Network technologies and trends


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.


November 19, 2011  6:22 AM

What is Cisco Embedded Event Manager?

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Cisco Embedded Event Manager better known as EEM is a powerful feature included in Cisco IOS such as IOS-XR, IOS-XE and NX-OS. The Cisco EEM in simple terms is a technology developed by Cisco systems which allows you to run a script or a set of command upon an event.

The Cisco EEM allows the behavior of a Cisco device to adapt to specific user requirements by allowing scripting, thresholding, proactive actions, data collection and event management inside the Cisco device itself. Using EEM, problems can be identified and resolved automatically in advance by setting event triggers (called Event Detectors) to watch for specific types of situations or thresholds, or run a set of actions periodically.

With EEM, users can capture complex network events and run sophisticated programs on Cisco devices. The version of EEM on most Cisco devices is version 2.1, and the latest version is 3.0 which was introduced in IOS 12.4(22)T. EEM consists of three areas; Event Detectors, Policies and Programming languages.

When a situation is detected by EEM, it uses policies to invoke actions based on the type of event and the configured policy.


November 16, 2011  3:56 AM

Cisco Expo, Saudi Arabia to be held on 5th and 6th of December 2011 in Riyadh

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Last year I was eagerly waiting for the first Cisco Live of Middle East in Bahrain. But it was cancelled and I was disappointed. This year I was wondering when Cisco Systems with come out with their annual Cisco Expo Event. Yesterday while I was talking to one of the Cisco representative I came to know about the Cisco Expo 2011.

Cisco Systems are conducting the Cisco Expo Saudi Arabia, on the 5th and 6th of December 2011 at the King Fahad Cultural Centre, Riyadh Saudi Arabia. This year Cisco came out with a theme “Innovate Together”. Well I am sure this event provides a great opportunity to connect, collaborate and communicate with leading IT professionals in the region. Cisco Expo is a platform where we get an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics ranging from global megatrends, their societal and economic impact, to innovation and relevance to the technology architectures.

Cisco System and their partner have planned few presentations and demonstration will focus around the power of collaboration, video, cloud and virtualization, borderless network and emerging technologies that are transforming business to networked enterprises driving business results, productivity, competitiveness and societal change.

So want to be at Cisco Expo Saudi Arabia, register now.


October 31, 2011  11:57 AM

Cisco Nexus® 7000 48-Port 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet F2-Series Module is released

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Recently Cisco announced the introduction of new portfolio of switching products to augment the Cisco Unified Fabric product range. This range consists of Nexus data center switches and MDS storage switches that connect servers, data storage, and corporate networks seamlessly within the data center and cloud.

With the introduction of Cisco Nexus® 7000 48-Port 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet F2-Series Module, Cisco has unveiled second generation capabilities for the Nexus 7000 family switches. The Cisco Nexus® 7000 48-Port 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet F2-Series Module offers outstanding flexibility and wire-rate performance on each port. The module enables the deployment of high-density, low-latency, scalable data center architectures.

The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switches provide the foundation of the Cisco® Unified Fabric. They are a modular data center-class product line designed for highly scalable 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks. The fabric architecture scales beyond 15 terabits per second (Tbps), designed to support future 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. To meet the requirements of the most mission-critical network environments, the switches deliver continuous system operations and virtualized services. The Cisco Nexus 7000 Series is powered by the proven Cisco NX-OS Software operating system, with enhanced features to deliver real-time system upgrades with exceptional manageability and serviceability. Its innovative unified fabric design is purpose built to support consolidation of IP and storage networks on a single lossless Ethernet fabric.

For further details check this link.


October 31, 2011  5:10 AM

Cisco Systems announces the new Fabric 2 modules for Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Cisco Systems announces the new Fabric 2 modules for Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches.  The newly announced Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Fabric-2 Modules for the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series chassis are separate fabric modules that provide parallel fabric channels to each I/O and supervisor module slot. From a scalability perspective, the new Fabric 2 module, enables the deployment of up to 768, 10 GbE ports in a Nexus 7000 chassis. The Fabric 2 module can deliver up to 550 Gbps per slot of performance. The new module also delivers connectivity, for only 9 watts of power per port.

Through the parallel forwarding architecture, a system capacity of more than 15 Tbps is achieved with the five fabric modules. The fabric module provides the central switching element for fully distributed forwarding on the I/O modules.

The newly announced  Fabric 2 modules for Cisco Nexus 7000 Series switches is available for Cisco Nexus 7009, 7010 and 7018 Chassis. It seems Cisco Systems are coming out with a 9 slot chassis for Nexus 7000 Series Switch. The Fabric 2 module in combination with the supervisor and I/O modules supports virtual output queuing (VOQ) and credit-based arbitration to the crossbar switch to increase performance of the distributed forwarding system. VOQ and credit-based arbitration facilitate fair sharing of resources when a speed mismatch or contention for an uplink interface exists. The fabric architecture also enables future support for lossless Ethernet and unified I/O capabilities.

Some of the features and befits of the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Fabric Modules are as follows

Feature Benefit
High availability and redundancy The fabrics support multilevel redundancy, where all available fabrics are active, and provide redundancy for all other fabric modules. All I/O module slots receive a fair share of the total fabric bandwidth, helping ensure lossless forwarding in the event of failover.
Scalable fabric The combined fabric modules deliver 10 channels per I/O module and 5 channels per supervisor module, for a scalable capacity of more than 15 Tbps for forwarding performance, which can be increased as your needs grow.
Nondisruptive addition and removal of fabric modules The switch capacity can scale with the addition of modules, with transparent upgrades for continuous operations.
Arbitrated crossbar for unicast Class-of-service-aware forwarding is delivered in a fully distributed forwarding system that allows future enhancements to Ethernet to support unified I/O.
VOQ In conjunction with the supervisor module, VOQ provides a quality-of-service (QoS) aware lossless fabric, avoiding the problems associated with head-of-line blocking.
Multistage crossbar fabric System forwarding performance is enhanced by a combination of local fabric switching between ports on the same module and centralized forwarding through the fabric for ports on different modules.
Superframing and frame segmentation Crossbar efficiency is optimized by the use of superframing and frame segmentation to provide deterministic latency and throughput.
ID LED Using the beacon feature, the administrator can clearly identify the chassis and fabric module.


October 30, 2011  5:27 AM

Review for CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 Official Certification Guide

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

When it comes to preparation for Cisco CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 exam, you are not left with many choices, among the available the best sources are Cisco Press books.  Personally for me, my experience helped me to pass the Cisco CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 exam.  But for those who are new to industry they are dependent on study guides and CBT nuggets.

When it comes to study guides still Cisco Press titles are far superior to other publications.  The Cisco Press title “CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 Official Certification Guide” follows the typical Cisco Press approach, each chapters begins with “Do I know this Already?” quiz and then followed by the subject. This approach is good as it lets you know to determine the knowledge level of the topic; it gives a brief idea to plan out the approach for each chapter. The title comprises of 15 chapters and the final chapter deals with the final preparations for the exam.

The good thing I like about this title is the way how author “Kevin Wallace” presented the known topics from different perspective. Yeah he was quite successful in engaging with his readers and presenting the troubleshooting techniques. The inclusion of many case studies enhanced the author’s presentation and he was quite successful in reaching out the mass. Especially for those who passed CCNP Route and Switch exam they find not much in this title, but they will learn the troubleshooting and maintenance techniques for complex networks. The troubleshooting scenarios and methodology grabbed my attention and I like the way troubleshooting tickets were presented.

I have few suggestion to Cisco Press is to include the pdf version of the title with the CD. The CD also came with the Boson Exam Environment Engine (BEE), it was a huge disappointment for me as the practice exam failed to contain the simulated scenarios. The BEE contained only multiple choices, single choice, drag and drop style questions.

Overall the Cisco Press title “CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 Official Certification Guide” is a good source for anyone who is preparing for Cisco CCNP TSHOO 642-832 exams and a helpful guide for those who wants to master troubleshooting.


October 29, 2011  4:46 AM

Cisco planning to acquire BNI Video

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

Last week Cisco Systems announced its intention to acquire BNI Video, headquartered in Boxborough, Mass.,. BNI Videos are involved in supping video products to service providers that offer video back-office and content delivery network (CDN) analytic capabilities. This announcement is quite evident about Cisco intention to expand its capabilities in its Videoscape TV platform. The main aim of videoscape is to allow service providers to deliver compelling video experiences to any device over any Internet Protocol (IP) network.

“Cisco is committed to working with our service provider customers to deliver next-generation IP-based video experiences across devices,” said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Emerging Business Group. “Service providers globally are embracing our Videoscape vision, and today with the acquisition of BNI Video, we are augmenting our Videoscape platform and giving customers a clear migration path to Videoscape.”

“As a founding investor in BNI Video, Comcast Ventures recognized the potential for this technology to play a critical role in advancing video experiences for Comcast’s customers,” said Tony Werner, chief technology officer, Comcast. “With the combined expertise in IP video systems, Cisco and BNI Video offer service providers a compelling software and infrastructure platform to efficiently deliver video content to multiple devices.”

“Time Warner Cable invested early in BNI Video, as it brought a unique software platform to market that addresses the back-office complexities of delivering TV Everywhere services,” said Mike LaJoie, chief technology officer, Time Warner Cable. “Combining forces with Cisco presents an opportunity to take video service providers to the next level with Internet video, helping to manage networks more efficiently to deliver advanced TV entertainment experiences to consumers.”

Upon the close of the acquisition, BNI Video employees will be integrated into Cisco’s Service Provider Video Technology Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $99 million in cash and retention-based incentives in exchange for all shares of BNI Video. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2012.


October 22, 2011  6:11 AM

How to pass Cisco CCNP Troubleshooting and Maintaining Cisco IP Network (CCNP TSHOOT, 642-832) exam? – Series 2

Yasir Irfan Yasir Irfan Profile: Yasir Irfan

For those who are new to Cisco Domain, I strongly recommend them to read the Cisco Press title which for sure will help them to understand the approach they must apply, especially whenever they are troubleshooting any problem in a complex Cisco Network.  Also I strongly suggest building a GNS3 topology based on solutions provided in the Cisco Press title “CCNP TSHOOT 642-832 Official Certification Guide” and you can also make use of Cisco Press title “CCNP TSHOOT Lab Manual“.

The best thing I like about this lab manual is all configuration files can be downloaded from Cisco Press website. Practice makes man perfect; by troubleshooting various scenarios, which you can build using the above mentioned resource can help you in mastering CCNP TSHOOT topics and can, learn the various approach adapted to trouble shoot more complex Cisco networks. Of course nothing can replace the practical experience but when you simply don’t have that privilege, you can make use of GNS3.

I am hopeful by simply passing Route and Switch exam; you will gain enough confidence and expertise to pass the Cisco TSHOOT exam. Better luck for those who are appearing for the TSHOOT exam, make sure you watch THSOOT Strategies on YouTube by Kevin Wallace which does give you an idea how the real exams look like and do practice the CCNP TSHOOT demo exam available at Cisco web site.


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