Installing GNS3 VM on VMware Workstation

1. Overview


This article will guide you about installing GNS3 VM virtual server and configuring GNS3 network simulation software to works with GNS3 VM virtual server.

You might come up with a question in mind that why do we need GNS3 VM virtual server while we already have GNS3 network simulation software.

GNS3 VM virtual server is an isolated Ubuntu virtual server power by GNS3 Technologies Inc. It consumes CPU and memory usage from local virtual server itself, not from a real physical computer. So, it can improve your computer performance while running GNS3 network simulation software. Qemu in GNS3 VM virtual server work much better on Linux, Cisco ASAv Qemu firewall virtual servers as an example, which is less randomly problem happened.

2. Prerequisites


In this instruction install GNS3 VM virtual server , it is assumed that:

a. You have some basic knowledge of using GNS3 network simulation software.
b. You have some basic knowledge about VMware workstation.
b. You have VMware workstation 11 installed on you real physical computer.
c. You have internet access.

3. Installing GNS3 Software


Download GNS3 network simulation software from It is required that you have a GNS3 account. If you don’t have one, just create it. Follow the installation instruction.

4. Installing GNS3 VM Virtual Machines Security


First we need to download GNS3 VM virtual server. At the time of writing this document, GNS3 VM virtual server version is 2.0.0 beta 1. Anyway, you can always download the latest version from Click on “” to download it.

After finish downloading, you need to extract the zip file. The downloaded GNS3 VM virtual server  is in OVA format, so what we need to do is just import it to VMware workstation. Start VMware workstation, choose “File” and then click on “Open…”.

Browse to the location where you had recently just downloaded GNS3 VM virtual server to, and then click on “Import”.

5. Configuring GNS3 Software to Works With GNS3 VM


Power on GNS3 VM virtual server and make sure that it gets an IP address. You don’t need assign static IP address for it. GNS3 software will discover and detect GNS3 VM virtual server by itself.

Start GNS3 network simulation software and go to “Edit”, click on “Preferences”. On preferences window, click “Server” option. Go to “GNS3 VM server” tab, check on “Enable the GNS3 VM” check box. Under “Virtualization software” section, check select on “VMware”, then click on “OK” to finish.

GNS3 network simulation software will try to connect to VMware and then call for GNS3 VM virtual security appliance to start.

6. Uploading a IOS image to the new GNS3 VM


Go to “Edit”, click on “Preferences”. On preferences window, under “Dynamips” option click on “IOS routers” and then click “New” to add to Cisco IOS image of router.

Selection the option of “Run the IOS on the GNS3 VM” to run Cisco IOS router on GNS3 VM virtual server. Then, click “Next” to continue.

Select “New Image” and then browse to IOS file location. In my case here, use an Cisco image file name “c7200-adventerprisek9-mz.124-11.T.bin”.

Click on “Idle-PC finder”, wait for the Idle-PC process to complete, then click on “Finish” to end the process of adding Cisco IOS image to GNS3 VM virtual server.

Let create a project to test whether the Cisco IOS image added is working properly.

Launch telnet console to the router to see if it is working fine. As we can see in the picture below, now Cisco IOS image router is working fine.

7. Conclusion


That is all about GNS3 VM virtual server. I hope that now you can start work with this virtual security appliance as a network security tools by yourself. It is really great, isn’t it? If you have any questions or suggestions you can always leave your comments below. I will try all of my best to review and reply them. Thank you and have a great day.