GNS3 VM On Hyper-V

With Windows 10 Pro, you have the option of using a Windows native hypervisor called Hyper-V. It’s included with the OS so you don’t have to pay the high price of something like VMWare Workstation while still getting great performance. I set it up with the default option of using Dynamic Memory so that it won’t use much ram until you start adding a lot of routers and switches and it will scale up the VM’s available RAM as needed. I simulated the INE CCIE R/S topology on it with 20 routers and 5 switches, and sat at around 6GB memory consumption of the VM and my total system ram usage right up at 7.6GB of 8GB total. I didn’t notice any issues at all though, and I think that Hyper-V will scale the VM back and give more to the host if it needs it. Overall it feels much better than using VMWare Player which always opened up a window when starting GNS3. With this option, you just set Hyper-V to boot your VM automatically when you boot your desktop and it will always be in the background, available for you to use as a remote sever from GNS3.

If you give your VM a static IP, you can even setup a VPN so you can remotely access the lab from anywhere you have the internet.

What it looks like running INE’s full CCIE RS v5 topology



  • Windows 10 Pro / Education / Enterprise
  • Hyper-V feature enabled
  • 8GB ram

Just give me the VHDX

Username: gns3 Password: gns3

Hyper-V Image

How-to build your own

  1. Download Ubuntu 16.04 Server
  2. Create a Virtual Switch
    • Action -> Virtual Switch Manager
    • Create Virtual Switch
      • Chose External so you can access it from other computers on your network and the internet
    • Name it GNS3 VM Switch
    • Bind it to whatever interface gets to the internet
  3. Make a New VM
    • Action -> New -> Virtual Machine
    • Name -> GNS3 VM
    • Choose Gen 2
    • I use 1024MB RAM, and allow Dynamic Memory to add more if needed
    • Connect it to GNS3 VM Switch
    • Create a virtual hard disk - I used 20GB
    • Install an operating system from a bootable image file
      • Browse to where you downloaded your Ubuntu server iso
  4. Change secure boot to Microsoft UEFI Certificate Authority and Set Auto Boot
    • VM Settings -> Security -> Template -> Microsoft UEFI Certificate Authority
    • VM Settings -> Automatic Start Action
      • Always start this virtual machine automatically
  5. Install Ubuntu
    • Connect and power on the VM
    • Install Ubuntu Server
    • Enter 5x for US layout
    • Hostname: gns3vm
    • Full name is optional
    • Username: gns3
    • Password: gns3
    • Use weak password: yes (up to you obviously)
    • Encrypt: no
    • Timezone: up to you
    • Partition Disks: I use all defaults here
      • LVM
      • SCSI1
      • Write Changes: Yes
      • Amount of volume group to use: default - enter
      • Force UEFI: Yes
      • Write Changes: Yes
    • HTTP Proxy: blank
    • Install security updates automatically
    • Scroll down and choose OpenSSH server with the space bar
    • Installation Complete - Continue
  6. Configure Ubuntu and Install GNS3 Server
    • Login with gns3/gns3

    • Get the mac address and create a static entry in your dhcp server

      ip add
      • get the mac of eth0
      • reboot to get new lease
      sudo reboot
    • You can now ssh to your VM on the address you reserved

      sudo apt update; sudo apt upgrade
    • Its usually worth a restart after your first upgrade to get the latest kernel

      sudo reboot
    • Install GNS3

      sudo -s
      add-apt-repository ppa:gns3/ppa
      apt update
      apt install gns3-server
      apt install gns3-iou
      nano /etc/systemd/system/gns3.service
      • Paste this in
      • ctrl+o, ctrl+x to save and exit
      • enable and start the gns3 service
        • systemctl enable gns3
        • systemctl start gns3
        • systemctl status gns3 to verify it’s active (running)
  7. Configure GNS3 to Point to Your Remote Server
    • Edit -> Preferences -> Server -> Remote Servers
      • Add, just update the Host to the IP of your VM that you reserved earlier
    • When you go to add IOU devices, choose remote computer and run on the IP you chose.
    • If you have issues with your iourc just paste it manually in ~/.iourc under your gns3 account
James Olds
James Olds
DevOps Engineer

DevOps @ Ad Hoc LLC

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