The Cloud Services Router, CSR1000v, which was first announced at Cisco Live in San Diego last year is now available for download. For those who have never heard of the CSR1000v, in a nutshell it’s an IOS XE image running in a virtualized environment (VMWare support now, Citrix XEN, Amazon, Windows Hypervisor and OpenStack in the near future). The CSR1000v is designed as a virtual router (think Quagga but IOS from Cisco) that resides on the hypervisor server as a client instance and provides any services a normal ASR1000 would provide between the other hypervisor’s client instances (Linux servers, Windows servers, etc) and the network infrastructure. This could be something as simple as basic routing or NAT all the way up to advanced technologies like MPLS VPNs or LISP. Basically anything that a real ASR1000 could provide you can do in the CSR1000v with a small exception. This early release only supports 50Mbps throughput due to licensing restrictions. This being the case the specifications from Cisco shows the CSR1000v being capable of pushing 1.17Gpbs max and 438Mbps throughput with an IMIX traffic flow. With the 50Mbps limit it means the CSR1000v at this stage would be deployed more for proof-of-concept as opposed to real production. At this time the throughput is limited by the licensing but I’m sure there are plans to allow for higher throughput licensing in the near future.

If you’re interested in a presentation from Cisco covering the CSR1000v you can view the Cisco Live session from London: Cisco‚Äôs Cloud Services Router (CSR 1000V): Extending the Enterprise Network to the Cloud (2013 London) Note that you will need to create an account if you don’t already have an account to view the session.

Personally I’ve been testing out the CSR1000v over this past week and to say the least I’m really impressed at not only the product itself but the possibilites for the CSR1000v. The version available for download is IOS XE 3.9.0aS aka IOS Version 15.3(2)S which means basically any feature you want or need is in this release.

IOS-XE1#show version
Cisco IOS Software, IOS-XE Software (X86_64_LINUX_IOSD-ADVENTERPRISEK9-M), Version 15.3(2)S0a, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)
Technical Support: http://www.cisco.com/techsupport
Copyright (c) 1986-2013 by Cisco Systems, Inc.
Compiled Sat 30-Mar-13 19:08 by mcpre

IOS XE Version: 03.09.00a.S

Cisco IOS-XE software, Copyright (c) 2005-2013 by cisco Systems, Inc.
All rights reserved.  Certain components of Cisco IOS-XE software are
licensed under the GNU General Public License ("GPL") Version 2.0.  The
software code licensed under GPL Version 2.0 is free software that comes
with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.  You can redistribute and/or modify such
GPL code under the terms of GPL Version 2.0.  For more details, see the
documentation or "License Notice" file accompanying the IOS-XE software,
or the applicable URL provided on the flyer accompanying the IOS-XE


IOS-XE1 uptime is 4 days, 24 minutes
Uptime for this control processor is 4 days, 25 minutes
System returned to ROM by reload
System image file is "bootflash:csr1000v-packages-adventerprisek9.03.09.00a.S.153-2.S"
Last reload reason: 

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States and local country laws governing import, export, transfer and
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Importers, exporters, distributors and users are responsible for
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cisco CSR1000V (VXE) processor with 1141428K/6147K bytes of memory.
Processor board ID 926O40RARZR
2 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces
32768K bytes of non-volatile configuration memory.
4194304K bytes of physical memory.
7774207K bytes of virtual hard disk at bootflash:.

Configuration register is 0x2102

IOS-XE1#conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
IOS-XE1(config)#router ?
  bgp       Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
  eigrp     Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP)
  isis      ISO IS-IS
  iso-igrp  IGRP for OSI networks
  lisp      Locator/ID Separation Protocol
  mobile    Mobile routes
  odr       On Demand stub Routes
  ospf      Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)
  ospfv3    OSPFv3
  rip       Routing Information Protocol (RIP)

IOS-XE1(config)#router bgp 1
IOS-XE1(config-router)#address-family ?
  ipv4      Address family
  ipv6      Address family
  l2vpn     Address family
  nsap      Address family
  rtfilter  Address family
  vpnv4     Address family
  vpnv6     Address family

IOS-XE1(config)#ipv6 unicast-routing
IOS-XE1(config)#router ospfv3 1
IOS-XE1(config-router)#address-family ?
  ipv4  Address family
  ipv6  Address family

IOS-XE1(config-router)#address-family ipv4
Router Address Family configuration commands:
  area                   OSPF area parameters
  auto-cost              Calculate OSPF interface cost according to bandwidth
  bfd                    BFD configuration commands
  compatible             Compatibility list
  default                Set a command to its defaults
  default-information    Control distribution of default information
  default-metric         Set metric of redistributed routes
  discard-route          Enable or disable discard-route installation
  distance               Define an administrative distance
  distribute-list        Filter networks in routing updates
  event-log              Event Logging
  exit-address-family    Exit from Address Family configuration mode
  graceful-restart       Graceful-restart options
  help                   Description of the interactive help system
  interface-id           Source of the interface ID
  limit                  Limit a specific OSPF feature
  log-adjacency-changes  Log changes in adjacency state
  max-lsa                Maximum number of non self-generated LSAs to accept
  max-metric             Set maximum metric
  maximum-paths          Forward packets over multiple paths
  no                     Negate a command or set its defaults
  nsr                    Enable non-stop routing
  passive-interface      Suppress routing updates on an interface
  prefix-suppression     Enable prefix suppression
  queue-depth            Hello/Router process queue depth
  redistribute           Redistribute information from another routing protocol
  router-id              router-id for this OSPF process
  shutdown               Shutdown the router process
  snmp                   Modify snmp parameters
  summary-prefix         Configure IP address summaries
  timers                 Adjust routing timers


I’ve tested a lot of features (LISP, BGP, NAT, etc) over this past week and haven’t stumbled across any issues related to the CSR1000v itself. The only issues I’ve ran into related to not giving the VM the required 4GB of RAM and it would complain when I started enabling features. The CSR1000v doesn’t use much CPU but it does require 4GB of RAM per instance. I’ve had over 30 CSR1000v instances running on my ESXi 5.1 development server without a problem.

So what does this mean for people preparing for a Cisco certification or just looking to learn networking? I hate to use buzzwords but this really is a game changer. The CSR1000v is like “crack” for a networking addict. You want to learn a technology or a feature then the CSR1000v is really the only way to go if you don’t have or want to setup real hardware. I have access to tons of real hardware and I would never consider giving it up for GNS3 or IOU but I would for the CSR1000v. The image is very stable and fast plus has everything you could need. Want to learn LISP? Want to learn OTV? Want to learn MPLS VPNs? What to learn VPLS? Want to learn OSPFv3 for IPv4? The CSR1000v is the way to go.

I’ll post a detailed instruction tomorrow on how to install and get it up and running based upon my experience running it in VMWare ESXi and on VMWare Workstation but here are a couple quick notes for those who can’t wait. VMWare ESXi Enterprise version has a built in console server which will allow to you via the virtual serial console over the VMWare console.

Brians-MacBook-Pro-3:~ ccie2210$ telnet 2004
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

IOS-XE4#show version | in LINUX
Cisco IOS Software, IOS-XE Software (X86_64_LINUX_IOSD-ADVENTERPRISEK9-M), Version 15.3(2)S0a, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc1)

This is really nice to have. If you don’t want to fork out the crazy money for the Enterprise licensing from VMWare then you could run the demo for 60 days and then reinstall or you could create a “management” interface in each instance and use it for telnet access. The CSR1000v allows you to create as many interfaces on the router as the host machine will support so creating one dedicated to management isn’t a problem.

IOS-XE4#show platform software vnic-if interface-mapping
 Interface Name        Short Name  vNIC Name         Mac Addr
 GigabitEthernet0       Gi0        eth0 (vmxnet3)    000c.2965.dc56
 GigabitEthernet2       Gi2        eth2 (vmxnet3)    000c.2965.dc6a
 GigabitEthernet1       Gi1        eth1 (vmxnet3)    000c.2965.dc60

IOS-XE4#show run int g0
Building configuration...

Current configuration : 113 bytes
interface GigabitEthernet0
 vrf forwarding Mgmt-intf
 ip address
 negotiation auto


Lastly when you install the CSR1000v it comes with a 60 day license for 50Mbps throughput. After that expires it drops to 2.5Mbps which is still fine if you are using it in a test environment or for learning.

IOS-XE4#show platform hardware throughput level
The current throughput level is 50000 kb/s

As I said earlier, tomorrow I’ll post a detailed instructions on how to setup a lab using the CSR1000v along with how I’m using the CSR1000v as my home router ;-)

About Brian Dennis, CCIE #2210:

Brian Dennis has been in the networking industry for more than 22 years, with a focus on Cisco networking for the past 16 years. Brian achieved his first CCIE in Routing & Switching in 1996, and is currently the only ten year CCIE that holds five CCIE certifications. Prior to working with INE, Brian taught and developed CCIE preparation courses for various well known training organizations. Brian not only brings his years of teaching experience to the classroom, but also years of real world enterprise and service provider experience.

Find all posts by Brian Dennis, CCIE #2210 | Visit Website

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20 Responses to “Cisco Cloud Services Router – CSR1000v”

  1. Nicolas MICHEL says:

    Looking forward to this blogpost :)

    Can be interesting :) ))

  2. Marc Jones says:

    This is amazing. The sooner they release standard IOS like this the better.

  3. yellowchops says:

    Wow…this is AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing this info!

  4. Rahul says:

    Waiting for Detailed Post

  5. James W. says:

    I can verify that it works in a Linux KVM. :)

  6. andrew says:

    Great post. Really can’t wait for the detailed write up

  7. Luke says:

    Ah this is fantastic! Also can’t wait for the detailed write up Brian. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  8. Salman Naqvi says:

    Awesome post. This is great!

  9. Hartato says:

    This is totally amazing….Thanks

  10. Mohan says:

    Hi Brian,

    Does the IOS XR and SE commands are same?

    I am just wondering whether I could use this for my CCIE Service Provider practice for getting familiarised with IOS XR commands.


  11. Terrence B says:

    Hasn’t Vyatta been something similar for a while? Now that cisco is is the game I’m expecting a much larger adoption. I’m very interested in others imagination of what they can do with a virtual router and firewall. I expect to see a lot of network geeks start to offer there own services. The possibilities are crazy.

    • Chris says:

      Not really; Hardware routers will always have software routers beat in one category:

      ASIC routing.

      An ASIC can accept a packet, make a routing or switching decision, and send the packet, in nanoseconds (2-13). The (fastest) CPU and PCI/e and Network card implementations can switch a packet in 1-3 MS (1000-3000 ns). 3 MS doesn’t sound like much, but consider:

      synchronous SAN replication requires 13ms or faster connections, end-to-end. If your packets are going through two CSR1000v’s (SAN -> CSR1000v -> physical switch -> CSR1000v -> SAN) then you are adding up to 6ms latency on that connection. Since light travels at 2100 km per ms, that 6 ms latency limits your maximum theoretical SAN replication distance from 27,300 km to 14,700 km, not including any additional switching/routing latencies or any jitter or delay caused by compression or VPN encapsulation.

  12. Vittal Krishnamurthy says:

    Virtualized incarnations of other OSes will be coming soon. Pls stay tuned!

  13. john says:

    How did you ran 30 routets on a single ESX server? 128 gb of memory? still used a quad core CPU?

  14. Bob says:

    CSR1000V version 3.10 (csr1000v-universalk9.03.10.00.S.153-3.S-ext-C1-M2560-N3-DS8.ova) requires 2.5 GB RAM allocation.



  15. Jamie says:

    Well this is beyond cool.

    It runs on Mac Parallels but with the memory requirement I am going to build a better virtual machine system for it.

  16. Anil says:

    I am very new to use the cisco-cloud-services-router-csr1000v (https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B00EV8VXG2).
    I have started instance. But may I know step by step document which can help me to configure the completely.


  17. suren says:

    Can we run both Nexus 9000v and csr1000v in gns3 in parallel?

  18. Joshua Walton, CCIE #19763 - Security says:

    GET VPN will be supported Nov 2013.


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