CiscoLive! Melbourne – 2016

Having to miss last years edition I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this years CiscoLive! conference in my hometown Melbourne again. Venue was excellent as usual. MCEC provides perfect facilities and is in the heart of the city so no dramas here.

The opening keynote already showed to direction where Cisco has steered the ship. Datacentre agility to cope with the ever increasing demand for business flexibility and be able to adapt quickly to changes in market conditions.

Cisco is acknowledging that it needs to adjust their products and services portfolio in such a way business can still use its entire catalog but by opening up the methodologies in which these products are used it gives more control and choice to the people who have to design, implement and operate these infrastructures. This way they don’t need to align their internal processes to the ever more diverse product-set but the other way around.

One example is NX-OS. The operating system running the core of Cisco’s networking products. With the introduction of NX-OS 7 on the Nexus 7000 and the new 9000, the operating system has “rebranded” itself to “Open NX-OS”. This doesn’t mean Cisco has put the source on Github but it gives a more accessible method of interacting with the switches, or any other supported platform for that matter. By providing a rich REST-full API it’s easy to create programs, tools and scripts which can automate deployment and day-to-day operations.

Evidence of this is the fact that Cisco had set up an entire track for developers in the form of a, so called “DevNet zone”. An area at the conference where developers, or anyone interested, could learn more about developing scripts and tools to better interact with the wide portfolio Cisco has. This was not only restricted to the conference. Cisco has ramped  up a large online devnet area including a impressive sandbox where developers can test and validate their programs towards the majority of Cisco technology. As you may have seen this is not new and the methodology is more or less adopted from the OpenSource communities around the worlds where this has been created. Distributed development of software by coding, peer review, testing, building and deploying has been done for over two decades and even long before that in the educational institutions.

A lot of Cisco teams and individuals contribute in the form of code, documentation, examples and a myriad of hints and tips to get you started.

Obviously Cisco is no philanthropic organization so don’t expect any non-cisco technologies to be covered. Even when you think you see Cisco’s involvement in a non-cisco product or code, like for example OpenStack, a lot of code is contributed in the form of Cisco enablement in that product. No problem here, all vendors do that and it increases the usability and experience of the overall product.

I must applaud Cisco for embracing the way IT is used these days and give customers more control in the way they want to use Cisco products. This really is the way forward and all vendors should adopt this methodology and provide resources in the form of knowledge, product resources and people. Other companies like EMC with {code} and IBM’s Developerworks provide a similar experience

CiscoLive! 2016 covered a lot more topics like security, wireless, communications etc. etc.

Another great feat was I got to see a few friend again. Dr J Metz finally made it to Australia and David Jansen who’s sessions I always enjoy for its pragmatic approach and technical depth. Great to see you guys again.

All in all another excellent conference where I learned a lot and provide me with a significant bag of information to keep me busy for another year.

Thanks Cisco.

 

 

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9.2 – Long Distance configurations – CWDM/DWDM

One of the most complex ways of implementing long distance connectivity is using CWDM or DWDM extension equipment. Reason being is that the technology is often fairly complex and diagnostics in case of troubleshooting is most often done on a layer 1 level which means you need to have extensive knowledge of not only the way Fibre-Channel operates on a FC-PI (Physical Interface) but also how it aligns to the standards described by the ITU.

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Photography Books and Courses

Below some ebooks and online courses I find highly useful for not only the beginner but also for the seasoned photographer.

Evan Sharboneau’s e-book contains practical tips on how to create awesome looking pics with ingenious ideas and simple tricks. If you want to create jaw-dropping pictures this is the book to have.

  • Evan Sharboneau –
    1-TPSE2

The second e-book and online course Evan prepared is a well streamlined process of 29 videos and 4 detailed e-books all around 4 main subjects:

  1. Mastering Your Digital SLR Camera
  2. Photography Equipment
  3. Composition and Shot Planning
  4. Post-Production and Software

It also contains a guide on the DSLR equipment. All sorts of side-equipment is being discussed. From lenses, to filters and lighting to effects.

  • photography-masterclass-package

A third one which is more targeted to post-processing images is the tutorials set “Learn Photo Editing”. It is astounding what you can achieve with photo-editing tools like PS. Although the most common image manipulation tricks can be handled by tools like Adobe Lightroom or Darktable the sheer power of Adobe PS is very well explained in this course and book series.

  •  qolorist81_4367

 

Photography

Traffic Isolation Zoning – The mistake of FOS

If there is one thing I would consider “the” blunder of FOS engineering it has to be Traffic Isolation zoning. I mean, creating such an administrative nightmare with obscure directions causing confusion and nasty pitfalls when one thing goes wrong is in many occasions a recipe for disaster.

Read on

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1.2 Flow Vision

This subject will be divided in two sections.

  1. Flow Monitor and Generator
  2. Flow Mirror

In FOS 7 the concept of frame-monitoring was introduced on Condor2 and Condor3 ASICs. This allowed an administrator to create a frame template based on the FC frameheader (see here) and obtain statistics on these frames. Flow Vision is somewhat progressing on this technology and has been extended significantly. Flow Vision is a 3 way solution which requires a switch capable of providing the functionality, software licensed to be able to configure and capture flows and a tool to collect and interpret these flows. All Condor 3 based switches (16G), FOS 7.4 and up, and Brocade Network Advisor 12.4.x are needed to be able to fully utilise the base flow-vision functionality. (The Brocade AMP platform is an extension but will be discussed later.)

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Time to rethink your zoning strategy –peerzones

With the advance of the FC-GS and FC-SW protocols the change, or more the enhancement, of being able to use Target Driven Zoning provided Brocade with the option to tinker a bit on the implementation of the functionality.

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tim_txcrd_z What is it? What does it represent?

I get a huge amount of questions and nervous customers who tell me they see this counter increasing at an alarming rate and want to know if this is a problem or not.

The answer is yes and no. 🙂

That doesn’t help you much does it? Read on…..

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Why FDMI is compulsory (or should be!!)

FDMI stands for Fabric Device Management Interface and is such an enormously cool feature and unfortunately one of the least used. From an operational management perspective FDMI provides a wealth of information to the fabric regarding the attached devices. The thing that flabbergasted me is that almost no device (HBA/Array) has this turned on of even has the functionality embedded.

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9.1 – Long Distance configurations – Direct Connect

Switch fabric configurations over dark fibre, direct connect, links are not much different then connecting them when they sit next to each other. There is no physical interference which has an impact on protocol behavior.

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Upgrade to FOS 7.4.x fails due to APM performance monitors

As I’ve written before some features in FOS 7.3 and older have been superseded by new tools such as MAPS and FlowVision. On of those is also Advanced Performance Monitor which let you set up monitoring points in the fabric to identify traffic patterns.

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