Building Network Automation Solutions
6 week online course starting in September 2017

Salt and SaltStack on Software Gone Wild

Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Git, GitLab… the list of tools you can supposedly use to automate your network is endless, and there’s a new kid on the block every few months.

In Episode 77 of Software Gone Wild we explored Salt, its internal architecture, and how you can use it with Mircea Ulinic, a happy Salt user/contributor working for Cloudflare, and Seth House, developer @ SaltStack, the company behind Salt.

Worth Reading: Who Moved My Control Plane?

Jordan Martin published a nice summary of what I’ve been preaching for years: centralized control plane doesn’t work (well) while controller-based network orchestration makes perfect sense.

While I totally agree with what he wrote he got the hype angle wrong:

Update: VMware NSX in Redundant L3-only Data Center Fabric

Short update for those that read the original blog post: it turns out that the answer to the question “Is it possible to run VMware NSX on redundantly-connected hosts in a pure L3 data center fabric?” is still NO.

VTEPs from different ESXi hosts can be in different subnets, but while a single ESXi host might have multiple VTEPs, the only supported way to use them is to put them in the same subnet. I removed the original blog post.

A huge thank you to everyone who pushed me with their comments and emails to find the correct answer.

Mini-RSA in Zurich, NSX, ACI, Automation…

I’ll be doing several on-site workshops in the next two months. Here’s a brief summary of where you could meet me in person.

A bit of manual geolocation first: if you’re from Europe, check out the first few entries, if you’re from US, there’s important information for you at the bottom, and if you don’t want to travel Europe or US, there’s an online course starting in September ;)

Figure Out What the Customer Really Needs

One of the toughest challenges you can face as a networking engineer is trying to understand what the customer really needs (as opposed to what they think they’re telling you they want).

For example, the server team comes to you saying “we need 5 VLANs between these 3 data centers”. What do you do?

Video: Routing on Hosts Deep Dive

Wondering how exactly routing on hosts works? Dinesh Dutt explained the details in this 10-minute video during the Leaf-and-Spine Fabric Designs webinar.

Optimize Data Center Infrastructure: Go with 10GE

I published the third installment of the Optimize Your Data Center Infrastructure story on my main web site. In this part I’m telling you to go with 10GE and consider 25GE.

Amazing Discovery: Stability Matters

Here’s an interesting blog post (particularly as it’s coming from a well-known cloud evangelist): at the infrastructure level stability matters more than agility or speed-of-deployment. Welcome to real world ;)

Automate Everything: Is Coming Back to US

After the last US-based workshop a lot of people asked me about the next one. It took a long time, but here it is: I’m running an on-site automation workshop together with several friends with outstanding hands-on experience in Colorado in late May.

Programmable ASICs on Software Gone Wild

During Cisco Live Europe 2017 (where I got thanks to the Tech Field Day crew kindly inviting me) I had a nice chat with Peter Jones, principal engineer @ Cisco Systems. We started with a totally tangential discussion on why startups fail, and quickly got back to flexible hardware and why one would want to have it in a switch.

Leaf-and-Spine Fabrics: Featured Webinar in April 2017

I recently finished editing the videos from the Leaf-and-Spine Designs update to the Leaf-and-Spine Fabrics webinar, so it wasn’t hard to select the featured webinar for April 2017. The featured videos now include BGP in the Data Center by Dinesh Dutt, SPB Deep Dive by Roger Lapuh, and VXLAN with EVPN control plane by Lukas Krattiger.

Starting with Network Automation

One of my readers considered joining the Building Network Automation Solutions course but wasn’t sure whether it would help him solve the challenges he’s facing in his network.

Fortunately, his challenges aren’t that hard to solve.

NETCONF Agent(s) on Cisco IOS XE 16.x

Evgeny made an interesting observation while testing the NETCONF client on IOS XE 16.x (see also this comment on my blog):

The most interesting part: for unknown reason IOS-XE gives different answers about capabilities on ports 830 and 22.

Einar quickly explained the mysterious behavior:

Worth Reading: Legacy software and Evolution

In case you’re wondering why we’re stuck with old stuff like TCP, IPv4, OSPF, and a few other bits and pieces that were invented decades ago when we could be using the glitzy controller-based software-defined whatever, read the blog post by Martin Sustrik. He talks about software, but we’re facing the same challenges in networking.

Video: Overlays in Data Center Fabrics

Lukas Krattiger (Cisco Systems) was the guest speaker in Layer-2+3 fabrics part of the Leaf-and-Spine Fabric Design webinar, and he started his presentation with an overview of how we use overlays in data center fabrics.

Network Automation Is Much More than Configuration Management

Most network automation presentations you can find on the Internet focus on configuration management, either to provision new boxes, or to provision new services, so it’s easy to assume that network automation is really a fancy new term for consistent device configuration management.

However, as I explained in the Network Automation 101 webinar, there’s so much more you can do and today I’d like to share a real-life example from Jaakko Rautanen, an alumni of my Building Network Automation Solutions online course.