Overview: Cisco VIRL

  • Desktop software (downloadable)
  • Purpose: to build virtual networks for testing and learning
  • Scope: Most Cisco OS’s, far beyond certification
  • CLI: Runs real Cisco OS with real CLI
  • Lab exercises: None integrated into product
  • Licensing:  Includes license to use IOS and other Cisco OS’s

Analysis of Cisco VIRL

Produced By...

From Cisco Systems, incubated and now under Learning at Cisco.

Includes Labs?

Great free-play platform, but no lab exercises included.

Labs on the Internet?

Some at Wendell’s blogs, probably at other sources.

Uses Real Cisco IOS?

Best of all options! Use Uses authentic licensed Cisco IOS/other OS’s.

Initial $$$

$200 for 1st year license, possibly requires desktop/server hardware ($500-ish?)

Annual $$$

$200 annual recurring license charge.

Time: Choose til Use

Appx. 2 hours first use if using mostly defaults as a desktop app.

Ethical Choices

No issues – fully licensed by Cisco.

Click to Buy Directly from Cisco


Analysis: Lab Exercises and Cisco VIRL

Are Lab Exercises Included?

Great for what it does, but it does not currently include lab exercises

Are Labs Easily Available on the Net?

Some in Wendell's blogs (config labs); can find some others on Net

Trusted authors of CCENT/CCNA labs?

Without integrated lab exercise features, currently rely on external blog posts etc.

Overall Usefulness for Lab Learning

Free Play!
Best free play tool for CCENT/CCNA w/ up-to-date OS versions

Analysis: Time and Dollar Costs

Time Overhead: Medium

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

Time (Overhead)

Initial Cost No Hardware: Medium

VIRL Personal Edition: $200 annual license. To run it on your desktop, you need additional software; some options cost $.

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 VIRL, you will need to add a beefy desktop or small server.

Initial Cost w/ Added Hardware

Annual Cost: Medium

Cisco licenses VIRL annually; price has been $200/year since it first hit the market.

Annual Cost

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