M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.22.12   |  
‎02-22-2012 03:49 PM



First off, I apologise if this information is already present in the forum. I did do some searching and didnt come up with anything that seemed to difinitively answer my particular questions.


Basically, I am looking to build a kick arse lab at home, and after doing a bit of reading around to try and find the most suitable platform to build it on, I think Ive concluded that the M7i is probably a good fit.


In order to create complex topologies, I would want to be using logical systems. To give an idea, by complex I mean 20+ "routers" in a topology (OK, Im crazy right?) :-)


So my first question is, I have seen on some platforms that a license is required depending on how many logical systems you want to operate. Do you need any licenses to do this on an M7i? How many logical systems can be created without needing to buy any licenses?


Trailing on from the above, from a technical stand point, how many can you create before the box will buckle due to lack of RAM/processing power? I wouldnt expect to have massive routing tables etc, so it should be quite light on operational requirements beyond the additional RAM required to run each logical instance. I suppose an RE-850-1536 is probably able to handle more logical systems than say an RE-400-768?


The second question is really multi-part.


I want to be able to play with all sorts of technologies and protocols, specifically I want to be able to do the following:


* MPLS (L3 VPN most specifically)

* IPv6

* Routing protocols like IS-IS, OSPF, BGP

* Route reflecting (client and server)

* VPLS would be great if possible

* Basically most of the common core stuff you would find in an SP network


So the first part of the second question is, are all of the above possible with logical systems? Will anything in particular not work, or not work right?


The second part is in relation to physical interfaces. PE-4FE-TX's are quite cheap on ebay, so if I could chuck a few of these modules into the router I could potentially give each logical system its own physical interface (though it seems you can assign logical interfaces to them, like sub-interfaces, so that might not be necessary). But will I run into any feature compatability issues, like running MPLS/VPLS over these FE interfaces in a P-P or P-PE scenario? Dedicating one interface to each logical system I would naturally be looking at using them with sub-interfaces for P-P, P-PE, and PE-CE links, so there would be requirements to be able to run various protocols over the sub-ints, put them in L3 VPNs, and maybe at the edge of a VPLS/L2 VPN too.


Perhaps I would be better off investing a bit in a small number of IQ ethernet PICs, say 2 per router, and loop them together?


So, I hope that someone out there can help me out (or maybe point me in the right direction to where this might already be documented). A recent bonus at work has me in a spending mood, and after moving internationally I am really looking forward to re-establishing a new lab at home and cranking out some lab scenarios. :-)





Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.22.12   |  
‎02-22-2012 11:18 PM

Hi Tom


You can configure a maximum of 15 logical systems. That will give you 16 independant routing domains so you will not reach your 20+ routers on one router alone. To give you some more background on logical systems and what is support and not supported I suggest you take a look at the online documentation:

11.4 Logical Systems


Of course there is also the other option of Junoshere . Depending on your needs this might actually be more useful and dynamic. You can even order via Credit Card and buy as you go.


Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.23.12   |  
‎02-23-2012 06:35 AM

Hi Anton,


Thanks for the links. Junosphere looks interesting, but maybe a bit expensive. It could definitely be interesting if you had to spin something up and tear it down without a trace afterwards, definitely useful for some - but maybe not if youre looking for a long term lab solution. :-)


As for the features supported, it seems like everything I want to do is on the list. Now for interfaces and licenses.





Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.23.12   |  
‎02-23-2012 10:06 AM

I think I can answer my own question about the licensing. It seem this only applies on the SRX line of devices.


So just interfaces now. If anyone can make any recommendations, that would be excellent.





Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.25.12   |  
‎02-25-2012 09:15 AM

And after reading around some more over the last few days, I think interface wise it'll have to be the PE-1GE-SFP as the support flexible-ethernet-services which means you can do per sub-int encapsulation, which would allow for most flexibility. So I dont think I'd be giving a physical interface to each logical system, probably just a series of logical ones.


So I think Im pretty much covered now. :-)


Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

07.17.12   |  
‎07-17-2012 06:24 AM

Thanks for the self-replying, Tom. 


I am now on the case to build my own m7i lab as cheaply as possible. How did yours end up panning out? Did you get it off the ground?


Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

02.04.14   |  
‎02-04-2014 02:37 PM

Sorry for the delay.


No. Not yet, disappointingly.


I would really love to, but its an expensive exercise. Hardware is still not as cheap as I'd like it to be. :-(


Its still very much on my mind and I will do it one day. Ive been getting by using devices at work before they are turned up in to production in the mean time, playing with bits here and there. Its very disruptive though, since I may only have the device for a week or two before it is wiped clean again.


Re: M7i logical systems - building a lab

[ Edited ]
02.07.14   |  
‎02-07-2014 03:59 PM

Hi guys, I have a couple of labs using this approach, an MX480 and an M10.


I would try and get a tunnel-services PIC and you then do everything inside the router without any external connections.


It also means you can do VPLS properly without using an LSI software interface.


With tunnel sevices you don't need seperate devices for your CEs if you want to simulate a L2VPN/VPLS attachment circuit as you can use lt interfaces to connect to the logical system CEs using layer 2 ethernet or ethernet-ccc/vpls encapsulation.


If you use an external switch the vlans or layer 2 frames get lost before arriving at the logical system PE. That's why tunnel-services is useful.


Also to manage it, I would build a config and either save it to the box or save the output and then just reload it again when you get the box back. Notepad++ is your friend Smiley Happy