Cisco IOS Service-Containers: Run an x86-VM inside a Router (Part 5: Install the Service-VM)

The CSR1000V-Router has already been prepared (Create a CSR1000V-Instance with nested Virtualiation support) and in (Part 4: Package the Service-VM into an OVA) we copied the OVA-Image of our „ubuntu-server“-VM to this Router.

Add the internal Network-Interface between Router and Service-VM

Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
SERVICECONTAINER(config)#int virtualportgroup 0
*Feb  3 19:05:17.206: %LINEPROTO-5-UPDOWN: Line protocol on Interface VirtualPortGroup0, changed state to up
SERVICECONTAINER(config-if)#ip addr

SERVICECONTAINER(config-virt-serv-global)#signing level unsigned
% Support for unsigned packages has been user-enabled. Unsigned packages are not endorsed by Cisco Systems, Inc. User assumes all responsibility

SERVICECONTAINER(dhcp-config)# network
SERVICECONTAINER(dhcp-config)# exit

SERVICECONTAINER(config)#virtual-service UBUNTU
SERVICECONTAINER(config-virt-serv)#vnic gateway virtualPortGroup 0
SERVICECONTAINER(config-virt-serv-vnic)#guest ip address
*Feb  3 19:06:27.474: %SYS-5-CONFIG_I: Configured from console by console

Install the Service-VM

SERVICECONTAINER#debug virtual-service all
virtual service all debugging is on
% Console already monitors
SERVICECONTAINER#virtual-service install name UBUNTU package bootflash:ubuntu1604.ova
Installing package 'bootflash:/ubuntu1604.ova' for virtual-service 'UBUNTU'. Once the install has finished, the VM may be activated. Use 'show virtual-service list' for progress.

*Feb  3 19:07:43.518: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Sending install req for [UBUNTU], path=bootflash:/ubuntu1604.ova, uri= uid=0
*Feb  3 19:07:43.529: VIRTUAL-INSTANCE: Message sent for INSTALL TDL request: Virtual-instance name: UBUNTU, UID: 0
*Feb  3 19:07:43.529: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Started response timer for tid DD000001 - 30 minutes
*Feb  3 19:05:14.205: %IOSXE-4-PLATFORM: R0/0: kernel: dev->name [intsvc0]: dev_entry not populated

SERVICECONTAINER#show virtual-service list
System busy installing virtual-service 'UBUNTU'. The request may take several minutes...
Virtual Service List:

Name                    Status             Package Name
UBUNTU                  Installing         ubuntu1604.ova

*Feb  3 19:08:00.645: %VMAN-5-PACKAGE_SIGNING_LEVEL_ON_INSTALL: R0/0: vman: Package 'ubuntu1604.ova' for service container 'UBUNTU' is 'unsigned', signing level cached on original install is 'unsigned'
*Feb  3 19:08:09.216: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Install response handler: VM[UBUNTU]: Owner IOSd trans_id 3707764737
*Feb  3 19:08:09.216: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: vm[UBUNTU] set owner [IOSd]
*Feb  3 19:08:09.225: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: application_name: 'ubuntu' application_vendor: '' application_version: '1.1'
*Feb  3 19:08:09.226: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Default profile info: license_name: '', license_ver: ''
*Feb  3 19:08:09.226: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Install pkg response for tid DD000001: rc=0, descr=Install Success
*Feb  3 19:08:09.226: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: License type: none, no license needed
*Feb  3 19:08:09.226: %VIRT_SERVICE-5-INSTALL_STATE: Successfully installed virtual service UBUNTU
*Feb  3 19:08:09.243: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Received local transport activation request
*Feb  3 19:08:09.244: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Enabling vman local transport

SERVICECONTAINER#show virtual-service list
Virtual Service List:

Name                    Status             Package Name
UBUNTU                  Installed          ubuntu1604.ova

*Feb  3 19:08:32.758: %ONEP_BASE-6-SS_ENABLED: ONEP: Service set Base was enabled by Default
*Feb  3 19:08:33.259: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Local transport 'activation' request processed

Activate the installed Service-VM

Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
SERVICECONTAINER(config)#virtual-service UBUNTU

% Activating virtual-service 'UBUNTU', this might take a few minutes. Use 'show virtual-service list' for progress.

*Feb  3 19:09:57.772: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Activate CLI: appl->owner [IOSd]
*Feb  3 19:09:57.775: VIRTUAL-INSTANCE: Message sent for ACTIVATE TDL request: Virtual service name: UBUNTU, UID: 0
*Feb  3 19:09:57.775: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Started virtual service (0) activate response timer - 30 minutes
*Feb  3 19:10:06.052: %SYS-5-CONFIG_I: Configured from console by console
*Feb  3 19:10:06.383: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Activate response handler: got owner [IOSd]
*Feb  3 19:10:06.383: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: clnt_type 0: Interface counter is '1'
*Feb  3 19:10:06.383: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Information for virtual port grp '0' is received
*Feb  3 19:10:06.384: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Deliver intf response, vm =UBUNTU, counter=1
*Feb  3 19:10:06.384: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Received interface id=0, type=1, state=1
*Feb  3 19:10:06.384: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Received virtual port group interface 0 with service MAC 001e.e5b1.cfba, state: up
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-INSTANCE: Message sent for IF MTU TDL message: appliance 'UBUNTU'
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Activate response handler: rsp_rc 0
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Deliver response: appliance_state 3 rsp_rc 0 if_notify name UBUNTU clnt_type 0 act_state 0
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: %VIRT_SERVICE-5-ACTIVATION_STATE: Successfully activated virtual service UBUNTUconf t
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: Stopped virtual service (1) response timer
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-SERVICE: Delivered Virt-manager response message to virtual service 'UBUNTU' - Response: 'OK'
*Feb  3 19:10:06.385: VIRTUAL-SERVICE [UBUNTU]: set owner to 'IOSd' in appliance

SERVICECONTAINER#show virtual-service list
Virtual Service List:

Name                    Status             Package Name
UBUNTU                  Activated          ubuntu1604.ova

SERVICECONTAINER#show ip dhcp bind
Bindings from all pools not associated with VRF:
IP address      Client-ID/              Lease expiration        Type       State      Interface
                Hardware address/
                User name     001e.e5b1.cfba          Feb 04 2018 07:20 PM    Automatic  Active     VirtualPortGroup0

Access the VM using the (virtual) Serial-Console

SERVICECONTAINER#virtual-service connect name UBUNTU console
Connected to appliance. Exit using ^c^c^c

Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS ubuntu-server ttyS0

ubuntu-server login: user
Last login: Sat Feb  3 20:23:27 CET 2018 on ttyS0
Welcome to Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-87-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:
 * Management:
 * Support:

9 packages can be updated.
7 updates are security updates.

user@ubuntu-server:~$ who
user     ttyS0        2018-02-03 23:12

Logout: 3x [CTRL]+

user@ubuntu-server:~$ ^C
user@ubuntu-server:~$ ^C
user@ubuntu-server:~$ ^C

Access the VM using SSH via the internal Network

Welcome to Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.4.0-87-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:
 * Management:
 * Support:

9 packages can be updated.
7 updates are security updates.

Last login: Sat Feb  3 23:12:21 2018
user@ubuntu-server:~$ who
user     pts/0        2018-02-03 23:13 (

Check the local python/NAPALM-Setup to get facts about the containing router

user@ubuntu-server:~$ python
Python 2.7.12 (default, Dec  4 2017, 14:50:18)
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

>>> import napalm

>>> iosdriver = napalm.get_network_driver('ios')
dpass', optional_args={'port': 22, 'dest_file_system': 'bootflash:'})sword='rmon


>>> print router.get_facts()
{u'os_version': u'Virtual XE Software (X86_64_LINUX_IOSD-UNIVERSALK9-M), Version 16.7.1, RELEASE SOFTWARE (fc6)', u'uptime': 12840, u'interface_list': [u'GigabitEthernet1', u'GigabitEthernet2', u'GigabitEthernet3', u'VirtualPortGroup0'], u'vendor': u'Cisco', u'serial_number': u'9SNHUBYAML', u'model': u'CSR1000V', u'hostname': u'SERVICECONTAINER', u'fqdn': u'SERVICECONTAINER.lab.local'}

Cisco IOS Service-Containers: Run an x86-VM inside a Router (Part 4: Package the Service-VM into an OVA)

I’ll start at the KVM-Virtualization Host („Ubuntu Desktop“) again.

Folder Structure
I’ll create a folder „isr-service-container“ for common stuff (package.yaml, and a for each VM a dedicated sub-folder, today: „ubuntu-server16.04“

user@KVM-1:~$ mkdir isr-service-container
user@KVM-1:~$ cd isr-service-container
user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ mkdir ubuntu-server16.04

Download the Cisco-provided „templates.tar“ from GitHub (GitHub: Templates.tar).
It contains:

  • package.yaml

Prepare a compressed virtual harddisk of the „Ubuntu-Server“-VM
Locate the original virtual harddisk:

user@KVM-1:~$ sudo ls /var/lib/libvirt/images/ -l
total 3238172
-rw------- 1 root root 21478375424 Feb  2 23:14 ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2

Convert the original „.qcow2“-File into a compressed „copy“:

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ sudo qemu-img convert -p -c -o compat=0.10 -O qcow2 /var/lib/libvirt/images/ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2 ./ubuntu-server16.04/ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ cd ubuntu-server16.04/
user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ ls -lh
total 1,2G
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1,2G Feb  2 23:26 ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2

Change the Owner of this new file:

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ sudo chown user:user ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2 
user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ ls -lh
total 1,2G
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 1,2G Feb  2 23:26 ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2
user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ copy ../package.yaml ./package.yaml

I’ll change:

  • Description: „KVM Ubuntu 16.04 LTS“
  • resources/vcpu: 1
  • disk/file: ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2

The vCPU# got decreased since the CSR1000v only supports Service-VMs with one vCPU.

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ joe ./package.yaml
manifest-version: 1.0

  name: ubuntu
  description: "KVM Ubuntu 16.04 LTS"
  version: 1.1

  # Indicate app type (vm, paas, lxc etc.,)
  apptype: vm

   cpu: 10
   memory: 854016
   vcpu: 1

    - target-dev: hdc
      file: ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2

    - target-dev: net1

    - console
    - aux

  # Specify runtime and startup
    runtime: kvm
    boot-dev: hd

Another File „version.ver“ has to be created:

  • the „version“ must match the „manifest-version“ of the yaml-file.
user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ echo 1.0 > version.ver

Check the content of the VM-folder

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ ls -l
total 1206788
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user        437 Feb  3 20:13 package.yaml
-rw-r--r-- 1 user user 1239148032 Feb  2 23:26 ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2
-rw-rw-r-- 1 user user          4 Feb  2 23:33 version.ver

Create the OVA-File

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04$ cd ..

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ ./ -mts 200000 -mfs 100000 ubuntu-server16.04 v1.0(Linux) - Create a virtual-service OVA package

User inputs:
  Compress=(files > '100000M' if total 
            file size > '200000M')

Package name :  ubuntu
 Generating SHA1 on files...
Running SHA1 over all files in '/home/user/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04' and
    creating manifest file '', please wait...

Done creating '' file
 ...Done Generating SHA1 on files
Creating ' ubuntu.ova' please wait...

'/home/user/isr-service-container/ubuntu-server16.04/ ubuntu.ova' created

Manifest Contents:
SHA1(package.yaml)= fb47cf5b764a7bb062561a4f67d830003f8e4d5a  
SHA1(ubuntu-server16.04.qcow2)= 732c8ac9dc81ab6b2695fe6c045bec4493d77168  
SHA1(version.ver)= 61652cd1568dcf2614df833eba241755eee34e89  

Copy the OVA-File to the Router:

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ scp ./ubuntu-server16.04/ubuntu.ova <ios-user>@<csr1000v-management-router-ip>:bootflash:ubuntu1604.ova
Password: <ios-password>
ubuntu.ova                                                                                         100% 1182MB   1.2MB/s   17:05    
Connection to closed by remote host.

Check the ISR-Router:


Directory of bootflash:/
   22  -rw-  1239152640   Feb 3 2018 19:00:42 +00:00  ubuntu1604.ova
7897796608 bytes total (4507389952 bytes free)

Cisco IOS Service-Containers: Run an x86-VM inside a Router (Part 1: KVM Development Environment)

Network Hosted Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM)

Many Cisco Routers allow you to host your own virtual machine directly inside a router.
DevNet: Cisco IOS KVM Service-Containers

  • CSR 1000v
  • ISR 4000
  • ASR 1000

I went through the documentation, especially Service-Containers-Tutorial.pdf and Ubuntu – Building a Service Container.pdf where very helpful.

But i didn’t want to go the „Ubuntu-Desktop-14.04-LTS“-way which was described.

„My“ Service-Container-VM should be:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • Ubuntu Server
    • save some compute/cpu/dram/harddisk-ressources by not installing an Ubuntu-Desktop-Environment inside the Router. Just network services, please!

The whole deployment process can be accomplished in five steps:

  1. build a KVM virtualization-Environment
  2. prepare an ISR-Router (lab: Create a CSR1000v-Instance for nested Virtualization)
  3. create the Service-VM (Ubuntu-Server)
  4. package it inside an OVA
  5. install this OVA at the router

Build the KVM Virtualization Environment

Here I’ll use Ubuntu LTS, but the „Desktop“-Release to get the „Virtual Machine Manager“-GUI.

Common vSphere Process „New VM“

  • Linux Ubuntu 64 Bit, 4GB DRAM, 120GB Disk
  • mount Ubuntu-Desktop-ISO as DVD

Enable nested virtualization (Hardware-Virtualization for Guest-OS)
Don’t forget: this „KVM Virtualization Environment“ will run on top of an VSphere-ESXi-Host.

  • nested virtualization: [Linux-Server-VM] on top of [KVM Virtualization] on top of [ESXi Hypervisor]
Hardware virtualization: [x] Expose hardware assisted virtualization to guest-OS
Hardware virtualization: [x] Expose hardware assisted virtualization to guest-OS

Ubuntu-Desktop VM with KVM-Virtualization
Installation: Defaults are fine

  • never use the „root“-acccout
  • use a common user-account instead, i’ll use the username „user“ in the text

Additional Setup
user@KVM-1:~$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y
user@KVM-1:~$ sudo apt-get install -y open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-desktop

Add KVM („libvirt“)
user@KVM-1:~$ sudo apt-get install -y qemu-kvm libvirt-bin bridge-utils virt-manager qemu-system
Finalize it
user@KVM-1:~$ sudo reboot

Check the KVM Environment
Should look like this:

user@KVM-1:~/isr-service-container$ virsh -c qemu:///system list

 Id    Name                           State

Fine-tuning: „Disable Screensaver“

  • avoid ever and ever re-login to the remote-Desktop
  • acceptable in an isolated lab environment

all settings => brightness & lock

  • „never“ turn screen off when inactive
  • lock „off“
  • [ ] require password when waking from suspend

Preparation: Mount NFS-Share with „ubuntu-server“-ISO
I store my ISO-Images on an central NFS-Datastore.

  • the ISO-image has to be available inside the VM
sudo apt-get install -y nfs-common
mkdir /home/user/<NAS-SHARE>
sudo mount.nfs <NAS-IP>:<NAS-SHARE> /home/user/<NAS-SHARE>