Cisco VIRL allows administrators and network engineers to build network topologies rapidly and validate a variety of use cases on a virtual platform. Superb for change and even better when considering traditionally this used to require physical equipment or ‘guestimation’.

Many networks these days have a variety of Cisco’s portfolio within them. They vary between firewalls, campus switching, edge routing and data centre switching. Whilst this doesn’t change the underlying concepts of networking in does introduce different operating systems. There is NX-OS, IOS, IOS-XR and ASA that are currently the core flavours. Unlike JUNOS which has one (and a fork for SRX) unified OS, Cisco has a few. Whilst the merits of this can be argued another day this poses and issue for validation.

Cisco VIRL allows the running of these operating systems in software! Now it is possible to test NX-OS against ASA with a backbone network built from IOSv and IOS-XR.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.16.12 pm

When you first login to Cisco VIRL you will notice that there is only IOSv. You need to synchronise your VMmaestro client with the VIRL server.



Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.16.27 pm



Notice that there is NX-OSv listed but there is a ? within the icon and interfaces aren’t defined. Well, if you were to drag this icon to your canvas you would notice there is not an image defined either to boot from. Whilst Cisco VIRL allows you to define a particular image per OS type the server holds a raft of default configurations.

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Simply click Fetch from Server. Confirm that you want to download configuration from the server. Look at the list. Populated with more devices than you’ve traditionally been able to use. What is even better is that you don’t have to install and deploy each one individually on the canvas. You just click, connect, start and lab!

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.17.15 pm


Ah. That is better. The palette is populated with additional devices.


Screenshot 2014-07-04 06.55.36

There you go. NX-OS. Simply connect this to the other devices in the topology and you will have multi-platform test bed.

I have labbed a lot more recently since getting my hands on Cisco VIRL. This is due to having my platform hosted and always on, not worrying about recabling, addressing and all the things that eat into technology lab time. After living in the land of VMware for a little bit I lost some of my hands on skills. It’s all coming back. It must be the muscle memory!

13 thoughts on “Cisco VIRL : Where did NX-OS go?

      1. I have purchased a license of VIRL personal edition. Once I got past the nightmare of getting it installed and talking to the license server, which took me nearly a week of troubleshooting, I was disappointed to get in there and find that there is no L2 support, no ASA support, and very limited NX-OS support. You are limited to a single VDC. Then I found your site here and it looks like you had the magic key for unlocking the extra functionality, however when I did your steps I did in fact pull in a bunch of devices from my “fetch server” commmand… but none of them will play. I get errors saying invalid subtype. I ask VIRL support board about it, and they said that the “fetch server” listing was nothing more than extra icons, if you wanted your IOS router to look different, or your NX-OS appliance to look different. They said ASA is not supported, and that L2 is not supported, but yet there they are in the icon list when I pull from the server.

        So my question to you, is that accurate, or do you know a way to actually launch these devices? It appears in your posting here you were able to import NX-OS and get it to launch. NX-OS device is included by default now, so I know that works even though it’s very restricted, but what about the ASA? What about L2? Have you found a way to unlock the full functionality of NX-OS? Any feedback would be appreciated. From where I sit, looks like I can do more with GNS3 for free than what I can do with a paid subscription of VIRL. And for the record, I really wanted to like VIRL… Still now with over a week of headaches, I really want to like VIRL… but I need it to do more or its useless to me.


  1. NX-OS will be provided for Cisco Modeling Labs, but the Production Supported version has not been released by the Business Unit and it won’t be until after Jan 2015. The version you are using is a beta but some of the features may work.

    The release date for CML release is target for end of July

    1. Thanks for the comment Craig.

      Indeed – this is an Extended Field Trial and what is in it may not be reflective of the final version or product! It is positive to note that the command ‘feature VPC’ doesn’t crash Titanium anymore 🙂

      Thanks for being forthright with your employer.

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