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Monday, October 15, 2012

Best practices on how to learn multi vendor networking hardware with a help of modern virtualization

When I read my fist book to CCNA back in at the university I didn't know much about network simulators or emulators. I learn the stuff from the books and by practicing on our uni lab. But since my recent come back to networking again I needed today something that helps me to simulate or even reproduce some network config scenarios. As I'm not interested in buying any second hand Cisco gear (or any other vendor) or renting remote labs or setting complex repros in our datacenter I have found a simple solution for me: GNS3.

I didn't have a big chance yet to play with it extensively but at the first glimpse it has a huge potential. It can boot and emulate many vendor devices like [2]:

  • Cisco switches and routers
  • Cisco PIX and ASA firewalls
  • Vyatta firewalls
  • Juniper
  • Linux Open vSwitch  
  • generic VM

These are some further features described on the main page [1]:

Features overview

Design of high quality and complex network topologies.
Emulation of many Cisco IOS router platforms, IPS, PIX and ASA firewalls, JunOS.
Simulation of simple Ethernet, ATM and Frame Relay switches.
Connection of the simulated network to the real world!
Packet capture using Wireshark.

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