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Nokia SR Linux#

Nokia SR Linux NOS is identified with nokia_srlinux kind in the topology file. A kind defines a supported feature set and a startup procedure of a node.

Getting SR Linux image#

Nokia SR Linux is the first commercial Network OS with a free and open distribution model. Everyone can pull SR Linux container from a public registry:

# pull latest available release
docker pull

To pull a specific version, use tags that match the released version and are listed in the srlinux-container-image repo.

Managing SR Linux nodes#

There are many ways to manage SR Linux nodes, ranging from classic CLI management all the way up to the gNMI programming.

to connect to a bash shell of a running SR Linux container:

docker exec -it <container-name/id> bash

to connect to the SR Linux CLI

docker exec -it <container-name/id> sr_cli

or with SSH ssh admin@<container-name>

using the best in class gnmic gNMI client as an example:

gnmic -a <container-name/node-mgmt-address> --skip-verify \
-u admin -p "NokiaSrl1!" \
-e json_ietf \
get --path /system/name/host-name

SR Linux has a JSON-RPC interface running over ports 80/443 for HTTP/HTTPS schemas.

HTTPS server uses the same TLS certificate as gNMI server.

Here is an example of getting version information with JSON-RPC:

curl http://admin:admin@clab-srl-srl/jsonrpc -d @- << EOF
    "jsonrpc": "2.0",
    "id": 0,
    "method": "get",
                "path": "/system/information/version",
                "datastore": "state"

SR Linux nodes come up with SNMPv2 server enabled and running on port 161. The default SNMP community is public.

docker run --init -ti goatatwork/snmpwalk:latest -v 2c -c public $address


Default credentials4: admin:NokiaSrl1!
Containerlab will automatically enable public-key authentication for root, admin and linuxadmin users if public key files are found at ~/.ssh directory1.

Interfaces mapping#

SR Linux system expects interfaces inside the container to be named in a specific way - eX-Y - where X is the line card index, Y is the port.

With that naming convention in mind:

  • e1-1 - first ethernet interface on line card 1
  • e1-2 - second interface on line card 1
  • e2-1 - first interface on line card 2

These interface names are seen in the Linux shell; however, when configuring the interfaces via SR Linux CLI, the interfaces should be named as ethernet-X/Y where X/Y is the linecard/port combination.

Interfaces can be defined in a non-sequential way, for example:

    # srlinux port ethernet-1/5 is connected to sros port 2
    - endpoints: ["srlinux:e1-5", "sros:eth2"]

Breakout interfaces#

If the interface is intended to be configured as a breakout interface, its name must be changed accordingly.

The breakout interfaces will have the name eX-Y-Z where Z is the breakout port number. For example, if interface ethernet-1/3 on an IXR-D3 system is meant to act as a breakout 100Gb to 4x25Gb, then the interfaces in the topology must use the following naming:

    # srlinux's first breakout port ethernet-1/3/1 is connected to sros port 2
    - endpoints: ["srlinux:e1-3-1", "sros:eth2"]

Features and options#


For SR Linux nodes type defines the hardware variant that this node will emulate.

The available 7220 IXR models support the following types: ixrd1, ixrd2, ixrd3, ixrd2l, ixrd3l, ixrd4, ixrd5, ixrh2, ixrh3 and ixrh4.

Nokia 7250 IXR chassis identified with types ixr6e, ixr10e, ixrx3b and ixrx1b require a valid license to operate.

If type is not set in the clab file ixrd2 value will be used by containerlab.

Based on the provided type, containerlab will generate the topology file that will be mounted to the SR Linux container and make it boot in a chosen HW variant.

Node configuration#

SR Linux uses a /etc/opt/srlinux/config.json file to persist its configuration. By default, containerlab starts nodes of srl kind with a basic "default" config, and with the startup-config parameter, it is possible to provide a custom config file that will be used as a startup one.

Default node configuration#

When a node is defined without the startup-config statement present, containerlab will make additional configurations on top of the factory config:

# example of a topo file that does not define a custom startup-config
# as a result, the default configuration will be used by this node

name: srl_lab
      kind: nokia_srlinux
      type: ixrd3

The rendered config can be found at /tmp/clab-default-config path on SR Linux filesystem and will be saved by the path clab-<lab_name>/<node-name>/config/config.json. Using the example topology presented above, the exact path to the config will be clab-srl_lab/srl1/config/config.json.

Additional configurations that containerlab adds on top of the factory config:

  • enabling interfaces (admin-state enable) referenced in the topology's links section
  • enabling LLDP
  • enabling gNMI/gNOI/JSON-RPC as well as enabling unix-socket access for gRPC services
  • creating tls server certificate
  • setting mgmt0 subinterface 0 ip-mtu to the MTU value of the underlying container runtime network

A configuration checkpoint named clab-initial is generated by containerlab once default and user-provided configs are applied. The checkpoint may be used to quickly revert configuration changes made by a user to a state that was present after the node was started.

User defined startup config#

It is possible to make SR Linux nodes boot up with a user-defined config instead of a built-in one. With a startup-config property of the node/kind a user sets the path to the local config file that will be used as a startup config.

The startup configuration file can be provided in two formats:

  • full SR Linux config in JSON format
  • partial config in SR Linux CLI format

A typical lab scenario is to make nodes boot with a pre-configured use case. The easiest way to do that is to capture the intended changes as CLI commands.

On SR Linux, users can configure the system and capture the changes in the form of CLI instructions using the info command. These CLI commands can be saved in a file3 and used as a startup configuration.

CLI config examples

these snippets can be the contents of myconfig.cli file referenced in the topology below

network-instance default {
    interface ethernet-1/1.0 {
    interface ethernet-1/2.0 {
    protocols {
        bgp {
            admin-state enable
            autonomous-system 65001
            group rs {
                peer-as 65003
                ipv4-unicast {
                    admin-state enable
            neighbor {
                peer-group rs
set / network-instance default protocols bgp admin-state enable
set / network-instance default protocols bgp router-id
set / network-instance default protocols bgp autonomous-system 65001
set / network-instance default protocols bgp group ibgp ipv4-unicast admin-state enable
set / network-instance default protocols bgp group ibgp export-policy export-lo
set / network-instance default protocols bgp neighbor admin-state enable
set / network-instance default protocols bgp neighbor peer-group ibgp
set / network-instance default protocols bgp neighbor peer-as 65001
name: srl_lab
      kind: nokia_srlinux
      type: ixrd3
      # a path to the partial config in CLI format relative to the current working directory
      startup-config: myconfig.cli

In that case, SR Linux will first boot with the default configuration, and then the CLI commands from the myconfig.cli will be applied. Note, that no entering into the candidate config, nor explicit commit is required to be part of the CLI configuration snippets.


SR Linux persists its configuration as a JSON file that can be found by the /etc/opt/srlinux/config.json path. Users can use this file as a startup configuration like that:

name: srl_lab
      kind: nokia_srlinux
      type: ixrd3
      # a path to the full config in JSON format relative to the current working directory
      startup-config: myconfig.json

Containerlab will take the myconfig.json file, copy it to the lab directory for that specific node under the config.json name, and mount that directory to the container. This will result in this config acting as a startup-config for the node.

Saving configuration#

As was explained in the Node configuration section, SR Linux containers can make their config persistent because config files are provided to the containers from the host via the bind mount.

When a user configures the SR Linux node, the changes are saved into the running configuration stored in memory. To save the running configuration as a startup configuration, the user needs to execute the tools system configuration save CLI command. This command will write the config to the /etc/opt/srlinux/config.json file that holds the startup-config and is exposed to the host.

SR Linux node also supports the containerlab save -t <topo-file> command, which will execute the command to save the running-config on all lab nodes. For SR Linux node, the tools system configuration save will be executed:

❯ containerlab save -t quickstart.clab.yml
INFO[0000] Parsing & checking topology file: quickstart.clab.yml
INFO[0001] saved SR Linux configuration from leaf1 node. Output:
    Saved current running configuration as initial (startup) configuration '/etc/opt/srlinux/config.json'

INFO[0001] saved SR Linux configuration from leaf2 node. Output:
    Saved current running configuration as initial (startup) configuration '/etc/opt/srlinux/config.json'

User defined custom agents for SR Linux nodes#

SR Linux supports custom "agents", i.e. small independent pieces of software that extend the functionality of the core platform and integrate with the CLI and the rest of the system. To deploy an agent, a YAML configuration file must be placed under /etc/opt/srlinux/appmgr/. This feature adds the ability to copy agent YAML file(s) to the config directory of a specific SRL node, or all such nodes.

name: srl_lab_with_custom_agents
      kind: nokia_srlinux
        - path1/my_custom_agent.yml
        - path2/my_other_agent.yml


By default, containerlab will generate TLS certificates and keys for each SR Linux node of a lab. The TLS-related files that containerlab creates are located in the TLS directory, which can be found by the <lab-directory>/.tls/ path. Here is a list of files that containerlab creates relative to the TLS directory:

  1. CA certificate - ./ca/ca.pem
  2. CA private key - ./ca/ca.key
  3. Node certificate - ./<node-name>/<node-name>.pem
  4. Node private key - ./<node-name>/<node-name>.key

The generated TLS files will persist between lab deployments. This means that if you destroyed a lab and deployed it again, the TLS files from the initial lab deployment will be used.

In case user-provided certificates/keys need to be used, the ca.pem, <node-name>.pem and <node-name>.key files must be copied by the paths outlined above for containerlab to take them into account when deploying a lab.

In case only ca.pem and ca.key files are provided, the node certificates will be generated using these CA files.

The certificate is generated for the following subjects (assuming node name is srl, lab name is srl and container runtime assigned the below listed IP addresses):

IP Address:, IP Address:2001:172:20:20:0:0:0:3

Nokia SR Linux nodes support setting of SANs.

gRPC server#

Starting with SR Linux 24.3.1, the gRPC server config block is used to configure gRPC-based services such as gNMI, gNOI, gRIBI and P4RT. The factory configuration includes the mgmt gRPC server block to which containerlab adds all those services and:

  • generated TLS profile
  • unix-socket access for gRPC services
  • increased rate limit
  • trace options

These additions are meant to make all gRPC services available to the user out of the box with the enabled tracing and a custom TLS profile.

Besides augmenting the factory-provided mgmt gRPC server block, containerlab also adds a new insecure-mgmt gRPC server that provides the same services as the mgmt server but without TLS. This server runs on port 57401 and is meant to be used for testing purposes as well as for local gNMI clients running as part of the NDK apps or local Event Handler scripts.


SR Linux container can run without a license emulating the datacenter types (7220 IXR) 🥳.
In that license-less mode, the datapath is limited to 1000 PPS and the sr_linux process will restart once a week.

The license file lifts these limitations as well as unlocks chassis-based platform variants and a path to it can be provided with license directive.

Container configuration#

To start an SR Linux NOS containerlab uses the configuration that is described in SR Linux Software Installation Guide

sudo bash -c /opt/srlinux/bin/sr_linux

net.ipv4.ip_forward = "0"
net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = "0"
net.ipv6.conf.all.accept_dad = "0"
net.ipv6.conf.default.accept_dad = "0"
net.ipv6.conf.all.autoconf = "0"
net.ipv6.conf.default.autoconf = "0"


File mounts#

When a user starts a lab, containerlab creates a lab directory for storing configuration artifacts. For nokia_srlinux kind, containerlab creates directories for each node of that kind.

❯ ls -lah srl1
drwxrwxrwx+ 6 1002 1002   87 Dec  1 22:11 config
-rw-r--r--  1 root root  233 Dec  1 22:11 topology.clab.yml

The config directory is mounted to container's /etc/opt/srlinux/ path in rw mode. It will contain configuration that SR Linux runs of as well as the files that SR Linux keeps in its /etc/opt/srlinux/ directory:

❯ ls srl1/config
banner  cli  config.json  devices  tls  ztp

The topology file that defines the emulated hardware type is driven by the value of the kinds type parameter. Depending on a specified type, the appropriate content will be populated into the topology.yml file that will get mounted to /tmp/topology.yml directory inside the container in ro mode.

Authorized keys#

Additionally, containerlab will mount the authorized_keys file that will have contents of every public key found in ~/.ssh directory as well as the contents of a ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file if it exists2. This file will be mounted to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys path for the following users:

  • root
  • linuxadmin
  • admin

This will enable passwordless access for the users above if any public key is found in the user's directory.

YUM/APT repositories#

Containerlab will create and mount repository files for YUM and APT to ensure that SR Linux users can install packages from the aforementioned repos.

The repo files are mounted to the following paths:

  • /etc/yum.repos.d/srlinux.repo - for YUM package manager (used in SR Linux releases prior to 23.10)
  • /etc/apt/sources.list.d/srlinux.list - for APT package manager

DNS configuration#

SR Linux's management stack lives in a separate network namespace srbase-mgmt. Due to this fact, the DNS resolver provided by Docker in the root network namespace is not available to the SR Linux management stack.

To enable DNS resolution for SR Linux, containerlab will extract the DNS servers configured on the host system from

  • /etc/resolv.conf
  • run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf

files and configure IP addresses found there as DNS servers in the management network instance of SR Linux:

--{ running }--[  ]--
A:srl# info system dns  
    system {
        dns {
            network-instance mgmt
            server-list [
                # these servers were extracted from the host
                # and provisioned by containerlab

If you wish to turn off the automatic DNS provisioning, set the servers list to an empty value in the node configuration.

ACL configuration#

Starting with SR Linux 24.3.1 release, containerlab adds CPM filter rules to the default factory configuration to allow the following traffic:

  • HTTP access over port 80 for v4 and v6
  • Telnet access over port 23 for v4 and v6

These protocols were removed from the default factory configuration in SR Linux 24.3.1 as a security hardening measure, but they are valuable for lab environments, hence containerlab adds them back.

Host Requirements#

SR Linux is a containerized NOS, therefore it depends on the host's kernel and CPU. It is recommended to run a kernel v4 and newer, though it might also run on the older kernels.

SSSE3 CPU set#

SR Linux XDP - the emulated datapath based on DPDK - requires SSSE3 instructions to be available. This instruction set is present on most modern CPUs, but it is missing in the basic emulated CPUs created by hypervisors like QEMU, Proxmox. When this instruction set is not present in the host CPU set, containerlab will abort the lab deployment if it has SR Linux nodes defined.

The easiest way to enable SSSE3 instruction set is to configure the hypervisor to use the host CPU type, which exposes all available instructions to the guest. For Proxmox, this can be set in the GUI:


Or it's also possible via the proxmox configuration file /etc/pve/qemu-server/vmid.conf.

  1. The authorized_keys file will be created with the content of all found public keys. This file will be bind-mounted using the respecting paths inside SR Linux to enable password-less access. Experimental feature. 

  2. If running with sudo, add -E flag to sudo to preserve user' home directory for this feature to work as expected. 

  3. CLI configs can be saved also in the "flat" format using info flat command. 

  4. Prior to SR Linux 22.11.1, the default credentials were admin:admin