Building Home Lab with VIRL

With CISCO VIRL home editions, does it allow to build config by manually typing commands? I saw info more on you can manually play show commands however I don’t see much info on , if it allows typing commands manually on routers/switches or other equipment to build running config rather then using GUI tool.

Second, on setup details of VIRL so many terms are new and unknown , for example ESXi server , which one to use?

Which version of VMware fusion or Virtual workstation is best and how to get it? where to download it and how to setup VIRL start from download to setup ?

There are so many youtube videos however none of it has any clear details on questions above. Is there any way you can provide some details on it which VIRL edition is good?

Thank you

Hi Shraddha,

VIRL has an autonetkit feature that automatically configures stuff like IP addressing, routing protocols, etc. Personally I never use it since I like to use my own addresses. When you do this, you’ll start with empty configurations.

About the requirements, here’s what I found on the VIRL website:

IOSv = 1vCPU, 512Mb
IOS XRv = 1vCPU, 1536Mb
CSR1000v = 1vCPU, 3096Mb
NXOSv = 1vCPU, 2048Mb

You should run VIRL on a machine with plenty of RAM and some cores, otherwise it will be slow or you will run out of memory fast (it is memory hungry).

For installation I would stick to their setup guides. Since VIRL has been released there have been quite some changes so some youtube videos are probably outdated already:

Here’s the vmware workstation example:

They also specify the ESXi versions that are supported:

ESXi 5.1U2 (Build 1483097)
ESXi 5.5U1 (Build 1623387)
ESXi 6.0 (Build 2494585)

If you have a powerful computer/laptop then you could run it in workstation. I’m using an older HP proliant DL360 G7 for this, they are cheap nowadays. On Ebay you can find these servers with one cpu (4 cores) or two cpus (8 cores), 64GB of RAM and two harddisks for about $600.


I use VIRL a lot so I am going to post things on this forum as I find them.

  1. Storm-Control (CCNP Switch topic) cannot be configured in Cisco VIRL at the time of this post. Atleast now in the normal default switches which is what I use. I have not tested on the nexus switches. here is a post on this They also mention Private VLANs do not work which is also a CCNP but I have not attempted to test this myself yet.
  2. All the switches in cisco VIRL are layer three and have IP routing by default. if you are working on lab that has you use ip default-gateway this will not work when IP routing is enabled and you would not be able to ping between switches so first use no ip routing and turn it off. I was really confused by this and happened to find it out by accident.

I will list other things as I come across them but remember CISCO VIRL probably changes every six months to a year so be sure and look it up as you might read this post at a much later time after they have updated.


IOS 1.3 has a lot of fixes come out just to update.

VIRL 1.3 is here! (Part 1) Layer 3 Etherchannel and more fixes on IOSvL2. Great for Cisco GNS3 labs!

Be sure to check up the updates. There is a free utube video here. a bit dry though…

He talks about using Cisco VIRL images with GNS3 something I have never tried but sounds interesting. maybe I will check out once I get a break from studying for my CCNP ROUTE.

I will say when I watched this video the guy imported a IOS L2 switch from cisco VIRL into GNS3. from what that sounds like you will be able to now have real switches in GNS3…wow.

I am not very familiar with GNS3 where you use it through a VMware type device. I have my cisco on VMware 5.5 but it looks like now GNS3 has really stepped up and there is going to be correlation and intermingling of these devices. Really interesting it could really come to a point where you can start doing labs with software only, and only needing the hardware to get a feel for the equipment but not so much for learning the IOS… cool stuff!

just update this shows how to import CISCO VIRL ASVv 9.7.1 to your GNS3.

Ok I am updating this post…

I have actually installed the GNS3 VM very easy compared to cisco virl. Also I downloaded all the images from cisco virl and now I can install the main ones I use on GNS3 also very easy!

here is pic this is crazy. I always loved GNS3 but loved that Cisco VIRL had the switches and newer stuff now on GNS3 it looks like you can have it all.!!!


I also installed asa firewall it also was very easy! I don’t know how to use the asa I will have to figure out what courses teach that but even so its pretty cool!


something I do want to mention I found another really cool program but I am having problems getting it setup the main thing I like about this new program is you can run checkpoint VPN and Palo Alto in it. I am not sure if you can on GNS3 yet or not but those are being asked for on a lot of resumes so I have interest in it lol… here is the other simulator if I ever get it up and going I will let you know but so far been frustrated with getting it to run: