Ubuntu image for EVE-NG – Python for network engineers

Lately I’ve started working more and more with EVE-NG to test various network scenarios, automation and in general to try and learn something everyday.

If you’re familiar with EVE-NG, you know where to find various Linux images which you can download and install . Very helpful indeed, however all of them are coming without any pre-installed tools which I need for network oriented tests. I need Python, IPerf, Ansible, various Python libraries for network automation, etc.
Basically every time when I setup a new lab in EVE-NG, I need to make sure that the Linux image has a connection to Internet to download all these tools. Doable, but too much time consuming.

Lately EVE-NG has the Pro version, where you have Docker images which support some of the tools for a network engineer needs to test automation. If you already have EVE-NG Pro, then maybe this is a bit redundant. However if you’re still using the Community version, it may sounds interesting.

I’ve developed the Ubuntu (18.04) image using the same tools that you can find in my Docker image (Ubuntu 16:04 Pfne):
* If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please read my previous post.

  • Openssl
  • Net-tools (ifconfig..)
  • IPutils (ping, arping, traceroute…)
  • IProute
  • IPerf
  • TCPDump
  • NMAP
  • Python 2
  • Python 3
  • Paramiko (python ssh support)
  • Netmiko (python ssh support)
  • Ansible (automation)
  • Pyntc

The image is hosted on my Firstdigest Project at Sourceforge.
If you are in a hurry, download directly using this link: Ubuntu 18.04 Pfne for EVE-NG.

For convenience here are the steps, but if you run into trouble be sure to check the EVE-NG Documentation.

  • Download the image
  • Using favorite SFTP Client (WinSCP, FileZilla) connect to your EVE-NG and upload the image to the location: /opt/unetlab/addons/qemu/
  • Connect via SSH to your EVE-NG machine and go to location:
cd /opt/unetlab/addons/qemu/
  • Unzip your uploaded image file.
tar xzvf linux-ubuntu-server-18.04-pfne.tar.gz
  • Remove the archived image file (be sure to have a copy somewhere to avoid you have to download it again)
rm -f linux-ubuntu-server-18.04-pfne.tar.gz
  • Fix permissions
/opt/unetlab/wrappers/unl_wrapper -a fixpermissions

The image comes with the following predefined username and password (security was not the point here):

User: root
Password: root
User: pfne
Password: pfne

With this image you have everything ready for your tests. You want to test QoS? Just design a network and two (client / server pair) machine using this image and push some packets with IPerf. Or maybe you want to test some automation. Here you have it, just start playing with.

Btw, I assume you have the EVE-NG installed. If not and you’re into learning topics, I’ll advise you to install this great application. You can start with Community version which is free (and honestly has enough features for most of the self-teaching engineers out there) and if you feel like go with the Pro version.

Let me know if you find it useful. In case of problems, please comment and I’ll try to help in my spare time.

Draw network diagrams online [2016 Edition]

In this post from 2011 I was explaining that my preferred online tool to draw network diagrams is LucidChart.com. Since then LucidChart.com developed really good and added constantly new features. Unfortunately with the new great additions some not so nice restrictions appeared for the free account.
Those restrictions (like 5 active documents) really make it difficult for me to work with this tool as I got used to a different style.

I’m not a cheap guy! If I would use this tool professionally there would be no problem to buy a subscription package, but at work Visio is saint (unfortunately) and the rest of the time, especially when I’m on my Mac, I just need a fast tool to draw brief network diagrams like for my blog or fast explanation to somebody online.

LucidChart.com is my recommendation if you rely on online tool to work with Visio documents. Last time when I checked their Visio import tool was doing a great job.

Back to this story, I was looking online for another tool when I came across Draw.io.

Draw.io doesn’t need an account creation, rather it just give you direct access to the tool.
Since you don’t have an account you cannot save your work on the application, but it does offer you the option to save on Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive online or directly on your machine.
Later you can open your document from any of these locations.

In terms of shape the tool is pretty generous and the Cisco ones, really important for me, are there:


The tool is very easy to use, it gives you a Visio feeling (if you’re used with this Microsoft software) and works pretty fast for me.

I tried to open a Visio document from my machine…did not work that well:


Importing the same document did not work better:


It seems that in both cases the Riverbed Steelhead shapes loaded fine, but not the Cisco ones.

Well, I would like to see this working, but in the end nothing to complain. I explained already that I don’t need the online tool to work with Visio. It’s nice if it can, but not mandatory for me. I’ll try some more tests with different Visio files, who knows maybe it’s something wrong with my test file.

One feature which I would like to see is the ability to add your own shapes. Who knows maybe in the future.

If you know a better alternative to LucidChart.com that has a free option and you consider it better than Draw.io please let me know.

Remote desktop, GNS3 crashes when drag and drop topology objects

Couple of days ago I reinstalled my machine that I use as GNS3 server. It was about time as thing started to become a bit unstable after so many patches and updates to bring it up from Ubuntu 8.04.

I picked Xubuntu 14.04 LTS as my distro because I like XFCE and with the new GNS3 installed directly from PPA following https://www.gns3.com/support/docs/linux-installation it seems to be a piece of cake the entire story.

Unfortunately the reality was different. The above machine is sitting in my lab and most of the time I do just remote desktop on it via X2GO or XRDP. The issue that I encounter was that GNS3 was starting fine, everything looked to be working correctly, but when I was trying to drag and drop an object (like router, switch) to the topology the GNS3 would crash and the logs would show a nice segmentation fault.

I spent a lot of hours reading about and it seems I’m not the only one which had this strange behavior. However nobody could actually point out a real solution to this problem.

One workaround that I found to be working is to use Thinlinc, a remote desktop server provided by Cendio. The free version supports for up to 10 concurrent users and in my case this limitation should not pose a problem. One disadvantage can be seen that it’s not open source and you need to install also the client software. Again not a big deal, at least for my scope.

If you arrived to my post looking for a solution, the above workaround can be one and it’s working fine.

However, the engineer in me was not satisfied as why the solution would not work just using the included packages in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Digging more, I found that the problem is not actually related to GNS3, but rather to the Qt version that comes with Ubuntu 14.04. Also it’s seems that not only GNS3 is affected by this issue, which appears to be a Qt Bug, but also other software used via a remote X11 connection – https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-38109

Now if you check the GNS3 Linux manual installation page, you’ll see that python3-pyqt5 must be installed. When you install it from PPA, the same python3-pyqt5 is installed, just that maybe you’ll miss it among the other packets that are added automatically.

Checking the Ubuntu 14.04 packages http://packages.ubuntu.com/trusty/python/ (search for python3-pyqt5 to avoid going via all packages) I noticed that the default version is 5.2.1 I’ve checked for particular Bugs with this version that can be related to my problems, unfortunately my search brought no conclusive result, so I had to assume that this version has a problem. I’m not a developer so this task was even harder for me.

I went to check the next Ubuntu release. 15.04 is out of the marked since January 2016 and the only alternative was 15.10. I’m not very keen on trying non-LTS versions, but desperate times require desperate measures. Searching for the same python3-pyqt5 (http://packages.ubuntu.com/wily/python/) I saw that this version is 5.4.2.

Next I tried to find a way to install the 5.4.2 python3-pyqt5 version on Ubuntu 14.04. No success here. I ran into more problems than solutions. If you have a solution to have these two versions working together, please let me know.

Having nothing to lose I downloaded the Xubuntu 15.10, installed it and…everything is working like a charm so farm. I can open GNS3 and drag and drop successfully via a remote connection (XRDP or X2GO).

As you can see I have no solution to the actual problem, but at least I can suggest 2-3 workarounds that may get you out of the woods. For me an article like this would have been very helpful while doing my research, but there was none out there, beside different community posts usually without any answer. This is the reason for which I wanted to share this story with you.

If you have this issue and found another solution, please let me know as I would like to use the 14.04 LTS version of Ubuntu, otherwise I need to wait for the release of 16.04 LTS scheduled for this year.

SSL Certificate signed by own CA

There are a lot of “how-to” on the Internet explaining the setup procedure. This is mainly a copy / paste example for those in a hurry :)

How to setup your own CA

Generate a key for CA

openssl genrsa -aes256 -out myCA.key 4096

Pick a password and remember it!

Generate a SSL certificate for CA

openssl req -new -x509 -days 3650 -key myCA.key -out myCA.crt

How to create a new SSL certificate signed by your own CA

Request a new key for the new domain that you want to secure

openssl genrsa -aes256 -out MyServerName.key 2048

Pick a password and remember it!

Request a CSR and sign it with the previous created key

openssl req -new -key MyServerName.key -out MyServerName.csr

Request the SSL certificate and sign it against the CA

openssl x509 -req -in MyServerName.csr -out MyServerName.crt -sha1 -CA myCA.crt -CAkey myCA.key -CAcreateserial -days 720

(Optional for Linux) Secure the key on the server

chmod 0400 *.key

To have the SSL working you need to copy on the server side
– MyServerName.key
– MyServerName.crt
– myCA.crt (that’s the CA certificate)

How to view a certificate

openssl x509 -in MyServerName.crt -text -noout

How to check whether a private key matches a certificate or that the certificate matches the certificate signing request (CSR)

openssl x509 -noout -modulus -in MyServerName.crt | openssl md5
openssl rsa -noout -modulus -in MyServerName.key | openssl md5
openssl req -noout -modulus -in MyServerName.csr | openssl md5

Does anybody knows a simple script that can offer the above functionality from web interface? I was looking around for a while now, but either they are enterprise complex or do not work. Let me know in Comments if you have a good suggestion.


GNS3 1.2.1 installation on Ubuntu 14.04

As mentioned in an earlier post GNS3 is moving ahead fast. Currently at version 1.2.1 the GNS3 is looking great. Compared with the version 1.0 Beta 1 which I had installed, the 1.2.1 is not only more stable, but it has the Menu more clean and compact. For example now there is only one Preferences menu where you can adjust all your settings.

During the installation of 1.0 Beta 1 I made some notes in Evernote and it prove to be very useful as the installation was pretty messy. With 1.2.1 I did the same thing, but the installation was very smooth. Still, I said that if I made those notes maybe I should share them for those interested in a quick installation. A more complete guide can be found on GNS3 Community.

1. Download GNS3 1.2.1

Head over to http://www.gns3.com/, create and account and download the bundle archive for Linux.

If you for some reason you don’t want to create an account, you may download each package individually from https://github.com/GNS3

The following lines will assume that you have the bundle archive.

2. Install Ubuntu 14.04 dependencies

$ sudo apt-get install libpcap-dev uuid-dev libelf-dev cmake
$ sudo apt-get install python3-setuptools python3-pyqt4 python3-ws4py python3-netifaces python3-zmq python3-tornado
$ sudo apt-get install unzip 

3. Unzip the bundle archive

$ unzip GNS3-1.2.1.source.zip

You should see 5 packages in GNS3-1.2.1 folder:

4. Install Dynamips

$ unzip dynamips-0.2.14.zip
$ cd dynamips-0.2.14
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake ..
$ make
$ sudo make install

To check if the correct version is install:

$ dynamips | grep version

You should see in the output 0.2.14

5. Install GNS3 Server

$ unzip gns3-server-1.2.1.zip
$ cd gns3-server-1.2.1
$ sudo python3 setup.py install

To check if the GNS3 Server is installed correctly:

$ gns3server

If you see some output other than an error, than you’re fine.

6. Install GNS3 GUI

$ unzip gns3-gui-1.2.1.zip
$ cd gns3-gui-1.2.1
$ sudo python3 setup.py install

To test if the installation is working:

$ gns3

You should see a graphical interface of GNS3 launched.

At this moment you have a working GNS3 environment if you want only want to test Cisco hardware emulators. I strongly recommend to continue and install also the rest of the components. Who knows when you’ll need them

7. Install IOUyap (Optional, if you will use IOU images)

$ unzip iouyap-0.95.zip
$ cd iouyap-0.95.zip
$ make
$ sudo make install

To test the installation:

$ iouyap -h

If you encounter an error, please check the [Update 1] section at the bottom of this article.

8. Install VPCS (Optional, if you want to use VirtualPC)

$ unzip vpcs-0.6.zip
$ cd vpcs-0.6/src
$ ./mk.sh 64
$ cp vpcs /usr/bin/

For the third line, the 64 represent 64bit, as my Ubuntu 14.04 is build on 64bit.
The values can be:
– 32 or i386 for 32bit OS
– 64 or amd64 for 64bit OS

Please be sure to use the correct one for your OS.

To test the VPCS:

$ vpcs

You should see a Virtual PC being launched. Leave the console with letter q.

9. Install VirtualBox (Optional, if you want to launch VMs)

Download the correct version for your system from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads. The following lines will assume an Ubuntu 14.04 64bit OS.

$ apt-get install dkms
$ dpkg -i virtualbox-4.3_4.3.20-96996~Ubuntu~raring_amd64.deb

You can also use the instructions at https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Linux_Downloads and go for an APT installation.The choice is yours.

10. Install Qemu (Optional, if you want to use qemu images)

$ sudo apt-get install qemu

11. Install IOU (Optional, if you want to use IOU images)

I’m not a legal matter expert, and the usage of IOU is sort of grey area. Because of this, I’m not going to cover this chapter.

You’re ready to go. Start the GNS3 GUI:

$ gns3

Some things to check before going live:

  • check in the menu Edit > Preferences to set your desired Paths (in General sections) and to check the paths for the binaries (dynamips, vpcs, iou, virtualbox…)
  • add the IOS, virtualbox vm, iou images
  • in case of Cisco hardware emulators don’t forget to find the IdlePC value (when you add the IOS image or later with the start of your first router with a certain image) otherwise your CPUs will cry.

If something does not work as described or you need help please let me know in Comments.

[Update 1]

If you get the following error during installation of iouyap:

GNS3-1.2.2.source/iouyap-0.95 $ make
gcc -g -DDEBUG -Wall -c -o iouyap.o iouyap.c
iouyap.c:40:23: fatal error: iniparser.h: No such file or directory
compilation terminated.
make: *** [iouyap.o] Error 1

Try to install the iniparser as follows:

sudo apt-get install flex bison


cd /tmp
curl -L https://github.com/ndevilla/iniparser/archive/master.tar.gz | tar -xz
cd iniparser*

and finally iouyap

cd /tmp
curl -L https://github.com/GNS3/iouyap/archive/master.tar.gz | tar -xz
cd iouyap*
bison -ydv netmap_parse.y
flex netmap_scan.l
gcc -Wall *.c -I /tmp/iniparser*/src -L /tmp/iniparser* -o iouyap -liniparser -lpthread
strip --strip-unneeded iouyap
sudo mv iouyap /usr/local/bin

Thanks to mweisel @ forum.gns3.net for this update!