Why not add the CSR 1000v to round out our collection of Cisco virtual appliances? Similar to the Cisco Nexus 9000v, each instance of the Cisco CSR 1000v requires a considerable amount of hardware resources to run. Again, I recommend a Mac with at least 16GB of memory and a dual-core CPU if you plan to run more than a single instance.

Ingredients used in this guide:

A valid service contract is required for the download.


1. Sign in to your Cisco account to download the CSR 1000v Router software.

  1. The software is available here
  2. Select the IOS XE Software link
  3. Select the version from the menu on the left. I will be using Release Denali-16.3.7 MD
  4. Click the Download button for Cisco CSR1000V IOS XE UNIVERSAL - CRYPTO OVA
  5. Save the csr1000v-universalk9.16.03.07.ova file to the Downloads folder

2. Import the Cisco CSR 1000v OVA file.

  1. Open the VMware Fusion application
  2. Menu: FileImport…
  3. Click the Choose File… button
  4. Navigate to and select the csr1000v-universalk9.16.03.07.ova file in the Downloads folder
  5. Click the Open button
  6. Click the Continue button
  7. Click the Continue button to use the default Small deployment option
  8. Click the Continue button to skip Additional Settings
  9. Save As: csr1000v
  10. Click the Save button
  11. Click the Finish button

3. Press any key to continue.

The virtual appliance will automatically boot after the OVA import step. From the VMware Fusion console, press any key to continue the boot procedure.

GRUB Loading stage2...
Press any key to continue.

4. Change the console ouput to serial.

From the VMware Fusion console, enter the following commands:

conf t
platform console serial
copy run start

5. Shutdown the CSR 1000v virtual appliance.

  1. Menu: Virtual MachineShut Down
  2. Click the Shut Down button

6. Modify the CSR 1000v virtual hardware settings.

  1. Menu: Virtual MachineSettings
  2. Set Network Adapter to Share with my Mac
  3. Upgrade the VM hardware version to 16 (Compatibility → Upgrade)
  4. Close the Settings window
  5. Quit the VMware Fusion application

7. Remove additional network interfaces from the virtual appliance configuration file.

From a macOS terminal, remove Network Adapter 2 and Network Adapter 3.

sed -i '' '/^ethernet[^0]/d' $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx

The default virtual machine folder (directory) for VMware Fusion 11 is $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized. Upgrades and earlier versions use $HOME/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized as the default.

Verify only Network Adapter remains.

grep '^ethernet' $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx


ethernet0.present = "TRUE"
ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet3"
ethernet0.connectionType = "nat"
ethernet0.addressType = "generated"
ethernet0.wakeonpcktrcv = "true"
ethernet0.allowguestconnectioncontrol = "true"
ethernet0.pciSlotNumber = "160"
ethernet0.generatedAddress = "00:0C:29:DD:0C:DE"
ethernet0.generatedAddressOffset = "0"

8. Add a custom serial port (for management via console connection).

From a macOS terminal, append a serial port device to the virtual appliance configuration file.

printf 'serial0.present = "TRUE"\nserial0.yieldOnMsrRead = "TRUE"\nserial0.fileType = "network"\nserial0.fileName = "telnet://"\n' >> $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx

Verify the component has been added.

tail -4 $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx


serial0.present = "TRUE"
serial0.yieldOnMsrRead = "TRUE"
serial0.fileType = "network"
serial0.fileName = "telnet://"

9. Remove the IDE secondary slave (ide1:1) device.

From a macOS terminal:

sed -i '' '/^ide1:1/d' $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx

Verify the component has been removed.

grep '^ide1' $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx


ide1:0.fileName = "csr1000v-file1.iso"
ide1:0.clientDevice = "FALSE"
ide1:0.present = "TRUE"
ide1:0.deviceType = "cdrom-image"
ide1:0.autodetect = "TRUE"
ide1:0.startConnected = "TRUE"
ide1:0.allowguestconnectioncontrol = "true"

10. Start the virtual appliance.

From a macOS terminal, start the virtual appliance with the vmrun command using the headless parameter.

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmrun start $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx nogui

11. Initiate a console connection (via telnet) to the CSR 1000v virtual appliance.

Telnet has been removed from macOS High Sierra and later. Refer to How to Get Telnet for MacOS in Mojave or High Sierra .

Open a separate macOS terminal window (or tab) and enter the following command:

telnet 52099
CSR boot console

12. Set a baseline configuration for the Vagrant box.

Create the vagrant user.

conf t
username vagrant privilege 15 secret vagrant

Enable AAA and define AAA method lists.

aaa new-model
aaa authentication login VTYS local
aaa authorization exec VTYS local

Disable DNS lookups.

no ip domain-lookup

Enable Cisco IOS.sh .

shell processing full

Configure the primary terminal line.

line con 0
 privilege level 15
 exec-timeout 0 0
 logging synchronous

Configure the virtual terminal lines.

line vty 0 4
 exec-timeout 0 0
 logging synchronous
 login authentication VTYS
 authorization exec VTYS
 transport input ssh

Configure the management interface.

int g1
 ip addr dhcp
 no cdp enable
 no shut

Configure SSH.

ip domain name example.com
ip ssh version 2
ip ssh rsa keypair-name SSHKEYS
crypto key generate rsa usage-keys label SSHKEYS modulus 1024
ip scp server enable
ip ssh pubkey-chain
 username vagrant
  key-hash ssh-rsa DD3BB82E850406E9ABFFA80AC0046ED6

Save the running configuration to local NVRAM.

copy run start

13. Stop the virtual appliance.

Stop the virtual appliance from the original macOS terminal window (or tab).

/Applications/VMware\ Fusion.app/Contents/Library/vmrun stop $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/csr1000v.vmx

14. Create the Vagrant box.

Change the current directory.

cd $HOME/Virtual\ Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm

Remove generated MAC addresses from the CSR configuration file.

sed -i '' '/generatedAddress/d' csr1000v.vmx

Remove UUID properties from the CSR configuration file.

sed -i '' '/uuid/d' csr1000v.vmx

Create the metadata.json file for the VMware provider.

printf '{"provider": "vmware_desktop"}' > metadata.json

List the directory contents to verify the essential files are present.

du -csh *


1.2G csr1000v-disk1.vmdk
361M csr1000v-file1.iso
4.0K csr1000v.plist
  0B csr1000v.vmsd
4.0K csr1000v.vmx
4.0K csr1000v.vmxf
4.0K metadata.json
 12K nvram
4.0K startMenu.plist
328K vmware-0.log
276K vmware.log
1.6G total

Package the Vagrant box file with tar.

tar cvzf cisco-csr-1000v.box ./*

15. Add the Vagrant box.

Download an example Box Metadata file.

curl -Lo box-meta.json https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mweisel/vagrant-vmware-examples/master/cisco-csr-1kv-box-meta.json

Display the file content.

cat box-meta.json


  "name": "cisco-csr-1000v",
  "description": "This box contains Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000v.",
  "versions": [
      "version": "16.03.07",
      "providers": [
          "name": "vmware_desktop",
          "url": "file://fq_path/cisco-csr-1000v.box"

The file path to the cisco-csr-1000v.box file will differ from mine. We can simply replace the fq_path token, with our specific file path, using a combination of sed and pwd.

sed -i '' "s|fq_path|$(pwd)|" box-meta.json

Verify the modification.

grep url box-meta.json | sed 's/^ *//'


"url": "file:///Users/marc/Virtual Machines.localized/csr1000v.vmwarevm/cisco-csr-1000v.box"

Also, make sure to modify the Cisco CSR 1000v version value if need be. For example, if you have the latest Gibraltar release:

sed -i '' 's/16.03.07/16.10.1b/' box-meta.json

Verify the modification.

grep -w version box-meta.json | sed 's/^ *//'


"version": "16.10.1b",

Add the Vagrant box to the local inventory.

vagrant box add box-meta.json

Verify the box is now listed.

vagrant box list | grep -i csr


cisco-csr-1000v           (vmware_desktop, 16.03.07)

16. Test it.

Create a directory for a test project and change to it.

mkdir $HOME/Documents/test-csr-1000v && cd $_

Download an example Vagrantfile.

curl -Lo Vagrantfile https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mweisel/vagrant-vmware-examples/master/cisco-csr-1kv-single-mgmt-int

Validate the Vagrantfile.

vagrant validate

Show the current status of the vagrant machine.

vagrant status

17. Vagrant Up!

vagrant up

The status of the vagrant machine should now be in the running state.

vagrant status

We can connect to the vagrant machine with SSH.

vagrant ssh

We can also connect to the vagrant machine with a console connection (out-of-band management) via telnet.

telnet 52001

18. More Vagrant commands

Stop the vagrant machine with the force option.

vagrant halt -f

Destroy (delete) the vagrant machine with the force option.

vagrant destroy -f

19. Next Steps

Build your topology.

Network topology

Pick your network automation tool.