These days the focus is increasing towards lower latency and high performing server-to-server data traffic (East-West). Cisco claims that they specifically designed their UCS unified fabric for this type of traffic. Cisco want to prove the claim made by their competitors that Cisco UCS unified fabric would increase latency and slow blade-to-blade traffic. Cisco ran the tests, and the results were simply amazing.
According to the recent concluded test Cisco claims that HP and IBM blade architectures rely on placing networking switches (HP Virtual Connect; IBM Flex System Fabric Switches) inside of every 16 or 14 blade chassis. These legacy vendors imply that data can communicate from one blade to another more efficiently because their networking switches reside within the chassis. They fail to mention two critical points:
- All HP and IBM Blade-to-Blade data must still traverse the switch ASICs (HP Virtual Connect; IBM Flex System Fabric) – it does not magically jump across the mid-plane.
- Beyond a single enclosure requires data to exit chassis 1, travel through Top-of-Rack (ToR) switches, then down to chassis 2 through a second set of in-chassis networking switches.
Not only does Cisco UCS outperform HP and IBM, but UCS clearly provides lower latency and faster VM timing by a wide margin. Thousands of East-West samples were collected, testing raw blade-to-blade latency (UDP/TCP/RTT TCP) and virtual machine migration times. Testing was performed on a number of different fabric topologies both within a single chassis (best case for HP and IBM) as well as across multiple chassis. Full details can be obtained under NDA from your Cisco representative.
The highlights of the test are as follows
“Cisco UCS demonstrated lower latency than the HP BladeSystem c7000 with Virtual Connect for every test group and every packet size (User Datagram Protocol [UDP], TCP, and round-trip time [RTT] TCP).”
“Cisco UCS delivered better performance than IBM (faster virtual machine migration times) for every group size tested.” “As the virtual machine size and network load increases, the Cisco UCS performance advantage also increases.”
You can access the complete report for test carried by Cisco for HP and IBM Blade servers from the below links
According to latest “Dirty Dozen” published by Security specialist Sophos, still US maintains its grip as the top spam-relaying country followed by Belarus. Belarus over took China, as China used to be the number two spam-relaying country. The latest “Dirty Dozen” list covers the second quarter of 2013.
This quarter experienced addition of three new countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Argentina in the top 12 spot, whereas countries like France, Peru and South Korea make a signification progress in reducing their spam-relay over the internet. Before these countries were in top 12 list of “Dirty Dozen” report.
According Sophos, US maintains the No1 spot for obvious reasons like its population and its major share of the world’s internet connectivity.
Be it economic growth or anything related to Internet no one can forget the presence of China and India. Yes both India and China are one of the top 12 spam-relaying countries in the world.
The “Dirty Dozen” list tells us how spam gets relayed from the crooks to their potential victims, said Paul Ducklin, Sophos security evangelist.
“Even if you’re the most law-abiding citizen of the most law-abiding country in the world, you might be helping to project your own country into the Dirty Dozen if you don’t take security seriously on your own computer. It may sound corny, but security really does begin at home.”
Ducklin added that a few simple precautions can help enormously, such as “timely security patching, an up-to-date anti-virus and a healthy scepticism about unwanted attachments and ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offers.
“By taking these steps, you’ll not only protect yourself, but also help to protect everyone else at the same time,” Ducklin said.
The top 12 spam-relaying countries by volume for April to June 2013 are as follows
1 U.S. 13.8%
2 Belarus 11.7%
3 China 5.9%
4 Ukraine (new to the list) 5.5%
5 Taiwan 3.6%
6 India 3.6%
7 Spain 3.4%
8 Kazakhstan (new to the list) 3.3%
9 Argentina (new to the list) 3.1%
10 Italy 2.9%
11 Russia 2.6%
12 Germany 2.5%
When it comes to upgrade an ASA 5500 Series firewall from 8.2 version to 8.3 or so, many things comes into the picture. Recently we upgraded our ASA 5540 Firewall from the IOS version 8.2.1 to 8.4.6. I would like to share the details about the upgrade.
Stating IOS version 8.3 and later there is pre-requisite related to memory of the ASA. Most of new ASA manufactured after Feb 2010 comes with the upgraded memory. However if your ASA was manufactured before February 2010 you may need to upgrade the memory of the ASA as per the below mentioned table.
* Note: The maximum memory supported for the ASA-5520 and ASA-5540 is 2 Gb. If you install 4 Gb of memory in these units, they will go into a boot loop.
The first thing you need is to determine the existing memory your ASA has , which can be done in two ways first by using a command line interface (CLI) do issue a command show version | include RAM
sec/FW01-MB-IE-001# show ver | include RAM
Hardware: ASA5540, 1024 MB RAM, CPU Pentium 4 2000 MHz
In my case the available memory of 1 GB so I should add more 1 Giga Memory to upgrade the ASA from 8.2.1 to 8.4.6
Those who are prefer ADSM, you can always see the amount of RAM in the ASA from the ADSM home (Device Dashboard) page as shown below
In upcoming post I will try to share my experience about the upgrade and the thing we need to take care after upgrading the ASA firewall.
When it comes to CCIE Routing and Switching Written Exam you need to study lots of books especially the titles published from Cisco Press. As we all know CCIE Routing and Switching is not an easy task, it needs lots of preparation. Since I am in the process of perusing CCIE Routing and Switching I thought of starting my journey with CCIE Routing and Switching Certification Guide ( 4th Edition) published by Cisco press.
I would like to thanks Jamie Soup from Cisco Press for providing me the copy of CCIE Routing and Switching Certification guide. I thought of sharing my review on this wonderful title.
Since I am coming from CCNA,CCDA, CCNP , CCDP back ground, it was easier for me to understand the concepts and contents of this title. I feel this content is little bit higher not easy to grasp for those, who have little experience or someone who is trying to pass CCIE without reading the CCNA and CCNP Cisco Press titles. The authors are certainly targeting those Certification aspirers who have solid understanding of Routing and Switching concepts.
This title also differs from other Cisco Press titles, as the foundation summary at the end of each chapter does not repeat the information presented in the “foundation topics” section of each chapter. I feel this approach challenges the CCIE aspires which I really like.
The title is divided into nine parts based on topics and then it further dissected into 20 chapters. The introductory part on LAN Switching and IP Addressing really refreshes your knowledge, each chapter begins with “Do I Know this Already? Quiz which certainly gives clear idea to a reader about his/her understanding on that particular topic. I really enjoyed reading the Multicasting part of this title as it’s written in a very engaging way. More or less majority of the topics are covered with sample scenarios and configurations related to that particular concept. I wish the authors would have elaborated more on troubleshooting part like debug commands and most commonly found issues in the real world scenarios.
The title also comes with a CD which comprises of a powerful test Engine from Boson which allows the reader to focus and practice questions on either individual topic or a complete exam. I strongly recommend all CCIE aspirers to go through these practice exams which are also an alternative source of gaining knowledge.
To conclude I would say this title is certainly not for those who just want to pass CCIE written exam by reading this title. Also this titles proves to be little boring and though for those who are not coming with CCNA and CCNP back ground. Certainly there is always room for improvement I would ask the publishers to look at certain typos, and also it would be better if topics are penned in simpler way. I would rate 4 out of 5 for this title as its one of the most important title to be read for CCIE Routing & Switching Exam.
Cisco Live was recently concluded in Orlando, Florida where Cisco announced the new top-end Nexus 7700 switches with new ASICS which is capable of working up to 100 Gb/ sec speed. The new 7700 line will come in two versions: a 10-slot 7710 and an 18-slot 7718. Cisco says the chassis will be available in July
Cisco says it has more than 40,000 Nexus 7000 chassis in the field. Now it has two more switches to add to the 7000 family with the Nexus 7700 line. The 7700 has a maximum throughput of 83 Tbps, and a single system can have up to 384 40-GigE ports or 192 100-GigE ports. As with other switches in the 7000 line, the 7700s will include dual redundant supervisor modules to enable software upgrades without losing packets.
The Cisco Nexus 7700 10-slot switch is scalable up to 42 terabits per second (Tbps), whereas the Cisco Nexus 7700 18-Clot Switch cab scale up to 83 terabits per seconds. Both switches are designed to offer high availability, exceptional performance, and high density 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) and front-to-back air flow. That makes it ideal for high performance data center access, aggregation, core, and Unified Fabric deployments.
Looks like Cisco is trying to refresh its product line in competition with other Switch manufacturing vendors.
In my previous post we saw how to overcome the Cisco NAC restrictions for the Windows Deployment Services Server, as we progressed and started implementing the solution in our production environment we discovered various challenges.
In our production network we are applying various kinds of Layer 2 security at Cisco Access Layer Switches. One of the applied layer 2 security policy is IP Source guard.
IP Source Guard provides source IP address filtering on a Layer 2 port to prevent a malicious host from impersonating a legitimate host by assuming the legitimate host’s IP address. The feature uses dynamic DHCP snooping and static IP source binding to match IP addresses to hosts on untrusted Layer 2 access ports.
Initially, all IP traffic on the protected port is blocked except for DHCP packets. After a client receives an IP address from the DHCP server, or after static IP source binding is configured by the administrator, all traffic with that IP source address is permitted from that client. Traffic from other hosts is denied. This filtering limits a host’s ability to attack the network by claiming a neighbor host’s IP address. IP Source Guard is a port-based feature that automatically creates an implicit port access control list (PACL).
In all our access switches IP Source Guard is enabled by as shown below
When we enable IP source guard, the Windows Deployment Services Server failed to install Windows 7 over the network. Upon troubleshooting we discovered that there is a bug CSCts44728 per which IP Source Guard stops PXE boot, you can find more info about it here
This bug is available in 12.2(55) SE3 IOS version, however its fixed in 12.2(55) SE5 and in 15.0(2)SE IOS versions.
In order to deploy Windows 7 over the PXE using Windows Deployment Services Server we were forced to disable the IP Source Guard feature by using the Cisco IOS command “no ip verify source”.
The only way enable Ip soruce guard is to upgrade the IOS of the switch from 12.2(55) SE3 to 12.2(55)SE5 or later.
How to integrate Windows Deployment Services Server with a typical Cisco Networking devices – Series 3
Let’s continue to with rest of the steps to allow Windows Deployment Services Server through a Cisco NAC.
Click Add Polices
Add the IP address of Windows Deployment Services Server along with the UDP ports required
The Windows Deployment Server needs the following UDP ports to be opened from unauthenticated role (Untrusted -> Trusted role)
The IP address of Windows Deployment Services Server in our case 10.204.27.49
The UDP ports required for any Windows Deployment Services Server is as follows
Then click update policy
Create one more policy for the TCP ports required for Windows Deployment Services Server
The Windows Deployment Server needs the following TCP ports to be opened from unauthenticated role (Untrusted -> Trusted role)
The IP address of Windows Deployment Services Server in our case 10.204.27.49
The TCP ports required for any Windows Deployment Services Server is as follows
Then click update policy.
By following these steps we could deploy Windows 7 using Windows Deployment Services Server even when the workstation is connected in untrusted role in the Cisco NAC
How to integrate Windows Deployment Services Server with a typical Cisco Networking devices – Series 2
In series 1 we discussed how to integrate Windows Deployment Services Server with a typical Cisco Networking devices. We dealt with the configuration at the distribution layer switches, yes by adding ip-helper address the issue was resolved. When we tried the same setup in our live environment which consists of Cisco NAC we faced the problem. Obliviously without NAC client and posture assessment the NAC CAS server won’t allow the client as a trusted client.
The only way is to allow access for a Client PC from untrusted mode to access Windows Deployment Service server. This can be done by creating policy for user management in Cisco CAM device as show below
Login to CAM Device
Click – User management
Select unauthenticated roles
I will continue the reset of the steps in next post.
Couple of days back I received an email from Microsoft with a subject “TechNet Subscriptions retirement” and following are its contents.
“As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services. In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources. As a result, Microsoft has decided to retire the TechNet Subscriptions service and will discontinue sales on August 31, 2013.”
I was shocked with the decision taken by Microsoft, is it a right decision? The question now arises is how are they going to provide testing environments for small time developers? Usually 90-180 day evaluation won’t give much flexibility. Well time will tell how it’s going to impact the IT professionals. Currently most of the IT professionals are not happy with this move of Microsoft.
Though Microsoft are reassuring the IT professionals with the following message
“Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes.
We are committed to helping customers through this transition phase and will remain focused on providing IT professionals with free access to a broad set of TechNet assets that support the needs of IT professionals around the world.
Improved Free Offerings for IT Professionals Include:
- TechNet Evaluation Center: Free evaluation software with no feature limits, available for 30-180 days. Includes rich evaluation resources and TechNet Virtual Labs, which enable you to evaluate software without the need to install bits locally.
- Microsoft Virtual Academy: Free online learning site, with over 200 expert-led technical training courses across more than 15 Microsoft technologies with more added weekly.
- TechNet Forums: Free online forums where IT professionals can ask technical questions and receive rapid responses from members of the community.
Please note, MSDN Subscriptions provide a paid set of offerings that are also available for those who require access to evaluation software beyond what the above free offerings provide.”
I strongly believe that Microsoft could have reduced the type of services they were offering through TechNet subscriptions rather than stopping it completely.