Virtual Equipment + Physical Equipment = Big Lab

I have posted a few entries covering GNS3 and how you can use it to help you with your studies. And, in the Connecting Your PC to Your Virtual GNS3 Routers I showed you how it was possible to break your GNS3 routers out of the Virtual world and bring them in to the Physical world. In this post, I am to show you how I used this technique in my lab to give me a rather nice setup.

Figure 1 shows the equipment I own at the time of writing. I don’t really use the 2610 as GNS3 fulfills all of my router needs. I do use the 2509 though as a console router for the rest of my equipment.

Figure 1

fig1You may be wondering why I need four physical machines… well, at least the wife does ;) My explanation can be found in Figure 2.

Each physical machine has a Virtual Machine (VM) installed. These VMs are bound to their own physical NICs. This is why each machine has a minimum of three NICs. The reason why one machine has five NICs is because it also hosts GNS3. Two of its NICs are assigned to the job of connecting virtual routers to the physical network.

Figure 2

fig2

Figure 3 shows how each of the physical NICs are mapped.

Figure 3

fig3

Figure 4 tries to explain (or should I say justify?) why I have five monitors :)

Figure 4

fig4

Finally, Figure 5 shows a basic topology which can be created with the above equipment.

Figure 5

fig5

For a more detailed, step by step guide on how to achieve the above, please see my Ultimate Cisco Lab website.

Update: Where to from here?

My lab has increased in size quite a lot since this post was first written (see the photos below). Even more exciting though is the purchase of my new PC. With this PC I will be able to set up a few ESXi hosts, Nexus 1000V VSMs and VEMs. This will enable me to play around with vCenter, vMotion, VSM High Availability, etc. This, in conjunction with the additional VMs I will be able to create inside the ESXi hosts, will allow me to create even larger topologies than before. I can’t wait to get started! :)

The lab as it stands now:

lab1

lab2

As always, if you have any questions or have a topic that you would like me to discuss, please feel free to post a comment at the bottom of this blog entry, e-mail at will@oznetnerd.com, or drop me a message on Twitter (@OzNetNerd).

Note: This website is my personal blog. The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and not those of my employer.

2 thoughts on “Virtual Equipment + Physical Equipment = Big Lab

  1. Awesome work, I’m in the process of developing my lab as well. Will going to have a discussion with you on the next meetup. grate work :). Unfortunately was not able to open the Ultimate Cisco Lab link.

    • Hi Wasif,

      Thank you for the feedback. And thank you also for the chat, it was great seeing you again at the meet up.

      I’ve fixed the issue with my UltimateCiscoLab.info site so it should be back up and running within the next few hours.

      As always, feel free to drop me an email if there’s anything else I can give you a hand with.

      Cheers,
      Will

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