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Cisco VIRL - anyone using it?

I am wondering if anyone is using Cisco VIRL and what their experience with it is?  Specifically Cisco VIRL, i am already up to speed with GNS3/dynamips, this is more of a product curiosity.


  • Hey Bahlkris - just got it and starting to use it.  I like it can do some layer2/3 stuff with a virtualized switch, can do BFD.  It's a PITA to setup vs. GNS3 though.  Cisco's got some work to do there.

    I'm watching V5 CBTNuggets CCIE videos - and they mostly use GNS3 for cli work - but occassionally switch over to GNS3.

  • I wasn't aware of it...looks like I need to go look and see what it is about...

  • I meant to say, they mostly use GNS3 for CLI work, but occasionally switch over to VIRL.

    GNS3 is a lot easier to set up and work with (IMHO), but VIRL has newer, advanced features - such as switches, BFD, Nexus, CSR, etc.

    GNS3, you have to supply IOS - v15 will run on a 7206 GNS3 image, others are v12.  VIRL supplies new IOS - 15. Also IOS-XE, NXOS.

    VIRL requires some beefy hardware to install on - such as ESXi with a lot of memory.  GNS3 not as much, and will run on regular windows, MAC, linux.

    GNS3 is FREE.  VIRL (Student version) is $200-150 and limited to 15 devices.

    GNS3 support is community supported.  VIRL support is also community supported.

    Basic testing, fast testing /labbing - GNS3.  Advanced feature, switching, newest code - VIRL.

  • Hi,

    Usally i create my labs based on gns, but ive tried Boson NetSim 10 (not free)

  • I use unifies networking lab, its more portable when moving my labs around and supports a massive list of platforms.

    Unified Networking Lab

  • VIRL device limits were recently upped to 20.

  • Did they abandon packet tracer? I am so confused as to what makes VIRL so much better/different.

    Is it more switching options maybe? Also, how much does it cost anyways?

  • No, Packet Tracer is still around.  The big difference is what you want to do.  Packet Tracer is awesome for CCNA level stuff, and it's a breeze to set up.  VIRL is a lot more complex, but you can do a lot more with it.  I actually use both (and GNS3) depending on what I am trying to do.  If it's a simple test of something Packet Tracer all the way.  VIRL gets used for the stuff that GNS3 can't support, and GNS3 fits somewhere in the middle.

    VIRL is mostly routing.  You can do some switching stuff, but in the initial release it was basically only routers.  Cost depends on the license (standard is $200 or student is $80). VIRL - Virtual Internet Routing Lab

  • Yes, i am using it with Cisco CSR1000V, vASA and added Fortinet firewall too.

    I built a DMVPN with BGP to simulate a routing design for a Project.

    It works well and allow updated IOS support, forget about recent IOS support on GNS3, i needed BGP additional path features (IP Routing: BGP Configuration Guide, Cisco IOS XE Release 3S - BGP Additional Paths [Cisco IOS XE 3S] - Cisco) and others ... .

    Of course be ready to invest in a proper Server when GNS3 is more light on hardware requirements.