I have vented about this topic before and will do so once again. I am doing this because i believe its very important.
Students who are studying for Cisco exams or engineers who are trying to lab up a technology before deploying it, have found Dynamips and used Cisco hardware very useful in the past. However, with the new exam requirements and the new licensing methods for IOS, these tools will not be available to you in the future.
Anyone in their right mind would never use Dynamips for any production network as the performance is simply not there along with the occasional bugs. Used hardware will not provide the functionality that you will need, so keep using old hardware is not an option either.
This means that Cisco wont loose any future sales because of used hardware and Dynamips.
As a student, what you are left with, is staying with the equipment that you have, maybe extended with Dynamips. However, this option will not last, as newer IOS images, will require a license in order to work, and it will only work on newer hardware.
This means that in order to build testing labs, either for real life work or for learning, you will need a license and new hardware. A very expensive option for any individual.
So, in summary, this move by Cisco leaves students and engineers with a very limited arsenal for learning Cisco technologies.
How is this good for Cisco? — No idea. From my point of view, they should encourage learning the “Cisco way”.
We know that Cisco has a fully fledged emulator, named IOU (IOS On Unix). While they might not make any version of this publicly available, it proves that they have the software that can alleviate the situation for students.
The semi-good news is that lately theres been some stir on the forums and blogs, about Cisco thinking about providing a sort of “learning license” to students.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, students still need some sort of hardware to run it on. And quite frankly, no students are going to buy new Cisco equipment. If they get their hands on new equipment its because their workplace has some sort of use for the equipment afterwards.
In my opinion, providing something like Dynamips would be the best option. Not only for students, but also for Cisco.
To close out, i want to point your attention to a petition by Greg from Etherealmind. Its purpose is to provide incentive to Cisco to provide the already mentioned licenses. Sign it if you believe its a good idea. Every signature helps out.
Study License Petition