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Building network automation solutions

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Unique IPv6 Prefix Per Host – How Complex Do You Want IPv6 to Be?

In December 2017 IETF published RFC 8273 created by the v6ops working group (which means there must have been significant consensus within the working group that we need the solution and that it makes at least marginal sense).

The RFC specifies a mechanism by which the first-hop router allocates a unique /64 IPv6 prefix for every host attached to a subnet and uses unicast and multicast RA responses sent to unicast MAC addresses to give every host the impression that it’s the sole host on its own subnet.

The first thought of anyone even vaguely familiar with how complex IPv6 already is should be “WTF???” Unfortunately, there are good reasons we need this monstrosity.

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Salt Deep Dive on Building Network Automation Solutions Online Course

In the first few sessions of the Building Network Automation Solutions online course we used Ansible as the tool-of-choice because it’s the easiest automation tool to get started with. Now that we’ve established the baseline, it’s time to explore the alternatives.

In a live session on February 27th 2018, Mircea Ulinic will describe Salt, an open source, general-purpose event-driven automation framework that we briefly discussed in Episode 77 of Software Gone Wild podcast.

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BGP: the Tragedy of the Commons

Every now and then someone looks at a few recent BGP incidents (from fat fingers to more dubious ones) and says “we need a better BGP”.

It’s like being unable to cope with your kids or your team members because you don’t have the guts to tell them NO and trying to solve the problem by implementing new procedures and rules.

Like anything designed on a few napkins BGP has its limit. They’re well known, and most of them have to do with trusting your neighbors instead of checking what they tell you.

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Please Respond: Survey on Interconnection Agreements

Marco Canini is working on another IXP-related research project and would like to get your feedback on inter-AS interconnection agreements, or as he said in an email he sent me:

As academics, it would be extremely valuable for us to receive feedback from network operators in the industry.

It’s fantastic to see researchers who want to base their work on real-life experience (as opposed to ideas that result in great-looking YouTube videos but fail miserably when faced with reality), so if you’re working for an ISP please take a few minutes and fill out this survey.

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What Exactly Should My MAC Address Be?

Looks like I’m becoming the gateway-of-last-resort for people encountering totally weird Nexus OS bugs. Here’s another beauty…

I'm involved in a Nexus 9500 (NX-OS) migration project, and one bug recently caused vPC-connected Catalyst switches to err-disable (STP channel-misconfig) their port-channel members (CSCvg05807), effectively shutting down the network for our campus during what was supposed to be a "non-disruptive" ISSU upgrade.

Weird, right? Wait, there’s more…

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Video: Avaya [now Extreme] Data Center Solutions

I haven’t done an update on what Avaya was doing in the data center space for years, so I asked my good friend Roger Lapuh to do a short presentation on:

  • Avaya’s data center switches and their Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) fabric;
  • SPB fabric features;
  • Interesting use cases enabled by SPB fabric.

The videos are now available to everyone with a valid ipSpace.net account – the easiest way to get it is a trial subscription.

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Data Center BGP: Autonomous Systems and AS Numbers

Two weeks ago we discussed whether it makes sense to use BGP as the routing protocol in a data center fabric. Today we’ll tackle three additional design challenges:

  • Should you use IBGP or EBGP?
  • When should you run BGP on the spine switches?
  • Should every leaf switch have a different AS number or should they share the same AS number?
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Create IP Multicast Tree Graphs from Operational Data

A while ago I created an Ansible playbook that creates network diagrams from LLDP information. Ben Roberts, a student in my Building Network Automation Solutions online course used those ideas to create an awesome solution: he’s graphing multicast trees.

Here’s how he described his solution:

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Moving Complexity to Application Layer?

One of my readers sent me this question:

One thing that I notice is you mentioned moving the complexity to the upper layer. I was wondering why browsers don't support multiple IP addresses for a single site – when a browser receives more than one IP address in a DNS response, it could try to perform TCP SYN to the first address, and if it fails it will move to the other address. This way we don't need an anycast solution for DR site.

Of course I pointed out an old blog post ;), and we all know that Happy Eyeballs work this way.

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First Speakers in the Spring 2018 Automation Online Course

For the first two sessions of the Building Network Automation Solutions online course I got awesome guest speakers, and it seems we’ll have another fantastic lineup in the Spring 2018 course:

Most network automation solutions focus on device configuration based on user request – service creation or change of data model describing the network. Another very important but often ignored aspect is automatic response to external events, and that’s what David Gee will describe in his presentation.

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New Content: Debugging Ansible Playbooks and Jinja2 Templates

Here’s a quote from one of my friends who spent years working with Ansible playbooks:

Debugging Ansible is one of the most terrible experiences one can endure…

It’s not THAT bad, particularly if you have a good debugging toolbox. I described mine in the Debugging Ansible Playbooks part of the Ansible for Networking Engineers online course.

Please note that the Building Network Automation Solutions online course includes all material from the Ansible online course.

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Automate Remote Site Hardware Refresh Process

Every time we finish the Building Network Automation Solutions online course I ask the attendees to share their success stories with me. Stan Strijakov was quick to reply:

I have yet to complete the rest of the course and assignments, but the whole package was a tremendous help for me to get our Ansible running. We now deploy whole WAN sites within an hour.

Of course I wanted to know more and he sent me a detailed description of what they’re doing:

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Simplifying ipSpace.net Products

When I started my ipSpace.net project life was simple: I had a few webinars, and you could register for the live sessions. After a while I started adding recordings, subscriptions, bundles, roadmaps (and tracks), books… and a few years later workshops and online courses.

As you can imagine, the whole thing became a hard-to-navigate mess. Right now you can buy almost 70 different products on ipSpace.net. Time for a cleanup.

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How Did NETCONF Start on Software Gone Wild

A long while ago Marcel Wiget sent me an interesting email along the lines “I think you should do a Software Gone Wild podcast with Phil Shafer, the granddaddy of NETCONF

Not surprisingly, as we started discovering the history behind NETCONF we quickly figured out that all the API and automation hype being touted these days is nothing new – some engineers have been doing that stuff for almost 20 years.

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