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Upcoming Technology Trends at Cisco Live

Cisco Live in San Diego is right around the corner. It’s the place to be to meet with people, learn and to stay current with the technology trends of the industry. What are some of the upcoming technology trends to watch out for at Cisco Live.

Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN)

There is a lot of buzz about Software Defined Networks (SDN), Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC) and everything you can possibly think of and then adding software defined in front of it. Many of these technologies are not mature yet but SD-WAN is a viable technology as of now.

Cisco is realizing the SD-WAN through its technology called IWAN. IWAN is used when connecting to multiple Service Providers (SPs) and can more effectively work in such a setup than with vanilla routing. IWAN can choose the best exit, based on metrics such as latency, jitter and packet loss, which is not feasible with normal routing. It does this through a technology called Performance Routing (PfR). This technology was very complex in the past but has evolved to a much simpler configuration in its current revision. It can also help organizations save money by running DMVPN over the Internet instead of buying more costly MPLS circuits from the SP.

Provider Backbone Bridges Ethernet VPN (PBB-EVPN)

PBB-EVPN is mainly a technology for SPs or for enterprise that is running their own MPLS network. Building scalable multipoint layer two networks is always a challenge and has often been realized through Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) in the past. VPLS suffers from some drawbacks like explosion of MAC addresses, the requirement of a full mesh, the handling of multicast traffic and so on.

PBB-EVPN addresses these drawbacks of VPLS by using BGP as the control plane protocol, allowing for arbitrary topologies, implementing BGP policies for traffic engineering and the well-known stability and scalability of BGP. It is also designed to handle multi homed layer two segments which has been a challenge in traditional deployments. EVPN is also getting consideration to be used as a Data Center Interconnect (DCI) protocol to build scalable data centers.

Software Defined Data Centers (SDDC)

Data centers is one of the first Places In the Network (PIN) that is moving to a more software defined forwarding paradigm. The reason for this is that traffic patterns are fairly easy to predict where traffic is more of east-west nature compared to north-south in a normal campus area. The amount of traffic is massive and there are not many different types of devices that need to connect to the network compared to the campus.

Cisco’s solution in this space is the Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) which is a software and hardware based solution available on the Nexus 9000 platform. With ACI it’s possible to define policies, which tiers can communicate, should the traffic be load balanced, how is traffic to the outside handled and a lot more. This is then programmed to the network devices that are normally in a leaf and spine topology by the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). There are already a few DC’s running ACI technology and expect more news on this front at Cisco Live as the technology becomes more mature.

Segment Routing

Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is the de facto standard used by almost all SPs for forwarding of traffic. Normally labels to reach the PE next-hops is assigned by the Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) or Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP). LDP is most commonly implemented but running LDP is an extra protocol that is simply assigning labels. Couldn’t this be handled by your IGP assigning the labels instead? Yes, and that’s the main idea of SR, to cut down on the number of protocols in the backbone and to allow for traffic engineering that is commonly only implemented through the use of RSVP-TE which is a complex protocol and that has scalability issues when deployed at large scale. SR is trying to solve some of these issues and software has been released to support this feature, expect it to gain more traction in the field as the software gets more mature.

Evolution of Enterprise Networks

Some people may argue that very little is happening in the enterprise networking space, which may be true to a certain extent but there are also technology trends in the enterprise as well. The main trend is to minimize the impact of layer two by building networks based on technologies such as Virtual Switching System (VSS), Virtual Port Channel (VPC), stacking and so on.

Cisco has also introduced the concept of Instant Access (IA) which is a similar technology as the Fabric Extender (FEX) available on the Nexus platform. With IA it’s possible to have access layer switches connected to the distribution and with the access layer devices acting as remote line cards. This creates fewer points to manage, gets rid of STP in the access layer and allows for technologies such as MPLS to extended to the access layer.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

NFV is another very hot topic right now. Routers and switches have almost always been physical devices but now we are starting to see virtual devices such as the CSR1000v, ASAv, Nexus1k, vWLC and many more. Virtual devices are a very good fit in some cases such as a Virtual Route Reflector (vRR) because it is easy to throw memory and CPU into a server compared to buying a router which may have less horse power. As this device is not in the forwarding path, all it needs is to have a powerful control plane and a device such as CSR1000v is a very good fit in this use case.

There is also an upcoming virtual IOS-XR device called XR9000v. There is already another XR platform available which is called XRv but the new XR9000v has much more of a forwarding plane and can achieve very respectable traffic levels. The XR9000v can then be deployed in samller Points of Presence (POPs) or in places in the network where it fills a specific role, such as providing a certain service to the network.

There are a lot of announcements coming up at Cisco Live both regarding new products and new technologies/features. If you can’t make it to San Diego, stay aware of new trends on Twitter, Cisco blogs and of course via the Cisco Live portal which will live stream some of the events. I look forward to meeting readers of the blog at Cisco Live. Don’t be afraid to say hi!

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Where to learn ACI

I remember walking through Cisco Live last year in San Francisco and hearing all about ACI and the Cisco DevNet program. To be totally honest, I shrugged it off as just something that was trying to get hyped up and would not have any real impact on what I do.

Well…that has changed over the last year for me. What made it change? I guess a desire to learn and grow. I have also seen how learning to code is becoming very important to any IT position. There is a lot of power in the software layer and learning to harness that power is very important to be able to accomplish our jobs. So, with that in mind I have started to learn Python. Why python? I come from a scripting language background with my years as a Windows admin. I never jumped in with both feet, but I did enough to be dangerous. And learning to write code has always really interested me, I just didn’t have a good reason to do it. Now, with ACI and SDN showing promise and no longer buzz words to me I am going to dive in and learn. Read More »

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 19. Cisco Learning Network Update

CiscoChampion200PXbadge#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’ll be talking about Cisco Learning Network (CLN) Updates with Cisco Learning Network Community Managers Matt Saunders and Brett Lovins.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.
Ask about the next round of Cisco Champions nominations. EMAIL US.

Cisco SME
Matt Saunders, @citylifematt, Cisco Learning Network Community Manager
Brett Lovins, @brettlovins, Cisco Learning Network Community Manager

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Ryan Adzima, @radzima, Infrastructure Engineer, Mobility Architect
Ryan Booth, @that1guy_15, Network Engineer

Moderator
Rachel Bakker (@RBakker)

Highlights
Cisco Learning Network (CLN) Updates
Benefits of CLN
Resources for CCIE candidates
Premium CLN Content
Free CLN resources
New ACI training offerings
CLN VIP Program

Resources
CLN Home Page
CCIE R&S Tech Seminars
Unleashing CCIE Routing and Switching v5.0 CLN blog series
Cisco CCIE Lab Builder
CCIE Routing and Switching v5.0
CLN Premium Subscriptions
CCNA RS Study Sessions
IT Training Videos

Transcripts
Cisco Champion Radio New design looks cool – https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/welcome
MattSaunders https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/learning_center/ccie-rs-tech-seminars
MattSaunders https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/blogs/unleashing-ccie-rs
childebrandt42 I personally have found the site extremely helpful in doing the CCNA-DC
@ChrisKnowsIT Any comments\concerns regarding the 3rd party training materials, specifically CBT\videos, done by vendors (ex- INE, CBT Nuggets, etc)?
BrettLovins CCIE Lab Builder: https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/cisco-ccie-lab-builder
BrettLovins https://learningnetworkstore.cisco.com/ccie-routing-and-switching-v5-0
childebrandt42 I have had seen some good videos from CBT and Pluralsight.
ntwrk80 Any emphasis on the roads less traveled in terms of learning support for CCDP ARCH, CCNP Wireless, etc in terms of learning tools?
BrettLovins CLN Premium info link: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/premium-subscriptions
@ChrisKnowsIT Thanks for the insight Ryan
that1guy15 NP
BrettLovins https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/learning_center/ccna_rs_study_sessions_live
MattSaunders https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/community/learning_center/it_training_videos
cpartsenidis Regarding contributing to the community with content, is any content submitted automatically becomes copyright property of Cisco ?
cpartsenidis I had this issue with my website Firewall.cx, which was a bit of a problem :)
BrettLovins Acceptable Use Agreement for CLN: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/docs/DOC-23937
cpartsenidis Thanks Brett.
MattSaunders Cisco does not claim any ownership rights in any text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, works of authorship or other materials that Users upload…
cpartsenidis Yes, I just read that part Matt – sounds like things have become more flexible
MattSaunders :)
cpartsenidis Thanks guys for your time and useful information –
MattSaunders You’re welcome, thank you! :)

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Importance of naming standards in Cisco Unified Communications Manager

In network engineering I have learned that the biggest lie I tell myself is that “I do not need to write this down.” That being said, when you are in the heat of troubleshooting a production issue I really try to design my systems so that I can tell what the heck something does by a label or good name. This does not replace the need for other documentation, but it does help when you are in the heat of troubleshooting a system problem. As I started supporting Unified Communications applications, I discovered there are lots of opportunities to really create a mess when you are configuring things if you do not keep supportability in mind. I want to share with you some tips that I have found helpful in naming objects specifically in Cisco Unified Communications Manager; however, similar concepts can be used for other network components such as Access Control Lists on traditional network equipment too.

When you are starting with a fresh Cisco Unified Communications Manager install, you have a blank slate. This is both good and bad. Good in that you have a lot of flexibility in the system to configure things, but bad because if you don’t put some thought into naming it can get confusing quickly. Spending some time up-front will save you some headaches down the road. Even if you don’t have a fresh Cisco Unified Communications Manager installation, you can start cleaning things up as you provision new services and go back and adapt what is in the other systems when you have time to do so.

Some of the common things you will configure in Cisco Unified Communications Manager will be: Partitions, Calling Search Spaces, Route Groups, Route Lists, Route Patterns, SIP Trunks, Device Pools, etc. First let’s get started with some basic definitions of what some of common objects are. I will also share some examples of how I like to name things to keep them easily sorted so objects of similar function are grouped together in a long list. These are just examples, and your naming convention will have to be something that works for you, your team and your specific environment. Read More »

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 18. Securing ACI

CiscoChampion200PXbadge#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’ll be talking about securing ACI with Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer Carly Stoughton.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.
Ask about the next round of Cisco Champions nominations. EMAIL US.

Cisco SME
Carly Stoughton, @_vCarly, Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Chris Nickl, @ck_nic, Cloud Infrastructure Architect
Michael Aossey, @aossey, Solutions Architect Read More »

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