Overview: GNS3 (Dynamips)

  • Overview: Emulator that lets you run instances of real network OS’s
  • Package: Desktop software (downloadable)
  • Purpose: to build virtual networks for testing and learning
  • Scope: Cisco IOS plus some other Cisco/Non-Cisco
  • CLI: Runs real Cisco OS with real CLI
  • Lab exercises: None integrated into product
  • Licensing:  Does not supply you with IOS

Analysis of GNS3

Produced By...

From GNS3 Technologies (per the gns3.com web site).

Includes Labs?

Labs are not integrated, but separate labs found in blogs, marketplace, etc easily performed within GNS3.

Labs on the Internet?

Some at GNS3 Marketplace, others likely findable online.

Uses Real Cisco IOS?

Uses and relies on real Cisco IOS… but does not supply IOS.

Initial $$$

Free! Free! Free!

Annual $$$

Free as well!

Time: Choose til Use

Not a lot – installs as a desktop app.

Ethical Choices

Requires IOS (or other Cisco OS’s) but GNS3 does not supply them due to licensing constraints.

Analysis: Lab Exercises and GNS3

Are Lab Exercises Included?

Great for what it does, but user interface does not include integrated lab exercises.

Are Labs Easily Available on the Net?

GNS3.com Marketplace has a short list of brief labs at last look

Trusted authors of CCENT/CCNA labs?

I'm not in a position to know - sorry!

Overall Usefulness for Lab Learning

Free Play!
Great free play tool for CCENT/CCNA if you have no issues with OS licensing

Analysis: Time and Dollar Costs

Time Overhead: Low

Assuming you have enough laptop/desktop power to run GNS3 there, you need some time to learn the install/setup details. Call it 2 hours.

Time (Overhead)

Initial Cost No Hardware: Zero

Software-wise, GNS3 is free, and required additional software includes free options.

Initial Software Only Cost

Initial Cost with Hardware: High

If your laptop/desktop does not have the CPU/RAM to do what you need with GNS3, you will need to add a beefy desktop or small server.

Initial Cost w/ Added Hardware

Annual Cost: Zero/Low

Zero software cost for GNS3 itself. You might have chosen virtualization software with an annual fee.

Annual Cost

Start typing and press Enter to search