April 2015, “Staff Pick” Project of the Month – GNS3

By Community Team

For our April “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected GNS3, a graphical network simulator that allows you to design complex network topologies. The GNS3 team shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): Tell me about the GNS3 project please.

GNS3 Team: GNS3 is a network emulation platform used to build and test multi-vendor computer networks.

SF: What made you start this?

GNS3 Team: Jeremy, the creator and CTO, initially came up with the idea for his university thesis project. He wanted a platform that he could use to easily train for his certifications but could not find one. So he created it himself.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?

GNS3 Team: Yes, and even more so. It started as a simple training tool and now is being used to build networks for Fortune 500 companies.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?

GNS3 Team: Network professionals, and soon-to-be network professionals, who want a better way to build and test computer networks.

SF: What is the need for this graphical network simulator?

GNS3 Team: Building networks is an expensive and laborious task. GNS3 reduces costs by 90% and decreases time to working production by over 30%.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Go to The Jungle and learn from the GNS3 experts. Get your hands on some labs, read the documentation, and start playing around with the software.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?

GNS3 Team: In order:

  1. Create great software.
  2. Provide a place for users to connect and share information.
  3. Use community feedback given to build even better software.
  4. Repeat.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?

GNS3 Team: We have done more releases in the past 12 months than we have done in the previous 6 years. Quality releases are better than the quantity of releases. But being quick at fixing bugs is crucial.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?

GNS3 Team: In 2011 things started really taking off and, honestly, we have no idea why. The best thing that has happened was big network vendors like Huawei, Cisco, HP, and Juniper started releasing their own products like GNS3. This put more technology out into the environment and allowed us to integrate systems that we couldn’t before. As these big companies innovate, we are able to integrate and expand our software offering.

SF: What helped make that happen?

GNS3 Team: Seeing the success of GNS3 made these big companies take notice and want their own. Also, their customers are using the GNS3 software and were requesting their own.

SF: What was the net result for that event?

GNS3 Team: GNS3 is the sum of all those parts created by other vendors because we have the ability to integrate their systems into our platform.

SF: What is the next big thing for GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Taking the existing platform and expanding it into an all-in-one VM, to “Take it anywhere, put it anywhere, use it anywhere”.

SF: How long do you think that will take?

GNS3 Team: Work has already begun and we have working prototypes. Within the year it should be released.

SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?

GNS3 Team: Yes, along with major partnerships to help back it.

SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for GNS3?

GNS3 Team: Taken it seriously at the start. It wasn’t until 2014 that we knew there was something special about the software and community. If we had started taking it seriously back in 2011, who knows where we would be now.

SF: Why?

GNS3 Team: That is when things started to really take off for GNS3 in terms of usage.

SF: Any reason you can’t do that now?

GNS3 Team: We can. We have a full time team of developers and a support infrastructure. We’re pushing this project very hard!

SF: Is there anything else we should know?

GNS3 Team: For more info, check out our website.

[ Download GNS3 ]

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