EVE-NG Installation on VirtualBox

A conversation in Birmingham:  A story based on true events

Once upon a time in a cloudy and chilly winter day in Birmingham, a conversation between hemo and Mr. X took a place. A conversation about network emulators and how important they are.

Act 1: The conversation

Mr. X: There are multiple network emulators that can be run on Type 2 hypervisors like GNS3 that runs on VMware Workstation and VirtualBox and EVE-NG that execlusively run on VMware Workstation .

Hemo: I think you are wrong regarding the inability of running EVE-NG on Oracle VirtualBox.

Mr. X: I have tried to run EVE-NG on VirtualBox multiple times before. Unfortunatly, It keeps crashing on boot. I even tried installing it from the ISO file. It kept crashing!

Hemo: The emulator can be run on VirtualBox, but it requires certain tweaking to run properly. The reason behind that is that it requires nested virtualization which was not supported by VirtualBox until recently and it is disabled by default.

Mr. X: This is wonderful! I always thought it is not possible to run it on VirtualBox. So, how do I run it on VirtualBox?

The light turned off ending the first act.

Act 2: The guideline


Running EVE-NG on VirtualBox requires certain requirements. First, CPU virtualisation support needs to be enabled on the BIOS. Second, the latest version of VirtualBox is installed. Lastly, there are certain specification needs to the host machine to have like the host has at least 4 GB memory, 40 GB of free storage space and a fairly good performance like AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 processors or higher.

Downloading EVE-NG and its companion component

EVE-NG comes in two flavours; paid and free. However, In this post we will stick with the free edition a.k.a the communicaty edition. Yet, the instructions can be the similar if not identical for both versions. To download EVE-NG go to EVE-NG official website.

In the home page go to downloads. The home page looks like the image below.

A screenshot of the home page of EVE-NG
Home page of EVE-NG.

In the download page, select the OVF version of the community edition. EVE-NG provides two methods to download the emulator; MEGA link and Google Drive link. Select one of these links.

Integration pack is a companion component that works along with EVE-NG birnaries. The companion components consists of different tools like putty and wireshark wrapper and it aims to improve user experience. Integration pack supports Windows and Mac OSX (Intel / M1 processor). To download to the companion scroll down and click on integration pack that matches the platform you are using. The image below shows the link to download the pack for Microsoft Window platform.

A screenshot of EVE-NG for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.
EVE-NG for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.

Once the OVF is downloaded, extract the compressed file and keep it in a known location.

Importing OVF

The second step after downloading and extracting the required files is importing OVF into VirtualBox. Open VirtualBox and click on File ->Import Appliance from top menu as in the figure below.

The image is a screenshot from VirtualBox to show how to start importing EVE-NG OVF files.
Screenshot from VirtualBox

Navigate to the prevoiusly extracted EVE-NG compressed file, select and OVF files and click Next.

A window that promots the users to the location of the appliance.
Select Import path window

In the next window keep setting at default and click Import

Configuring the EVE-NG for VirtualBox

The next step is configuring the appliance for VirtualBox. Right click the recently imported appliance and click Settings.

Next, Click on System and then click on Processor. You will notice that Enable Nested VT-x/AMD-V is not enabled. As a result, EVE-NG is failing to boot. To mitigate this issue, tick the box as in the image below and click OK. Not enabling Nested virtualisation is the main cause of EVE-NG failing to boot.

This is a screenshot for EVE-NG virtual processor window. Most of screenshot is blurred other than certain option and OK Button.
VM Setting page

Go back to VirtualBox and click on Turn On EVE-NG virtual machine. Once the VM is turned on check VM console window. The VM console window displays the IP address that is assinged to the virtual machine.

Accessing EVE-NG

This image is a screenshot from EVE-NG VM aftering turing the VM on. In the console the IP address assigned to the VM is shown but blurred for privacy reasons.
EVE-NG Console page showing IP (Blurred)

Finally, open a browser and type the same IP address displayed in EVE-NG console page. The browser should display a similar output to the image below.

EVE-NG home page

Companion pack installation

Finally, After successfully running the emulator we shift gears and install the companion pack. It starts by double clicking on downloaded file. Then, keep all setting on default and keep click on Next until the end of the wizard.