Network technologies and trends

May 7, 2015  6:00 AM

Two resources one should consider to pass F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

When it comes to any certification exams ,the key thing anyone looks for is the resource. F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam is no different from any other certification exam. F5 team have ensured that, good resources and teams are available to help some one who is perusing his /her F5 certification path.

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The first resource, which I certainly recommend to any one, is F5 101- Study Guide – App Delivery Fundamentals ver 1.0 by Eric Mitchel. The Guide prepared by Eric is free for every one, he shared this public and can be easily downloaded from this link..

The F5 101- Study Guide – App Delivery Fundamentals ver 1.0 is simply a great resource for two reasons.

  • The guide is complied in a simpler language, which is easy to understand.
  • This covers all the topics of the F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam in very logical way.

I believe Eric Mitchel wrote this purely to empower F5 certification aspires, I really like the way how he penned down the concepts in a concise way, the flow keeps you engaged and some one with good reading skills can finish this book in a weeks time.

The F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam is easy to pass provided you read this book page to page and do have good understanding of basic networking concepts like OSI layers, TCP/IP, TCP dumps, basic F5 terminologies and concepts.

The second good source is the F5 University where you can access F5 virtual resources and practice what you learn. The training catalog offers following free courses which one can make use of to pass F5 Certification exams.

  • Getting Started with F5 Products
  • What’s New
  • LTM Essentials
  • Data Solutions
  • FirePass Essentials
  • Technology Overviews

By reading F5 101- Study Guide – App Delivery Fundamentals ver 1.0 and accessing free resources available in F5 University one can certainly pass the F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam.

Not forget F5 have a LinkedIn Group, where people discuss various F5 concepts and help each other to understand concepts very well.

May 5, 2015  7:04 PM

Passed F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
F5, Gartner Magic Quadrant

Today by the grace of Almighty I passed the F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam. It was a quite interesting experience I had especially, when I tried a non-Cisco certification exam.

As we all know F5 is a leader in the field of Application delivery controllers. F5 stands out to be a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Application Delivery Controllers for Eighth Consecutive Year.

F5 do offer many professional certifications one of their most popular certification is F5 BIG-IP Administrator. In order to be a F5 BIG-IP Administrator one needs to pass the following exams

  • Exam 101 – Application Delivery Fundamentals
  • Exam 201 – TMOS Administration

The 101 exam is an entry path and a must exam towards 201 exam. By passing F5 101 and 201 exams one can be certified as F5 BIG-IP Administrator.

The F5 101exam is a fundamental exam which ensures that you have a basic understanding of networking, load balancing, brief knowledge of F5 products like BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM), BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM), BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM), BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) and BIG-IP Web Accelerator.

Further details about the exam and it blue print can read at this link. In upcoming post I will try to address how I prepared and what I resources used to pass the F5 101- Application Delivery Fundamentals exam.

May 4, 2015  6:00 PM

Chuck Robbins named as a new CEO of Cisco

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
CEO, Cisco, Networks, Routing, Switching, Wireless

John Chambers have been driving Cisco for almost two decades and he was quite successful in leading Cisco for such a long time. Since his accession to the seat of CEO, he ensured Cisco is the leader in the routing and switching domain and various other networking technologies like collaboration and wireless. His tenure saw various acquisitions Cisco made and how they capitalized on those acquisitions. He has been in instrumental in shaping the growth from $1.2B in annual revenue to its current run rate of $48B.

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“This is the perfect time for Chuck Robbins to become Cisco’s next Chief Executive Officer.  We’ve selected a very strong leader at a time when Cisco is in a very strong position,” said Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers.

John Chambers will devote his time to supporting Robbins and engaging closely with customers and governments around the world, with a focus on leading Cisco’s role in country digitization.

I wish both of the best and they will certainly guide Cisco to new heights.

May 4, 2015  4:35 AM

What is F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
Data Center, F5, Public Cloud, Software-defined data center, Web applications

F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) is a Web Application Firewall (WAF) designed to secure Web Applications in virtual software-defined data center (SDDC), managed cloud service environment, public cloud, or traditional data center. F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) empowers Organizations to safeguard their Web Applications against threats, application vulnerabilities, and zero-day attacks.


F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) is a proactive Web Application Firewall capable of protecting from DDOS attacks, SQL Injections and also capable of patching reported vulnerabilities within span of minutes to protect against web threats.

Some of the key features of F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager are

  • Layer 7 Attack Protections
  • Advanced Enforcement
  • Effective Bot Defense
  • Application Awareness
  • Data Protection and Cloaking
  • Violation Correlation and Incident Grouping

In short F5 BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) servers the purpose of securing web applications.

April 30, 2015  11:08 AM

WebEx on Apple Watch is it possible?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
Cisco, ipad, WebEx

Since the release of an Apple watch, many companies are trying to build their applications to serve technology not only on the palms but also on the wrists.

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Cisco is not far from developing Apps for Apple Watch. Now Cisco is offering WebEx app for Apple Watch with following capabilities

Start meetings in your WebEx Meeting

Center Personal Room from your Apple Watch.
• Organize (schedule, invite, and start) meetings
• Two-way video conferencing
• View shared content, attendee list chat,
• and Audio Active Speaker
• End-to-end encryption
• Attend WebEx Training Center classes and Event
• Center online events
• Share content in real-time from your iPad, or files from
your Box account

Well time will say how practical, Apple Watch will be in severing the business needs of a Corporation.

April 29, 2015  4:50 AM

Time to say good-bye for Cisco ASA Intrusion Prevention System

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
APM, Cisco ASA, Cisco Firewall, Cisco security, IPS, Sourcefire

The Cisco ASA CX Context-Aware Security, Cisco Prime Security Manager and Cisco ASA Intrusion Prevention System are no more sold by Cisco, Cisco recently announced End of Sale for the above Cisco Security Products. With the acquisition of Source fire, Cisco is powering up their Security Appliances like ASA with FirePOWER Services.


Those who are still using the traditional ASA CX Context-Aware Security, Cisco Prime Security Manager and Cisco ASA Intrusion Prevention System are advised to migrate towards to Cisco ASA 5500-X and 5585-X with FirePOWER Services. These ASA bundles are capable of delivering the power of ASA firewall with Sourcefire threat and advanced malware protection. Cisco is trying to capitalize on the these three things to make there mark in Next Generation Firewall market segment. Also Cisco is replacing the Cisco Prime Security with Cisco FireSIGHT Management Centre to mange the new ASA 5500 –X and 5585-X Appliances.

April 27, 2015  6:14 PM

Is Juniper Networks® SRX5800 Services Gateway the fastest firewall?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
100 GbE, CTO, firewall, Juniper Networks, Service providers

Juniper Network claims, with addition of new hardware updates for the Juniper Networks® SRX5800 Services Gateway makes it’s the industry’s fastest firewall. According to latest press release by Juniper, the Juniper Networks® SRX5800 Services Gateway is capable of delivering Internet Mix (IMIX) firewall throughput up to 2 Terabits per second (2 Tbps).

Juniper added third-generation input/output cards, an enhanced midplane chassis and third-generation system control boards – to the SRX5800. The input/output card supports two packet-forwarding engines (PFE), a high-density configuration of 2×100 GbE and 4×10 Gbe high speed interfaces. The third-generation input/output card is capable of delivering 240 Gbps of bandwidth, double the bandwidth of the previous hardware card.

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“As the threat landscape continues to evolve and a variety of devices increasingly flood the network, companies are forced to not only meet network performance demands but also ensure they have efficient, fast and scalable protection in place,” said Christopher Hoff, vice president and security CTO at Juniper Networks.

Well I believe these new announcement will certainly create healthy competition in the service provider market segment, and this is going to benefit large enterprises and service providers in long run.

April 26, 2015  7:02 PM

Cisco Iron Port ESA doesn’t support Tacacs+ Authentication

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
ACS, cisco ACS, Email filtering

The other day I was integrating Cisco Iron Port ESA with Cisco ACS Server for AAA, I was thinking of utilizing Cisco’s power Tacacs+ protocol, to my surprise Cisco Iron Port ESA doesn’t support Tacacs+. The only option available is radius and it does not provide the granularity and control over the Cisco Iron Port ESA.


After Cisco acquiring Iron Port in 2007, I thought Cisco will further enhance this product and include Tacacs+ features but unfortunately they failed to do so. Being a very powerful email gateway Iron Port offers great features in terms of Anti Spam, Email filtering, email redirection and many reach features, which are customizable as well.

Also there is no proper documentation on how to integrate Cisco Iron Port ESA with Cisco ACS Server.

April 25, 2015  8:15 PM

Cisco CCIE Service Provider Version 4.0 debuts on 22nd of May 2015

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
CCIE, Cisco, Cisco Press, IOS, IP Routing, MPLS

Starting May 22nd 2015, CCIE Service Provider version 4.0 is making the debut, like other CCIE written exams, the Cisco CCIE® Service Provider Written Exam (400-201) version 4.0 lasts for two hours and one can expect 90-110 questions. These questions are designed to validate how a Service Provider Professional is capable of designing; implementing, diagnosing and troubleshooting complex Service providers network infrastructures and services based on dual stack solutions (IPv4 and IPv6).

The Cisco CCIE® Service Provider Written Exam (400-201) covers following 6 domains

  1. Service Provider Architecture and Evolution
  2. Core Routing
  3. Service Provider Based Services
  4. Access and Aggregation
  5. High Availability and Fast Convergence
  6. Service Provider Security, Service Provider Operation and Management

Since a dedicated title from Cisco Press is not yet released, following Cisco Press titles can be used as the reference for the preparations of the CCIE® Service Provider Written Exam (400-201)

IP Routing on Cisco IOS, IOS XE, and IOS XR: An Essential Guide to Understanding and Implementing IP Routing Protocols

MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software

Cisco Live presentations are also great resources for the preparations; you can find more details about them on the INE CCIE Service Provider v4 Kickoff classes. If you have an access INE All Access Pass you can watch those videos or attend the class live on line.

I wish all those early exam takers all the best. Those who are new to CCIE journey, I encourage them to read the post I wrote about why do I want to be  CCIE ?

April 24, 2015  5:05 PM

SDN will be part of CCIE Certifications

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan
CCIE, Cisco ACI, Python, SDN

Other day I was attending the Online CCIE Community event organized by Cisco Systems, the event was hosted by Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Vice President and General Manager of Learning@Cisco and there were two amazing speakers

  • Dave Mallory, Chief Technology Officer, Learning@Cisco, CCIE
  • Yusuf Bhaji, Senior Manager, Global Certifications, CCIE

According to Yusuf Bhaji, Cisco will integrate SDN into all of the CCIE Certifications tracks.

Since a new version of CCIE Service Provider is available from the third week of May, all the CCIE aspirers will experience the SDN in CCIE Service Provider exam in form of Cisco Evolved Programmable Network ( e.g. ASR1k/9K, ME3600, etc)

Cisco is also considering to add Cisco ACI ( eg Nexus 9k, AVS) in the next revision of CCIE Data Centre.

However tracks like CCIE R&S, CCIE Security, CCIE Wireless and CCDE will be aligned with Cisco APIC-EM, Open SDN Controllers, WRL Controllers and the SDN content is expected to be included in next revision. Still the dates or the time lines are not known.

I believe it’s a good time for Networking professional to focus on SDN, start mastering scripting languages like Python. For certain SDN and Network programing is going to emerge and those who are already skilled with these skill sets can be seen in more demand.

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