This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine.
You wouldn’t invest in a Cadillac to teach an inexperienced driver the rules of the road. Instead, at least in my day, Driver’s Ed teachers used simulators to get their students acclimated to being behind the wheel.
Likewise, it doesn’t always make sense to invest in a pricy test network to get folks trained on the latest Cisco (News - Alert) gear. So some companies employ simulated lab environments from companies like Gambit Communications.
It’s an imperfect analogy, I know. You really do have to get behind the wheel to get the full experience of driving. And comparing sophisticated simulated network labs to the unsophisticated driving simulators some of us used in high school 30 years ago is like comparing apples and oranges – or apples and orangutans. But you get the idea.
Anyhow, Gambit’s MIMIC Simulator, which is actually a bunch of simulator modules, is used by more than 600 customers for development, disaster simulations, testing and training. Users of the tools include such well-known organizations as AT&T (News - Alert), Cisco, HP, IBM, Intel, JP Morgan, Shell, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and VISA.
What’s new and exciting on this front is that Gambit Communications recently made generally available a cloud solution based on this technology, explains CEO Pankaj Shah. As a result, Gambit can put hundreds of labs in the cloud and enable users to connect to them using their favorite browser. Users can rent a lab in the cloud for $10 per user per lab; $35 for 30 days; or $90 for 90 days.
Kaplan IT Learning, which helps students with test preparation, uses Gambit’s MIMIC Virtual Lab as part of its Cisco certification courses. It allows students to practice their course work from anywhere.
Gambit also recently expanded the type of endpoints that can access its cloud-based labs by unveiling an iPhone (News - Alert) application that lets users connect to the labs on the cloud via their mobile devices. The app is called iCCNAlab. It provides network engineers with access to training tools for Cisco Certified Network Associate certification.
“This is the first of a kind on iPhone and iPad,” says Shah. “iPad is the best medium for that.”
April Browne, director of product management at Kaplan IT Learning, says the interface on the iCCNAlab app makes navigation easy.
“It leverages the iPhone style well, and at the same time, showcases a wide range of devices, commands and tutorials,” says Browne. “We think this app is something the students can truly embrace as a certification tool for use at anytime."
Edited by Stefania Viscusi