Installing a GNS3 Server

gns3_logoAlthough GNS3 can run local on your computer and you can use VMware Workstation and have the GNS3 appliance. I found it much more stable and predictable to run GNS3 on a dedicated server. Using this type of installation, all the projects, and images are stored on the GNS3 server, so I can install the GNS3 client any computer and get access to the same projects I was working on. You can also have multiple people working on different projects that are on the same server. I find that neat for educational use or if you where helping someone with a project. In this post I’ll walk though the steps needed to set up a GNS3 server.

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Configuring Layer Three EtherChannel

When you want more speed all you need is EtherChannel, EtherChannel can be configured as a layer three logical interface instead of just sitting at layer two. This is very helpful if we are running layer three down to the access layer switches, instead of at the distribution layer. You also could see this in a collapsed core design, we also don’t have to worry too much about STP when we configure EtherChannel’s. The only requirements to use layer three EtherChannels is your switch need is support layer three “routed” interfaces, so with that let’s get started!

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ASA Site to Site VPN (PATed)

If you ever needed to hide multiple systems behind a single IP address you would use PAT. (Port Address Translation) besides using this to connect to the internet when using an RFC 1918 address, you can configure PAT for VPN connections. The benefit is the same, hide multiple systems behind a single IP address with the advantage being you can have many systems on one side of the VPN tunnel all using that single IP.

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Don’t get stuck with “speed-groups”

I was working with a Cisco 9372TX switch, and on it I had two 40Gbps uplinks that we where using out of the available four. Talking with our VAR because we where planning on connecting in additional equipment that only supported SFP+ interfaces. So the solution was to connect to this switch  with QSFP to SFP+ adapters. Thinking this would be a simple change because we are just plugging in additional adapters on the QSFP ports we planned our maintenance window and rollback plans but I wasn’t expecting a rollback for this one 🙂   Continue reading

Cisco VIRL is out … for a price

virl-logoJust wanted to put this up has Cisco has recently released VIRL. This is a network simulation platform that you can run Cisco operating systems on which are the same operating systems that run on Cisco hardware so anything you do in this simulation environment would be realistic if it was running on dedicated hardware. You would be able to test your changes before throwing them in production.

Some things that are different between VIRL and CML (Cisco Modeling Labs)

  • CML is Cisco TAC supported so you can call Cisco.  With VIRL you have community to help you out.
  • You have cap of 15 devices with VIRL. The CML version capacity is dependent on the hardware its running on.
  • CML is  for the “Big Guys”, and way more expensive. VIRL is just for personal/training use. (i.e CCNA, CCNP, CCIE)

To be upfront I have not purchased VIRL so I can’t tell you my thoughts on the product itself but personally I think this is great way to learn and study Cisco certifications when looking at CCNP and even CCIE. This is way cheaper than buying hardware or renting rack space. The price is $199.99 a year and I would assume this would cover any updates the product has. Cisco is also selling an Academic Version for $79.99 a year with some extra terms attached to it.

I’m curious if anybody has any thoughts on VIRL, what advantages do you think this network simulation program (VIRL) has compared to GNS3? What do you think VIRL’s target audience is? Is this price too high? Finally do you think the product is too green? Are you going to buy it or wait and see?

Comment below.