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Building network automation solutions

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Building a L2 Fabric on top of VXLAN: Arista or Cisco?

One of my readers working as an enterprise data center architect sent me this question:

I've just finished a one-week POC with Arista. For fabric provisioning and automation, we were introduced to CloudVision. My impression is that there are still a lot of manual processes when using CloudVision.

Arista initially focused on DIY people and those people loved the tools Arista EOS gave them: Linux on the box, programmability, APIs… However

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Optimize Your Data Center: Ditch the Legacy Technologies

In our journey toward two-switch data center we covered:

It’s time for the next step: get rid of legacy technologies like six 1GE interfaces per server or two FC interface cards in every server.

Need more details? Watch the Designing Private Cloud Infrastructure webinar. How about an interactive discussion? Register for the Building Next-Generation Data Center course.

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Feedback: Layer-2 Leaf-and-Spine Fabrics

Occasionally I get feedback that makes me say “it’s worth doing the webinars ;)”. Here’s one I got after the layer-2 session of Leaf-and-Spine Fabric Designs webinar:

I work at a higher level of the stack, so it was a real eye opener especially with so much opinionated "myths" on the web that haven't been critically challenged such as [the usefulness of] STP.

There’s more feedback on this web page where you can also buy the webinar recording (or register for the next session of the webinar once they are scheduled).

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Can Enterprise Workloads Run on Bare-Metal Servers?

One of my readers left a comment on my “optimize your data center by virtualizing the serversblog post saying (approximately):

Seems like LinkedIn did it without virtualization :) Can enterprises achieve this to some extent?

Assuming you want to replace physical servers with one or two CPU cores and 4GB of memory with modern servers having dozens of cores and hundreds of GB of memory the short answer is: not for a long time.

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Model-Driven Networking on Software Gone Wild

The Model-driven Networking seems to be another buzzword riding on top of the SDN wave. What exactly is it, how is it supposed to work, will it be really vendor-independent, and has anyone implemented it? I tried to get some answers to these questions from Jeff Tantsura, chair of IETF Routing Area Working Group, in Episode 55 of Software Gone Wild.

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OpenStack Networking, Availability Zones and Regions

One of my ExpertExpress engagements focused on networking in a future private cloud that might be built using OpenStack. The customer planned to deploy multiple data centers, and I recommended that they do everything they can to make sure they don’t make them a single failure domain.

Next step: translate that requirement into OpenStack terms.

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Yeah, Blame It on Cisco

A Technology Market Builder (in his own words) from a major networking vendor decided to publish a thought leadership article (in my sarcastic words) describing how Cisco’s embrace of complexity harmed the whole networking industry.

Let’s see how black this kettle-blaming pot really is ;), and make sure to have fun reading the comments to the original article.

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What Are The Problems with Broadcom Tomahawk? We Don’t Know

One of my readers has customers that already experienced performance challenges with Tomahawk-based data center switches. He sent me an email along these lines:

My customers are concerned about buffer performance for packets that are 200 bytes and under. MORE IMPORTANTLY, a customer informed me that there were performance issues when running 4x25GE connections when one group of ports speaks to another group.

Reading the report Mellanox published not so long ago it seems there really is something fishy going on with Tomahawk.

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Unexpected Recovery Might Kill Your Data Center

Here’s an interesting story I got from one of my friends:

  • A large organization used a disaster recovery strategy based on stretched IP subnets and restarting workloads with unchanged IP addresses in a secondary data center;
  • Once they experienced a WAN connectivity failure in the primary data center and their disaster recovery plan kicked in.


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Software-Defined Security and VMware NSX Events

I’m presenting at two Data Center Interest Group Switzerland events organized by Gabi Gerber in Zurich in early June:

  • In the morning of June 7th we’ll talk about software-defined security, data center automation and open networking;
  • In the afternoon of the same day (so you can easily attend both events) we’ll talk about VMware NSX microsegmentation and real-life implementations.

I hope to see you in Zurich in a bit more than a month!

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Response: Are Open-Source Controllers Ready for Carrier-Grade Services?

My beloved source of meaningless marketing messages led me to a blog post with a catchy headline: are open-source SDN controllers ready for carrier-grade services?

It turned out the whole thing was a simple marketing gig for Ixia testers, but supposedly “the response of the attendees of an SDN event was overwhelming”, which worries me… or makes me happy, because it’s easy to see plenty of fix-and-redesign work in the future.

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