Cisco is going to change the CCIE Voice Lab in mid-July 2009. Major changes are:
1) Remove analog devices (such as VG248, ATA)
2) Remove CatOS (Catalyst 65xx)
3) Replace CCM with CUCM 7 (Linux Appliance)
4) Replace Unity with Unity Connection 7 (Linux Appliance)
5) Add CUPS 7 (Linux Appliance)
6) Add SIP phones
IPExpert (a training company) provides some practice labs. The topology would be like below:
Here are some tips if you're going to build your own lab.
As shown in the diagram above, we have a PSTN cloud and a Frame-Relay cloud. We can use a single router to simulate that. And this router could also be the terminal server.
I would choose a Cisco 2811 router with the following modules:
PVDM2-16 (or other PDVM resource).
HWIC-4T : 4-port Serial module for Frame-Relay simulation.
VWIC2-1MFT-T1/E1 : 2-port T1/E1 module for PSTN simulation. You need at least three ports. So you may order two of these. Or to save some money, order one 2-port module and one 1-port module
HWIC-8A & CAB-OCTAL-ASYNC : 8-port async module for terminal service
Don't forget the female serial cable (CAB-SS-V35MT). You need at least three.
On HQ, BR1, and BR2 Gateways:
PVDM2-8 (or other PDVM2)
HWIC-1T & CAB-SS-V35MT
On BR1 and BR2 Gateways
HWIC-4ESW-POE : Ether net module to power up the IP phones.
On BR2 Gateway
NM-CUE : Unity Express Module
Any Cisco IOS switch that supports PoE.
I recommend using virtual machine(VM) for the lab:
1. If you don't use VM, you're going to need the expensive Cisco/HP/IBM server to install CUCM, UC, CUPS.
2. If you don't use VM, you're going to need license files for CUCM, UC, CUPS.
3. If you don't use VM, you're going to need 5 servers and a couple of workstations (to simulate soft phone and run CUPC/CAD)
4. With VM, you can easily clone VMs, which saves you lots of time.
I myself use VMWare. I have no experience on Microsoft Virtual PC (HyperV).
Here are some caveats you need to know about VMWare:
1) You may either use "VMWare Server" (a.k.a. GSX) or "VMWare Infrastructure") (a.k.a. ESX)
2) GSX is free while ESX is commercial license
3) VMs on GSX has issues with NTP. This is a known issue.
4) ESX does not support audio device. Your VM might need an audio device to launch soft phone (such as CIPC or IP Blue). Try google "virtual audio cable" and you should find a solution.
Following is my lab set up with four 2811 routers, one 3560 switch, one PC (8G RAM, 750G HDD):
When creating VM, make sure you choose RHEL 4(RedHat), 32-bit, one CPU. For CUCM 7, you need at least 1G RAM and 60G hard drive. For CUPS 7, you need 1296M RAM and 75G hard drive.