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

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  • 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
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    Choose 2 vCPU
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    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
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    Disable Audio
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    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:
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    USB-Tab: Uncheck ‘Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) controller’
  • Start the N9K VM
  • Open a serial console session via putty

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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:

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

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