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Learning SDN/NFV on a budget
December 06, 2017 | By Zeeshan Rizvi @ Cisco
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Zeeshan Rizvi. 


Zeeshan Rizvi

Cloud / DevOps / SDN Strategy at Cisco Systems Inc



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So a couple of days ago, I was helping out a friend get started in the infrastructure automation with Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Automation with Ansible and other IaaC concepts.


Without going into too much details, in simpler terms NFV allows us to move network functions (routers, switches, load balancers, etc) from dedicated hardware boxes into software. Software which we can run on any virtualization platform either on prem or in cloud. SDN on other hand is the automated organization of network functions. Oversimplification, yes, but let’s focus on execution. 


The path we chose was to leverage Cisco's dCloud resources where you can just jump right in without having to worry about setting up a lab, software versions, vlans, IP addressing, etc. Getting signed up and showing around dCloud was going smoothly until dCloud went offline for maintenance and updates. And we hit an awkward pause.


Hence the need to setup a small software defined lab environment arose where we could play around with some of the virtual network functions right in our own software defined topologies err laptops.


For starters I wanted something with lower hardware resource requirements while providing capabilities that would help us with IaaC, SDN and automation concepts. That’s where Cloud Services Router or CSR 1000v came to mind. Its a fairly popular VNF (Virtualized Network Function) that people deploy in AWS/Azure or public cloud setups. In addition to that it supports a variety of on prem hypervisors like KVM, VmWare ESX, HyperV, etc.


There’s no official guide to run CSR1000v on Virtual Box though and hence the opportunity to do a quick how to video on how to hack it and put on Oracle virtual box. Once setup you can interact with it without spending a fortune on VMware licenses or AWS costs. Write Ansible or Terraform recipes or Python scripts to automate to your heart’s content. In other words feel awesome. 


Feeling the itch yet? check out the how-to and give it a spin in your environment. And don’t forget to share your feedback. Enjoy!


Quick pre-requisites 

Software: Oracle Virtual Box Version: 5.1.28, Cisco IOS XE: 16.6.1(Everest), download the ISO not OVA. (CSR1000v-universalk9.16.06.01.iso)

Hardware: At least 8GB RAM, Dual core CPU and 200+ GB HDD


Max (NBS) via LinkedIn 2018-01-02 10:29:44

I had sought for next part where the author promised showing iron router interface configuration, but I have failed. Perhaps it is just onhis planes....

Marc (NoviFlow) via LinkedIn 2018-01-03 10:36:38

Another great place for SDN training and tools for engineers: inside-OpenFlow.com

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