Labs in Virtualized Environments

23/11/2023

By Alejandro Guevara, Solutions Architect / Sales Engineer at Nokia

Containerlab emerges as an initiative to run and test the growing number of container-based network operating systems in virtual labs.

Born as an initiative by Nokia engineers and extended to other companies, Containerlab stands out as an ideal tool for testing potential scenarios in a virtual environment before implementing production changes in a network.

To address this need, the team of engineers has developed a tool for deploying and managing laboratory environments through a command-line interface (CLI). This tool can initialize the containers, create virtual wiring between the containers and the host, according to user needs, and manage their lifecycle.

In just a matter of seconds, we can deploy a Containerlab topology on any platform that supports Docker containers, ensuring a high level of portability. This flexibility allows users on various operating systems or platforms to run the same code and achieve consistent results, making it particularly well-suited for academic settings.

Containerlab focuses on the containerized Network Operating Systems which are typically used to test network features and designs, such as: Nokia SR Linux, Arista cEOS, Cisco XRd, Azure SONiC, Juniper cRPD, Cumulus VX, Keysight IXIA-C and RARE/FreeRtr.

In addition to network components, Docker containers can be used to incorporate management or control elements, including TACACS+, syslog, telemetry stacks, and more. 

The first version was released in March 2021 and its simplicity has made it very popular. We’ve also formed a community that continually stimulates us through a vibrant server, offering suggestions on a regular basis. We invite you to participate and join the project.  You can find the source code on GitHub here.

If you would like to learn more about our tool, we invite you to watch the presentation conducted during LACNIC 40 here and join our upcoming webinar on December 13. Click here to register.

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