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TOPIC: Virtual Lab

Virtual Lab 9 years 3 months ago #29976

Hi! This a "project log" kind of post, that I hope will be helpful to anyone with the same goals, and that will be open to any suggestions/discussions.
I'm not sure where this post will fit, so if there's a better place for it let me know :)

My goal was to build a machine where I could work on the CCNA lab practical stuff, while being open to future uses (like building a windows server network, voice labs, etc...). For this to work (at least from what I read) I'd need GNS3 for the Cisco labs part and VMware for the windows server network virtualization.
After reading a bit about GNS3 I decided that I would need to build this in my desktop (more ram and CPU available) instead of the faithful lappy. But since I prefer to work from lappy I had to add a remote control solution to the project. Oh, and it had to be in Linux because... well I read somewhere that GNS3 would run better in linux and i'm a very believable person :P

And so I dumped one of the windows partitions from my desktop and replaced it with ubuntu 8.10 intrepid ibex. The only step that differs from the typical installation is that I installed GRUB in my ubuntu partition (/). Since I'm a complete noob in linux I struggled for some time with boot issues but resolved everything in 2 steps:
- "fixmbr" in windows recovery console
- some grub config with ubuntu live cd where I used the following:

sudo grub
> root (hd1,4)
> setup (hd1)
> exit

This enabled grub to work, but there was one last step needed to make XP boot (after booting the installed Ubuntu). Executed the following comand and making sure the "Windows part" of menu.lst was according this text:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

title Windows
root (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

Well, after some hours I finally had a working dual boot (windows xp/ubuntu) desktop. yey! :P

Next... GNS3!
I used this tutorial ( ) in the GNS3 site. All the steps are there (for both windows and linux hosts) so it was a very painless experience.
If you do come up with come sort of CPU error when trying to connect to the routers, double check the IOS image settings (in my case I inserted an IOS for a 2800 which isn't supported by GNS3).

Following step, FreeNX
In windows (XP and beyond) you can use the Remote Desktop Connection to connect to a remote workstation, but between XP and Ubuntu there aren't many solutions available. More reading involved and I'm introduced to FreeNX ( ). This is supposed to be a LOT faster than VNC and that's one of the reasons of why I chose this.
I'm a couple of steps away from finishing this. When I do I'll update the log.

Re: Virtual Lab 9 years 3 months ago #29978

Basically I used these guides: (to access the launchpad repositories) (used the repository links of this guide) (for the NX windows client config)

The FreeNX Windows client is from NoMachineNX, but I can't open their website so I downloaded the client from .
In the windows client the session is just id name, the user and password are the same as the linux session that you're trying to open (watch out for upper and lower cases in the username also... I felt really stupid when I understood why the authentication was failing).
And then the test drive! It felt very fast, but then again my machines are all connected through a wired network.

So far I've only found one problem with this setup: when connected to ubuntu through the NX windows client, I played a bit with GNS3 and found out that the console window pop up doesn't open. I really hope that this is only a configuration error.

Right... all I need now is to install VMware. Cya soon!

Re: Virtual Lab 9 years 3 months ago #29979

Install was done using this guide:
Everything went ok and I only had to change the ubuntu root password (it seems that the root default password is blank and vmware can't accept that :P).
Just need to find out how tp configure a "datastore" to a NTFS partition where all the virtual machines are...

For now that's it. I'm going to work a bit with all of this and if any corrections are needed i'll post them.
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