I know many have been [not so patiently] waiting for the arrival of a Cisco virtual lab. Although I haven’t heard any official release date for VIRL or CML, there is a small scale virtual router lab available today. This lab is the All-in-One Virtual Machine made available on the Cisco DevNet site.
While not a comprehensive lab, it is a quick and easy way to get some real command line experience or test smaller layer 3 challenges. This VM includes 3 routers with a total of 10 routed interfaces in use. There is no access to layer 2, so the topology can only be manipulated by shutting down interfaces on the routers.
Using the DevNet All-in-One Virtual Machine
- Download the OVA File
- Import into VMWare
- Launch the Virtual Machine
- Set Passwords
- Access the Routers
This product downloads as an OVA file. The file is easily imported into VMWare. In my case, I used VMWare Fusion running on OSX. Once downloaded and imported, the VM is launched like any other virtual machine. As it boots, you will notice that this is running in Ubuntu. The initial credentials are cisco/cisco123 and the operating will prompt to change the password.
Once installed and logged in, you will be presented with an Ubuntu Desktop containing the necessary shortcuts. Clicking Start 3Node creates and launches the 3 Routers. During the first launch of the lab, you will be prompted to set up a username and password.
The terminal windows will almost immediately appear on the virtual machine. After two or three minutes, you will have access to the command line interfaces of the three routers. It is worth noting that there is an initial configuration. This configuration can be changed as necessary to achieve the desired results.
While the All-in-One Virtual Machine doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility, it is a good way to access a virtual version of IOS 15.4. This can be an opportunity for learners to gain familiarity with the command line interface and an opportunity to test scenarios in IOS. My hope is that Cisco makes a larger and flexible virtual lab available in the future. This could serve those working through the certification process and help engineers gain familiarity with key Cisco features.