New Year, New Focus

2016 has been a busy year. Both career and family have demanded a ton of my time leaving very little for myself, this blog and social media. The CCIE took a huge toll on my family, and they deserved me back for at least a couple months!

2016 was the first year in my career I was free from the rat race of certification/education and more recently the CCIE. My intent for the year was to focus my time and efforts on new and emerging technologies in the data center space. I started my current blog series Current Trend in DC Networking way too long ago and have slowly been moving my way through as a way to dig into these technologies. I have not given this series the time it deserves, but I plan to pick up the pace moving forward..

This coming year, I plan to spending more time in the lab, blogging and social media in general.


Current Trends in DC Networking - Cumulus Networks

Hopefully by now you have heard about Cumulus Networks. If not here is a quick intro.

Cumulus Networks is a full feature Linux distribution for data center (DC) routers and switches. Cumulus Linux is designed to simplify the deployment and automation of DC networks. With that said its not your normal network OS. The configuration and management is more inline with a Debian server than a network switch.

So what? Why change what has been working for several decades?

That is the point. What has worked for us in the past is not holding up to the rapidly changing DC space. Technologies are integrating, workflows are merging and yet we still grind away at notepad just to copy/paste into the CLI when new switches need deployed or VLANs need provisioned. Why?

Cumulus Networks is trying to lead the charge in changing this. By building a network OS that can better integrate with the tools already proven by application and server teams, we can quickly deploy and automate the network infrastructure with ease.

For a deeper introduction into Cumulus Networks check out the awesome Tech Field Day videos from #NFD9.


Current Trends in DC Networking - Arista VXLAN

In my last post I covered the fundamentals and basic design of VxLAN. Now its time to get to the fun stuff, configuration! This post will focus on Arista's VxLAN configuration using vEOS.  Arista has been making serious traction in the DC space.

Throughout this series we will be building on the following topology. EBGP will be used as the routing protocol between spine and leaf nodes as it is the popular option in the DC at the moment. Each leaf will peer with both spines, but notice there is no connection between spines. Why? Well as usual Ivan Pepelnjak does a great job explaining it here.

Leaf switches will act as both the VLAN gateway and VTEP. Two vlans/VNIs will be extended between the three pods.

So lets get started!


Current Trends in DC Networking - VXLAN Overview

The data center has two main struggles when it comes to networking.

  1. Loop free layer two by sacrificing half the links.
  2. VM or workload mobility anywhere at any time.

Smaller shops might be fine with giving up a few links, but extending a L2 domain is asking for trouble.  Larger shops need every link they can get and demand the flexibility to move a VM anywhere. So we are being forced down a road of L2 everywhere. How do we do it?

Our current model is broken, or better said, it's out dated. We need a technology that is adaptable to the movement of the application. This will take  some time...

Right now though, we have VMs needing to move within pods or zones or even DCs. Yup and application teams still require L2 domains between all this mess. So how do we make everyone happy?

Well... VXLAN

Its not the protocol we need but its the protocol we deserve.


ONUG Spring 2016

I just returned home from ONUG Spring 2016 in Mountain View CA. I was lucky enough to be invited by my buddies Steven and Tom of Tech Field Day. More and more people are talking about ONUG over and WOOT I was finally able to attend!

I'm blogging my thoughts on the event in hopes to encourage more people and companies to attend and get involved with the ONUG community. They are doing great work and its only going to get better!


Current Trends in DC Networking Series

Im kicking off a new series on various DC networking trends. All of these are technologies that are hot right now and I've been wanting to dig into deeper.

I'm not sure how this series will flow as Im jumping in and blogging as I go. The series will be structured from the ground up starting with the network infrastructure and progressing as we build out the DC.

Here is my base idea on organizing topics. As always, feed back and topic suggestions are welcome.

1: VXLAN Leaf/Spine (Arista)
2: VXLAN Leaf/Spine (Cumulus)
3: Automate Leaf/Spine Deployment w/ Ansible
4: Open vSwitch
5: CoreOS Deployment
6: CoreOS and Docker Containers
7: Automate CoreOS/Container deployment
8: Automate it all!

Id love to throw OpenStack into the mix but there is a lot there and it might need its own series. Im not sure we will see how this goes.

Alright, let the fun begin!!

First up will be VXLAN Leaf/Spine with Arista vEOS


Network Automation Training - Network to Code

I was fortunate enough to attend a networking automation class the other week, held by Network to Code and instructed by Jason Edelman (@jedelman8). As an introduction to automation for us networking grunts, I was very impressed with the class and learned a ton. So I thought I would share my experience and hopefully encourage others to venture down this road.

Who is Network to Code

Jason is a highly respected engineer with a CCIE and well over 12 years experience in the networking trenches. For the past 3 years he has focused his efforts on network automation and programming, and has been a leader in developing multiple tools to help us simpletons interact with networking hardware via programming tools. If you don’t know who Jason is then I highly suggest you follow him, as this dude is leading the charge in how we will do our jobs in the coming years.

With Jason’s passion to help others grow in network automation, Network to Code was born and now the company is teaching multiple classes as year across the globe, doing workshops, and providing services to clients helping them adopt automation technologies.