Archive for February 26, 2014

The future of GNS3 – with comments from Stephen at GNS3

February 26, 2014 8 comments


My last post asked for GNS3 to come clean. Some may have mistaken it for a bashing
of GNS3 which was definitely not the intention of the post. The post was intended
to get a discussion going and to see what GNS3 is planning for the future.
I’m happy to say that Stephen Guppy of GNS3 reached out to me to comment on the post.
They are listening to the community which is fantastic.


First off regarding the switching, yes it will be implemented through L2IOU.
If you expect GNS3 to develop new switches to be implemented in the new version,
this is not the case. For anyone with some knowledge of switches you must understand
how difficult this is. Switches do all the forwarding in ASICs which are very fast
and dumb chips designed to be lightning fast when forwarding traffic.

To emulate an ASIC would be very difficult if not impossible and the design of the
ASIC is not anything that Cisco would release to the public.

Of course you could implement other switches such as Arista or Huawei or anything
that has been released as a VM. GNS3 is working very hard to implement native support
for these images.

Is it legal?

GNS3 is providing a frontend to L2IOU. They can’t provide binaries or licenses. IOU
is a Cisco only application. It is up to the end users to choose if they want to use
this functionality or not. Looking from Cisco’s perspective it’s a double edged sword.
They don’t want to have something in the wild which could be looked upon as a Cisco
official image and not having the quality as expected from Cisco. On the other hand
Cisco will surely benefit from users having hands on experience on their operating
systems. In the end it’s all up to you if you choose to use such binaries.

The future of GNS3

In the beginning GNS3 was mainly used by students wanting to get certified on Cisco
equipment. Stephen pointed out that although Cisco still is an important player, GNS3
has grown a lot and many students now study Juniper and other vendors which make up
a big chunk of the users.

The aim of GNS3 in the future is to be the “CML/VIRL” of platforms. CML will be for
Cisco only although you could bridge adapters out to other networks. GNS3 wants
to integrate with all vendors to make it a multi vendor environment where you can
run all networking operating systems that are avaible as VMs. This could be XRv,
CSR1000v, N1kv, Vyatta, Arista, Juniper and so on.

End words

I hope this post has brought some clarity on how the switching in the new GNS3 will
be implemented. I wish Stephen and the rest of the GNS3 team good luck with their
new release.

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