Setting up a virtual network using GNS3 andVirtualBox
By Shashank Shekhar Tewari
While I'm really interested in networking, it wasn't economically feasible for me to buy routers andswitches and multiple hosts to set up a home network. So while studying for my CCNA, I cameacross GNS3 and slowly realised just how powerful it really was.This software, along with a virtualisation software, can be used to set up very complex networks,and can be used to simulate many common network scenarios. This tutorial aims to help a personget an idea of how to set up such networks.If you're studying
related to networking, you can learn with this.Doing a Cisco cert? GNS3 has been used for everything from Cisco Voice to CCIE level labs. Youcan use the virtual hosts to actually
the effect your configuration has done. Sure, you've setupan ACL, but is it really working? Just go to your virtual host and check. If you ping from a Ciscorouter just after it's setup, why is the first ping never successful? Open up Wireshark and find out.Learning to be a sys-admin? Both GNU/Linux OSes and Microsoft OSes can be used here. You cansetup a server with multiple clients, setup a mail server, etc. and see how everything works out.Setup a simple Apache web server, and see how it looks like from a host's point of view.Interested in security and pen-testing? What better combination than having Backtrack on oneend, and Damn Vulnerable Linux on the other? You can play around as much as you want,completely destroy the victim's PC, and you'll be able to go back to the original state by justopening up a saved state in Virtual Box. You can then check the Apache web server you just setupfor open ports and vulnerabilities.Since nearly every GNU/Linux OS comes with as a live version now, you don't even have to installthem to a virtual hard disk to use them. Just boot it in any virtual hard disk you've created, andstart using it.Although my preferred virtualisation software is VirtualBox, you can use any you want. Thesettings will obviously differ. My host and guest OSes will nearly all be GNU/Linux, but both, GNS3and VirtualBox, are available for Windows as well, and the instructions will pretty much be thesame. So if you're a Windows user, give the tutorial a try, and just use a little geek-sense to figureout where things might differ.While this has many,
applications, and the idea definitely isn't new, I did not find a decenttutorial on it, and had to figure out a lot of things myself. Hence, now that I'm free, I decided towrite a tutorial myself.