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Blog Posts in February 2010

Electronic books: real-life data

I had my yearly “paperwork day” today. As part of that ordeal I was sorting the Cisco Press book sales reports and stumbled across e-book data for my MPLS VPN books. I can’t tell you how well the Safari access is doing (electronic subscriptions are bundled with numerous totally unrelated items into the “Others” category), but the reports have separate line items for PDF and Mobile (I assume that’s Kindle) edition. The sales of these editions are negligible compared to the “regular” sales.

Obviously even the highly technical audience is not interested in electronic books (or someone bought a single PDF copy that’s now enjoyed by the whole Internet) ... or you feel (like I do) that the reference books belong on the bookshelf.

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IPv6 myths

Once you’ve spent a few hours trying to understand the implications of IPv6, you quickly realize that the only significant change is the increase in the address length. All the other goals that some people had been talking about were either forgotten or failed due to huge mismatch between idealistic view of the Internet IPv6 developers had 15 years ago and today’s reality. However, you still find mythical properties of IPv6 propagated across the Internet. Here are a few I’ve found; add your favorites in the comments.

Numerous IPv6 topics are covered in my Enterprise IPv6 Deployment workshop. You can attend an online version of the workshop or we can organize a dedicated event for your team.

IPv6 provides service/location separation. Total nonsense. The only mechanism used to find services is still DNS and it’s still used from the wrong position in the protocol stack.

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Traffic management in Service Provider networks

I while ago I wrote two articles for SearchTelecom that deal with traffic management in Service Provider networks and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). The first article analyses whether you need dedicated boxes doing the traffic management in your network; the second one whether you really need DPI to manage the traffic.

Traffic management and DPI are just two of the many topics covered in my Market trends in Service Provider networks workshop. Follow this link to register for the online event.

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Unnumbered Ethernet VLAN interfaces

If you’re upgrading your Service Provider network from ATM- or SDH-based core to Carrier Ethernet core, you could be tempted to keep the unnumbered point-to-point links. The practice of using unnumbered P2P links is debatable, but if you want to, you can configure them on VLAN interfaces in recent IOS releases.

You’ll find more details (and caveats) in the Unnumbered Ethernet VLAN interfaces article in the CT3 wiki.

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First impressions: Market Trends in SP Networks presentation

Thursday’s “Market trends in Service Provider networks” webinar was even better than I’ve hoped for. The audience was great: mostly System Engineers with 5+ years of networking experience, so we spent more time on interesting details.

The presentation was initially targeted at sales support teams or account managers, but with attendees like I had in this session I could really go as far beyond the slides as needed.

Let me just share two quotes from the evaluation forms with you (the final results will require a bit of Excel massaging):

“The main goal of the stated objective has been achieved - unclutter the marketing hype from the technological alternatives”

Hristo Penev

“It was great presentation, with detailed information on current trends on SP market.”

Anonymous student

If you’ve missed this one, register for the next session ... and don’t forget: The next webinar explains how various VPN solutions really work.

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My customers are not interested in IPv6 ... what can I do?

Shivlu left an interesting comment to my IPv6 is not ready for residential deployment post. He wrote: “Still no customer is ready for IPv6. How do I convince them?” The unfortunate answer to this problem is: you can't, but they'll only hurt themselves. If they persist long enough, they’ll become obsolete.

The migration issues are just one of the topics covered in the Enterprise IPv6 Deployment workshop. You can attend an online version of the workshop or we can organize a dedicated event for your team.

The web content providers have long realized that their customers have too many choices. Zvezdan Martič, one of the participants in the last year’s Slovenian IPv6 summit roundtable succinctly explained this phenomenon: “nobody cares whether my web site can be viewed in Internet Explorer or Firefox; if I don’t support the major browsers, the customers will find one of my competitors that does.”

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Understanding modern VPN services

Numerous MPLS-based VPN services developed in the last few years have resulted in a total confusion. When someone told you he’s using MPLS VPN services a few years ago, he was almost always using the “traditional” MPLS VPN services (described in my MPLS and VPN Architectures book). Today, he could be using (layer-3) MPLS VPN services, pseudowires or VPLS. To help you understand the various options, I’ve created a VPN services taxonomy document in the CT3 wiki. This document will give you an overview of both Service Provider-offered and self-created VPN solutions.

All these VPN solutions are described in more details in the Choose the optimal VPN service webinar (what is a webinar). You can register by following this link.

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Client-side DMZ: virtualized browsers

Daniel Miessler described an interesting application of the Workstation-as-a-Service (now you know what WAAS stands for ;) cloud service (formerly known as virtual desktop): enterprise network will have to protect their workstations against browser-based attacks and the best approach is to virtualize the browsers and isolate them in a sandbox behind a firewall.

Virtualization, virtual desktops and other security-related cloud services are described in my Next-generation IP Services workshop.

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The death of Dynamips: they’ve got it all wrong

Today I really wanted to write a deeply technical post (for example, Joe Cozzupoli sent me working configs for QPPB in Inter-AS MPLS VPN environment), but a gem from the SearchNetworking site caught my undistracted attention: they claim the licensing changes introduced in IOS release 15.0 target illicit use of Cisco IOS by Dynamips. The story quotes two of my blogger friends: Stretch and Greg (congratulations to both !!!). Each of them makes very valid points (I am wholeheartedly supporting Stretch’s plea for educational licenses), but somehow the story’s author managed to mix ingredients from their stories to come to a sensational (and totally wrong) conclusion (with a great headline).

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Passive Optical Networks

When I’ve first heard about Passive Optical Networks, this blast from the past almost made my head explode. Imagine this: you’re replacing obsolete copper cabling with fiber and decide to create shared media access network similar to the widely hated cable networks.

The only benefit of PON networks that I can see is that it only needs passive equipment at the concentration point. My list of drawbacks is huge, ranging from security concerns to service evolution. What’s your opinion? Would you like to correct my bearing?

Passive Optical Networks are just one of the many topics covered in my Market trends in Service Provider networks workshop. If you want to register for the online event, hurry up; you have only a few days left.

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Choose the optimal VPN service

Majority of IT managers and enterprise network designers are somewhat confused by various VPN service offerings, from provider-delivered layer-2 and layer-3 VPN services to self-created IPSec VPN, SSL VPN, DMVPN and GETVPN.

The Choose the optimal VPN service presentation gives you a comprehensive overview of all major VPN technologies, their benefits and drawbacks as well as high-availability design guidelines.

This presentation is also available as an Internet-delivered webinar.

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