After long anticipation, Cisco’s Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) is now publicly available. VIRL is a network design and simulation environment that includes a GNS3-like frontend GUI to visually build network topologies, and an OpenStack based backend which includes IOSv, IOS XRv, NX-OSv, & CSR1000v software images that run on the built-in hypervisor. In this post I’m going to outline how you can use VIRL to prepare for the CCIE Routing & Switching Version 5.0 Lab Exam in conjunction with INE’s CCIE RSv5 Advanced Technologies Labs.
The first step of course is to get a copy of VIRL. VIRL is currently available for purchase from virl.cisco.com in two forms, a “Personal Edition” for a $200 annual license, and an “Academic Version” for an $80 annual license. Functionally these two versions are the same. Next is to install VIRL on a hypervisor of your choosing, such as VMWare ESXi, Fusion, or Player. Make sure to follow the installation guides in the VIRL documentation, because the install is not a very straightforward process. When installing it on VMWare Player I ran into a problem with the NTPd not syncing, which resulted in the license key not being able to register. In my case I had to edit the /etc/ntp.conf file manually to specify a new NTP server, which isn’t listed as a step in the current install guide. If you run into problems during install check the VIRL support community, as it’s likely that someone has already run into your particular install issue, and a workaround may be listed there.
Once VIRL and VM Maestro (the GUI frontend) is up and running, the next step is to build your topology. For the INE CCIE RSv5 Advanced Technology Labs, this topology will be 10 IOS or IOS XE instances that are connected to a single vSwitch. All you need to do to build this is to add the 10 IOS instances, and then connect them all to a single “Multipoint Connection”. Logical network segments will then later be built based on the initial configurations that you load on the routers for a specific lab. The end result of the topology should look something like this:
You may also want to add some basic customization to the topology file and the VM Maestro interface. I set the hostnames of the devices to R1 – R10 by clicking on the router icon, then setting the “Name” under the Properties tab.
Next under the File > Preferences > Terminal > Cisco Terminal you can set the options to use your own terminal software instead of the built in one. In my case I set the “Title format” variable to “%s”, which makes it show just the hostname in the SecureCRT tab, and set the “Telnet command” to “C:\Program Files\VanDyke Software\SecureCRT\SecureCRT.exe /T /N %t /TELNET %h %p”, which makes it spawn a SecureCRT tabbed window when I want to open the CLI to the routers. Your options of course may vary depending on your terminal software and its install location.
Next, click the “Launch Simulation” button on the topology to start the routers. Assuming everything is correct with your install, and you have enough CPU & memory resources, the instances should boot and show the “ACTIVE” state, similar to what you see below:
If you right click on the device name you’ll see the option to telnet to the console port. Note that the port number changes every time you restart the simulation, so I found it easier just to launch the telnet sessions from here instead of creating manual sessions under the SecureCRT database.
You should now be able to connect to the consoles of the routers and see them boot, such as you see below:
R1 con0 is now available Press RETURN to get started. ************************************************************************** * IOSv is strictly limited to use for evaluation, demonstration and IOS * * education. IOSv is provided as-is and is not supported by Cisco's * * Technical Advisory Center. Any use or disclosure, in whole or in part, * * of the IOSv Software or Documentation to any third party for any * * purposes is expressly prohibited except as otherwise authorized by * * Cisco in writing. * ************************************************************************** R1> R1>enable R1#show version Cisco IOS Software, IOSv Software (VIOS-ADVENTERPRISEK9-M), Experimental Version 15.4(20141119:013030) [jsfeng-V154_3_M 107] Copyright (c) 1986-2014 by Cisco Systems, Inc. Compiled Tue 18-Nov-14 20:30 by jsfeng ROM: Bootstrap program is IOSv R1 uptime is 46 minutes System returned to ROM by reload System image file is "flash0:/vios-adventerprisek9-m" Last reload reason: Unknown reason This product contains cryptographic features and is subject to United States and local country laws governing import, export, transfer and use. Delivery of Cisco cryptographic products does not imply third-party authority to import, export, distribute or use encryption. Importers, exporters, distributors and users are responsible for compliance with U.S. and local country laws. By using this product you agree to comply with applicable laws and regulations. If you are unable to comply with U.S. and local laws, return this product immediately. A summary of U.S. laws governing Cisco cryptographic products may be found at: http://www.cisco.com/wwl/export/crypto/tool/stqrg.html If you require further assistance please contact us by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cisco IOSv (revision 1.0) with with 484729K/37888K bytes of memory. Processor board ID 9B2DD0A36JBLXZY7SLJTF 2 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces DRAM configuration is 72 bits wide with parity disabled. 256K bytes of non-volatile configuration memory. 2097152K bytes of ATA System CompactFlash 0 (Read/Write) 0K bytes of ATA CompactFlash 1 (Read/Write) 0K bytes of ATA CompactFlash 2 (Read/Write) 1008K bytes of ATA CompactFlash 3 (Read/Write) Configuration register is 0x0 R1#
With this basic topology you should have the 10 IOSv instances connected on their Gig0/1 interface to the same segment. The Gig0/0 interface is used for scripting inside the VIRL application, and can be shutdown for our purposes. The end result after the images boot should be something similar to this:
R1#show cdp neighbor Capability Codes: R - Router, T - Trans Bridge, B - Source Route Bridge S - Switch, H - Host, I - IGMP, r - Repeater, P - Phone, D - Remote, C - CVTA, M - Two-port Mac Relay Device ID Local Intrfce Holdtme Capability Platform Port ID R9.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 177 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R8.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 167 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R3.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 155 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R2.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 177 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R7.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 156 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R6.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 146 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R5.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 129 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R4.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 153 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 R10.openstacklocal Gig 0/1 146 R B IOSv Gig 0/1 Total cdp entries displayed : 9
Next you can load your initial configs for the lab you want to work on, and you’re up and running! I’ve taken the liberty of converting the CSR1000v formatted initial configs for our Advanced Technologies Labs to the IOSv format, as the two platforms use different interface numbering. Click here to download these initial configs as well as the .virl topology file that I created.
For further discussions on this see the IEOC thread Building INE’s RSv5 topology on VIRL.
As a side note, INE has been experiencing phenomenal growth, and tremendous passing rates for people that have been sitting our R&S, Data Center and Collaboration bootcamps. In fact, of just the bootcamps we’ve held this year, nearly all of our students have reported back to us a pass in the 3-4 weeks following their bootcamp experience. Now mind you, these folks come to us studied up and prepared for the bootcamp, but they all credit us as being the deciding factor in their pass.
We’re also adding new content all the time, including Python scripting, Openstack and SDN such as OVS. Check out our Black Friday deals and grab an All Access Pass or sign up for a bootcamp and check out what’s new!
Tags: success story
Cisco has announced their plans to transition the CCIE Service Provider certification blueprint from Version 3.0 to Version 4.0 starting May 22nd, 2015. The official announcement for the Written and Lab Exam Content Updates can be found here.
There are four key points to this announcement, which are:
- Lab Exam format changes
- Hardware & software version changes
- New technical topics added
- Old technical topics removed
CCIE SPv4 Lab Exam Format Changes
The Lab Exam format of SPv4 has been updated to follow the same format as the new CCIE Routing & Switching Version 5.0. This means the exam now consists of three sections: Troubleshooting, Diagnostic, and Configuration.
CCIE SPv4 Hardware & Software Version Changes
Following along with the current CCIE RSv5, CCIE SPv4 now uses all virtual hardware as well. Specifically the new hardware and software variants are as follows:
- ASR 9000 running Cisco IOS XR 5.2
- ASR 1000 running Cisco IOS XE 3.13S.15.4(3)S
- Cisco 7600 running Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S
- Cisco ME 3600 running Cisco IOS 15.5(3)S
Both the IOS XR and IOS XE variants are already available as virtual machines that you can download from cisco.com and deploy yourself on VMWare ESXi 5.5 and other similar hypervisors. The current IOS XRv release is 5.2.0, and CSR1000v (IOS XE) is 3.13S/15.4(3)S. As for the 7600 and ME 3600 images, I would assume these will run as L2 IOU/IOL images, however I haven’t personally seen either of these complies yet. The key functionality of them will be based around L2VPN for Ethernet, such as EVC and VPLS, which is not covered in depth in the current SPv3 blueprint.
CCIE SPv4 New Technical Topics Added
With the new IOS XR, IOS XE, and Catalyst IOS code versions used, the following is some of the key new features that have been added to the SPv4 Blueprint:
- Ethernet VPN (EVPN)
- Provider Backbone Bridging EVPN (PBB-EVPN)
- Multicast Label Distribution Protocol (mLDP)
- Unified MPLS (Seamless MPLS)
- Locator/ID Separation Protocol (LISP)
- mGRE VPN
- IPv6 NAT44/NAT64/6RD
- MPLS OAM & Ethernet OAM
CCIE SPv4 Old Technical Topics Removed
Frame Relay and ATM, the old holdouts for years, have finally been removed from the CCIE Service Provider Blueprint. This was expected, as most L2VPN services now focus on Ethernet last mile (EVC, VPLS, L3VPN over Ethernet) vs. legacy Frame Relay and ATM.
More information about our plans for content updates will be available as we get closer to the official release date of the new blueprint. In the meantime for those of you that want to get in before the Blueprint change I would recommend to book a lab date as soon as possible, and start reviewing our CCIE Service Provider v3 Advanced Technologies Class and CCIE Service Provider v3 Workbook.
Rack Rentals for INE’s CCIE RSv5 Workbook’s Troubleshooting Labs and Full Scale Labs are now available via the Members Site. To access them login to http://members.ine.com, click “Rack Rentals” on the dashboard on the left, and then click “Schedule” under “CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Full Scale.”
This topology uses 20 routers and 4 switches and is for both Troubleshooting and Full Scale Labs. The topology above it, “CCIE Routing & Switching v5″, uses 10 routers and 4 switches, and supports all the Advanced Technology Labs and Foundation Labs.
The loading and saving of initial configs is supported through the Rack Control Panel, which can greatly save you time in your studies, especially with very large topologies such as those used in the Troubleshooting and Full Scale Labs.
Additionally, Full Scale Lab 2 and Troubleshooting Lab 2 have been posted to the CCIE RSv5 Workbook. More Foundation, Troubleshooting, and Full Scale Labs are currently in development and will be posted soon. For discussion on these new labs please visit the CCIE RSv5 Workbook section of IEOC, our online community.
Troubleshooting Lab 1 has been added to the CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Workbook. This is in addition to Full Scale Lab 1 which was posted yesterday. More Foundation, Troubleshooting, and Full Scale Labs will be added soon to the workbook. More information about additional content and its release schedule will be available shortly.
This lab uses a 20 router topology which will be available through our rack rental system shortly. In the meantime if you have your own lab built on CSR1000v, IOU/IOL, etc. the initial configs are available to download on the lab 1 tasks page. For technical discussion of this lab, please visit the Troubleshooting Labs section of our Online Community here.
Full Scale Lab 1 has been added to the CCIE Routing & Switching v5 Workbook. More Foundation, Troubleshooting, and Full Scale Labs will be coming soon, including additional updates before the end of the weekend. I will post more information about additional content and its release schedule shortly.
This lab uses a 20 router topology which will be available through our rack rental system shortly. In the meantime if you have your own lab built on CSR1000v, IOU/IOL, etc. the initial configs are available to download on the lab 1 tasks page. For technical discussion of this lab, please visit the Full Scale Labs section of our Online Community here.
Having passed the CCIE Voice 10 years ago, and having taught on the technologies surrounding both Voice and Collaboration ever since, one might think that the exam would be easy to pass. I can assure you that no matter how much you know, no CCIE exam is easy to pass. Cisco doesn’t allow them to be. Every CCIE track requires hard work and preparation, even if it may, at first glance, seem somewhat of a repeat of things you already know. You may ask since I had the CCIE Voice already, why I didn’t simply take the Collaboration Written exam and convert my cert to a CCIE Collaboration? The answer I think is pretty straightforward – it’s the challenge!! Seeing if you still have it 10 years later. Seeing if what you’ve been teaching your students for 10 years is still up to par and still relevant. To take you back to when I passed CCIE Voice ten years ago, the track was literally brand new that year, and Cisco was testing on CallManager version 3.3, SIP wasn’t anywhere to be found, and creating a hunt group meant tweaking Attendant Console to make it do things it shouldn’t ever be expected to do (like work). I’m quite happy to find that I may still have ‘it’ and that my content is right on par and not only relevant on all accounts, but as always goes well above and beyond the minimum of what you need to know to pass the exam, and takes you into the deep inner-workings of the technologies and answers the all of the “why” questions. Bear in mind that we never create content with the singular goal of simply getting you “past” the lab exam (the people that can only barely pass the lab can’t make it past a technical interview in the real world), but rather our focus is making you a true expert whereby, as a byproduct, you do pass the lab exam and quite handily at that. Over the past 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of helping over 1,500 people do just this, and it’s been so enriching in my life to see their professional and personal lives bettered for it. So what took me so long to getting around to sitting for this new exam? Simply put – my schedule. As some of you may know, I’ve been teaching a lot of 2-week CCIE Data Center courses and 2-week CCIE Collaboration courses, as well as working on building all of the Collaboration racks and self-paced learning content, and quite frankly just hadn’t found time in my schedule to get around to preparing to sit for and take the actual new lab exam until just a few weeks ago. So onto more of what you need to know and what it takes to be ready.
It’s quite possible that I may be one of the only people besides Frog that possesses 3 or more CCIE’s, where one of them is not Routing and Switching.
Update 1: CCIE Collaboration Racks are now available for rent. Sign in to your members account and click on Rack Rentals in the left navigation. Please note that these racks are currently in general beta release, meaning they are available to everyone, but if you happen to find a bug or an issue with the scheduler, rack control page, or rack equipment, please start a support case and kindly let us know about it so that we may remediate it quickly. We’ve had a number of closed beta testers and their tests have all gone very well. We should be out of general beta release within a few weeks. Full instructions on how to use our racks can be found in our new Collaboration Rack Rental Guide, and I will be releasing a few follow-up videos later today with links inside the guide, to further demo things and walk you through how to use these racks, including the use our new rack control panel.
The CCIE Routing & Switching Advanced Technologies Class v5 resumes Wednesday, July 23rd at 8:00 AM PDT (15:00 UTC) at live.ine.com, where we will be discussing MPLS Layer 3 VPN. In the meantime, you will find the streaming and download playlists have been updated and now includes over 63 hours of content.
We have some other great news as well. The CCIE R&S v5 Rack Control panel has been released with the built-in telnet, loading and saving configs and one click device configurations and reset requests. Also, new content will be posted this week to the workbook, including all new troubleshooting labs.
INE is reducing the cost of our live, instructor-led bootcamps by $1,000 each. Our new pricing model will still include access to our workbooks and ATC video courses with the purchase , but will separate out the Lab Exam Voucher and access to our All Access Pass as optional add-ons to provide you with a more flexible options for both your learning style and your budget. If you would like the existing complete, bundled solution, you have until Aug 1 to make a bootcamp purchase.
See this advert for more details.
Look forward to seeing you in a bootcamp soon!