Network technologies and trends

April 17, 2012  5:38 AM

Data Center Security Policies and Procedures – part2

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

In my previous article we came across the Data Center physical security policy and procedures and now let’s see the more about the access provided to Data Centers, basically there are three “Levels of Access” to the Data Center.

1)      ITKE* employees

2)      Contractors /Outsourced companies

3)      Visitor Engineers Access (Vendors)

1 ITKE* staff Access

It is given to people who have free access authority into the Data Center. ITKE* staff Access is granted to the ITKE* staff whose job responsibilities require that they have access to the area. These individuals also have the authority to grant temporary access to the Data Center and to enable others to enter and leave the Data Center. People with ITKE* staff Access are responsible for the security of the area, and for any individuals that they allow into the Data Center they MUST listed on Authorized Access List.  Individuals with ITKE* staff Access to the area may allow properly authorized and logged individuals (sign in and out) for contractors and visitor engineers when they Access to the Data Center.


2 Contractors/ Outsourced companies Access

It is closely monitored access given to people who have a business need for infrequent access to the Data Center. “Infrequent access” is generally defined as access required for pried of time (depend on the contract). A person given Contractors Access to the area MUST sign in and out under the direct supervision of a person with Controlling Access. A person with Contractors Access to the area MUST NOT allow any other person to enter or leave the area until have permission from ITKE* staff Access. Only those Representatives identified in writing by the Customer on the ITKE* Data Centre Access Authorization List Form may make request to enter the Data Centre. Each Customer MUST ensure that the Representatives and the accompanying persons do NOT take any actions that Customer is prohibited from taking under this Policy.

3 Visitor Engineers Access (Vendors)

It is granted to a person from vendors who have to do insulation or some work in the data center. A person given visitor engineers access to the area MUST sign in and out and submit report under the direct supervision of a person with Controlling Access. A person with visitor engineer’s access to the area MUST NOT allow any other person to enter or leave the area. Maximum of 3 persons, of whom at least one MUST be a Representative, may enter the Data Centre at the same time. For security reasons, all visitors (Representatives and accompanying persons) will be requested to show his/her STAFF ID or Passport for verification. He/she will be refused to enter the Data Centre if the required credentials CANNOT be shown.

In upcoming post let’s continue our journey with the policy and procedures related to Data Center access.

April 11, 2012  5:05 AM

Data Center Security Policies and Procedures – part1

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Data Centers are heart for any organization; Data Centers are the one which houses the majority of Servers farms, Switches, routers, security solutions, SANs and much more. These days we were asked to develop the Security Polices and Procedures for our Data Centre which I am going to share in upcoming blogs.

In this particular part of my article I will try to focus on the Data Center physical security policy and procedures.


1. Overview

Security for the Data Center is the responsibility of all departments that are sharing the data center space. ITKE* is responsible for the administration of this policy. The following are the general requirements and policies to access to this sensitive area. Failure to follow the guidelines set forth in this document is grounds for termination of agreements and potential legal action.

Customer MUST NOT, except as otherwise agreed by ITKE*,

    1. Place any computer hardware or other equipment in the Licensed Area
    2. Store any other combustible materials of any kind in the Licensed Area; and
    3. Bring any “Prohibited Materials” (as defined below) into the Data Centre. Prohibited Materials shall include, but NOTlimited to, the following and any similar items:
        1. Food, drink, illegal drugs and other intoxicants
        2. Tobacco products
        3. Explosives and weapons
        4. Hazardous materials
        5. Electro-magnetic devices, which could unreasonably interfere with computer and telecommunications equipment
        6. Radioactive materials
        7. Photographic or recording equipment of any kind
        8. Any other items deemed inappropriate at ITKE*’s sole discretion.

2. Primary Guidelines

The “Data Center” is a restricted area requiring a much greater level of control than normal spaces. Only those individuals who are authorized to do so by the ITKE* may enter this area.  Access privileges will only be granted to individuals who have business need to be in the data center.

All departmental staff sharing the Data Center will familiarize themselves thoroughly with this document. Any questions regarding policies and procedures should be addressed to ITKE*.

The only exception allowed to the Data Center Security Policies and Practices is temporary suspension of these rules if it becomes necessary to provide emergency access.

In upcoming article I will try to focus on levels of access can be provided to the Data Centers.

*ITKE is used just as reference which can be replaced by your organization or department name.

April 10, 2012  8:55 AM

New Data Centre CCIE track announced by Cisco Systems

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

CCIE the most prestigious certificate on this planet is expanding its dominance in each and every specialty. Cisco System announced a new track targeting Data Centre known as CCIE Data Centre.

I am so excited to know about these latest developments, especially after the introduction of Nexus Switches there is a need for specialist who can manage complex data center. CCIE data center will equip the networking professionals with all the skills required to design, implement, operate, monitor, and troubleshoot complex data center networks. Products tested in this certification include Cisco Catalyst 3750, MDS 9222i, Nexus 7009, 5548, 2232, 1000v and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and Cisco Application Control Engine Appliance.

The beta version of the CCIE Data Center Written Exam will be available for scheduling and testing at all worldwide Cisco-authorized Pearson VUE testing centers beginning May 1 through June 15, 2012.  And the lab exam is expected to be available in September2012.

Currently Cisco is offering US$ 50 as a discount for the beta exam of CCIE Data Centre.

Some of the topics covered in CCIE Data Center are as follows

  • General switching technologies
  • NX-OS with VPC, OTV, Fabric-Path, RBAC, etc.
  • Storage with Fiber Channel, VSAN, FCoE, etc.
  • UCS with LAN, SAN connectivity, server profiles, pinning, etc.
  • Cisco ACE features in SLB and HA deployments.

For further details on please do check this link.

February 20, 2012  12:09 PM

Cisco announces a updated CCNA Wireless Certification exam!

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Recently Cisco Systems announced a new program for Cisco CCNA Wireless Certification. Before this announcement we all are aware of Cisco CCNA Wireless Certification exam with 640-721 IUWNE code. This new announcement ensured that new Cisco CCNA Wireless Certification exam 640-722 contains more relevant materials.

Those folks who are already ready or in the processes of final prep to write an exam they don’t need to panic as the current CCNA Wireless Certification track 640-721 are available until May 11, 2012.

The new CCNA Wireless Certification track 640-722 IUWNE comprises of the current version of software program such as Autonomous, wireless LAN controller (WLC), and Clients.

So gear up for the new exam and always there is Cisco press to offer self-study guides , let’s hope Cisco Press will come out soon with the study material for the new track.

November 30, 2011  6:08 AM

A review for CCDA 640-864 Official Cert Guide

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

An Excellent title not only serves to pass the CCDA 640-864 exam but also a great reference asset just simply because it covers each and every topic in great detail. As other Cisco Press titles this book too follows the same style by stating pit with the “Do I Know This Already Quiz” which give you an idea about strengths or weaknesses in particular topic.

Especially when CCDA exam is much more about understanding the topics from Design perspective, this title serves you to understand the topics in great detail in much simpler and easy to understand language. The greatest thing about this the title CCDA Official Cert Guide is the way each chapter is presented with very detailed out line of “Foundation Topics” in very organized manner. And this title covers the design of Cisco Internetwork Infrastructure from the General Network Design, LAN and WAN Design, Wireless Networks, Routing Protocols Design to Security, Voice and video design.

One more interesting fact I notices is the title CCDA Official Cert Guide covers all the new advancements in Network Technologies, it covers topics such as Cisco Data Center 3.0 Architecture framework, virtualization technologies implied by Cisco Systems on various Cisco devices.

With this title CCDA Official Cert Guide Cisco Systems came out with a new testing Engine for practice exam.  This title comes with a CD which contains the Pearson Cert Practice Engine which allows you to take practice exams as well as the “Do I know This Already?” Quiz. The Pearson Cert Practice Engine is great, it does have some practice questions it would have been if Cisco Press enhanced the test Engine by adding even the practice question which are available only in book at the end of each chapter.

Overall this title is a great asset and for sure a helping guide for those who are planning to pass Cisco CCDA 640-864 exam. I rate this of title 4 out of 5 stars.

November 29, 2011  6:39 AM

Cisco Voice Codec Bandwidth Calculator, a handy tool to calculate voice bandwidth requirements.

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

While designing an IP Telephone Network we need to be aware of few important things such as bandwidth requirements, delay and QOS of schemes. The most important thing while designing an ITP network is the proper capacity planning. Within capacity planning, bandwidth calculation is an important factor to be considered.

By using Cisco Voice Codec Bandwidth Calculator we can determine the bandwidth used by different codec with various voice protocols over different media.

Really a cool tool which eases the task of Network Designers, the only condition to make use of Voice Codec Bandwidth Calculator is you need to have a valid CCO login id.

November 29, 2011  5:10 AM

What is “socket SO_UDPCHECKSUM option setting failed error” in Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

While checking the daily logs in one our Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switch I figured out following error “socket SO_UDPCHECKSUM option setting failed error”. For the past five years this Cisco Catalyst Switch worked well without any problems, the sudden emergence of this error “socket SO_UDPCHECKSUM option setting failed error” forced me to think what were the last modifications? I figured out the last thing what we did was configurations of few IP SLA’s. When I checked Cisco web site it was confirmed the error was generated due to the configuration of IP SLA. We are currently using the IOS Version 12.2(33) SXH8b. This IOS version has a bug.

According to Cisco Systems the error “socket SO_UDPCHECKSUM option setting failed error” has no negative impact on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 series Switch. The work around is to remove IP SLA configuration or upgrade the IOS version.

This error appeared for the first time in the IOS version 12.2(33)SXI1 and this bug is fixed in following IOS versions


So if you happen to see the following error in your Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switch don’t panic, the bug has least impact on device the only work around is either to remove the IP SLA or to upgrade the IOS of the device.

November 26, 2011  5:42 AM

What is Cisco Smart Call Home?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

The Smart Call Home is a feature from Cisco System which exists since long time but I noticed this feature quite lately. For the first I heard this feature with the Cisco SUP 720 Supervisor Engine for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches. With arrival of Nexus 7010 Series Switch and the training “Implementing Cisco Data Center Networking Infrastructure 2” gave me an insight and its importance.

According Cisco System the Cisco Smart Call Home feature continuously monitors hardware and software components to provide interactive technical support. The Cisco Smart Call Home feature is capable of providing range of message formats for optimal compatibility with pager services, standard email and XML based automated parsing applications. Cisco Smart Call Home combines Cisco GOLD and Cisco EEM capabilities to offers detailed diagnostics and real-time alerts, leading to faster resolution of problems.

Some of the benefits of configuring Cisco Smart Call Home are as follows

  • Higher Network Ability.
  • Reduced Network TCO.
  • Improved Network Performance.

Cisco NX-OS does also support Smart Call Home. In coming articles let see how Cisco Smart Call Home works.

November 22, 2011  5:04 AM

Thinking of DR site? Think of Cisco Containerized Data Center (CDC)

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

These days we thinking of establishing a DR site for our organization, I went through various solutions starting from cloud computing to renting a rack space. But Cisco’s Containerized Data Center emerged to be an interesting option

What is Cisco Containerized Data Center (CDC)?

Basically the Cisco Containerized Data Center is a 40-foot container, which is capable of housing up to 16 cabinets of 44 RU. Cisco has adopted chilled water cooling system that uses cabinet-level airflow containment rather than a hot aisle/cold aisle design. The Cisco Containerized Data Center comes with an access door at end of the container basically this modular approach allows the containers to either be stacked or deployed alongside one another.

Following are the features of Cisco Containerized Data Center (CDC)

  • Timely response to dynamic data center needs: Significantly reduces deployment time for new and existing data center initiatives
  • Flexibility: Can be configured to meet customer-unique business needs
  • Serviceability: Designed for efficient serviceability and to meet power and cooling requirements
  • Optimization: Can be placed in either indoor or outdoor environments with the flexibility to deliver the Cisco CDC to multiple locations
  • Cisco CDC Management System (CDCMS): Integrates multiple components to help ensure the safe and efficient operation of Cisco’s modular data centers

A good innovative from Cisco Systems, which definitely provides a fast solution, flexible to way to expand, complement, or even replace traditional fixed, “brick-and-mortar” data centers And even for those who are thinking establishing a  DR site

November 21, 2011  5:27 AM

Basic EEM Architecture on Cisco NX-OS Software

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

When it comes to Cisco Embedded Event Manager (EEM) on Cisco Nexus platform it slightly differs from the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Switch platform. In Cisco Nexus platform each line card module runs its own instance of EEM subsystem (an EEM Client), which results in handling of EEM events locally by the respective line card module. This in turn frees the supervisor Engine resources from managing the EEM event publication and executing policies across the chassis.

One more great advantage of distributed architecture is it further improves the latency of time taken to invoke the EEM policy execution.

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