Author Archives: bobmccouch

Using the Cisco CSR1000V in GNS3 With VirtualBox

The better part of a year ago when the Cisco CSR1000V was publicly released, I quickly tested the notion of running the Cloud Services Router in VMWare Fusion on the Mac, rather than on a full vSphere server. Since then, I occasionally see that some readers land on my blog after searching for the terms “CSR1000V GNS3” looking for assistance in integrating the CSR with the popular networking simulation platform. The CSR1000V is attractive as it provides a means to run IOS-XE, the same variant as on the ASR-series routers, and unlike Dynamips, Cisco has blessed use of the CSR with the 2.5 Mb/s throughput-limited trial license as a legitimate labbing platform. Last night I decided to see if it could be done. Turns out, it’s easy.

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Application Monitoring with ThousandEyes

In a prior post, I showed off ThousandEyes and how one of my clients uses it to monitor the BGP routing of their IP prefix. The same client also uses ThousandEyes for monitoring the web apps they host for their customers. Read on to see more about what ThousandEyes does for them!

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Migrating My Home Network to a Virtual Firewall Appliance

Recently, I built myself a nice VMWare vSphere server. I’ll cover the server setup itself in more detail sometime, but once I got it kicking I decided I should find some novel (for me, at least) ways to use it. As I looked around my home network trying to find improvements to make with the vast powers of virtualization, my gaze settled on my little Cisco ASA5505 home firewall.

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998 Extra Eyes on Your Applications

Last September one of the vendors that presented at Networking Field Day 6 was ThousandEyes, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2010 where the startup vibe thrived.
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Some Thoughts on CCIE R&S v5

On the evening of December 3rd, the Twitterverse, IRC, and other geek outlets pretty much exploded with news of the version 5 update to the Routing and Switching track of the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert program, or CCIEv5.

There have been some significant changes in the exam material blueprints, as well as changes in format and underlying technology in the lab exam. Overall, I think the change looks very positive at this point, but I have some thoughts on each of these changes that I’ll share here.

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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure: Nexus 9000

On November 6, I was fortunate to attend the Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure launch event in New York City as part of the Tech Field Day blogger delegation. This event was the much-anticipated unveiling (and acquisition announcement) of Insieme Networks, Cisco’s “SDN Spin-in” which maintained a pretty impressive amount of secrecy over its relatively short existence. The main keynote/announcement event consisted of a lot of flashy marketing videos and various tech executives praising each others’ companies. The tech press has been atwitter with coverage on Cisco’s ACI strategy and various components. I’m not going to try to recap the entire announcement, as others have done a much better job of that than I could, but I’m going to provide my take on each of what I considered to be four related, but somewhat distinct announcements that day. In this post, I cover the Nexus 9000 line of switches.
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Why Can’t I Upgrade My ASA to 9.1.3?

I ran into an unexpected issue the other day that kept me scratching my head for a few minutes when a new ASA refused to take a code upgrade. Read on for the details.

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Big Switch Networks and the (possible) Future of Networking Hardware

BSN-SDN-approach

Over the last couple of years, two major philosophies for SDN have evolved which I will call the overlay model, and the flow programmability model. Overlay networks are the notion of building multiple virtual networks in parallel on top of a physical network fabric, using some means of separating the virtual networks — typically an encapsulation method like VXLAN or NVGRE. Then we have the “flow programmability” model, based on the idea of programming SDN behaviors on a flow-by-flow basis into your existing (or new) physical and virtual network switches using a protocol like OpenFlow.

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Those Slow-Poke Network Engineers

This year (and especially in the past few months) there have been a lot of new solutions announced in the network virtualization and network overlay platform arenas. These solutions hold great potential, but in my opinion the vendors of these solutions need to get on board with a team approach to IT and avoid marketing to server engineers by throwing the networking team under the bus.

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Spirent Avalanche NEXT – Making Network Testing Approachable

During the week of Network Field Day 6, Spirent announced the Avalanche NEXT product line. Our first NFD6 session was at Spirent’s office in Sunnyvale.

Last time I used Spirent products (admittedly about 10 years ago), the interface was a complex, clunky Windows application. You had to hand-craft frames that would have (at best) a very predictable value iteration in various packet fields (increase a payload field by “1” or “2” per packet). Frankly, this didn’t work well. TCP sessions didn’t work at all, and simulating more than a couple flows simultaneously was so time-consuming that it had no value. You could test raw throughput, but nothing (helpful) above layer 3.

While I realize that Spirent’s products have evolved in the interceding decade, the introduction of the Avalanche NEXT brings a lot of changes.

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rsts11 - Robert Novak on system administration

Resource sharing, time sharing, (20)11 and beyond. A retired sysadmin's blog.