Cisco Live - Thursday

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Thursday was a good wrap up day for the conference.  I have to admit I started to space a bit in the last session, but partly because I was disappointed.  More to follow.

ISR G2: This session went over all the good changes in the ISR G2 seriess platform.  Some of the more noteworthy items include the new service modules that can be imaged to support NAC, WAAS, WLC, etc and the drastic improvement in processing performance.  Encryption offload is now integrated in hardware rather than having to insert an AIM.  Video CODECs are now present in PVDM-3 modules, but I haven't seem any direct application using them, but I am expecting MCU type functionality in IOS at some point.

Ben Mezrich was the keynote speaker.  This gentleman is the author that hasnow written two separate non-fiction novels.  The first was about the MIT poker team.  The second has to do with the founding of Facebook.  Definately an entertaining and insightful speech/interview.

Next-Generation Network Access Policy with Cisco Secure Access Control System (ACS): Since I am always advocating the use of a centralized security authority and to date have hardly toughed this fully re-written product, I thought it was time to get some actual training.  Alot of the things covered were things I found by random clicking.  Others have helped me understand the massive changes a bit better.  If you have the chance to go through the slides, I recommend it.

Cisco Data Center Certification: I was excited about this session because I was under the impression technologies such as MDS, Nexus, ACE, GSS, UCS, etc were to be covered in a data center certification following on the CCNA/CCNP/CCIE tracts like Voice, Security, and Wireless have done.  Unfortunately no such luck, yet...  Things might be changing.


Cisco Live - Wednesday

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Wednesday was a very busy day.  I am sure that a great many people are dragging this morning, as is typically the case with all Customer Appriciation Events I have been to.

Solving Security Challenges with Cisco IOS Embedded Events Manager: this session is cool for many reasons.  The presenter made videos demonstrating the creation and testing of several scripts for different purposes.  I have only ever used IOS EEM for one thing and it certainly wasn't my first choice, but it worked so well, I am very interested in expanding its use in my customer networks.  Some specific examples included bouncing an interface that was "stuck" after a special kind of attack or creating an email alert after interface utilization exceeds a pre-defined threshold.

FCoE - Design, Operations, and Managerment Best Practices: Since I am actively involved with designing a large datacenter, I thought this would be a good session to attend.  I attended many SAN classes last year, but just didn't really "get it".  The FC review at the beginning of this session really helped alot.  We covered alot of the architectural options available today, as well a those that will be available when FCoE multi-how is supported.

Advanced IEEE 802.1x Design and Troubleshooting: While I have deployed 802.1x several times, I thought it would be beneficial to see what is new out there.  They have several updated ideas.  802.1x Monitor Mode is a great way to evaluate how prepared an organization is for wired 802.1x.

Of course the customer appriciation event is a very popular destination.  We had several cover bands playing songs from a wide range of artists with Tina Turner, Garth Brooks and of course Elvis impersonators.  Smash Mouth was definately the star of the show.  Everything was high energy.  I got to spend some time with very intersting people talking, learning, and partying.  iPhone picture from the show with this years hat (orange Elvis hair with integrated glasses) will be posted as soon as I get around to syncing the phone.

Cisco Live - Tuesday

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Tuesday was the first "official" day of Cisco Live!.

Overlay Virtual Transport: This session covered the new L2 transport technologies for datacenters.  This technology is going to become very popular due to the L2 access requirements for VMotion across physical data center locations.

Keynote: John Chambers: John is a remarkable speaker and a visionary.  In some ways this keynote was quite similar to previous ones, however it helps highly the continuity of Cisco's long term vision.  John emphasized the speed at which Cisco is attempting to innovate and build/expand technologies.  Cisco also unvieled the new Cius - Cisco's tablet based answer to the iPad with mobile telepresence and two high definition (720p) cameras, 3G/4G wireless and a docking station that doubles as a Cisco IP phone. <- I want one :)

Introduction to Cisco Layer 2 Multipathing (L2MP): How many people out there love to hate Spanning-tree?  If you don't, you probably should.  What if you could change your blocked spanning tree ports into multiple active load balanced paths and never have to see spanning-tree again?  Well you can... Soon.  Trill (future standard), L2MP or FabricPath (new name) will become the way we handle redundant L2 paths in the future, at least on Nexus, once the new hardware that can support the appropriate tags has been released.

Cisco Trusted Security & Security Group Tagging: This session covered TrustSec and some of the features around making this happen.  Unfortunately I had to leave before the class was finished, so I hope to post more later after I finish reviewing the recorded content.

CCIE/CCDE NetVet Reception: John Chambers met with the CCIE/CCDE NetVets (those attended 3 or more of the previous 5 networkers events) and answered questions and accepted comments from the gathered audience.  Answers were very candid (some subject to NDA, but I forget which so I must be vague).  Questions included supply chain issues, Certification - related questions (Value of CCDE/CCA, Possible master level implementation certification), Network Management, UCX, HP/IBM partner status, etc. 

CCIE Party: Event at the VooDoo lounge on the 51st floor of the Rio Hotel.  The local signature drink, the Witch Doctor, was flowing quite readily.  Kicking party with a live band, and plenty of geeks, well lubricated, networking.  Always a good event.

Hangover - fortunately missing, but we will see how that goes after the Customer Appriciation event Wednesday night.  I am not sure that IOS EEM was the best class for the morning after events like these, but such is life!

Cisco Live - Monday

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Yestarday was a busy day for me at Cisco Live.  Here is a brief summary:

CCDE Written exam: I decided to take advantage of the free certification exam to recertify my CCDE.  Unfortunately I had no time to study, but I managed to remember enough MPLS-TE to pass anyway.

Cisco Catalyst 3750 Switch Architecture: This session went over the details of the capabilities of the hardware at a very low level.  It covered all the 3750 models.  There was a discussion on how licensing will work in the new 3750-X (Yea! IPv6 has been moved down to IP Services!).  Details on the Stackwise and Stackwise Plus functionality only served to underscore how cool the new 3750-X is! 

Secure Borderless Network Design: Borderless Networks is really an umbrella architecture that combines other technologies and techniques to enable highly secure and mobile solutions.  This session covered the internet module portion of this, specifically the ASA, IPS, and WSA.  VPN technologies were also touched upon.

Cisco ASR1000 Series Routers: System & Solution Architecture: Imagine an ISR router (2800 for example) that can do NAT, IOS Firewall and IPS, and VPN at the same time at 20 Gbps!  Wow.  This session discussed the hardware capabilities and options and how they interoperate to support this highly available chassis.  I am going to be looking for oppertunities where this product might fit in the future.

I also spent a few minutes hanging out in the Certification Lounge.  I found that the CCDE could be recertified with any expert level certification, even though the website says otherwise.  I also met one of the first two CCAr's last night.  He was part of the internal team for CCDE, but not for CCAr.  At least one other individual is in the CCAr path right now.  Unfortunately I secured financing too late to be in the CCAr on this round, but another opening will be coming soon.


Cisco Live! 2010 - Las Vegas

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Hello from Cisco Live!  Attached is my schedule for the week.  I hope to see you there!


Start: 4:00 PM
End: 5:30 PM
Mandalay Bay G
Cisco Collaboration Welcome Session
Start: 7:30 AM
End: 9:30 AM
CCDE Writen Exam - Recertification CCDE Writen Exam - Recertification
Start: 9:30 AM
End: 11:30 AM
Islander A
Cisco Catalyst 3750 Switch Architecture
Start: 12:30 PM
End: 2:30 PM
Islander C
Secure Borderless Network Design
Start: 3:00 PM
End: 5:00 PM
South Pacific E
Cisco ASR1000 Series Routers: System & Solution Architectures
Start: 8:00 AM
End: 9:30 AM
South Seas F
Overlay Transport Virtualization
Start: 10:00 AM
End: 11:30 AM
Event Center
Keynote and Welcome Address
Start: 12:30 PM
End: 2:30 PM
Islander C
Introduction Cisco Layer 2 Multipathing (L2MP)
Start: 2:45 PM
End: 3:45 PM
Event Center
CA Technology Presents: The Impact of Mass Virtualization on Network Management
Start: 4:00 PM
End: 6:00 PM
South Pacific B
Cisco Trusted Security (CTS) & Security Group Tagging
Start: 8:00 AM
End: 10:00 AM
Banyan B
Solving Security Challenges with Cisco IOS Embedded Event Manager
Start: 10:00 AM
End: 10:30 AM
Bayside Foyer
Cisco Live Network Operations Center Tour
Start: 10:30 AM
End: 11:30 AM
Event Center
Cisco Technology Keynote
Start: 12:30 PM
End: 2:30 PM
South Pacific C
FCoE - Design, operations and management best practices
Start: 2:45 PM
End: 3:45 PM
Mandalay Bay G
The Borderless Enterprise: Driving Innovation from the Core
Start: 4:00 PM
End: 6:00 PM
Islander C
Advanced IEEE 802.1x Design and Troubleshooting
Start: 8:00 AM
End: 10:00 AM
South Pacific H
Cisco Integrated Services Router G2 - Architectural Overview and Use Cases
Start: 10:30 AM
End: 11:30 AM
Event Center
Closing Keynote: Author Ben Mezrich
Start: 12:00 PM
End: 2:00 PM
Islander C
Next-Generation Network Access Policy with Cisco Access Control System (ACS)
Start: 2:30 PM
End: 4:30 PM
South Pacific J
Cisco Data Center Certification - Breakout Session

Nexus 1000V

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Over the last two days I have gotten the oppertunity to install the Nexus 1000V Virtual Distributed Switch.  This is a very interesting platform.  Unfortunately there are tons of new terminology, but the concepts are still very much the same. 

The VSM is the Virtual Supervisor Module.  This is a virtual machine (guest) that runs in ESX like any appliance or other guest operating system.  It is in reality, NX-OS functioning like any supervisor module in a 4500 or 6500 switch, or similarly to the Nexus 5010 for those already familliar with Nexus hardware.  A given Nexus 1000V can have up to two VSMs running, preferably on different physical hosts.  The VSMs sync just like supervisor modules would.

The VEM is a Virtual Ethernet Module.  This is a software component that is integrated with the ESX operating system (by patch management/RPM install techniques) and connects to the VSM for its configuration.  This is analgous to a WS-X6148 line card or a Nexus 2148 Fabric Extender. 

Once these components are up and running the system is a virtual blade chassis who's centralized configuration extends across all ESX servers in a datacenter.  Way cool stuff.  The Port-Profile configurations are exceedingly powerful and would be super kick-butt if they were integrated into the other switch platforms.   

Some of the more confusing points are VPC/EtherChannel configuration, and some of the design practices.

More to come...

Hello form Cisco Live! 2009

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Well, I made it finally to my first Techtorial this year, Enterprises Quality of Service.  Long flights, and a distinct lack of sleep did not stop a great many people from attending the pre-conference techtorials this year.  Things this year seem relatively normal comapred to the last two, however part of the sccavenger hunt this year seems to be the certification ribbons and the Cisco Powered lounge (hideout and coffee!)

The thing I miss the most is the USB flash drives Cisco gave out last year.  These had a wealth of information and participants didn't have to go and find it and waste precious bandwidth downloading it.  Only 13 minutes left to get the last 40% of this 100 MB file!

Unfortunately, we will not be having a User's Group meeting in July.  I do apologize for the inconvinence, but I will be out of town working with a Customer.  I am putting together some options for August's meeting any any input you have would be great.  I haven't quite cocmpleted my whitepaper on QoS, but when it is done, I will post a link to it here.

Next Wednesday the Austin NEUG is getting together again.  Below is the text of the invite.  I hope to see everyone there!


Wednesday, May 13th, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

1130 Rutherford Lane

Suite 208

Austin, TX 78753

Multi-Protocol Label Switching


This month we the user group will discuss Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology and configuration.  Ryan Hicks will be presenting MPLS fundamentals from both the carrier and customer perspective.  A MPLS core will be created to demonstrate the technology.  Virtual router labs will be provided, so please bring your laptop!  The following are some of the specific features/tasks that will be discussed:


          Overview of carrier switching technologies (MPLS, ATM, Frame-Relay, etc)

          Understanding of VRFs

          MPLS PE and P router configuration (Provider)

          MPLS CE router configuration (Customer)


There is no charge to attend and refreshments will be served. Meetings are open to anyone interested in discussing the network engineering industry in a vendor-neutral, education-focused environment.

We are a local community of network engineer professionals who come together to network and learn about engineer-related topics in a vendor-neutral, education-focused environment.


Meetings will be held the second Wednesday of every month.


If you know someone who would be interested in attending this event, please feel free to pass on this information.


Austin Network Engineer Users' Group - March 2009

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I would like to thank everyone for coming to last night's user group meeting.  For anyone that has missed it, We had Jeff Kline and Brandon Beck from Cisco presenting on SAN technologies.  We discussed the advantages of Data Center Ethernet, Cisco's Virtual Switching System and Multichannel Ethernet, and various storgate technologies such as SCSI, iSCSI, Fiber Channel, FCIP, and FCoE.  I will post a link to the presentations here as soon as I have them.

We started a discussion for future topics.  It looks like we will be working through configuration and labs on Cisco's Call Manager Express product during the next two sessions.  Please make sure to bring your laptops for these, as we are going to have virtual routers set up in individual pods.  We will also have a limited number of physical FXO/FXS ports and phones available for testing.

After these two sessions we have options available for the next one.  There has been discussions on having a troubleshooting session which I am thinking might be a Layer-2 troubleshooting primer, involving spanning-tree and other switch technologies.  Other possibles are having Solar Winds demo/train on some of thier management tools or having Cisco back out to talk about WAAS or ACE.  Please send me your feedback on what you want for the next session.