How to run Cisco router as a virtual machine?


In this post we will learn how to install and run Cisco router as a virtual machine. Cisco has a special product called CSR (Cloud Services Router) 1000v for deploying routers as virtual machines. You can use these VMs for testing and learning purposes. Cisco supports all popular cloud and virtualization platforms, but I will use VMWare ESXi 6.7 for demo.


  • Download OVA file for CSR 1000v from Cisco website ( You will need an active support contract for this
  • Make sure you have your VMWare ESXi host up and running

Step 1: Deploy CSR 1000v OVA file

Connect to your VMWare ESXi host and deploy CSR 1000v OVA file:

  • Click Create/Register VM
  • Choose Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file and click Next
  • Enter a name for your VM and select OVA file. Click Next
  • Select storage for this VM. Click Next
  • Select deployment options. Leave Deployment type set to 1 vCPU, 4 GB RAM
  • Click Finish

If you get an error “A required disk image was missing.” then read this post.

Step 2: Edit Settings of the VM

You might want to go to the Edit Settings of your VM and change some settings. Most probably you will have to assign network adapters to proper Port Groups:

Step 3: Connect to a virtual router’s console

Now you can power on the virtual machine you have just deployed and access its console.

Your network interfaces will be connected to the networks you selected:


You can use CSR 1000v in evaluation mode for learning and practice. Thank you for reading.

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