Difference Between Cisco CML and VIRL (With Table)

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The Cisco Networking Academy is part of the Cisco Learning Network, where students can learn about computer networking and Cisco products. Cisco CML and VIRL is a lab environment that students and users can use to test and learn about Cisco networking products and technologies. However, there exists some difference which is as follows.

Cisco CML vs VIRL

The difference between Cisco CML and VIRL is that they are intended for two different groups of people. CML, or Cisco Modeling Labs, is a tool that allows network administrators to configure networks using a simulated environment. VIRL, or Virtual Internet Routing Labs, is a Cisco tool that allows users to configure labs using an actual router.

Cisco Modeling Lab is a program that’s used for creating and testing networking models. It is often used by engineers and students who learn about networking and wish to play around with creating and testing scenarios. It is used to design complex network systems That will help you in gathering data and installation.

VIRL stands for Virtual Internet Routing Lab. It is a Cisco IOS-based comprehensive network simulation environment. It can be used to complement traditional network labs and provide a more cost-effective and flexible alternative to traditional labs. VIRL can be used to model and prepare for certification and training, validate network designs and configurations, and troubleshoot and testing.

Comparison Table Between Cisco CML and VIRL

Parameters of ComparisonCisco CMLVIRL
Full formCisco CML is the abbreviation of Cisco Modeling Lab.VIRL is the abbreviation of Virtual Internet and Routing Lab.
ScaleCisco CML has more scale than VIRL.VIRL has less scale than CML.
Intended ForCisco CML is intended for customers from enterprise backgrounds mVIRL is intended for all individuals and trainees.
PriceCML is costlier than VIRL.VIRL is cheaper than CML.
TAC SupportCML customers are offered TAC support.VIRL customers are not given TAC support.

What is Cisco CML?

Cisco Modeling Lab is an online platform that helps network engineers simulate the behaviour of Cisco routers, switches, and access points. Using this simulation software, network engineers can gain experience on network devices without having to purchase the hardware. They can set up virtual lab topologies with the same devices they will be working within their day-to-day jobs! Cisco Modeling Lab is a valuable platform for improving networking skill-sets.

When you’re using the Cisco Modeling Lab, you’re able to focus on learning about networking concepts without having to worry about setting up equipment or dealing with network failures. If you’re interested in improving your networking skill-set, then you should take advantage of the Cisco Modeling Lab!

The Cisco Modeling Lab (CML) is an advanced network simulation platform. It is the only advanced simulation platform that provides end to end data centre services, including servers, storage, virtual machines, and full virtualized data centre services, in addition to network services. CML provides a simplified way to model, configure, and analyze today’s large, virtualized network infrastructures.

One of the characters in the model is the Cisco Modeling and Best Practices (CMBP) Workflow, which is a solution for testing and verifying real-world network designs and configurations. This workflow can monitor and verify logical and physical configurations and can be used with a variety of applications and devices.

What is VIRL?

VIRL is a virtual lab that consists of Cisco and Juniper network devices and different IOS images. It can help in network modelling by providing a virtual environment to carry out network designs without affecting the actual network. Virtual Internet Routing Lab (VIRL) is a software package for Cisco networking students to practice, test and run commands on Cisco routers and switches.

It is a courseware, simulator and emulator designed to build and train the skills of engineers and technologists for the networking and communication industry. VIRL is a fun and engaging way for students and instructors to develop and improve their networking skills and provides a platform to practice and gain hands-on experience before deploying the technology in the real world.

The characters in this courseware can be separated into three categories: virtual network devices, virtual lab devices and virtual lab support devices. This software can be used to simulate complex internetworking scenarios to understand the behaviour and performance of the network devices.

However, the main difference between the two is CML is more for enterprise customers and require more memory and CPU to install, while VIRL is for all individuals and students as well. Also, VIRL is cheaper in comparison to CML.

Main Differences Between Cisco CML and VIRL

  1. Cisco CML is a section of the VIRL network indicating a VIRL network is much larger than CML. VIRL networks are now called CML-P, which means Cisco Modeling Lab Personal.
  2. Cisco CML requires more memory CPU to install and run while VIRL requires comparatively lesser.
  3. CML was the CCNP Data Center certification when it was first created and when Cisco rebooted the CCNP Data Center certification, they came up with the VIRL.
  4. Cisco CML does not allow for customization of the IOS. It is locked to the Cisco IOS base. VIRL, on the other hand, is a program that allows for a great deal of customization, letting the user add anything from IOSs given by Cisco or allowing the user to give any IOS that they’d like.
  5. Cisco CML has a higher price range than VIRL.


Cisco CML and Cisco VIRL can be used to create a virtual laboratory for designing and testing large, complex network-wide deployments. Cisco CML stands for Cisco Modeling Labs, which allows users to create virtual network topologies. Cisco VIRL is stand-alone software that uses Cisco CML. Both the software are used for network simulations.

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  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4842-6806-3_11
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sven-Reissmann/publication/326580332_Using_Cisco_VIRL_and_GNS3_to_Improve_the_Scale-out_of_Large_Virtual_Network_Testbeds_in_Higher_Education/links/5c88db91299bf14e7e786342/Using-Cisco-VIRL-and-GNS3-to-Improve-the-Scale-out-of-Large-Virtual-Network-Testbeds-in-Higher-Education.pdf
  3. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4842-6806-3_12
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