The musings of an IT Consultant


July 31, 2009  8:32 PM

Aggregating links on Cisco switches

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again folks! So you’ve just recently got your purchase approved for a brand new set of switches and you want to find a way to increase your throughput. What do you do? You aggregate links of course!

Aggregating links is a common thing done on high end switches such as Cisco or HP switches to name a few. The idea behind it is to take two or more ports and bind them together to create a single virtual port that connects to another switch. Then you can take your traffic and shuttle it over this link.

In Cisco land this is called Etherchannel. When you create an Etherchannel, it is treated like an interface. People will commonly create Etherchannels and then trunk their vlans across this link. This allows for quite a bit of bandwidth, especially on gigabit switches. This doesn’t double your bandwidth but it does increase it by a fair bit.

You can read more about etherchannel here.

-RP

July 31, 2009  4:31 PM

The Bryant Advantage

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So now that I’ve been at the bootcamp and it’s time to buckle down and get ready for the exams, I was looking for some extra training material. I wanted to find some good study guides and labs that would help me prepare. I was also looking for some rack time (renting Cisco hardware and logging on to it remotely to do labs on) since I don’t own enough equipment myself.

Well I was doing some digging and I came across this thing called The Bryant Advantage. Chris Bryant is a certified CCIE and he created his own study material which is 100% legit and is great for studying for the exam. He also provides rack time if you need it.

So I figured I’d take the plunge and I bought the Bryant Advantage materials with the rack time. I have to say the material is just great! I’ve been reading his ebook and he really does a great job of explaining everything. Also Chris is extremely helpful for any questions you might have. I can highly recommend buying his material to prepare for the CCNP.

-RP


July 31, 2009  2:57 PM

IPV6 and what it means to you

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So after all this training at Boson for the CCNP, I have come out of there with a lot of Cisco knowledge bouncing around in my head. Over the next little while you will see me blogging about a lot of things Cisco related as that is what I’m currently working with a lot and also preparing for exam-wise.

One of the things that is prominent in my CCNP training is IPV6. As most of you know the problem witih IPV4 is that we are quickly running out of IPV4 addresses. We will probably run out of addresses between the years 2011 to 2012. That is not that far away. Companies need to seriously start thinking about how to address these issues now.

Luckily Cisco is one of the companies that has actually forseen this as an issue and has taken the pro-active step to include IPV6 training in their certifications. I commend them for that and realistically how could they not when their routers are largely responsible for running a good¬†chunk of the Internet’s network.

Already desktop operating systems are giving you the ability to setup IPV6. I encourage you to setup some test labs and try it out. I find that a lot of people are afraid of it because they are not familiar with it. But if you take some time to sit down and learn it, it’s actually not that bad.

-RP


July 31, 2009  2:40 PM

I’m back from the boot camp!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, I’m back from the Boson CCNP Boot Camp! It was 2 weeks of very intense training and great Florida weather! It kinda sucks to be back in our crappy Winnipeg summer up here in Canada.

Anyways, the training was absolutely amazing. It was 2 weeks filled with very informative material regarding exam preparation, true learning, and real world situations. Bryan was very good and showing us All the Boson employees were great and made us Canadians feel very welcome down there.

We had a small class of just 5 people and each of us had our own racks of equipment to play with. The instructor created some awesome labs for us to go through which really reinforced our learning. Bryan was very good at answering all of our questions.

Now to start the long hard road of writing the exams. Wish me luck!

-RP


July 31, 2009  2:11 PM

EDS face more pay cuts

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So this just surfaced across the web in the news. It seems EDS employees are facing more pay cuts again. Seriously?

Last I checked, the government told us that Canada is out of a recession. It seems like the US part of HP is blindly sending down paycuts to their Canadian bretheren. You do realize that we are a different country and are actually not doing so bad in comparison? Maybe you want to look at the numbers before doing this sort of thing.

I seriously disagree with the amount of paycuts that have been hitting EDS, it’s not fair to the employees that have been working their butts off for the company and making them money all these years. There are lots of places where they could cut but just don’t want to so instead the little guy gets the shaft.

Read more about it here.

-RP


July 31, 2009  4:24 AM

Google Apps for BES

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, some more news from the BlackBerry front. So the latest salvo fired in the mobility wars comes from Google and BlackBerry.

You’ve all heard of Google Apps, and you’ve all heard of GMail. Currently you can receive your GMail on your BlackBerry by installing the GMail app. Unfortunately if you have used it, it’s not the greatest app and could stand for some improvement.

Well Google has decided to fix that with the Google Apps Connector for BES(BlackBerry Enterprise Server). This connector will allow all sorts of cool features such as the following as listed on Google’s web site:

  • Messages sent to your Gmail inbox are pushed to your BlackBerry within 60 seconds.
  • Emails read/deleted on your BlackBerry are marked as read/deleted in Gmail, and vice-versa.
  • Synchronize BlackBerry folders with labels in Gmail.
  • Search for email addresses and phone numbers of other users on your company domain.
  • View your Google Calendar schedule on your native BlackBerry application, with one-way synchronization from Google Calendar to your BlackBerry device.
  • Contacts in Gmail are automatically synchronized with your BlackBerry address book.

http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/mobile.html

This is supposed to be available come August 2009.

-RP


July 31, 2009  4:13 AM

Web filtering with the Cisco ASA

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so web filtering is a popular feature in firewalls these days. Administrators want the ability to block certain web sites and firewall companies know that this is a valued feature. More often than not, you have to pay extra for this functionality.

This is all good and well until you are running a small business where every dollar counts. Luckily with the Cisco ASA you can implement web filtering without subscribing to a web blocking service. You can still subscribe to a service if you want to, but you aren’t forced to.

Instead you can use class-maps in the ASA to provide the ability to do this. This should only be done in small environments however. Once you go to a larger environment you should buy the subscription service. Please visit this link for instructions on how to do this.

-RP


July 21, 2009  1:10 PM

CCNP Boot Camp

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so for the last week I’ve been in Florida at a CCNP boot camp studying and training day in and day out. I have one more week to go and I have to say it has been quite intense. The CCNP ain’t anything to take lightly. This certification will chew you up and spit you out!

Luckily the great folks at Boson have a boot camp available and i’ve been lucky enough to get a great instructor, Bryan Baize. Bryan Baize (CCIE 16139) is a CCIE (the PHD of network certifications in my opinion) and a fabulous instructor. His ability to recall the most obscure facts and answer all of your questions and his ability to convey concepts to the students is just great.

As a former IT instructor myself, I can wholeheartedly recommend using the Boson boot camps as part of your training regiment for the CCNP. I will keep you guys up to date on my progress in my quest for this certification. One more week to go!

-RP


June 30, 2009  3:31 PM

Microsoft Direct Push Technology

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so I wanted to talk a little bit about push technology as it relates to mobile devices. This is something that RIM has had for a long time with it’s BlackBerry devices. This was one of the major things that set RIM apart from the competition.

For example, push technology is when you get a new email or a new calendar appointment and the server side pushes down the changes to your mobile device without your device having to continously poll the server for changes.

Microsoft introduced this tech to Microsoft Exchange 2003 with service pack 2, and it also exists in Microsoft Exchange 2007. No longer do you need to worry about polling the server for changes, instead you can get instant updates as they happen thanks to push technology.

Unfortunately your older Microsoft based phones will not support this as you require newer Microsoft Windows Mobile software which is usually only supported on newer devices. The new Palm Pre for example also supports this technology and is poised to be quite the phone based on all the hype I’ve been hearing. It will be very interesting to see what portion of the market share Palm can steal from the iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm!

-RP


June 30, 2009  3:12 PM

Direct Connect SAS storage for HP Blades

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again folks, in the SMB world, especially during these economic times, we can’t always spend all the money we want on storage. Generally customers are limited to looking at some pretty low end storage options.

I have always been a proponent of usings Blades in the SMB along with virtualization to reduce costs for the SMB. But what do you do for storage? Well the most common thing people look at is iSCSI vs FC. Usually people end up going the iSCSI route due to it’s lower cost factor.

Well another thing you can look at is direct attached storage. HP offers something called Direct Connect SAS storage for their HP BladeSystem. This can give you up to 420 TB of zoned or up to 192 TB of shared storage. This can be an attractive alternative for the SMB.

The way it works is by use of controllers installed in the blade severs along with blade switch interconnects and then finally either an MSA2000sa for shared storage or an MDS600 for direct attached storage. You can read more about the solution from HP here.

-RP


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