C9800-CL for my homlab

Introduction

After the release of the new Catalyst 9800 Controller, I see that the virtuell version support the same features as the hardware. In order to perform simple tests outside my lab in the future, I wanted to run the controller virtually on my MacOS. Since there are 1-2 small stumbling blocks here, I created this blog post.

Prerequisites

I tested the installation under VMWare Fusion and VirtualBox on my Mac. VMWare Fusion runs stable with all options. Under VirtualBox I first had problems with the network card. But now it also runs.

For the installation I use the ISO and not the OVA.

Network Structure

My network uses two adapters. One has access to my LAN adapter for communication with the access point. The other one gets access via my WiFi to „external“.

If I am outside my homelab, I use the first adapter in host-only mode. This gives me access to the interface even without an active LAN card. Accordingly, I can use the interface and my scripts without access points at any time.

Installation VMWare Fusion

Create VM

For the installation under VMWare Fusion we first create a new VM with the following parameters:

  • OS: Other Linux 4.x or later kernel 64-Bit
  • Legacy BIOS
  • HDD 8 GB (default value)

VM Customize

Before the first start we have to adjust following settings for our VM:

  • Extend RAM to 4096MB
  • Network adapter
    • Adapt the existing adapter to the desired network
    • Add another adapter and adapt to the desired network
    • Adapting the driver of the LAN card via the CLI

Installation VirtualBox

Create VM

For the installation under VirtualBox we first create a new VM with the following parameters:

  • OS: Other Linux 64 Bit
  • RAM: 4096MB
  • HDD 8 GB (default value)

VM Customize

Before the first start we have to adjust following settings for our VM:

Optimize system

Change the paravirtualization to KVM.

Optimize network

  1. First NIC, driver/adapter type to „paravirtualized network (virtio-net)“
  2. Activate another NIC, adapt driver/adapter type according to the first NIC.
  3. „Connected to“ must be configured according to personal preferences. It is important that both interfaces are NOT in the same broadcast domain.
  4. The Promiscous mode should be activated for both cards.

Installation C9800-CL

After we have configured the VM, we can start it and boot with the ISO image. Then we go through the installation according to Cisco documentation.

After several installations I noticed that the first dialogue „Press any key to continue.“ sometimes took several minutes.

Finally, it is important that the installation displays 1 Virtual and 2 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. This means that the drivers are correctly detected and the cards are active. I personally use the wizard-free configuration path, but this is up to everyone and is currently not part of the blog post.

C9800 Installation Done