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Cisco Guest Shell Explained

What is Gues Shell:

In addition to the NX-OS CLI and Bash access on the underlying Linux environment, switches support access to a decoupled execution space running within a Linux Container (LXC) called the “Guest Shell”.

Guestshell is a virtualized Linux-based environment (Shell Container) , designed to run custom Linux applications, including Python for automated control and management of Cisco devices.

From within the Guest Shell the network-admin has the following capabilities:

  • Access to the network over Linux network interfaces.
  • Access to the switch’s bootflash.
  • Access to the switch’s CLI.
  • Access to Cisco NX-API REST.
  • The ability to install and run python scripts.

How Guest Shell works:

How to access Guest shell:

switch_X# guestshell

[guestshell@guestshell ~]$ sudo su

[root@guestshell admin]#


  • checking the latency across the network using Iperf

[root@guestshell admin]# iperf -c

Connecting to host, port 5205

  • Running Python:

Switch> enable

Switch# guestshell enable

Switch#guestshell run python

Python 2.7.11 (default, March 16 2017, 16:50:55)

[GCC 4.7.0] on linux2

Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” for more information.


  • Linux basics commands:

[guestshell@guestshell~]$ pwd


[guestshell@guestshell~]$ whoami


[guestshell@guestshell~]$ uname -a

Linux guestshell 3.10.101.cge-rt110 #1 SMP Sat Apr 01 08:02:01


[1] developer.cisco.com/docs/nx-os/#!guides-guest-shell/application-hosting-in-nx-os-guest-shell

[2] www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/ios-xml/ios/prog/configuration/166/b_166_programmability_cg/guest_shell.html

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