Network technologies and trends


July 30, 2011  6:31 AM

Key differences between a Nexus 7010 and 7018 Switches – Series 1

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

We all know the introduction of Nexus 7000 Series brought the revolution to Data Centers; Nexus 7000 Series Switches are quite different from the traditional Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches.  Nexus 7000 Switches comes in two models the Nexus 7010 a 10-slot switch and Nexus 7018 an 18-slot switch. The key difference between the Nexus 7000 Series Switches and Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches is the Nexus 7000 Series Switches does not run on Cisco IOS software rather they on run NX-OS, a Linux based operating system derived from SAN-OS. As we proceed I will discuss some of the key features of NX-OS.

Some of my friends asked me what are the differences between a Nexus 7010 and 7018 Switches, thought of covering their questions over this post.

The first difference is the size and weight.   The Nexus 7010 is 36.5″ (92.7 cm) tall and can weigh up to 235 kg (516 lb) whereas the Nexus 7018 is 43.5″ tall (110.5 cm) and can weigh up to 316 kg (696 lb) fully loaded.  The Nexus 7010 Switch is a 21 RU switch whereas the Nexus 7018 is 25 RU Switch. Never ever think of installing two Nexus 7010 Switch in a single rack as two fully loaded Nexus 7010 can constitutes up to half a ton of weight which any Data Center raise floor or rack cannot withstand. So you need to be quite careful and aware when the designing the space layout for Nexus 7000 Series Switches. I would recommend Panduit Net-Access 7018 Cabinets which are specially designed for Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches.

July 20, 2011  5:37 AM

Supervisor Engine 2T is born!

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

12 July 2011 is a yet another landmark in the Switching, Cisco Systems introduced the a new Supervisor Engine for their most widely deployed Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch, yeah a new Supervisor Engine 2T is born.

The new innovation provides the customers of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch with enormous capabilities. This decade witnessed the growth of video traffic, cloud computing is popularizing, to meet all these business demands in upcoming years Cisco Systems are ready with the Supervisor Engine 2T.

We all know the legacy and popularity of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches, a de facto industry standard switching platform at the heart of the world’s campus, data center, WAN, and Metro Ethernet networks.

The Catalyst 6500 led the industry’s port transition first from Fast Ethernet speeds to Gigabit Ethernet and then to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

With introduction of Nexus Series of Switches I was bit afraid what Cisco is going to with the introduction of a new Supervisor Engine for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch? The introduction of Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T on July 12th 2011 eased my curiosity.

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T has lot to offer, a state of art 2-terabit card that unlocks 80 gigabits per second per slot, new feature-rich 10-gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet line cards, and next-generation borderless services that provide customers with new mobility, security, network analysis and load balancing capabilities.

The Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T  is compatible with all Cisco E-Series chassis models, offering minimal intervention to the existing Catalyst 6500 E-Series infrastructure. The new Catalyst 6500 Series is available now and the SUP2T has a list price of $38,000.

Some of the features of the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Supervisor Engine 2T   are as follows

  • Maintain investment protection through backward compatibility
  • Deliver scalability and performance improvements such as distributed forwarding (dCEF) 720Mpps with the fourth-generation Policy Feature Card (PFC4)
  • Support future 40Gbps interface and nonblocking 10Gbps modules
  • Enable new applications and services with hardware accelerated VPLS, Layer 2 over mGRE for Network Virtualization
  • Take advantage of integrated Connectivity Management Processor (CMP) for improved out-of-band management.

The Supervisor Engine 2T maintains backward compatibility with released line cards, chassis, and power supplies.


July 6, 2011  10:07 AM

The layer 3 link between Nexus 7010 and Cisco 6506 E Switches is frequently going down part 2

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

In my previous post I was talking about the problem we were facing with connectivity between Cisco 6500 Series switch and Cisco Nexus 7010 Switch. While troubleshooting we figured out there were no issues either with configuration of physical media (Fiber optic cable), the problem turned out to with 10GBASE X2 modules. Though the distance between these two locations is hardly 250 meters and there was a multimode fiber optic cable (supports 10G) running between these two locations. Initially a Cisco X2-10 GB-LX4 module was installed at Cisco 6500 Series Switch and at the Nexus 7010 we had a SFP SR Module.

Table 1. X2 Port Cabling Specifications

Cisco X2 Wavelength (nm) Cable Type Core Size (microns) Modal Bandwidth (MHz*km) Cable Distance*
Cisco X2-10GB-CX4 - CX4 (copper) - - 15m
Cisco X2-10GB-SR 850 MMF 62.5

62.5

50.0

50.0

50.0

160

200

400

500

2000

26m

33m

66m

82m

300m

Cisco X2-10GB-LRM 1310 MMF 62.5

50.0

50.0

500

400

500

220m

100m

220m

SMF G.652 - 300m
Cisco X2-10GB-LX4 1310 MMF 62.5

50.0

50.0

500

400

500

300m

240m

300m

Cisco X2-10GB-LR 1310 SMF G.652 - 10 km
Cisco X2-10GB-ER** 1550 SMF G.652 - 40 km***

Intially everything looked good but after three months the problems aroused and the link start disconnecting, with the following errors

2011 Jun 12 09:05:03 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_UP: Interface Ethernet1/17 is up in Layer3

2011 Jun 12 09:05:04 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DOWN_LINK_FAILURE: Interface Ethernet1/17 is down (Link failure)

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-SPEED: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational speed changed to 10 Gbps

We figured out the multimode fiber optic cable used is of 62.5/125 microns. As per the Cisco X2 port cabling specifications we were supposed to use either Cisco X2-10GB-SR or Cisco X2-10GB-LX4 module at Cisco 6500 Series Switch and a SFP SR Module at Nexus 7010 Switch.

Seems like the problem occurred with the wavelength of fiber, once we replaced the Cisco X2-10GB-LX4 module with the Cisco X2-10GB-SR Module the problem was solved.


June 13, 2011  5:12 AM

The layer 3 link between Nexus 7010 and Cisco 6506 E Switches is frequently going down.

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

We have Cisco Nexus 7010 working as a Core and Aggregation Switch. We have created two VDC one for Core and other one for Aggregation. One of Cisco 6506 E Switches connected as a distribution switch from Nexus 7010 Core Switch. Things were normal since its installation, suddenly one night we figured the layer 3 links between Nexus 7010 and Cisco Catalyst 6506 E Switch went down.

Upon looking at the log in Nexus 7010 Core Switch we found the following entries.

2011 Jun 12 09:05:03 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_UP: Interface Ethernet1/17 is up in Layer3

2011 Jun 12 09:05:04 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DOWN_LINK_FAILURE: Interface Ethernet1/17 is down (Link failure)

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-SPEED: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational speed changed to 10 Gbps

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DUPLEX: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational duplex mode changed to Full

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_RX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Receive Flow Contol state changed to off

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_TX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Transmit Flow Contol state changed to off

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_UP: Interface Ethernet1/17 is up in Layer3

2011 Jun 12 09:05:49 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DOWN_LINK_FAILURE: Interface Ethernet1/17 is down (Link failure)

2011 Jun 12 09:07:37 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-SPEED: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational speed changed to 10 Gbps

2011 Jun 12 09:07:37 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DUPLEX: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational duplex mode changed to Full

2011 Jun 12 09:07:37 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_RX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Receive Flow Contol state changed to off

2011 Jun 12 09:07:37 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_TX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Transmit Flow Contol state changed to off

2011 Jun 12 09:07:37 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_UP: Interface Ethernet1/17 is up in Layer3

2011 Jun 12 09:07:38 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DOWN_LINK_FAILURE: Interface Ethernet1/17 is down (Link failure)

2011 Jun 12 09:16:40 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_HARDWARE: Interface Ethernet1/17, hardware type changed to No-Transceiver

2011 Jun 12 09:16:54 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_HARDWARE: Interface Ethernet1/17, hardware type changed to 10G

2011 Jun 12 09:17:00 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-SPEED: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational speed changed to 10 Gbps

2011 Jun 12 09:17:00 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_DUPLEX: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational duplex mode changed to Full

2011 Jun 12 09:17:00 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_RX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Receive Flow Contol state changed to off

2011 Jun 12 09:17:00 VDC-Admin-CO01-MB-1256-001 %ETHPORT-5-IF_TX_FLOW_CONTROL: Interface Ethernet1/17, operational Transmit Flow Contol state changed to off.

We tried to reset the Ethernet Interface in the Nexus 7010 Switch by using Cisco IOS command “shutdown” and “no shutdown”  but it’s of no use. The only way to solve this problem is to manually remove and reconnect the fiber patch cord connected to the Ethernet port in the Nexus 7010 Switch. Currently we are looking for the solution, the moment we find I will update you. Meanwhile if any solutions available make use of comments to help me.


May 31, 2011  5:46 AM

Cisco Press announces the release of CCDA 640-864 Official Cert Guide,4th Edition

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

For those who are working on CCDA (640-864 ) there is good news, Cisco Press announced the release of CCDA 640-864 Official Cert Guide, 4th Edition. Currently this title is available in eBook edition the printed edition is expected by first of June. Currently the printed edition can be preordered from Amazon.  Cisco Press is offering the eBook edition.

Once the printed edition is released I will try to review it. The CCDA 640-864 Official Cert Guide, 4th Edition is helpful to CCDA, CCDP aspirer which is a comprehensive self-study resource for the new DESGN exam, required for CCDA certification. This title coverage includes: ” Network design methodology and models ” Designing enterprise campuses, enterprise data centers, and wireless LANs ” IPv4, IPv6, Interior Routing Protocols, BGP, and route manipulation ” Network security technology and design This edition’s 40% new coverage includes all-new chapters on designing the enterprise data center, and on final exam preparation. New topics include: Webex, auditing tools, borderless networks, Enterprise Campus 3.0, CAPWAP, 802.11n, scalability, Cisco 500 Series Mobility Express, VPN using public networks, enterprise route redistribution, risk calculation, Ironport, and more.

I believe a good Cisco Press title to own.


May 31, 2011  5:29 AM

Thanks to Cisco Press User Group

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Cisco Press continues to carry the motto of “Customer Satisfaction & support” of Cisco Systems, yeah you might be thinking being a publishing company how are they taking care of thousands of Certification aspirer.

Cisco Press are helping hands by having a program called The Cisco Press Cisco User Group Program. Anyone who wants to set up a user group can create their Cisco Press User Group. In order to qualify your group should have

  • Active membership of 10 or more people
  • Valid and active website for shared information
  • Regular online or face-to-face meetings

Cisco Press supports typically volunteers, not-for-profit organizations, or special interest groups focused on Cisco networking technologies or Cisco certifications by providing product news, discounted prices on products, and free review copies in exchange for reviews, marketing materials, and promotional giveaways.

The biggest use of creating the Cisco Press User Group is exchange of knowledge and ideas. Frequently we used to have small presentations for our members in our auditorium. Currently our group members are working on perusing Cisco certifications. Two of our group members Alamgir Khan passed CCNA and CCNP; Syed Zubair passed CCNA Security and CCNP Switch Exam, and using the Cisco Press materials provided by Cisco Press for group review and support.

I will encourage you all Cisco lovers to establish a user group they are many benefits apart from gaining technical skills for sure you will develop leadership skills. Check Cisco Press User Group home page for more details.


May 30, 2011  5:06 AM

Cisco Application Networking Services Enable Network Intelligence – live interactive workshop

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Recently we got the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) in our Data Centre. The Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) is a comprehensive application delivery solution that helps ensure application availability, accelerate application performance, and protect applications while simultaneously reducing data center costs.

The Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) is a load balancer and an application delivery solution that includes server load balancing, content switching, server offloading, and application optimization.

As I am looking for some resources on the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) I figured out Cisco Systems is conducting a live interactive workshop “Cisco Application Networking Services Enable Network Intelligence” on May 31, 2011 at 11:30 am CET. So register now.

Agenda http://cisco-apps.cisco.com/web/fw/apps/i/s.gif May 31, 2011 – 11:30 am CET

Topics include:

  • Applications Challenges in the Data Center
  • Application Control Engine products family
  • ACE in the Virtual Data Center AVDC
  • Demo (ACE in the Virtual Data Center)
  • Q& A

Register now

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage live with Cisco Data Center experts and have your questions answered during the event.


May 28, 2011  8:52 AM

Mango is the code-name for the Windows Phone 7 update

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Starting September 2011 all Windows Phone 7 customers can avail more than 500 new features which were revealed by Microsoft at the launch event held at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. All new Windows Phone 7 will also have the Mango update.

Gustavo Fuchs, director Mobility, Microsoft Middle East and Africa says the Windows Phone operating system has so far received great feedback from customers in the seven months since it has been released.

“Ninety percent of people are extremely pleased with the product, 93% of people recommend the product to colleagues and family and the return rates on the smartphones are very, very low, which we know is not a common practice in the market,” he said.

One of the promising feature I liked in this update is users can group together contacts from multiple sources, such as Facebook and Gmail and a user can text all these contacts at the same time.

The phones allow users to switch between text, Windows Live Messenger and Facebook chat in the same conversation. Photo tagging and face-recognition is also enabled on the Mango update, allowing users to communicate on the go.

The new update allows users to multi-task and the enterprise clients can enjoy corporate messenger. Currently Windows Phone application market has over 17,000. Let’s see how Microsoft fights the smartphone race. Currently Android is heading for a major breakthrough as day by day its market share is increasing.


May 28, 2011  6:01 AM

Cisco has become the #3 player worldwide in x86 blade server factory revenue

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Almost two years back Cisco Systems delivered a new system that unite compute, network, storage access and virtualization into one cohesive system. Yeah Cisco Systems created history by entering into the blade server market.

I thought Blade servers that Cisco Systems, they must be joking; honestly I thought it was a crazy move from Cisco Systems. But they outperformed many of their competitors. In just two years, sales of the Unified Computing System are outpacing market growth for x86 blades, and Cisco has become the #3 player worldwide in x86 blade server factory revenue

Blades are forecast to be the fastest growing segment of the x86 server market and market data illustrates the impact of UCS innovation: businesses worldwide shifted over 10% of the x86 blade market to UCS, and in the U.S. nearly 20%. Cisco’s rapid growth underscores their leadership in the industry transition to fabric computing and converged infrastructure. Cisco reported 5,400 UCS customers and an annualized order run rate of $900M for UCS product orders.

According to IDC press release HP maintained the number 1 spot in the server blade market in 1Q11 with 50.0% revenue share, while IBM finished with 20.2% revenue share. Cisco and Dell rounded out the top 4 with 9.4% and 8.4% factory revenue share, respectively.


May 28, 2011  5:12 AM

Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches supports next-generation medianet, Cisco EnergyWise, TrustSec, and Borderless Mobility.

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

The newly released Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(33) SXI4 brings groundbreaking Borderless Networks innovations to Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches. With more than 50 improvements the Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(33)SXI4 helps deliver next-generation medianet, Cisco EnergyWise, TrustSec, and Borderless Mobility.

Some of the important features of Cisco IOS Software Release 12.2(33)SXI4 are

  • VSS Quad-Sup Uplink Forwarding help enable VSS customers to put four supervisors in the dual-chassis system to increase their uplink bandwidth.
  • Cisco EnergyWise allows IT and building facilities operations to optimize and control power across a corporate infrastructure.
  • Advanced Virtual Private LAN Services (A-VPLS) simplifies Data Center Interconnect deployments with rapid service provisioning.
  • Multicast Service Reflection (MSR) resolves overlapping IP addresses with multicast transmission of video or other feeds.
  • Service Advertisement Framework (SAF) helps you deploy and manage services across the network with greater scalability and flexibility.


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