How to deploy Cisco Nexus 9000v on VirtualBox / Win10

In contrast to the CSR1000v it took me a few attempts to get a running installation of Nexus 9000v, so maybe this post helps someone to save time (or me, when I look back in a few month).

Most people just want to play with some config management tools like ansible and simply need a few local instances of networking equipment to get started – no need for vagrant or full blown virtual labs like GNS3 or EVE-NG.

Things you do need: VirtualBox, Nexus9000v .vmdk image, putty (or another serial console client). NX-OS 7.0(3)I7(x) is the current long-lived release (01/2020). Visit the config guide for more detail, the supported nx-os features and system limitations compared to a physical box.

  • Download the nxos.vmdk image
  • Create a new virtual machine



  • Copy the downloaded nxos.vmdk file to the specified folder,
    in this case: C:\Users\win\VirtualBox VMs\N9K
  • Adjust the virtual machine settings of N9K

    Boot Order: Hard Drive first, check ‘enable EFI’ box

    Choose 2 vCPU

    Acceleration Tab: Check VT-x/AMD-V if displayed / supported

    Remove IDE and add an AHCI/SATA controller + Add 8GB Hard Disk with nxos.vmdk file from the VM folder named N9K

    Disable Audio

    Leave Networking untouched at first: Adapter1 enabled + NAT.
    The final virtual network configuration depends on your lab setup and can be adjusted at any time.

    Enable Serial Port 1 with the following configuration:

    USB-Tab: Uncheck ‘Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) controller’
  • Start the N9K VM
  • Open a serial console session via putty


The switch now boots up into POAP mode and can be configured via serial console. If for any reason the switch stops at the boot loader (loader> prompt), just enter ‘dir’ to determine the name of the bootimage, followed by ‘boot nxos<toomanynumbers>.bin’ .

Very important last step: Set the bootimage in the startup-config to the actual nxos binary located at the bootflash:


Thats it, you can now start to configure the switch as usual. VM Adapter 1 corresponds to the mgmt0-Interface of the switch.

5 thoughts on “How to deploy Cisco Nexus 9000v on VirtualBox / Win10

    1. VirtualBox Setting
      – Change network settings: NAT → Bridge Mode

      Console Setting
      – interface mgmt0
      ip address 192.168.0.x/24
      no shut

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