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

Why Are High-Speed Links Better than Port Channels or ECMP

I’m positive I’ve answered this question a dozen times in various blog posts and webinars, but it keeps coming back:

You always mention that high speed links are always better than parallel low speed links, for example 2 x 40GE is better than 8 x 10GE. What is the rationale behind this?

Here’s the N+1-th answer (hoping I’m being consistent):

Increasing SDDC Visibility

In Episode 69 of Software Gone Wild we discussed ways of increasing visibility into VXLAN transport fabric. Another thing we badly need is visibility into the virtual edge behavior, and to help you get there Iwan Rahabok created a set of vRealize dashboards that include the virtual edge networking components. Hope you’ll find them useful.

To Drop or To Delay, That’s the Question on Software Gone Wild

A while ago I decided it's time to figure out whether it's better to drop or to delay TCP packets, and quickly figured out you get 12 opinions (usually with no real arguments supporting them) if you ask 10 people. Fortunately, I know someone who deals with TCP performance for living, and Juho Snellman was kind enough to agree to record another podcast.

Update 2017-03-31: Added More information section

OSPF Forwarding Address YAK: Take 2

In my initial OSPF Forwarding Address blog post I described a common Forwarding Address (FA) use case (at least as preached on the Internet): two ASBRs connected to a single external subnet with route redistributing configured only on one of them.

That design is clearly broken from the reliability perspective, but are there other designs where OSPF FA might make sense?

Using Ansible Networking Modules

One of the engineers attending my Building Network Automation Solutions online course got the lab up and running, wanted to execute a simple IOS command from an Ansible playbook and failed.

He quickly realized he needs to set connection to local; for more details read this article on my automation web site or watch the Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar.

New Webinar: PowerShell for Networking Engineers

Ansible (or Python+Paramiko/Netmiko) seems to be the tool used in most do-it-yourself network automation presentations and videos. Did you know there’s a scripting/automation alternative that’s hugely popular in parts of sysadmin and virtualization universe that almost nobody talks about in networking (because everyone is focused on huge data center fabrics and unicorns) – PowerShell (now also available on OSX and Linux).

Never Take Two Chronometers to Sea

One of the quotes I found in the Mythical Man-Month came from the pre-GPS days: “never go to sea with two chronometers, take one or three”, and it’s amazing the networking industry (and a few others) never got the message.

Linux CLI for Networking Engineers

One would think that we're the only ones struggling with Linux CLI (read: bash). Seems like cyber security professionals might be in the same boat according to the nice summary of dozens of Linux/bash commands collected by Robert Graham.

Multi-Host Container Networking

Running Linux containers on a single host is relatively easy. Building private multi-tenant networks across multiple hosts immediately creates the usual networking mess.

Fortunately the Socketplane team did a pretty good job; for more details watch the video from Docker Networking Fundamentals webinar or listen to the podcast I did with them a year ago.

OSPF Forwarding Address: Yet another Kludge

One of my readers sent me an interesting NSSA question (more in a future blog post) that sent me chasing for the reasons behind the OSPF Forwarding Address (FA) field in type-5 and type-7 LSAs.

This is the typical scenario for OSPF FA I was able to find on the Internet:

New Webinar: Automating Data Center Fabric Deployments

The next session of the Network Automation Use Cases series will take place on January 24th. Dinesh Dutt will explain describe how you can use Ansible and Jinja2 to automate data center fabric deployments, and I’ll have a few things to say about automating network security.

If you think that what Dinesh will talk about applies only to startups you’re totally wrong. UBS is using the exact same approach to roll out their new data centers; Thomas Wacker will share the details in his guest presentation in the next Building Next-Generation Data Centers online course.

It’s Security Ignorance, not Featuritis

A blog post by Russ White pointed me to an article describing how IPv6 services tend to be less protected than IPv4 services. No surprise there, people like Eric Vyncke and I were telling anyone who was willing to listen that operating two-protocol networks isn’t the same thing as operating a single-protocol one (see also RFC 1925 rule 4).

Worth Reading: the Mythical Man-Month

I was discussing a totally unrelated topic with Terry Slattery when he mentioned a quote from the Mythical Man-Month. It got me curious, I started exploring and found out I can get the book as part of my Safari subscription.

VXLAN Ping and Traceroute

From the moment Cisco and VMware announced VXLAN some networking engineers complained that they'd lose visibility into the end-to-end path. It took a long while, but finally the troubleshooting tools started appearing in VXLAN environment: NVO3 working group defined Fault Managemnet framework for overlay networks and Cisco implemented at least parts of it in recent Nexus OS releases.

You'll find more details in Software Gone Wild Episode 69 recorded with Lukas Krattiger in November 2016 (you can also watch VXLAN Technical Deep Dive webinar to learn more about VXLAN).

Parsing Printouts with Ansible Regular Expression Filters

Ansible is great at capturing and using JSON-formatted data returned by REST API (or any other script or method it can invoke), but unfortunately some of us still have to deal with network devices that cannot even spell structured data or REST.

Introduction to Docker: Featured Video of January 2017

The featured webinar in January 2017 is the Introduction to Docker webinar, and in the featured video Matt Oswalt explains the basic Docker tasks. Other videos in this webinar cover Docker images, volumes, networking, and Docker Compose and Swarm.

To view the featured video, log into, select the webinar from the first page, and watch the video marked with star.

Device Configurations Are Not a Good Source of Truth

One of my subscribers sent me this question after watching the second part of Network Automation Tools webinar (or maybe it was Elisa Jasinska's presentation in the Data Center course):

Elisa mentions that for a given piece of data, there should be “one source of truth”. It gets a bit muddled when you have an IPAM tool and Git source control simultaneously. It is not hard to imagine scenarios where these get out of sync especially if you consider multi-operator scenarios.

Confused? He provided a simple scenario:

Plans for 2017

With January 6th the Christmas/New Year holidays are over even for most European countries, so it’s time to restart my blog and set some goals for 2017.


2015 was year of SDN, 2016 was year of network automation, and 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the cloud.