IOx on Cisco: Launch Python

It’s been a long time since Cisco announced Fog computing, and implemented somewhat of programmability on their network devices. However I had never really looked at those functionalities until very recently.

I’m working in telecom industry and there has been no single day I don’t see Cisco devices, but most (if not all) of deployment is legacy, which utilizes only network function of those devices. It’s good as it is what those devices are meant to do, but I took a look on these new capabilities and found it very useful, and fun!

As Cisco mentioned in their article, these function should be used for non-networking functions. But these will be new weapons for those who knows networking very well to add-on new features as they wish, and on the other hand these will also be a good entry point for those who didn’t take care network(i.e developer, application engineer) until now. One of the most reliable network vendor provides small app platform on their small routers and switches.


Enable IOX service

It’s not enabled on boot, so you need to enable services on IOS-XE. As this test is done on CSR1000v on AWS, it uses LXC.

usrt01#conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
usrt01(config)#do sh iox-service
Virtual Service Global State and Virtualization Limits:

Infrastructure version : 1.7
Total virtual services installed : 0
Total virtual services activated : 0

Machine types supported   : LXC
Machine types disabled    : KVM

Maximum VCPUs per virtual service : 0
Resource virtualization limits:
Name                         Quota     Committed     Available
system CPU (%)                  75             0            75
memory (MB)                   1024             0          1024
bootflash (MB)               20000             0          6751

IOx Infrastructure Summary:
IOx service (CAF)    : Running
IOx service (HA)     : Not Running
IOx service (IOxman) : Running
Libvirtd             : Running


The environment is almost ready.

  1. Create connection … VirtualPortGroup, which is the connection point between the IOS and the guest system.
  2. Allocate resource for application
  3. Start application
usrt01(config)#int virtualportGroup 0
usrt01(config-if)#ip addre
usrt01(config)#app-hosting appid guestshell
usrt01(config-app-hosting)#vnic gateway1 virtualportgroup 0 guest-interface 0 guest-ipaddress netmask gateway name-server default
usrt01(config-app-hosting)#resource profile custom cpu 1500 memory 512
usrt01#guestshell enable
Interface will be selected if configured in app-hosting
Please wait for completion
guestshell installed successfully
Current state is: DEPLOYED
guestshell activated successfully
Current state is: ACTIVATED
guestshell started successfully
Current state is: RUNNING
Guestshell enabled successfully

usrt01#sh app-hosting list
App id                           State
guestshell                       RUNNING


[guestshell@guestshell ~]$
[guestshell@guestshell ~]$ hostname -I

[guestshell@guestshell ~]$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=255 time=0.525 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=255 time=0.550 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=255 time=0.580 ms
--- ping statistics ---
4 packets transmitted, 3 received, 25% packet loss, time 2999ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.525/0.551/0.580/0.035 ms

[guestshell@guestshell ~]$
[guestshell@guestshell ~]$ cat /flash/work/

import cli

# you can execute IOS command from guestshell
print "Hello, I\'m running on {}".format(cli.execute("show ver | inc Cisco IOS XE Software"))

[guestshell@guestshell ~]$ python /flash/work/
Hello, I'm running on Cisco IOS XE Software, Version 16.07.01a

[guestshell@guestshell ~]$