Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment

Have a question or want to start a discussion? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Hello everyone,

I am in the process of completing a great project our site started
almost a year ago - a Free Cisco lab  for the World's IT community.

This lab's concept came from our site's main goal - to provide free
education and services to the world, no matter what the educational
level or financial state of our individual visitors are.

We've already purchased our equipment and setup our Cisco labs and have
stumbled across one last detail which is causing much trouble and
frustration. As a result, we are unable to launch the labs and make
them freely available to the IT community.

As such, I'd like to share this problem with this new's group
community, in hope of a resolution.

Our Cisco lab is based on a 2511 terminal server, online booking system
and Tacacs+ server (freeware edition based on Linux). The problem we
are experiencing has to do with each lab's equipment, where we are
having trouble resetting them to a default state after a user has
completed his session.  Resetting them is required to ensure the lab's
equipment are ready for the next user.

I've noticed that many of the Cisco lab facilities offered by sites
where you pay for this server, offer such features where you can reset
all lab equipment with the touch of a button, but also save your
configuration for your next session!

We are planning to add such advanced features in the future, but need
to take care first of critical features such as resetting to a default

Any help or suggestions are highly appreciated.

Thank you.  

Chris P.

Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I would think this could be as easy as storing the default
configuration for each router in the network in a place where the
routers can tftp them from and then when the reset to default is
needed, you would simply copy the default config to the startup-config
and then reload the system.

Or you could store the default config on the router's flash itself and
then copy from there to the startup-config and then reload the system.
In either case the router will come up in the default config after the

Note that for the latter case you will have to adjust privilege levels
for users using the testbed such that they cannot write to flash or
else they might unintentionally (or maliciously) erase the default
config or replace it with something more suitable for them.  The first
method suggested is more secure from the pov of administering the

Cisco da Gama

Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment
I wish I can help.. but I'm new in this field and so interested in your
can you please update us when the site is finished..

Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment
If you like you can visit the site at, though the Cisco
lab is not yet available to the public until we resolve this last
problem :)

Chris P.

Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment
On Sun, 09 Apr 2006 22:07:36 -0700, wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

In addition to what "Cisco da Gama" recommended.  Have you  (Admin32)
looked at possibility of automating this task with the use of a
scripting language such as expect or tcl/tk? Your problem sounds like it
could be solved with the use of a scripting language. If your really
pressed for time I'd outsource: /

My 0010 cents.

Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment

captain.murphy wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Chris P,

I have some scripts that I use for some unrelated server equipment. It
controls power servers and quite a few other things that would probably
be relevant. If you could share some information about how your labs
are set up I might be able to adapt the code for you.

So how are you guys running this thing? Are you a non-profit or what? I
see you've got what appears to be sponsors. How are you guys paying for
this project?


Re: Automatically resetting Cisco lab Equipment

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I guess your problem is the IP address will change and you'll need to be on
the same network to tftp the device may not even have an interface
configured ..

Maybe you can create a script to automate a console session but then again
the student could have changed the console password.

I guess the only way would be to somehow remove the power to device, when
the device reloads use a console scripted session to alter the configuration
register and then perform the relevant actions.

Another thought, you can create in visual basic for example a terminal
client (I'm sure the source code is available) that will need to be used to
configure the devices, this way you'll be able use simple code the input and
restrict the student to what passwords are set for console. If you can
guarantee what the password is you'll be able to script a console session to
reload a default configuration.

The above are just thoughts.

Site Timeline