Cisco VIRL

Most of you have probably heard something about VIRL already. There were
some rumors going around and then at Cisco Live, Joel Obstfeld from Cisco did a demo of Cisco VIRL. VIRL is a tool running on Openstack and KVM according to Ivan Pepelnjak.

With VIRL it’s possible to run virtual IOS, NXOS, IOS-XE and IOS-XR. Refer to posts by Ivan, Bob and Tom for more information about VIRL.

What can it be used for?

Here are some ideas on how to use it:

  • Create Proof of Concept (PoC) to demonstrate to potential customers
  • Training
  • Try changes in a simulated environment before you deploy it
  • Test features before deploying them in your network
  • Create a replica of customers network to be familiar with it
  • Recreate errors so that TAC can work on them outside of production

These are just some things that I thought VIRL would be useful for.

What can I do to spread the word?

I would like to encourage everyone to spread the word on VIRL, let’s go viral! For any
professional networking individual the importance of this tool could be huge. Blog about
VIRL, tweet about it. Approach your Cisco account team, let them know you are interested
in trying it out. The more pressure we put on Cisco, hopefully they make the right decisions
when releasing it.

What do I want to see from VIRL?

From what I’ve read about VIRL most of aspects of it seem very promising. I just hope Cisco
gets the packaging right. I hope to see a free version that everyone can use for training
and certifications. This would be huge for the community and would make it easy to choose
Cisco as the preferred vendor.

There might be an appliance or commercial version. This will cost some money. That is fine,
it costs money to produce code and support it. I would still urge Cisco to not overprice it
though. The value you would be adding to enterprises would be coming back tenfold in fewer
TAC cases and increased product sales.

Will it be crippled? For the CSR1000v there is a bandwidth cap which is a great way of
producing a free router without crippling it further. I hope to see the same from VIRL.
Don’t cripple it in other ways and don’t make it a licensing jungle.

I hope that VIRL can be easily deployed together with VMs for testing things like multicast
and injecting BGP routes and so on.

So go on, spread the word! And let’s hope VIRL becomes everything we want it to be.

Cisco VIRL – Let’s go viral!
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3 thoughts on “Cisco VIRL – Let’s go viral!

  • October 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Yes, i agree what you said but one thing is for sure, that its is pretty new product. There can be alot of issues with it. Leaving this to be the only source for training like CCIE Lab will be a bit risky (I think). I mean making the CCIE lab topology large enough that its hard for individuals to have home labs. Well, i know its the future but it’s hope for the best.


    • October 25, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      It’s new for us but Cisco has been running this for a long time. Ever since the TS section was created it was running on virtualized images.

      And they probably had it internally before that.

      So yes, we should expect some bugs but it should be much better than GNS3. And it’s still possible to connect it to real world if we want to use real switches.


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