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Learn SDN with Virtual Routers and Switches

Bryan would love to get hands-on SDN experience and sent me this question:

I was recently playing around with Arista vEOS to learn some Arista CLI as well as how it operates with an SDN controller. I was wondering if you know of other free products that are available to help people learn.

Let’s try to do another what-is-out-there survey.

2015-10-01: Updated based on readers’ feedback (see comments).

This is what I’m aware of:

Vendor

Product

Free or
Evaluation

Vagrant
box

Alcatel Lucent

VSR

Maybe
(see comments)

Arista

vEOS

Free

?

Brocade

Vyatta

Trial

?

Cisco

CRS 1000V

Trial

?

IOS XRv

Demo

?

Cumulus

VX

Free

Yes

Dell Force10

FTOS Emulator

Free
(see comments)

HP

VSR1000

Trial

?

Juniper

vSRX

Trial

Yes

vMX

No

Notes:

More about SDN

Start with the free Introduction to SDN pack or my SDN mailing list, explore the SDN books, and continue the journey with the Advanced SDN Training pack. Finally, there’s the ipSpace.net subscription, which includes all of the above.

If you want to discuss the challenges of SDN in person, drop by one of my SDN events in Heidelberg (Germany), Rome (Italy) and Miami (US).

16 comments:

  1. There's a very active open source (and completely free) fork of the Vyatta codebase: http://vyos.net/

    ReplyDelete
  2. - free Cisco CSR 1000v (IOS-XE 3.14): https://software.cisco.com/download/release.html?mdfid=284364978&flowid=39582&softwareid=282046477&release=3.10.2S&relind=AVAILABLE&rellifecycle=ED&reltype=latest
    - free Cisco IOSv (IOS 15.4) within onePK SDK (https://developer.cisco.com/site/onepk/downloads/all-in-one-vm/) or exportable from it: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/thread/73110
    - very good deal for multiple very recent Cisco images within VIRL (http://virl-dev-innovate.cisco.com/) and exportable from it: https://community.gns3.com/community/connect/community-blog/blog/2015/09/03/exporting-virl-images-into-gns3
    + ASAv 9.4.1
    + CSR 1000v 3.16
    + IOS XRv 5.3.2
    + IOSv 15.5.3
    + IOSv-L2 15.2
    + NX-OSv 7.2
    Not all features are available yet (http://community.dev-innovate.com/t/virl-personal-edition-faq-updated-9-22-2015/636).

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is also a free Ctrix VPX Express available at https://www.citrix.com/downloads/netscaler-adc/virtual-appliances/netscaler-vpx-express

    ReplyDelete
  4. F5 offers a trial and a reasonably priced licensed version of BIG-IP VE on https://downloads.f5.com/esd/eula.sv?sw=BIG-IP&pro=big-ip_v12.x&ver=12.0.0&container=Virtual-Edition&path=&file=&B1=I+Accept

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello, Midonet.org is open source and lets you build an overlay SDN. Instructions how to install it are here: https://www.midonet.org/#quickstart

    thanks! Alex

    ReplyDelete
  6. One controller I've been wanting to play with is NOX - it has OpenNebula integration and thus is extremely interesting if you don't want to waste a lot of your lifetime on rebuilding the wheel at OpenStack.


    I'd love to also throw in the F5 virtual lab edition but it's throughput limited, which is making it a boring option as a sysadmin. I expect a lot of performance troubles with SDN-controlled loadbalancing and I'm not sure I'll see any of that using a throttled appliance.
    For the pure playing with the irules & api it'll be fine of course.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's kinda hard to 'learn' SDN for free. Even the Open Source and free solutions require training before one can start playing with them. That's something I've been struggling with my self for several months, but, have also successfully largely overcome too. I outlined some of the details and process I'm following personally in my blog here: http://blog.salmannaqvi.com/2015/07/practical-guide-to-getting-started-with.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. You can get Dell S-series FTOS (former Force10 S-series) for Oracle VirtualBox, VMware, or Qemu. It's named FTOS for S-Series OS-EMULATOR for free from former force10 website after registration.It supports most L3 functionality and limited Layer 2 functionality such as LLDP, LACP

    ReplyDelete
  9. Probably not the answer you wanted, but Cisco dCloud offers an open environment for playing with ACI. There are scripted guides and demo guides you can use as a starting off point, but generally it's an open environment with which you can do what you want. Disclaimer: Lauren Malhoit (@malhoit and I work for Cisco). Also, there are partners starting to offer open labs.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Taken from: https://nbctcp.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/unetlab-installation-on-esxi/

    I took out the OS's

    ‘a10’ => ‘A10 vThunder’,
    ‘clearpass’ => ‘Aruba ClearPass’,
    ‘timos’ => ‘Alcatel 7750 SR’,
    ‘veos’ => ‘Arista vEOS’,
    ‘brocadevadx’ => ‘Brocade vADX’,
    ‘cpsg’ => ‘CheckPoint Security Gateway VE’,
    ‘acs’ => ‘Cisco ACS’,
    ‘asa’ => ‘Cisco ASA’,
    ‘asav’ => ‘Cisco ASAv’,
    ‘bigip’ => ‘F5 BIG-IP LTM VE’,
    ‘cda’ => ‘Cisco Context Directory Agent’,
    ‘c1710’ => ‘Cisco IOS 1710 (Dynamips)’,
    ‘c3725’ => ‘Cisco IOS 3725 (Dynamips)’,
    ‘c7200’ => ‘Cisco IOS 7206VXR (Dynamips)’,
    ‘cips’ => ‘Cisco IPS’,
    ‘coeus’ => ‘Cisco Web Security Appliance’,
    ‘csr1000v’ => ‘Cisco CSR 1000V’,
    ‘cumulus’ => ‘Cumulus VX’,
    ‘extremexos’ => ‘ExtremeXOS’,
    ‘fortinet’ => ‘Fortinet FortiGate’,
    ‘hpvsr’ => ‘HP VSR1000’,
    ‘iol’ => ‘Cisco IOL’,
    ‘ise’ => ‘Cisco ISE’,
    ‘mikrotik’ => ‘MikroTik RouterOS’,
    ‘nsvpx’ => ‘Citrix Netscaler’,
    ‘olive’ => ‘Juniper Olive’,
    ‘ostinato’ => ‘Ostinato’,
    ‘paloalto’ => ‘Palo Alto VM-100 Firewall’,
    ‘sourcefire’ => ‘Cisco Sourcefire’,
    ‘titanium’ => ‘Cisco NX-OSv (Titanium)’,
    ‘vios’ => ‘Cisco vIOS’,
    ‘viosl2’ => ‘Cisco vIOS L2’,
    ‘vmx’ => ‘Juniper vMX’,
    ‘vnam’ => ‘Cisco vNAM’,
    ‘vsrx’ => ‘Juniper vSRX’,
    ‘vwlc’ => ‘Cisco vWLC’,
    ‘vwaas’ => ‘Cisco vWAAS’,
    ‘xrv’ => ‘Cisco XRv’,

    That plus the other comments is about every virtual appliance I have heard of in the last decade...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would add pfSense which is an open-source (free) router/firewall/load balancer https://doc.pfsense.org/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Open source switch/router products (some already mentioned):

    VyOS
    Midonet
    Cloudrouter (packaged Quagga etc. but hardly 'just' a router)
    OpenBSD
    ONL
    Indigo

    Closed:
    Pica8
    Switchlight
    VxWorks
    ZebOS
    ocNOS

    Load Balancers - Open Source
    HAProxy
    LVS
    IPVS
    Zen
    Nginx
    Balance/NG - http://www.inlab.de/balanceng/

    Load Balancers - Closed
    JetNexus - free trial
    KEMP

    ReplyDelete
  13. Do you mean free or eval with support access?

    As a customer ALU lets you download a fully-functional version of the SR-OS VM, but it reboots every 60 minutes without a valid license. Doesn't wipe out the config, just reboots.

    Juniper you can download the Junos vRR image and it has no real limitations. It doesn't support absolutely everything but it supports all routing protocols, MPLS, etc.

    The vMX is not the same, the vMX is the one that uses two VMs with one being the control plane and the other the PFE. Getting that still seems to be special request even if you are a customer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As the original question was about "free products that help people to learn", I'd say virtual products available to registered customers with support contracts don't count.

      However, thanks for the information!

      Delete
  14. Big Switch has a very nice set of cloud hosted demo labs that allow you to test the controller (gui and cli) as well as the fabric switches and virtual switches. Also has demos with Openstack and VMware integration which gives you an opportunity to get into that a little bit. http://labs.bigswitch.com/home

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Ivan.
    It's nice review.
    Juniper's vMX trial available on http://www.juniper.net/us/en/dm/free-vmx-trial/

    ReplyDelete

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