vQFX on ESXi (finally)

This took far too long to get working, but finally have it so – here’s how I did it.

Images used (from Juniper):

  • (PFE): cosim-18.4R1.8_20180212.vmdk
  • (RE): jinstall-vqfx-10-f-18.4R1.8.vmdk

Copy these to your ESXi server (upload to the datastore) . mine is ESXi 6.5, but most would work… enable SSH then SSH to your box.

Tweak Disk Images

Now create “golden” images, note the different process for each file:

(PFE): cosim-18.4R1.8_20180212.vmdk

  • vmkfstools -X 10.5G cosim-18.4R1.8_20180212.vmdk
  • vmkfstools -i cosim-18.4R1.8_20180212.vmdk pfe-thin.vmdk -d thin

    (RE): jinstall-vqfx-10-f-18.4R1.8.vmdk
  • vmkfstools -X 4.5G jinstall-vqfx-10-f-18.4R1.8.vmdk

Create VM Environment

The PFE/RE link should be on its own vSwitch – do not use a vswitch with other things

PFE/RE Link – New Switch, MTU 9000, Security – allow *everything*, Port-Group: Vlan 0, Inherit All from vSwitch


  • ESXi5.5 Virtual Machine
  • Linux
  • Other Linux 2.6 64 Bit
  • 1 vCPU
  • NO CD
  • NO HD
  • 2GB RAM
  • Interface 1 (E1000) – Management
  • Interface 2 (E1000) – PFE/RE Port-Group


  • ESXi 5.5 Virtual Machine
  • Free BSD 64-bit
  • 2 vCPU
  • 4GB Ram (note: 2GB is fine, but more interfaces, more RAM, I use as I add 3 xe- interfaces)
  • NO CD
  • NO HD
  • Interface 1 (E1000) – Management
  • Interface 2 (E1000) – RE/PFE Link
  • Interface 3 (E1000) – RE/PFE Link
  • !– revenue ports (xe-) –!
  • Interface 4 (E1000) – your port group 1
  • Interface 5 (E1000) – your port group 2
  • Interface 6 (E1000) – your port group 3

copy the image files created earlier to the directories for the relevant VMs

PFE: cp pfe-thin* your-pfe-vm-dir/
RE: cp jinstall-vqfx-10-f-18.4R1.8* your-re-vm-dir/

add a new IDE hard disk to the pfe/re as the relevant image you just copied

Boot the VMS! – this will take a while notably the RE. Expect the RE to hang for 5/10 mins at this point:

when booted – give this another few mins then in theory, you should have the FPC connected (note, BE PATIENT):

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Revenue (Traffic Interfaces)

A quirk of the vQFX is you then have to MAP the mac addresses, as vQFX maps interfaces 3+ on the VM to em3+ rather than xe-0/0/0/

so em3 mac needs to go to xe-0/0/0, em4 to xe-0/0/1 etc – do this

On the RE-VM:

root@leaf01> show interfaces em3 | match Hard (this is interface 3, or your port-group 1)
Current address: 00:0c:29:05:a9:d4, Hardware address: 00:0c:29:05:a9:d4

root@leaf01> show interfaces xe-0/0/0 | match Hard
Current address: 02:05:86:71:86:03, Hardware address: 02:05:86:71:86:03

set interfaces xe-0/0/0 mac 00:0c:29:05:a9:d4

repeat for additional interfaces, then you should be able to ping things on the other end of the xe-0/0/x interfaces.


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