Cisco’s VIRL (Virtual Internet Routing Lab) is really quite a fascinating product that opens open a whole slew of new possibilities. Essentially, it’s a Cisco’s core operating systems running as virtual machines with a Visio like front-end that allows for advanced modeling scenarios.
It was initially introduced in 2013, but was officially released as a product as of December 2014. It’s pricing is $79 for students and $199 for individuals.
The framework for it is based on Openstack and KVM and can run on baremetal hosts (which would essentially be a KVM cluster), or as nested virtual machines in VMware Workstation, Fusion, or ESXi.
Once the environment has been deployed, then it needs to be licensed by connecting to Cisco’s Saltstack infrastructure. This connection requires the configuration of your license-specific Salt-ID, Salt-Domain, and RSA key.
So thats the basics for whats involved in getting it set up.
So now the neat stuff. Cisco has created a hosted version of the VIRL lab that you can access through Cisco DEVNET. To do this, go to https://learninglabs.cisco.com/#/home and sign-up.
The process does not take long, and there are a few profile things to fill out. However, once you are logged int, you have access to the devnet sandbox.
There are many types of sandbox environments for developers, but the one most interesting to us is the VIRL sandbox.
Unfortunately, at this time it’s not fully available. So you only get the following screen:
I’m sure that it will be available soon, but I’ll have to run it on my own hardware for now.
For those people who are not sure where to dive into VIRL, have a look at these tutorials:
Once familiar with VIRL you can use it to quickly create networks for testing, education, solutions development, or any other purpose for which a customized test network might be useful.
This tutorial is divided into ten exercises, each of which builds on the previous while exploring increasingly complex topics.
- An introduction to VM Maestro
- Working with Projects and Topology Files
- Creating a simple three-node IOSv network
- Generating configurations and visualizations
- Launching and interacting with simulations
- Creating complex routing topologies
- Using multiple node types
- Working with configurations
- Managing external connectivity
- Using sites, servers, and multi-point segments
Completing all ten exercises can take from 60 to 120 minutes.
Another way you can try out VIRL is to sign up for the DEV/INNOVATE kit.
According to the site at http://dev-innovate.cisco.com/ :
“It’s a half-rack of awesome, fully-loaded with the latest gear from Cisco, preconfigured and ready to go OOB. Innovate smarter & faster with the latest technologies, products, applications on the most widely used infrastructure platform on the market today.”
A Half-Rack of the latest and greatest gear arrives to your door, fully-loaded with the latest distro of OpenStack, pre-configured software and solutions and much more. Plug it in, fire it up and it’s ready to roll for you.
The Software & Solutions
Get your hands on the latest technologies, products & solutions that are pre-loaded and ready to run on your Pod – from Virtual Internet Routing Labs (VIRL) to Security solutions, new cloud technologies and more. From APIC to OpenDaylight we’re loading up our roadmap and we’d love your feedback on what we should include. All of this including the Pod & Program are coupled with a one-year all-you-can-eat development license – because limits need not apply.
Each /dev/innovate Kit comes with documentation, sample code, use-cases and community support led by Cisco. Based on the package you select we offer onsite support, technical and business development resources and more. Regardless of package, our experts are some of the best & brightest and will help you get to where you need to go.
If you want to dive a little deeper into VIRL, then check out the VIRL in 3D video by Dan Bourque.
I like the spilled coffee on the Nexus 7000.
Or the best part, which is the BFG for doing a hard shutdown of the equipment.