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Building network automation solutions

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Update#1: Leaf-and-Spine Fabric Designs

I somewhat expected that the leaf-and-spine fabrics designs webinar won’t be as short as I initially planned it to be, but when I started developing the scenarios and talking with guest speakers the whole thing exploded into a four-session saga (or maybe we’ll end up with the fifth session of a four-part trilogy).

Here’s a short update on what’s planned and where we are at the moment:

  • The webinar will cover three obvious major scenarios: layer-3 fabrics, layer-2 fabrics and mixed layer-2-3 fabrics.
  • Each scenario will be split into at least two: non-redundant and redundant server-to-network connectivity.
  • Additional sections will cover routing on servers and connectivity to external world via routed links or network services.

In every session I’ll go through the basics and design guidelines, and a guest speaker will do a deep-dive into a particular implementation.

The current plan is to have four sessions:

Session#1 (March 3rd): non-redundant and redundant (from server connectivity perspective) layer-3 fabrics. The redundant server connectivity part is further split into MLAG- and active/standby scenarios.

Design considerations include routing protocol selection, convergence speed optimization, addressing on core links, route summarization, ECMP or LAG, and BGP AS number selection.

Guest star: Dinesh Dutt (Cumulus Networks) will talk about Cumulus BGP implementation and how it simplifies fabric deployments, configuration and troubleshooting.

Session#2 (March 29th): Host routing (propagating host routes across layer-3-only fabric) and routing on hosts.

Design considerations include forwarding table sizes and routing protocol selection.

Guest star: Dinesh Dutt (Cumulus Networks) explaining their redistribute arp functionality and running BGP across unnumbered layer-3 server-to-network links.

Beyond the second session the details are still a bit sketchy as we’re still working on the content. More to follow in the second update…

Session#3 (April 6th): Layer-2 fabrics, including MLAG-based solutions, routing-on-layer-2 solutions (TRILL, SPB) and overlay fabrics (VXLAN). Details to follow…

Guest star: Kulin Shah (Arista) describing Arista’s VXLAN implementation, including leaf switch auto-provisioning, VARP, and routing with VXLAN.

You might have noticed that Kulin’s topics include mixed layer-2+3 scenarios, which we’ll cover in Session#4 (April 20th) with guest star Lukas Krattiger (Cisco) speaking about Cisco’s VXLAN+EVPN implementation.

Finally, there might be Session#5 (TBD) talking about external connectivity and load balancing across the fabric.

Excited? Register for the first session and you’ll be automatically enrolled in all five.

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