charge around $3.22 per hour”

    can you check this, I have 11 token and when I schedule it say -4 needed which means the rack price is 15 for 3 Hrs not 3$ per hr (3 x 3 Hrs = 9 $)

  5. Sunny says:

    look like price for R&S is not matching in rack session , it is showing 15 token per session which means 5 token per hour so it is not 3 token as claimed above.

  6. Mohamed Saad says:

    INE as always is the premier in the field …
    This makes it possible for CCNA and CCNPs to join the party :)

  7. Ciprian says:

    Hi Brian,

    If possible, when to expect the first “In development” bullet to happen ?

    (Loading and saving configs on Voice rack rentals)

    Thanks a lot,

  8. Rickard says:

    I love the new rack rental system, thank you so much INE!

  9. Zabeel Musa says:

    Excellent! no more waking up 5am in the morning here in the UK for a whole session!

  10. Resh@Cisco training experts says:

    studying just got simplified.


Leave a Reply


CCIE Bloggers