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SolarWinds Lab Episode 43: Virtually Unlimited Networks With GNS3

“Test early, test often” is a well-known mantra among IT folks. But one of the hurdles for many monitoring pros is that “spare” network gear is in short supply. GNS3® has an awesome solution: virtualized networks. While GNS3 is often used to mock up a network or prepare for certification exams, it can also be used to test monitoring. Pilot new versions, perform a dry-run of an upgrade, or just tinker with the newest features. GNS3 and SolarWinds® make a perfect team for monitoring professionals.

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Episode Transcript


Hello, and welcome to SolarWinds Lab. I’m Leon Adato and with me today is Mark Blackwell, Senior Marketing Manager and the driving force behind the GNS3 juggernaut. Thanks for coming on the show with us.

It’s great to be here, Leon. It’s only taken us a couple years.

I know, I know. I’ve been a big fan of GNS3 for years. But about a year ago, you guys did something that took my love of GNS3 to just a whole new level.

Let me guess: It was our community that we launched for our users last year?

Okay, that was good too. But no, that’s not what I’m talking about.

Oh, I know what it is then. It must be our new logo, because we all know it looks like a certain chameleon-centric Linux distro, right?

Okay. You really did pluck at my heartstrings with that one, but no, no. Actually, it was when you added support for virtual machines.

Yeah, well our original idea actually was to allow people to simulate real traffic.

Of course it was. But see, my intention was to leverage it for my own nefarious purposes for monitoring. You see, not having a spare rack of network gear is one of the main reasons why some SolarWinds customers, and potential customers, tell us is a reason for not trying out the new software. Or not testing new versions. Or not setting up a lab. And see, by supporting virtual machines, it means you guys fixed that one issue in that one fell swoop. So that’s what I want to cover today: How to set up NPM inside of a GNS3 instance and monitor that virtual network.

That’s awesome. But you know, there are some really other cool features we’ve been working on behind the scenes. We actually just came out with a few of them recently, and I’d love to have an opportunity to chat about them in today’s episode.

Of course, we’ll try to hit them all.

Perfect.

So Mark, I know I teased you in the promo about being new around SolarWinds. How do you like being part of the SolarWinds family?

It’s fantastic so far. I mean, we’ve had about 18 months to two years of history working together. From product integrations to working with the THWACK community with GNS3. So it’s been an easy transition. And quite frankly, we’ve got a lot to learn from SolarWinds. We were three or four guys for five or six years, building the software out, and we’re lucky and fortunate to have a huge company now that’s sponsored us– an open source sponsor for the community– and really trying to bring GNS3 to the next level.

And that’s one of the big points that we are trying to get out there, is that we are sponsoring this tool that we find is insanely effective. And it’s not just because I was whining about it, although I did my fair share, trust me. You know, it was really about just seeing the value of the community and seeing the value of what you guys were doing.

Definitely.

That’s wonderful. So you know, I think before we dig into specifically integrating NPM, what I’d like to do is just talk about like, what are some of the use cases for GNS3? If people are saying, “I’ve never heard of this tool before. What’s wrong with you?”

Yeah, totally.

So you know, if I’ve never heard about it, what can I use this tool for?

So I think the way I like to state it, it’s kind of dorm room to boardroom. So we’ve got, on one end of the spectrum, students that are starting their first year of network engineering at college, that are trying to spin up or learn about the basics of networking. Well what better way to do that than in a virtual environment that doesn’t require you to have physical hardware sitting next to you? On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got a majority of the Fortune 500 companies that have living labs that are built in GNS3. So if they’re fortunate enough to have a $10 million lab with a bunch of equipment, they can order from their sales rep, try and configure things, they’re fortunate and lucky to do that. But the power of GNS3 allows you to eliminate that hardware pretty much entirely.

Right.

So, a lot of our big enterprise customers are using the software to do proof- of-concept testing before they push stuff out into deployment. And now, the evolution of GNS3, having started as a Cisco emulator, now supports 15 to 20 different vendors, switches, routers, firewalls– starting to get into the SDN space. So it really is your living lab in a suitcase; so you can carry it around. We’ve got people that work in government agencies that take their computer with them out into the field and are doing live deployments. And so every end of the spectrum–whether you’re studying for a network certification or whether you’re doing a huge, thousand-node, proof of concept–before you push anything out, GNS3 is a powerful tool to kind of help with that.

Right, exactly. It lets you mock up— it lets you do “what-if” progression. I love it for all of that stuff. And also for the certification test. I think that’s a large part of the community. The question I see is, okay wait, I’m trying to learn how to do the lab, whatever–so that’s good. I know there have been a few different versions recently and I’m just curious what’s new or what’s on the horizon. Like, what can we look forward to? What’s going on with that?

Definitely. So, there’s a huge transition from what we define as the 0.8x series and the 1.x series. And that was transitioning to the GNS3 virtual machine, which we are going to probably get into a little bit later. As we look down the roadmap, I would say we’ve got four or five kind of key priorities. And SolarWinds is helping us build all this infrastructure. So the way I like to talk about it is portability being the main one for us. So how do we allow it for, if you’re a user, a large telecommunications company, you’re building out a network, how do you share that with somebody else, and ensure remote login and test that stuff out? The second one is scalability. Unfortunately, you’re limited by the processing power of a computer and if you’re lucky…

This is really powerful. Man, I worked hard…

It definitely is. So you know our goal is to have easily deployed GNS3 servers on multiple machines, or potentially using the cloud to offload some of that compute.

Incredible.

So that’s the next one I’d say. Automation. It takes a lot of time to configure up a lab. So our idea is to have kind of pre-configured virtual networks, labs that you can download and deploy into a GNS3 environment and spin up super quickly.

Right.

The next one I guess goes back to my first point on collaboration. That’s the biggest challenge we see is providing collaboration tools for users within the organizations themselves, or actually in a teaching environment. Most universities use GNS3 as an enabling platform for teaching. Well imagine you had 100 students in a classroom. You’re trying to teach–spinning up an instance that all those students can work on together, and that’s a big one for us. And I’d say the one that maybe kind of excites me the most is the buildup of our web interface. For some time, our vision has always been how do we harmoniously synchronize the community, which we spent a lot of time investing in and supporting our users, harmoniously with the software. And that’s one bridge that we’re working towards. So you know, very simple, local, HTML5 web interface. It’s definitely not going to be a replacement for the desktop software, but provide that flexibility for users if they want to have a web interface, and have connectivity to the internet to use that. So I’d say those are kind of the five key things we’re working on, and then as well, working with SolarWinds across the entire Netman suite to figure out how we can integrate the tools better from an eval perspective. So if you’d ever want to plug in NPM into your production network, well, we’re trying to make it super seamless and easy for users to then take the software, build up a virtual instance of their network, and deploy that out. So that’s kind of a lot to keep the guys busy over the next two– the developers…

I was going to say developers.

Yeah.

The developers are really like, “Okay, we’ll try to get that.” That’s wonderful though. It’s really exciting. It’s exactly where I was hoping, you know, things were going to go when we saw, like I said, a year ago that virtual machines are coming. Wow, like we could really get there. So a couple of things that you hit on that I want to remind everybody out there about. One is that even without the new collaborative tools that you’re talking about, there is collaboration that we’re sharing both on the GNS3 community, which we have a link down in the show notes, but also on THWACK.com we’re sharing GNS3 configurations. In fact, the one that we’re using for this demo here today is downloadable, and that will be in the show notes. And the actual installation, the integration of NPM and GNS3, is also a downloadable guide that I published probably about a year ago now. It’s going on about a year. So that’s available too. So it’s got step-by-step instructions. You can cut and paste the actual commands. And I want to explain for a minute why I did that guide and what it’s all about, and why this episode is happening. What I was seeing, both in the THWACK community and also in the GNS3 community–because I’m a part of both of those– is that I was seeing the same question from opposite directions. You know, the GNS3 folks were having no problem configuring a network. Because you know, again, the point is to integrate NPM and a GNS3 virtual network. Well, you know, trying to setup that network in the GNS3 community is like, “Oh yeah. Snap!” You know, 3 routers, a set of EGRP and it’s no problem. Meanwhile, I know that on THWACK we have a lot, not completely, but we have a lot of folks who are server admins, who just are responsible for a network. And so they’re sort of accidental network admins. And they’re like, “I’m not sure I know this.” So I was providing all the commands on how to install and setup a router, and connect them together for the SolarWinds side of the house. But then, in the GNS community, I was seeing people say, “I don’t understand what this discovery is. Why am I installing this? How do I?” And so what was happening was, I was on the GNS3 community saying, “No, no, no. Come on folks it’s really easy to install NPM, and then you do a discovery.” And explaining that. So this brings our two communities together and hopefully everyone that’s watching this is part of one or the other, or maybe new to all of it. But you know, we’re bringing it together, holding hands, singing ‘kumbaya,’ to get everyone able to do this. And so the guide is actually for two different groups put together. So I want to go over for everyone out there, what we’re going to do here. So we’re going to pop a chart up on the screen. Step one: we’re going to install VirtualBox. You can also use VMWare, but my installation happens to use VirtualBox because I love the open source. So we install VirtualBox. We’re going to install GNS3, then we’re going to setup a simple three-router network inside of GNS3. We’re going to create a virtual server inside of GNS3, which is going to be the host for NPM. Then we’re going to install NPM. In this case, I’m using the free 30-day demo because it comes with its own small SQL server inside of it. So you don’t have to have a separate box for that. And finally, I’m going to add the GNS3 network– that fake network we created–I’m going to add it to a discovery and add it into NPM. And then, we’re even going to make some things fail on purpose, which is really fun when you realize you don’t have to run to the data center, unplug something, whatever. You can actually just click, and watch the failure occur inside of NPM, and start to test out your alerts. So this has always been possible. But again, what I want to do is I just want to bring our two communities together and start the conversation going. Which reminds me, if you don’t see a conversation it’s because you’re not watching this live. If you were watching it live, you’d see that there’s a chat window over there, and we have a live chat going and you can ask us questions in real time. And you can ask for clarifications and stuff like that. So maybe you want to go to lab.solarwinds.com, sign up for reminders, and that way you don’t miss the next episode. All right?

Definitely. Sounds great.

So let’s go ahead and dig in.

Perfect.

So you can see that I’ve downloaded all of the components here. You know, I’ve got a VirtualBox, I’ve got NPM, I’ve got the VirtualBox extension pack. And again, in the show notes and in the guide you can see where to download these from. And the next thing is you want to get the current version of GNS3. So I’m just going to start the VirtualBox install first. We have to do VirtualBox first so that when we install GNS3, it detects the VirtualBox is there. And it’s a pretty straightforward install. You just, you know, basically start it up and say, ‘next.’ You’re going to take all the defaults. Create your shortcut on the desktop. Now, it’s going to tell you that it’s going to change some of your interfaces. Yeah, okay fine. Whatever. And you run the install. It just sort of loops through it and doesn’t take that much. And you don’t actually have to do anything once the install is done. Once it’s done, it’s going to start up and there’s your VirtualBox session, and you get a reminder that you have to get the extensions. Now, the extensions give you things like mouse integration, clipboard integration, stuff like that. So here’s where you can actually install the extension pack. You do it by going to file, then going to preferences, and go down to extensions. So you want to click that little arrow thingy, navigate to where you have the extensions, which I have in a folder for GNS3, and it’ll just quickly do this install. There’s a few different steps to it. First, you have to agree to the EULA. It just does the install, and you’re done. Okay, so now you have the extension pack. Now we’re done. We got it installed. So the next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to install GNS3. I’ve got that version there, we just double click it. Again, very simple install. I’m going to let you narrate some of this.

Definitely. It’s a pretty simple installation process. Follow through, get a bunch of series of add-ons that come with the GNS3 software that are value added– like Wireshark, SolarWinds Response Time Viewer, to help with packet capture. Click through the installation process. If you already have GNS3 downloaded onto your computer with all of the installs, or all of the extra packages, feel free to uncheck those boxes as you go through.

And once you’ve passed over all of the optionals, GNS3 installs very fast. There’s not– I can’t say there’s not much to it. [Laughter] There’s a lot to it. It’s just a really easy install. So, you know, it goes really fast. And at that point, you are ready to go. Of course, you know, you have an option for a few other freebies that we throw in there. So you can choose to accept those or not. But pretty much, you’re done. Okay so now that GNS3 is installed, what we need to do is actually setup our network. So the first thing I need to do, and I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I’m actually telling the folks out there this, is you click on the little router button and you drag your routers. Now, I need to take a minute and say, “Where did these routers come from?” They didn’t automatically come with the install, right?

Mmhmm. That’s right.

So you go to file. Sorry, you go to Edit, Preferences. And there’s some setup here that you want to do. And one of them is your IOS routers, your images. So here, under IOS routers, you know I’ve got these router images. You can add a new one simply by saying, ‘New’ and ‘Next.’ And it wants to know where the image is. So this is where we have to be– we have to be honest, right?

Totally.

You know the IOS images don’t come with GNS3. What you do is you go to Cisco.com in this case, and you download the image from there. How do you download the image? Well, you know, you have a contract with Cisco. Yes, you have a contract with Cisco. And so you have an account on Cisco.com. And you can download images whether they’re new ones, old ones–it’s part of the relationship that you’ve got with them. You know, we’re not– we don’t have templates that have them built in, because that’s part of what you bought with your Cisco contract.

Exactly.

Okay. So that’s where you get these images from. But you load them up, you put them into a directory under the GNS3 folder– it says images– and then there you add them using this little dialog. So that’s how I got my 1700, 3600, and 2600 here. In this case, yeah, I’m not going to save that. So I want to start off by putting a 3600 router here, like that. It takes a minute. There we go. So we’ve got this router here, but I don’t want to call it R1; I want to call it something else. So I right click it, hit ‘configure.’ We’re going to call this ‘Spring’ because every router design has Spring somewhere. And Fall. Apparently, you’re supposed to. It’s a rule. You can configure the amount of memory, the NV ram, so on, and so forth–If you want to model your environment, like we talked about before, about prototyping or even mimicking your existing production environment. In this case, I want to set up the slots. I’m going to setup two slots as 4Ts. These are serial interfaces. And then the last one I’m going to do is actually a fast Ethernet. So I’ve got those, and…

Perfect.

Yeah. Nothing else I have to do here. I can click ‘Apply’ if I want to– ‘Okay’ to finish. Okay, so it’s configured now. I mean, it has slots. It’s got a serial port and all that, but it’s not configured. It doesn’t know what to do with it. I’d need to put an IP address; I’d need to set up SNMP– things like that. Now, I have a whole design and I’m going to go over that in a minute, so just stick with me here. But the first thing I want to do is get into the console. I want to Telnet to this device. So I’m going to right click, and I’m going to hit ‘Console,’ and it’s not going to work because it’s not running. It’s not on. Even though it’s virtual, I have to turn it on.

That’s right.

So here we have this little play button. And that will either start the— I can right click and say, ‘Play just this one.’ If you have multiple routers, you can start up some and not others. In this case, I’m going to start up all of them. There we go. So now it’s running. It’s not doing anything very exciting, but it’s running. So now I right click, hit ‘Console.’ So here I am. I’m on the router now. No password or anything needed. And I want to go into ‘Enable Mode.’ And so now, I can start doing some configurations. I want to ‘config from terminal.’ The first thing I want to do is set up my SNMP strings, so SolarWinds can monitor and manage this. So, ‘SNMP-server community GNS3plusSolarWindsRocks.’ And that’s my read-only string. I’m sticking with it. I think it’s a good one. Great. Okay, so that one’s good. And the next thing I want to do is configure an interface. So I just say, ‘Int.’ You can also type out the whole word ‘Interface.’ This reacts just like a Cisco router. So I can hit ‘Tab’ for auto-completion. I can hit ‘question mark’ to find out what my options are. It is running a route. It’s just a router running on my laptop. So, ‘Interfaces,’ or ‘Interface,’ rather. And I want to do ‘S’ the serial, 0/0 first. So now, I’m configuring my first interface. ‘IP address.’ There we go. And I want to do ‘10.1.1.1.’ and we’re going to do a class C, even though I’m using ten dot. Again, I’ll go over the design in a minute here. Fine. That’s good. And ‘no shut.’ So that makes sure that it’s actually running now. Get out of that one. You can see that I’m getting some start-up messages here. Next, ‘Int S1/0.’ Spelling counts. Or no, I’m sorry; I want ‘0/1.’ ‘0/1.’ And now I want to do ‘IP address 10.1.2.1.’ Again, class C. No, shut down. That one’s good. Finally, I want to do my fast Ethernet. This is going to connect up to a switch. So, ‘Int fa.’ That’s the one. So interface, fast Ethernet 2/0. And again, I want to give it an IP address. ‘IP address 10.1.100.1.’ And this isn’t a particularly sophisticated network that I’m doing here. I’m making it real simple and real straightforward. Oh. Well, and you’ve got to have dots instead of— Again, the thing I want to point out here though, is that even though I wasn’t paying attention— I put slashes, you can use command line— Again, just like you’d be doing on a real router. There we go. So there we go. We’ve got the three interfaces configured. I can see them starting up now. The last thing I want to do is set up my routing protocol, which I’m going to use EIGRP. So all I have to do here is ‘Router E I G R P 1’ and I’m going to set up two networks. That one. And it is ‘10.1.2.0 reverse subnet mask.’ Exit. Exit. Write mem. That saves the configuration. And it is saved. If I reboot my laptop, if I reboot GNS3, it’s all there. So that’s how that one works. I can actually exit completely out of that Telnet session. And now I’m ready to configure my second router. I can drag another 3600 and keep on going with this. So this is a good time for me to explain the design. So I want to talk about that for a minute. What are we doing? So let’s get a chart up on the screen here. Let’s pop that up. So what I’ve got is, I have three different routers, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Like I mentioned before, and each one has two serial interfaces. They have serial 00 and serial 01. And I’ve got a network in between each one. So I have the 10.1.1. whatever network, connecting Spring to Summer. Then I have the 10.1.2. whatever network connecting Spring to Fall. And 10.1.3 connecting Summer to Fall. So those are the three networks we have. Again, they’re all class C. You know, slash 24, 255, 255, 255.0– however you want to refer to it– networks there, that are connected to each other. And finally, the fast Ethernet network that we’ve got is connecting to a switch that’s in the middle, and that’s the 10.1.100 network. And that’s what the NPM server’s going to be listening on. It’s not going to have to monitor every single IP address. It’s just going to monitor the devices through what I’m calling ‘The management IP,’ which is the 10.1.100 network. So that’s where we’re going with this. Now, what I’ve done is, actually, I’ve already created this. So I’m going to open an existing GNS3 network. There we go. Completed. And there you can see that I have three routers: Spring, Summer and Fall. They’ve already got the connections. Again, 0 0 to 0 0. Spring to Summer, Summer to Fall. I don’t have the actual IP addresses listed out here. I wasn’t that compulsive about it. But you can see that I’ve got my interfaces listed. So here’s the finished network. And once again, this is downloadable from THWACK.com. You can download this and keep on going. So at this point, the next thing we have to do is we have to create a server running Windows and get NPM installed. So we’re going to dig into that next. All right, so the next thing we’re going to do is install NPM. And this is actually inside the VirtualBox machine here. So we have the–what I’ve done is I’ve installed Windows inside the VirtualBox machine, and now I’m going to do the install inside of that. Which leads me to a point, being a Linux-head as much as I am–is that even if you’re running GNS3 on Linux, you do have to be running NPM on Windows. So your VirtualBox or your VMware— it can be either one– your VMware box is going to be running Windows. And you do have to have a copy of Windows that you can install there. You know, all the normal licensing things that legal wants me to… [Laughter] …make sure I say.

Totally.

So once you’ve got Windows installed and patched, and patched again, and patched again. [Laughter] Then you can go ahead and do the NPM install. Again, I’ve downloaded the 30-day demo, because it comes with a mini-SQL install. And it’s just going to go through—it’s going to do an install of .NET Framework, which is required. And once it finishes that, it’s just going to run right through it. And you know, there’s not much more to say about it. It takes a while to grind through, but there’s very few questions that it asks you. Just, you know, say ‘Yes.’ And ‘Are you sure?’ And, ‘Okay, fine.’ So I’m actually going to skip over the rest of this. We’re just going to– actually, I’m going to ask the video guys in post-production, they’re just going to speed it up real fast, just so we can get to the fun part, which is actually using NPM. So we’ll just–we’ll call it here and we’ll go from there. Okay, so now that we have the VM, the VirtualBox machine setup with SolarWinds installed and everything, now we’re going to add it into GNS3. Now you can see that it detected that I had it. And it’s right there. And I just drag it onto the screen. There it is. I do need to connect it into my network. Remember we had these, all the fast Ethernet interfaces connected to the switch using 10.1.100 networks. So I’m going to do another connector here. I’m going to connect the Ethernet port there to the switch on port four. And at this point, we’re ready to go. I can actually just startup this box. I can just say ‘Start,’ and it will open VirtualBox and start my Windows machine ‘automagically.’ So now that it started up, we’re going to go ahead and hit good old control/alt/delete. Put in my password. All right. So we can see that NPM is running and it is actually able to start monitoring. However, there’s one more thing I need to do. I actually need to check the network–the network adapter because it’s got to be set on the same network. Properties. I’m only worried about the IP version four. And so you can see that I’ve hard-coded this interface to be on 10.1.100.4. Subnet mask– there I’m actually using the Spring router’s IP address as my gateway. So now, I’m on there and I can actually double check just to make sure that it’s working. I can go and ping 10.1.100.1 Yep, I can ping that. And .2. And .3. Now here’s the question: Are my routers routing? Can I ping 10.1.1.1? Yes, I can. So what we’re seeing here is that this virtual server is connected to this network, and from here, I’m pinging 10.1.1.1, 10.1.3.1, and so on and so forth. So that’s what I’m able to do. So now, we get to the nitty gritty. This is where– up until now, we’ve been talking to all of the, mostly SolarWinds, folks who aren’t used to setting up networks. Now, we’ve done the NPM install for your guys– you know, your folks. And now I’ve got– obviously, I still have my GNS3 network here running. I’ve got my virtual machine running the poller. And I’m actually looking at that poller here in the background. So what I need to do is I need to do what SolarWinds– what we call a discovery, to find those devices. And luckily when you first install this, discover my network is right there. Just a button. However, if it’s not there you go to ‘Settings.’ I’m just doing this for all of your buddies here. And you’ve got ‘Network Sonar Discovery,” same idea. Now you can save your discoveries, and you can actually schedule them or redo them, or whatever you want to do. In this case, I actually had one already done. I’m just going to create a new one. I’m going to add a new discovery here. First, you put in your credentials. So we need to add a credential for ‘GNS3 plusSolarwindsRocks.’ And that’s going to be a new credential. It’s SNMP 1 or 2. They’re expecting read-only. You can’t even say whether it’s read-write or read-only. Add that one. I can also get rid of– like, get rid of that nasty, nasty private. And I can also put that one up. That means it’s going to try each one of these SMP strings in order, and save me a little bit of time. Next. If we have agents, we can look at them here. Not worth discussing at the moment but it is a really cool way to get some monitoring done in your environment. Virtualization. If you want to poll for VMWare and actually scan your VMWare devices. Again, not really relevant to what we’re doing here today, so I’m just going to skip right past it. Same thing for Windows, if I was monitoring Windows boxes in the GNS3 environment, which we’re going to do in the future–I’m going to actually show how to integrate SAM with GNS3 just the way we’re doing with NPM.

That’s awesome.

But again, not today. So we’re going to leave that one alone. And finally, we get to the network discovery. Now you can do a range of IP addresses. You can say from 10.1.1 to 10.1.1.12, or whatever. You can also do subnets if you want to. And I could very easily add a subnet or a seed router here. Or you can do specific nodes. And I’m actually just going to put in–because I know exactly what they are– 10.1.100.1 and… You can also paste from spreadsheets, if you’ve got a spreadsheet. I don’t know why you’d be managing your IP addresses with a spreadsheet, but okay. You know? So, okay. Next– and here, you’ve got a few little things about timeouts and how many retries and things. We’re just going to leave it the way it is. Hit ‘Next.’ The last thing you can do is run the discovery now, or you can run it on a schedule– hourly, daily– on and advanced schedule, every Tuesday, every other Tuesday of the month, or what have you. You can do it scheduled and that will find new devices every time. I just want to do it this once. Discover. This should run very quickly. You can see here that it found three devices. It hasn’t scanned them yet but it found them. And what the progress bars are going to do is– right now, it’s doing a little bit of testing. Will it respond to SNMP at all? If it does, will it tell me what machine type it is? If it tells me what machine type, can I go get that machine type’s values? And it’s polling that information back now. So it found my devices. I have a chance now to figure out which interfaces I want. I’m just going to take them all, just for fun. No volumes to import. It’s going to grab me my machines, however many that is. And it imports it into the database, and we’re all done. So here, I’ve got the device–I’m just looking at one of them on the page. I’ve got this node details page. So I can see that, you know, I can see the IOS version it’s running. I can see the object ID that I’m using. A bunch of other stuff–I can see the interfaces that we had setup. Now I just added it so I haven’t really got a whole lot of polling data yet, but it’s collecting that as well. And what I’m even able to do is setup alerts. Like, I have this alert here: Notify me when an interface is shutdown or when it is down. So what I want to do is jump over to my message center, which tells me all the incoming messages. And this is the real value, the real beauty of having this all in GNS3. Now, I’m monitoring this environment, this network, through this monitoring tool and I can go here, and I can shut down– a port. Let me go to my console. And I’m going to ‘int.’ We’ll do ‘S0/1.’ Oh, whoops! We’ve got to get into config mode. There. Shut down. So I just shut down one of the interfaces. All right. This should take a minute. It will refresh and I should see that the interface line goes out. It stops being green here in a minute. But meanwhile, I also have this alert, which is going to alert me when the interface is shut down. So it will take minute here. So as you can see here, my monitoring tool actually picked up the alert that the interface went down on that router. So that means that you can create your own sets of alerts with fake–sort of fake– routers and switches and things like that, and that you’re able now to test and create alerts. And of course, with SolarWinds, you can then export those alerts and bring them into production, knowing that they work exactly as you meant.

Right, that’s awesome. I have to say Leon, this opens up a whole new set of possibilities for the GNS3 user base.

I absolutely agree. You know, I said at the beginning of the episode that what this does is it gets people past the hurdle of not having their own rack of gear. Whether they want to try out a new version of NPM, test an alert, or even study for their CCIE.

Well, you do know we have around 8000 CCIEs in the GNS3 community. So it’s no excuse now for you to go down that path.

No, I can’t delay it any longer now. All right. I’m going to have to catch up to Destiny. Well I’ll tell you what; would you like to close us out today?

Definitely. For SolarWinds Lab, I’m Mark Blackwell.

And I’m Leon Adato. Thanks for watching.