Thank you to everyone who joined SDxCentral for its latest DemoFriday featuring Cisco on improving lab equipment challenges with VIRL. In this presentation, Cisco highlighted the VIRL platform and showed how the system allows users to configure, design, and perform network topologies quickly. After the demo, Cisco was nice enough to take some questions from the attendees. Read the whole Q&A from the Cisco DemoFriday below.
Is VIRL SW released in the form of Amazon Machine Image (AMI) format?
Can you change the default IP addressing in virl.ini with no issues?
Cisco: Yes, since the April release that process has become much better and more reliable.
Is there a plan for Hyper-V support?
Cisco: No concrete plans as of today. We’re looking at KVM, though. Other options are ESXi (most exposure) and bare-metal.
Any plans to release VIRL without the Ubuntu desktop built-in?
Cisco: You can turn off the desktop. The only thing that is left then is the additional disk space that is used by the desktop environment. There is a post on the support forums to turn it off.
Can VIRL be installed on a Mac computer?
Cisco: A lot of us are running VIRL within VMware Fusion on Macs. It works well with 16G of memory on a recent MacBook Pro.
Has the installation process been improved from second and third release of VIRL?
Cisco: Yes, the install process is generally more robust in the latest release. We continue to make incremental improvements to the initial installation process. The latest releases also include the ability to do an in-place upgrade instead of having to reinstall from scratch.
Can you install any and all apps on the Ubuntu servers included with VIRL?
Cisco: You should be able to add additional applications and software on the VIRL host as long as there is no interference with packages that are required for VIRL itself. You can’t change or remove parts of OpenStack or other fundamental packages. YMMV and if you completely break things then support is going to be difficult and or not possible at all.
Can you integrate third party VMs in the personal edition?
Cisco: Yes, you can. There’s a page on the community forum that describes third party integration.
How does VIRL account for traffic patterns?
Are there plans to add NX-OS Layer 2? Features such as FabricPath and vPC?
Cisco: We’ve heard that request quite often and there are discussions going on internally to add more Layer 2 capabilities in the NX-OSv image. However, this is entirely at the discretion of the corresponding BU, not the VIRL team.
Is there a document that shows all the current IOS versions that VIRL uses? What is the possibility of running different IOS versions in VIRL? Do you have to run the versions that come with VIRL?
Cisco: You can run any IOSv image. That’s a separate build that Cisco should make available with each IOS release starting from 15.5(4)T and going forward. Unfortunately, there are no plans to port the changes that make IOS run as the IOSv VM into older branches.
Does VIRL support multicast?
Cisco: Multicast is generally supported, but this is depending on the individual virtual router/switch OS. Most notably, there is limited MC support on the NX-OSv images. This is currently being discussed to be implemented. No promises though, as this is at the discretion of the Nexus BU.
What are the minimum HW requirements for VIRL?
Can we run Switch VSS and Stacking in VIRL?
Cisco: No, there’s no Catalyst 6500 equivalent in VIRL.We do have a “generic Catalyst switch,” (the IOSv-L2) but that does not do any platform specific things like VSS.
Is Cisco ACI supported?
Cisco: There’s a Nexus 9000 VM in its early stages available internally. It’s not ready yet and also has a humongous memory footprint. Remember, VIRL is an orchestration platform.You can throw any kind of VM at VIRL that runs in KVM and doesn’t require any “real” license.
Will wireless or any other components be integrated in the future?
Cisco: WLC would work if the BU would support KVM and if they would offer a demo license. We’re looking to all sorts of virtual machines that we can add to VIRL as the orchestration platform, Cisco and third party VMs.
Can Ubuntu VMs run in the VIRL cloud contact external servers for automation?
Cisco: There’s multiple ways to wire simulated topologies to external networks and devices.
Is WAN optimization supported?
Cisco: Depends on the OS you’re using, but since this is pretty much a control plane function, it should work.
Can I have a single VM connect to multiple ports on different Cisco devices?
Cisco: You could. We do have two bridged networks by default. In theory you can add more NICs and create more OpenStack ext-nets, not by default, however.
Is it possible to integrate some third party test tools, such as Ixia traffic generators?
Cisco: You can use external connectivity to connect the simulation to real HW, applications, or VMs running outside of the VIRL simulation. Remember also that VIRL uses Linux KVM and OpenStack internally. Our users continue to post recipes for adding third party VMs. If it runs on KVM, then you can often get it running inside of VIRL itself.
Is it possible to run VIRL without VMMaestro, the current GUI that comes with VIRL?
I am familiar with flat, flat1, NAT, but what is the INT interface used for?
Cisco: INT will be used for clustering going forward. We’re looking at OpenStack Kilo for clustering support.
Does a vWAAS work in VIRL?
Cisco: No. This is because vWAAS relies heavily on VMware and has heavy disk space requirements it does not work within VIRL.
Any dates on when new security features will be available in VIRL?
Cisco: Inclusion of additional Cisco VM/OSS is at the discretion of the business unit. We are happy to include everything that they are happy to release. It depends on whether those VMs have demo license mechanisms and work within KVM.
Does the 16-node limit include VMs as well? So, eight switches and eight VMs would barely fit?
Cisco: The 15 node cap only applies to Cisco VMs, not servers or third party VMs. A topology with 8 IOSv and 7 IOSv2 would exactly fit in 15 node limit.