Virtualbox-Based Lab on Windows or MacOS

Virtualbox-based Vagrant lab is the only option if you want to run netsim-tools directly on Windows or MacOS (you could also run them within a Ubuntu VM):

  • netlab commands will create Ansible inventory and Vagrant configuration

  • Vagrant will create virtual networks within VirtualBox environment and start network devices as virtual machines within VirtualBox

  • Ansible will connect to the network devices and configure them

VirtualBox-based architecture

The environment is pretty easy to set up:

Creating a New Lab

To create a new lab:

  • Create lab topology file in an empty directory. Use provider: virtualbox in lab topology to select the virtualbox virtualization provider.

  • Execute netlab up

Alternatively, you could use netlab create script to create Vagrantfile and Ansible inventory, and vagrant up to start the lab.

Testing the Installation

The easiest way to test your installation is to use netlab test command. If you prefer to do step-by-step tests, or if you don’t want to use WSL on Windows, you might find this recipe useful:

  • Create an empty directory and topology.yml file with the following contents within that directory:

---
defaults:
  device: cumulus

nodes: [ s1, s2, s3 ]
links: [ s1-s2, s2-s3, s1-s2-s3 ]
  • Create Vagrantfile with netlab create

  • Execute vagrant up to spin up three Cumulus VX virtual machines

  • Connect to the Cumulus VX devices with vagrant ssh

  • Destroy the lab with vagrant destroy -f

Creating Vagrant Boxes

Vagrant relies on boxes (prepackaged VM images). The following Vagrant boxes are automatically downloaded from Vagrant Cloud when you’re using them for the first time in your lab topology:

Virtual network device Vagrant box name
Cumulus VX CumulusCommunity/cumulus-vx:4.4.0
Cumulus VX 5.0 (NVUE) CumulusCommunity/cumulus-vx:5.0.1
Generic Linux generic/ubuntu2004

You’ll have to download Arista vEOS and Nexus 9300v images from the vendor web site (requires registration) and install them with vagrant box add filename –name boxname command. You’ll find build recipes for other network devices on codingpackets.com.

You have to use the following box names when installing or building the Vagrant boxes:

Virtual network device Vagrant box name
Arista vEOS arista/veos
Cisco IOSv cisco/iosv
Cisco CSR 1000v cisco/csr1000v
Cisco Nexus 9300v cisco/nexus9300v
Juniper vSRX 3.0 juniper/vsrx3

Notes:

  • Arista rarely ships the latest software version as a Vagrant box. You’ll usually have to build your own box if you want to have an up-to-date EOS version.

  • Vagrantfile created by netlab create or netlab up sets up port forwarding for SSH (22), HTTP (80) and NETCONF (830), but the corresponding Ansible inventory contains only ansible_port (SSH). You could edit the final inventory by hand, add extra file to host_vars, or fix netsim-tools code. Should you decide to do the latter, please contact us in advance to discuss the necessary data structures.

  • If you want to add other network devices, build your own Vagrant boxes and modify topology-defaults.yml file (see adding new virtualization provider for an existing device for more details).


1

Running Ansible on Windows is not supported, but supposedly it runs just fine under WSL.