We are super excited to partner with Packet to provide simple, powerful and on-demand infrastructure.  Unlike other cloud providers like AWS and Google that provide virtual machines, Packet gives you 100% dedicated servers in just minutes - making it perfect for GNS3, but also your other cloud workloads - from VMWare to Docker and beyond. 

 

WHAT IS PACKET?

Packet.net is a bare metal cloud provider, with datacenter locations near NYC, Silicon Valley, Amsterdam and Tokyo. 

 

Special offers for GNS3 & Thwack users only: 

 

  1. $25 Trial Credit - Packet is offering $25 in credit for GNS3 & Thwack users to help them kick the tires.  Simply visit the landing page, or use code “GNS3” when signing up.

  2. Discounted Monthly - At Packet you pay hourly for real dedicated hardware, with no required

    long term

    contracts.  However, for those that need a server up ongoing, Packet is making a special 30% discount for commitments on the powerful Type 1 server.  To take advantage of the discount, just email help@packet.net and mention the ‘GNS3 Discount’ to arrange.

 

SIGN UP WITH PACKET

First, you will need to sign up for an account at Packet.  There is sometimes a manual review, which you can help to avoid by using a work email address (if you have one) and disconnecting from any VPN during the signup process.  If you are flagged for manual review, don’t worry!  The Packet team is very responsive and will work with you to get everything squared away.  A few things:

 

  • A valid payment method is required even if you have a promo code.  For more information about how Packet handles billing, check out this article

  • Once your account is activated, we recommend activating Two Factor Authentication (simply visit 'Settings' -> 'Security' and follow the instructions).

 

ADD YOUR SSH KEY

 

Lastly, add your SSH key to your account, since at Packet servers can only be accessed via SSH.  Here is a great article which will help you get started.

 

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DEPLOY YOUR SERVER

Once you are ready, you can go ahead and deploy a new server with the Ubuntu 16.04 OS in the Packet location which is closest to you.

 

  • While GNS3 works on the Type 0, you need to use at least a Type 1 server for a better virtualization support.
  • GNS3 is not supported for Packet’s ARMv8 server offerings

At Packet you are getting your own dedicated bare metal machine that is yours alone from the time you provision it until you actually delete the device from your account.  So even if you were to power it down, it would still accrue usage until you actually delete it completely.

If you use IOU, the name of the machine should be exactly the name you have in your license file. The characters case is important:  gns3vm is different from GNS3VM.

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The server will be deployed within 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the Type. Once it is ready, you can SSH in as root, and using the SSH keys you setup earlier.

 

INSTALL GNS3

 

cd /tmp

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/GNS3/gns3-server/master/scripts/remote-install.sh > gns3-remote-install.sh

bash gns3-remote-install.sh --with-openvpn --with-iou --with-i386-repository

 

If everything is OK, you will see this message:

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Reboot the server from the Packet portal or by issuing a reboot command on the terminal. That’s it!

 

CONNECT GNS3 TO THE SERVER

 

VPN setup

The next time you SSH in you will see this message:

 

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Download the .opvn certificate from the link shown on your server. You can also find the certificate in /root/client.opvn

 

VPN CONNECTION ON LINUX

# sudo apt-get install openvpn

# sudo openvpn client.opvn

Tue Apr 25 17:12:48 2017 [OpenVPN] Peer Connection Initiated with [AF_INET]X.X.X.X:1194

Tue Apr 25 17:12:51 2017 TUN/TAP device tun0 opened

Tue Apr 25 17:12:51 2017 Initialization Sequence Completed

VPN CONNECTION ON WINDOWS

  • Download and install OpenVPN for Windows (be careful to use the version associated with your OS version).
  • Right click on the .ovpn and open it with OpenVPN.

 

VPN CONNECTION ON MAC OSX

  • Download and install Tunnelblick.
  • After double clicking on the client certificate, it install the config for you. And the setup will be done.  Now if you click on the tunnelblick icon in the OSX top bar. You can connect to the VPN.

 

If the VPN connection works this page should resolve: http://172.16.253.1:3080/

 

CONFIGURE GNS3 IN ORDER TO USE THE NEW SERVER

 

If you want to use a local GNS3 installation and a remote installation you can use the settings profiles

 

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At startup in the setup wizard choose Run everything on a remote server

 

And put the server settings. The IP need to be 172.16.253.1

 

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BACKUP SOLUTIONS

 

If you don’t want to keep your Packet server running continually (hence accruing charges even during the time that you are not actively using GNS3), you can save/backup your GNS3 projects and have them ready when you deploy a new server in the future.

 

If you take a look at the GNS3 server config file at /etc/gns3/gns3_server.conf you will see the following:

 

root@gns3vm:~# cat /etc/gns3/gns3_server.conf

[Server]

host = 172.16.253.1

port = 3080

images_path = /opt/gns3/images

projects_path = /opt/gns3/projects

report_errors = True

 

[Qemu]

enable_kvm = True

 

So, we can see that GNS3 is saving the images and projects on the /opt/gns3/ directory.

 

The first option here would be to scp those 2 folders on your local computer. We would have to compress them first, for an easier transfer.

 

cd /opt/gns3/

tar -czvf gns3-backup.tar.gz projects/ images/

That command will create a new compressed file named gns3-backup.tar.gz which now is easier to scp to your local computer.

 

When you deploy a new server, you can scp the backup file back to the server, and then extract it back to the /opt/gns3/ directory

 

cd /opt/gns3/

tar -xzvf gns3-backup.tar.gz

 

As these directories might get bigger, the scp option might become a struggle, so we come to the second option, which would be to take advantage of Packet Block Storage service. Block Storage is a network attached storage that can be moved between servers, and it’s a great option to backup your projects. A 100GB Volume of the Standard Tier would cost ~$0.25 for a day or ~$7.5 for the whole month. 

 

Block Storage is only available in Packet’s EWR1, SJC1, and AMS facilities. 

This method requires that you have a good working knowledge of the Linux command line, as you will have to work with network attached storage, and manually copy directories around. 

Packet does not offer any managed services, and you will be responsible for your own data. Here is a knowledge base article explaining the process of attaching and detaching the volumes on a Packet server.

 

In short you would have to do the following, after you create the volume and attach it to the server on the portal.

 

Let’s say the volume is named volume-3b36a278

 

packet-block-storage-attach -m queue

echo -e "o\nn\np\n1\n\n\nw" | fdisk /dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278

kpartx -u /dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1

mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1

mkdir /mnt/block

mount -t ext4 /dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1 /mnt/block

echo "/dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1 /mnt/block ext4 _netdev 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

 

With those commands, we have properly attached, formatted and mounted the volume on the /mnt/block directory.

 

Then we can copy the 2 important directories we mentioned above ( /opt/gns3/images, /opt/gns3/projects).

cd /opt/gns3/

cp -ar images/ /mnt/block/

cp -ar projects/ /mnt/block/

Now that we have copied them to the storage volume we can detach it from the server with:

packet-block-storage-detach

 

We would have to detach it on the portal too. The next time that we attach this volume to a new server, after doing so in portal, we just have to use the following commands on the server:

 

packet-block-storage-attach -m queue

mkdir /mnt/block

mount -t ext4 /dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1 /mnt/block

echo "/dev/mapper/volume-3b36a278-part1 /mnt/block ext4 _netdev 0 0" >> /etc/fstab

And then we can copy/move the 2 directories we need back to /opt/gns3/