Cisco has been talking for some time about a product that I’m really excited about. This product is known as “VIRL”, pronounced like “viral”. VIRL is short for Virtual Internet Routing Lab. The promise is this will use IOU, short for IOS on Unix, to emulate several hardware/software combinations. This will give users the ability to create labs that allow them to test and practice skills on NX-OS, IOS, IOS-XE and IOS-XR. Below is a demonstration of Cisco VIRL at the Live 2013 Conference in Orlando.
The question for me is when will this be released. A lot of us are [not so patiently] waiting. My guess is that Cisco is trying to figure exactly out how to package it. Knowing that there are significant benefits from an SDN perspective, I’m really hoping Cisco releases a free virtual machine of this product. Obviously, a reliable and legal lab environment for learners is another awesome use case for this product. The familiarization that will ultimately result with Cisco specific features will benefit Cisco’s bottom line.