Managing Cisco CSR 1000v installed on VMware player

In a previous tutorial we installed the Cisco CSR 1000v (IOS-XE Release 3.9.1S) router on a Virtual machine run by VMware player 5.0.1. In this tutorial we are going to activate an evaluation licence for CSR 1000v (IOS-XE  3.10.0S) and clone Virtual machine using VMware player. The last part will explain how can be CSR 1000v, Minicom and VMware player configured to use Minicom for CSR 1000v administration.

The Cisco CSR 1000v Licensing Model

According to the data sheet the Cisco CSR 1000v (IOS-XE Release 3.10.0S) is licensed based on the combination of the following  parameters:

1. Throughput (10 Mbps, 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 250 Mbps, 500 Mbps, or 1 Gbps)

2. Feature set (Standard,Advanced, Premium)

  • Standard Package: Basic Networking Routing (Routing, QoS, HSRP, NAT, ACL, VRF, GRE)
  • Advanced Package: Standard package + Security (IP Security VPN, Firewall, MPLS, Multicast)
  • Premium Package: Standard + Advanced Networking (AppNav, AVC, OTV and LISP)

In addition, the Cisco CSR 1000V offers a 60-day evaluation license. The evaluation license is for the Premium technology package, although you can use the license boot-level command to change to either the Standard or Advanced package level. The evaluation license is limited to 10, 25 or 50 Mbps throughput.

3. The term (1 or 3 years)

For instance L-CSR-100M-ADV-1Y= refers to 1-year license for 100 Mbps maximum throughput for the Advanced package.

Activating Premium Evaluation 60-day Cisco CSR 1000v License

After CSR 1000v installation throughput is set to 2,5 Mbps. In order to  increase throughput level, evaluation licence must be activated.  Cisco IOS XE 3.12S and earlier have evaluation licenses valid for 60 days and bundled with the software image. The next steps explain how to activate evaluation license for Cisco IOS XE 3.12S and earlier. A detailed  guide describing the exact procedure for activation of evaluation license for  IOS XE 3.13S and later is here.

First of all, check the  platform throughput with the command show platform hardware throughput level.


Picture 1  - Default Throughput Level is set to 2,5 Mbps

The command show license detail provides details about license.


Picture 2  - Premium Evaluation License is not activated after CSR  1000v Installation

To  accept EULA  use the command license accept end user agreement in a global configuration mode.


Picture 3 - Accepting End-User License Agreement 

To activate  an evaluation license use the command license boot level premium in a global configuration mode.


Picture 4 - Activating Premium Evaluation License

Cisco CSR 1000v with an activated evaluation licence in use may be used for 60 days for free. Beyond 60 days use of the product, payment must be submitted to Cisco for the licence. Save configuration with the write command and reboot the router.  Check the active used licence with the command show license detail.


Picture 5 -  Premium Evaluation License in use

Check the actual platform throughput with the command show platform hardware throughput level. Activating the evaluation license, the  throughput level increased  to 50 Mpbs.


Picture 6 -  Actual Interfaces Throughput Level 

Cloning VMware Player Virtual Machine

Cloning Virtual machine in VMware player is not straightforward as clone function is not implemented in VMware player. In general, manual copying of a directory where the Virtual machine files are located must be done. Afterwards the name of all files located in a new Virtual machine directory must be changed as well as the name of Virtual machine in all configuration files. The first time is the new Virtual machine started, VMware player itself takes care of changing UUID and MAC addresses of Ethernet interfaces.

Each Virtual machine has dedicated its directory in a directory ~/vmware/. Let's have a Virtual machine named Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S. The following files are presented in the directory ~/vmware/Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S.


Picture 7 - VM Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S Files

In next steps we are going to create Virtual machine named Test that will be a clone of the Virtual machine Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S.

1. Copy files from a directory Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S to the directory Test

$ cp -rv ~/vmware/Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S/ ~/vmware/Cisco_CSR_1000v_Clone

The command copies files from the directory ~/vmware/Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S to the directory ~/vmware/Test. The content of the directory Test is following.


Picture 8 - Files under Directory Test

2. Rename all files in the directory Test

$ cd ~/vmware/Test/
$ rename Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S Test *


Picture 9 - Renamed Files in a Directory Test

3. Edit Configuration files - Test.vmx and Test.vmxf

Edit both configuration files Test.vmx and Test.vmxf in a text editor, and replace all occurrences of the word "Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S" with the word "Test". The following command-line will take care of this editing automatically:

$ sed -i 's/Cisco_CSR_1000v_3.10.0S/Test/g' Test.vmx Test.vmxf

4. Import Virtual Machine Test in VMware Player

Open VMware player and navigate to  File -> Open a Virtual Machine. Select path to the configuration file Test.vmx.


Picture 10 - Importing a Configuration File Test.vmx

A new Virtual machine named Test will appear in the list of existing Virtual machines. Left click on the machine and select Play Virtual Machine. VMware Player will prompt you with the following message.


Picture 11 - New VM Test is Detected

Select an option "I copied it". VMplayer will change parameters that have to by unique for different Virtual machines such as Virtual machine UUID and MAC addresses of Ethernet interfaces.

Using Minicom to manage Virtual Machine run by VMware Player

Minicom is terminal emulation program for Unix/Linux. Minicom allows the use of a unix socket file by specifying the serial device as unix#<path to socket file>". VMware player allows Virtual machine to direct output to the unix socket file. Cisco CSR 1000v can be configured to direct output to the serial port instead of a virtual console. Meeting these conditions Minicom can be used for Cisco CSR 1000v administration.

1. Configure Cisco CSR 1000v to Direct Output to Serial Port

Router#conf t
Router(config)#platform console serial

2. Configure VMware Player to Direct Output to Unix Socket

A new hardware - serial port will be added to  Virtual machine inventory. Left click on the Virtual machine and choose option Virtual Machine Settings. Click on Add button and select option Serial Port from the list.


Picture 12 - Adding  Serial Port

On the next window, select the option - Output to socket.


Picture 13 - Directing Output to Socket

Specify the socket file /tmp/socket and do not change other options. Continue with clicking on the Finish button.


Picture 14 - Specifying a Socket File

Once you finished serial port configuration, Virtual machine serial port configuration will be following:


Picture 15 - Serial Port Configuration

3. Configure Minicom to use Unix Socket

Assuming that your Minicom installation is working, start MInicom as root user:

$ sudo minicom -s


Picture 16 - Minicom Menu

Navigate to Serial port setup a press A. Enter the path to the socket file, Bps/Par/Bits and Flow control as it is shown on the picture.


Picture 17 - Setting Serial Port Parameters

Once you finished, continue with ENTER key. Save Minicom settings with option Save setup as dfl.


Picture 18 - Saving Minicom Settings Setting

Exit from Minicom and start the Virtual machine. VMware player creates the socket file /tmp/socket. Start minicom as root user with command:

$ sudo minicom

Check the boot process in Minicom window.


Picture 19 - Cisco CSR 1000v Boot Menu Option

Once CSR 1000v boots up you will get the prompt.


Picture 20 - Cisco CSR 1000v Prompt

Running  vmware-netcfg (Virtual Network Editor) with VMware Player

By default, they are three network interfaces (vmnet0, vmnet1 and vmnet8) created during VMPlayer installation. If you want to add additional  interfaces to your router you have to use Virtual Netwok Editor for this job. Unlike VMware Workstation, Vmplayer does not have option to run network editor from GUI.  That is why we have to run vmware-netcfg from CLI with root privileges.

$ sudo /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-netcfg

In case, there is not vmware-netcfg utility presented in /usr/lib/vmware/bin/ directory, just copy the file /usr/lib/vmware/bin/appLoader to /usr/bin/.

$ sudo cp /usr/lib/vmware/bin/appLoader /usr/bin/vmware-netcfg

Used Links

CSR 1000v Configuration Guide


CSR 1000v Installation and Testing

Cloning VM in VMware Player


3 thoughts on “Managing Cisco CSR 1000v installed on VMware player

  1. Great blog! The CSR 1000v has a lot to offer in terms of advanced services. The fact that it is deployable in virtual form also provides a lot of flexibility.

    To leverage all the capabilities of this great router, check out our application-aware network performance software, LiveAction. It can easily setup, monitor and configure the CSR. LiveAction makes enabling advanced capabilities of the CSR, as well as your other Cisco devices, easy so that you can ensure your networks and critical applications are running smoothly.

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