How to Integrate VMware, VirtualBox, Qemu Vm’s in GNS3

Saifudheen SidheeqGns3, VirtualizationLeave a Comment

I like to work on physical equipment when it comes to networking, but what if I cannot afford to own one, then the only option is to Virtualise them. I have been running a virtualized environment for both for my Network POC’s and the Lab’s for years now using Gns3. Since Gns3 supports a lot of different ways you can create a multivendor networking lab, I love to work on it, moreover, it’s opensource, and it’s free.

Sometime you may want to test the end-user machine in your Lab in Gns3. There are multiple ways you could do that. If you want to get the best performance, I would recommend you use Vmware workstation pro along with Gns3 as it does support hardware virtualization.

Also, if you are looking for a completely free solution, don’t worry. I am going to cover that as well.

Multiple ways of Adding Ubuntu VM’s in Gns3

In this blog, I am going to cover how to integrate Ubuntu VMs in below hypervisors and integrate them into Gns3.

  1. Integration with VMware
  2. Integration with VirtualBox
  3. Integration with Qemu

Adding Ubuntu VM using VMWare workstation pro in GNS3

Step 1. I already covered how to install ubuntu 19.04 in VMware workstation Pro 15 in the last blog, follow this guide and complete the ubuntu VM installation steps and come back here.

You have now installed Ubuntu VM in the Vmware workstation pro.

Ubuntu vm in VMware

Step2. Next, you would have to attach this VM to Gns3 so that you can drag and drop them to your networking topologies.

  • Goto Editpreferences→ click on VMware VM’s
creation of vmware vm in gns3
  • Scroll down, and you can see an option called New, click on that.
adding new vmware vms in gns3
  • Check the option which says Run this VMware VM on my local computer, and click next.
run this vmware VM on my local computer
  • You can see a list of VM’s that you have already installed on the VMware workstation pro, Gns3 can identify the VM’s installed in the VMware workstation pro and show it in the GNS3.
  • Click on the VM list and select the Ubuntu VM.
select Ubuntu vm from the list
  • While you are at it, select the VM you just added and click on Edit.
Edit the vm that you already installed in gns3
  • Click on Network and check the option Allow GNS3 to override non custom VMware adapter.
check box allow GNS3 to overried non custom VMware adapter

Now goto VMware on the same window and click on Advanced local settings, we have to create interfaces that the VM’s are going to use with Gns3 topologies, by default the value would be from vmnet2 to vmnet 19, I am changing it to vmnet6, if required I would create later.

  • Once you decided on the virtual interface, click on configure. It would start creating these interfaces on the command prompt windows. Once completed, you can click on Ok.
creation of vmnet in gns3

That’s it, you just added Ubuntu VMWare VM to Gns3, now you can create topologies and drag and drop the Ubuntu VMware VM that we just added.

Ubuntu VM’s using VirtualBox in Gns3

Compared to VMware workstation pro the VM performance on the Virtualbox won’t be excellent, Anyways it’s free, so why don’t we give it a try.

Step1. Follow this guide on how to install Ubuntu VM in VirtualBox.

Step2. Once you have installed Ubuntu VM in VirtualBox Go to Gns3 and click on Edit–> preferences and head over to VirtualBox VM’s and click on New

select VirtualBox Vms in gns3 settings

Step3. Click on New to and select Run this VirtualBox VM on my local computer, click next.

Run this VirtualBox VM on my local computer

Step4. You can see a list of VM’s under the VM list, click the drop-down and select Ubuntu from it and Finish and click Ok on the main window.

select the virtualbox vm list

Adding Ubuntu VirtualBox VM is now complete.

Adding Ubuntu Qemu VM in GNS3

Step1. Download Ubuntu cloud VM here

Step2. Go to Edit -> Preferences and Qemu VM section in GNS3 and click on New.

Creation of Qemu VM in gns3

Step 3. Check the option which says Run this Qemu VM on the GNS3 VM, and click Next.

run this qemu vm on this gns3 vm

Step 4. Name the qemu VM and click next.

Name the qemu vm

Step 5. You may assign the RAM as needed, and I am assigning 2048MB for this VM and click Next.

specify the RAM for the qemu VM

Step 6. Select the console type as VNC from the dropdown and click Next.

Select console type for the Qemu vm

Step 7. Now you need to browse the Ubuntu qemu VM you just downloaded and click Finish. Gns3 would start uploading the image to the GNS3 VM. You may need to wait for some time to finish this.

Uploading qemu vm to the gns3vm

That’s it. You just added qemu VM in Gns3 as well, and you are all set.

How to verify Gns3 VM’s connectivity?

We have now added three Ubuntu VM’s in each hypervisor, one is Vmware workstation, and the second one is Virtualbox, and the last the qemu VM. 
Let’s go ahead and test its connectivity using a simple lab in Gns3.

Step1. Let’s add a basic ethernet Gns3 switch to the topology.

Step2. Add each VM’s that we just created to the topology and connect it to the switch, this would create a topology that would look like below.

Looking cool, isn’t it? 🙂

Ubuntu VM in Vmware workstation pro, Virtualbox and qemu hypervisors in gns3

Step3. Let’s give the IP addresses to each VM from the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet range.

Vmware VM = 192.168.1.1
VirtualBox VM = 192.168.1.2
Qemu VM = 192.168.1.3

Step4. Go to network settings in each Ubuntu VM and click on IPv4, and assign an IP address and Mask.

configuring the IPs for ubuntu VM

Since this is a broadcast network and we don’t have a router in place, you can leave the default gateway as Blank

Step 5. Let’s ping all the other VM’s from VMware workstation VM as you can see you can reach all the VM’s in the network.

testing the multiple vms connectivity in gns3.

Conclusion: In this method, I have shown you how to add multiple format VM’s in gns3. This method is great when you have a multivendor environment. Because sometimes all the network vendors won’t have all the virtual appliances formats available, some would have a KVM image. Some would have a VMware image. At that time, you can use this approach and connect all the VM’s irrespective of the format.

One drawback I have experienced with Gns3 is that at times you may experience some errors, first of all, its opensource second there is no support other than the community forum, if you can work around that, then Gns3 is awsome.
There are some errors and its troubleshooting method I covered here. You may check them out in case if you come across any of those errors.


Learn About This Author

Saifudheen Sidheeq

Saifudheen is in the Computer networking and technology field for about a decade now. He loves technology and new ideas, and in his spare time, he loves to write about them.