Simplifying Data Center Interconnect with 128 Technology

Data center failover is an expensive, complex, and sometimes fragile component of a network design. Solving this one problem usually involves almost every other team in the IT department, and it’s inexorably linked with the very day-to-day operation of an organization.

How will a business recover from a data center outage?

How can mission critical applications move seamlessly between data centers?

How will our end-users reach an application in the event of a failover?

These are just a few high level questions that, along with very technical and legal requirements, will guide the actual design of a data center failover plan. The answers will determine bandwidth, routing protocols, storage, virtual environments, security, hardware platforms, and every minutia of design right down to how DNS will be propagated and what OSPF metrics are set to.

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Troubleshooting DTLS Handshake Error Joining Cisco 2702i Access Point to 9800 Wireless Controller

Recently I tried to join a Cisco 2702i access point to a 9800-CL wireless controller but found an issue that needed to be fixed prior to it joining successfully. I also recently joined a Catalyst 9115 access point right out of the box and experienced no issue at all, so my theory is that the 2702i had config still on it from when it was previously joined to a 5508 WLC. In this post I’ll go through the few steps I took to fix the issue and successfully join the 2702i to the 9800-CL.

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Networking and Tech Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

I believe continual professional development is absolutely necessary for workers in the IT industry, and for a network engineer like myself, blogs and podcasts have helped with my own professional development as much as formal training courses.

Below is a list of the technology-related podcasts that have been my go-to when driving the many miles I travel per month. Most are networking-related, but some cover information on security, cloud, virtualization, etc.

There are more out there, but these are the handful I always seem to gravitate to. I’d love to get your recommendations for podcasts I should be listening to, so please let me know in the comments.

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Level Up Your NetOps with Apstra

There’s a lot of hype around intent based networking. Some vendors seem happy to slap the term on anything that moves. But intent based networking, apart from the marketing hype, is a very compelling shift in network operations that I truly believe network engineers, architects, IT managers, and CIOs must pay attention to.

You see, especially in large environments, network operations is difficult to do well because of inconsistent practices, a lack of visibility, inefficient device-by-device configuration, and limited vendor tools. It’s a real problem that needs to be solved.

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Intent Based Networking Hype: Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

I got very interested in intent based networking a few years ago when the term was relatively unknown. However, in the last year or so the term has been adopted by a variety of networking vendors and applied to technologies that I believe have very little to do with intent based networking.

The term has become part of the current marketing narrative leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many engineers and technical individuals. However, I believe it’s very important to consider that intent based networking is not simply the use of a new buzzword by networking vendors. IBN stands on its own as a new networking paradigm, despite it being hijacked by marketing teams.

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Deploying and Configuring the Cisco 9800 Virtual Wireless Controller for the First Time

Deploying the new Cisco 9800-CL wireless controller is fast and easy, and by using the built-in workflows, a new wireless network can be deployed in only a few minutes. In this post, I’ll review how to deploy the virtual wireless LAN controller in VMware ESXi and stand up a very simple WLAN. We’ll also take a look at some potential gotchas and some noteworthy differences between how the new WLC is configured compared to the AireOS WLC.

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Not My Problem – Or Should It Be?

A phrase that really bothers me is “not my problem.” Usually I hear it in conversation with someone who learns of a problem but immediately seeks to absolve himself of any responsibility for the cause or responsibility to help.

I believe a networking professional, whether in pre-sales or working in the field, should have a deep understanding of networking concepts and strong technical experience. But also important are the soft skills necessary to build trust with customers, encourage strong relationships with account managers, and develop camaraderie and collaboration among teams. The words “not my problem” undermine those relationships and therefore shouldn’t be on the lips of a networking professional, let alone any sort of professional.

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Hopeful with a Dash of Skepticism: Cisco 9800 Wireless Controllers

Only a few years ago, Cisco tried their hand at a converged access wireless platform with, among other devices, the Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller. To this day, I have nightmares about that box. It wasn’t fully functional, and it had huge code issues. Today, in spite of AireOS being a stable, highly functional, and well-known WLC platform, Cisco is trying it again with a range of WLCs in the 9300 and 9800 series.

However, will this brave attempt prove to have the same fate as the 5760?

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Bridging the Gap Between the Classroom and Real-World IT

This week I taught my last class as a part-time adjunct instructor at a community college. I’ve been there for six years – 12 consecutive semesters. Each term, alongside the actual curriculum, I incorporated my work experiences and lessons learned about the reality of working in IT. Making the class meaningful from a real-world perspective was very important to me.

For my very last class, I chose not to cover anything in the textbook or any of the bullets on the syllabus. Instead, I introduced my students to systems and network automation. What may seem old news to you and me was brand-new to my class, and I don’t believe this is the exception.

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Problems Installing Cisco Firepower Management Console in ESXi 6.5

As part of a larger Cisco Firepower project, I had to install the Firepower Management Console for a customer recently. I was using FMC version 6.2.3, and the customer was running ESXi 6.5. I’ve had issues deploying OVFs in ESXi 6.5 before, but this one required some new adjustments I’ve never had to make in order to get FMC to install.

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Comparing Ourselves to Others in the Networking Community

I know a few engineers who get down on themselves for not being part of certain online networking conversations or not being part of particular slack groups. I like to be reasonably transparent with my friends, so it’s been humbling to have folks be transparent in kind and share that struggle with me.

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400 Bad Request Error on the Cisco ISE 2.3 Guest Portal

I had to deal with an issue with a wireless network guest portal for a customer recently that had me and TAC stumped for a month. The splash page seemed to load fully, but there was always a small spinning circle in the center suggesting something on the page didn’t quite finish loading. It resulted in end-users seeing an intermittent but frequent error when they connected to the guest wireless getting the redirect URL to the guest portal page on Cisco Identity Services Engine 2.3. The error was

400

[ 400 ] Bad Request,The request is invalid due to malformed syntax or invalid data

and here’s what I did to troubleshoot and eventually fix it.

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Build a Lab!

Working for a VAR means that I’m quickly moving from customer to customer, from project to project, and from technology to technology. Often there’s an expectation that I’m able to configure anything and everything on the fly, and with little to no knowledge of a customer’s network. However, moving at this pace and having to touch so many technologies means that I’m sometimes working with tech I’m only vaguely familiar with and without enough hours to dig into training.

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