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Building network automation solutions

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Cisco ACI, VMware NSX and Programmability

One of my readers sent me a lengthy email describing his NSX-versus-ACI views. He started with [slightly reworded]:

What I want to do is to create customer templates to speed up deployment of application environments, as it takes too long at the moment to set up a new application environment.

That’s what we all want. How you get there is the interesting part.

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Webinars in First Half of 2017

The first half of 2017 is almost gone, so it’s time to check how far I got with the plans I made in January.

Delivered:

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Is Anyone Using Open Daylight?

A while ago I sent out an email to my SDN and network automation mailing list (join here) asking whether anyone uses Open Daylight in anything close to a production environment (because I haven’t ever seen one).

Among many responses saying “not here” I got a polite email from VP of Marketing working for a company that sells OpenDaylight-related services listing tons of customer deployments (no surprise there).

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Start Using OpenConfig with NAPALM on Software Gone Wild

OpenConfig sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately only a few vendors support it, and it doesn’t run on all their platforms, and you need the latest-and-greatest software release. Not exactly a set of conditions that would encourage widespread adoption.

Things might change with the OpenConfig data models supported in NAPALM. Imagine you could parse router configurations or show printouts into OpenConfig data structures, or use OpenConfig to configure Cisco IOS routers running a decade old software.

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Use Your Networking Knowledge to Design Automation Solution

I’m getting plenty of emails from not-so-very-young networking engineers trying to make career transitions. I got this one from a CCIE in his mid-40s:

Would you think the SDN and Data Center paths would be suitable for a long standing engineer?

Absolutely. It's just networking, although it's sometimes disguised a bit.

This article was initially sent to my Network Automation mailing list.

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Webinars in This Week

The spring craziness is still in full swing – we’ll have three webinars this week (a first) and I was so busy I didn’t even have time to write about them. Let’s fix that.

Data Center Updates on Monday is the second part of server virtualization, virtual machines and containers update to Data Center 3.0 webinar. We covered virtual machines in the last session (April 25th), this time we’ll talk about containers.

David Barroso (now at Fastly) will talk about NAPALM in Ansible on Tuesday.

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Let's build a small network automation solution!

Do you have the feeling that you should know more about network automation, but don't know where to start? I was facing that same problem in 2015, and then started exploring Ansible (plus YAML, Jinja2, Git, Puppet…), creating small playbooks, and finally came to a point where I said "now I know that you can have a small solution solving an actual problem ready in a few weeks even if you know absolutely nothing today".

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Regional Internet Exits in Large DMVPN Deployment

One of my readers wanted to implement a large DMVPN cloud with regional Internet exit points:

We need to deploy a regional Internet exits and I’d like to centralize them.  Each location with a local Internet exit will be in a region and that location will advertise a default-route into the DMVPN domain to only those spokes in that particular region.

He wasn’t particularly happy with the idea of deploying access and core DMVPN clouds:

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Few Secrets of Successful Learning: Focus, Small Chunks, and Sleep

One of my readers sent me a few questions about the leaf-and-spine fabric architectures webinar because (in his own words)

We have some projects 100% matching these contents and it would be really useful this extra feedback, not just from consultants and manufacturer.

When I explained the details he followed up with:

Now, I expect in one or two weeks to find some days to be able to follow this webinar in a profitable way, not just between phone calls and emails.

That’s not how it works.

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Network Testing on Software Gone Wild

Network automation and orchestration is a great idea… but how do you verify that what your automation script wants to do won’t break the network? In Episode 78 of Software Gone Wild we discussed the intricacies of testing network automation solutions with Kristian Larsson (developer of Terastream orchestration softare) and David Barroso of the NAPALM and SDN Internet Router fame.

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Failure Is Inevitable – Deal with It!

Last week a large European financial institution had a bad hair day. My friend Christoph Jaggi asked for my opinion, and I decided not to focus on the specific problem (that’s what post-mortems are for) but to point out something that’s often forgotten: don’t believe your system won’t fail, be prepared to deal with the failure.

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Have to choose between VMware NSX and Cisco ACI? You’re Not Alone

I keep getting questions along the lines of “should I go with VMware NSX or should I deploy Cisco ACI” every single week, and as you know it’s hard to answer anything but it depends without spending hours on the topic.

That’s exactly what we plan to do in Zurich next Tuesday (May 16th) in a DIGS workshop that will run in parallel with the Data Center & Cloud Day (part of the SIGS Technology Conference).

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Follow-up: Nexus-OS Dropping Configuration Commands

Not long after I published the let’s drop some configuration commands rant I got a very nice email from Nicolas Delecroix, Technical Marketing Engineer in Cisco INSBU, effectively saying “Would you have time for a short WebEx call to discuss the root cause of the problem and what we did to fix it?”

Of course I agreed and here’s what they told me:

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What is VxRail?

One of my readers was considering Dell/EMC hyperconverged solutions and sent me this question:

Just wondering if you have a chance to check out VxRail.

I read the data sheet and spec sheet, but have never seen anyone using it (any real-life experience highly welcome – please write a comment).

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