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Cisco Puts More Power in Your Hands with StackPower

May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am PST

I recently attended a presentation by bestselling author and speaker Chip Conley. Conley is best known for successfully applying noted American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid to create a simplified business model with three themes:
- Survival
- Success
- Transformation.

Conley’s Transformation Pyramid can be applied in many areas. For example, when it comes to serving customers needs,  these three themes tell us that we need to focus on not only customers’ basic and tangible needs at the bottom of the pyramid, but also their higher needs to succeed with their business goals. Here I’ll take a look at how Cisco StackPower helps our customers to achieve their objectives at each of the three stages.
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IPv6 Planning – Where Do I Start?

May 29, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

World IPv6 Day is on June 6, 2012 and organizations everywhere will be permanently enabling IPv6 for their products and services. With the date fast approaching, you might be wondering: where do I start with my IPv6 transition?

Integrating IPv6 into an existing network may seem like a daunting task. Big tasks can create ‘analysis paralysis’ to the point where nothing gets done because the perception is that the task is too big to take on.  The key in this scenario is to not think about the task as one big one, but rather a series of small tasks that can be handled independently.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started with IPv6:

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An Intelligent Network. What Is It?

How does an intelligent network affect you? Do you care how you’re able to read this blog post as long as it is delivered efficiently and loads quickly? Let’s dive deeper. As you consume information available on the World Wide Web, use the various enterprise apps at work, and browse training videos, do you ever wonder about how the content is delivered to you? Think about the various technologies and network services that may have impacted how this blog was delivered to you and the path it took from the app server to your laptop, iPhone, Blackberry, android phone, or tablet.

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Why Would Anyone Need an IPv6-to-IPv6 Network Prefix Translator?

The upcoming World IPv6 launch is stimulating a lot of conversation around IPv6 deployment and common deployment scenarios. People regularly ask “where’s my NAT,” which is something we have tried to address in architectural discussions in RFC 2993, RFC 4864, and RFC 6269. Margaret Wasserman and I have worried specifically about the implications of the multiplication of provider-independent addresses at the edge and the issues of multihoming, and described a model for IPv6 network prefix translation that we think addresses most of the issues and yet facilitates scalable multihoming without provider-independent addressing and the bloating of the route table it implies. Per-residential-customer multihoming is currently in use for NTT BFLETS in Japan.

My colleague Andrew Yourtchenko, whom many of you may know from IPv6 events, has a very different opinion about network address translation. If anything, he would like to get rid of it. Andrew has contributed to some 14 RFCs on the topic of transition and has much of value to say.

While I agree with Andrew on a number of issues, I don’t agree about  the model in which one deploys a prefix allocated by each of one’s upstreams providers on each of the LANs in a network.  I think that while we have reduced costs for ISPs in the smaller route table, we have significantly expanded the complexity faced by the edge network without giving them a benefit that they readily recognize. I agree with the end-to-end model and the ability to deploy new applications anywhere in the network, but I think that stateless prefix translation can meet those issues and help in managing the size of the route table. Andrew and I recently weighed the pros and cons of our different opinions and included our thoughts in this blog. What is your opinion on this topic? Read More »

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Cisco IOS Software Licenses: What’s What for Layer 2 and Layer 3 Switching – Part 2

May 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm PST

In my previous post, I discussed 4 common Cisco IOS Software feature licenses for Cisco Catalyst 2K and 3K switches. I specifically concentrated on LAN Lite and LAN Base licenses for layer 2 networks. Today I’ll take a closer look at layer 3, IP Base and IP Services licenses. I’ll point out again that this post is not intended to represent or replace any Cisco documentation. Product information can change very quickly and use of this post is solely at the readers’ own risk.

For those of you who have used Cisco switches for a long time, do you remember the Cisco Catalyst 5500 switches with a Route Switch Module (RSM)? That was how layer 2 and layer 3 were put together within a single chassis – in a kludgy way. Those days are long gone. The Cisco Catalyst switches today feature powerful and integrated layer 3 capabilities. Layer 3 switching and routing are so close that they spark lots of fun discussions. Here, I’ll concentrate on the layer 3 switching capabilities of the Cisco Catalyst 3560-X and Catalyst 3750-X switches.
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