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Cisco Features you should be using

I know more than once now the Cisco ISR/ISR-G2’s Series have been dubbed as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of networking devices, simply due to the amount of flexibility & the number of technologies available to you when deploying these devices. Luckily for us, these devices provide even more features available to us to assist with troubleshooting and maintaining the overall health of the network. What is even better is that many of these useful troubleshooting features exist on many of the other product families not just ISR/ISR-G2’s. I’ve had the pleasure to work on networks all around the world for some decent size companies so I wanted to kick off this list with what I consider to be the most useful tools built-in to Cisco devices that are not very well known out there.

1. Embedded Packet Capture (EPC) -- There is no doubt about it, but the ability to perform a packet capture at key points throughout the network can make troubleshooting particular issues that much easier. Luckily this feature exists on many different devices:

1. ISR G2′s -- Even the older ISR’s have this ability
2. ASA Firewalls
3. IOS-XE devices -- From the powerful ASR’s to the newer Catalyst 3850
4. NX-OS devices -- Granted on NX-OS you can capture packets that are process switched, there is an easy way around this by creating an Access-list to match the traffic you want to capture.
5. Even in Cisco UCS we can configure a traffic monitoring policy to capture traffic directly from particular servers and capture directly off the Fabric Interconnects. *This is more of a SPAN-type session than Embedded Packet Capture. Read More »

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Midsize Auctioneer’s Network is Fast and Fortified as Hundreds of Clients Bid Billions

Forget the best of both worlds. Ritchie Bros Auctioneers have found the best of three worlds with their network. This midsize company enables fast, secure bidding for customers, provides hassle-free mobile access for employees, and detailed network reports with no effort for IT.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is the world’s largest auctioneer of heavy equipment and trucks. They sell billions of dollars of unused and used equipment at hundreds of unreserved public auctions each year. What’s even more impressive is that they are able to do this with only 1300 employees worldwide.

Auctions are very time sensitive and require a synchronized effort. This leaves little room for errors and interruptions.  Read More »

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Router Security: Ready for Primetime

I have a confession: I’m a technology late-adopter. On Rogers’ Innovation Adoption bell curve, I probably fall somewhere in the ‘late majority’ —  I like the tried and true.

But with a few years and many advances, I’m back on Facebook (my short experience with it left me with privacy paranoia),  and if you can believe it, I’m now an iPhone user. I appreciate not lugging around my iPod, and having a camera ready whenever I need it, but it’s not only the extra bells on the integrated device that has impressed me -- it’s the realization that I don’t have to compromise functionality to have it all.

Another technology that has made a lot of strides since its entry into the market is integrated router security. Read More »

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The Aluminum Falcon and Turning Security up to Eleven on the ISR

Suzuki Hayabusa Turbocharged compared to Cisco ISR web security with Cisco Scan SafeFor years, I rode a Suzuki Hayabusa, a hypersports motorcycle with a very large engine. Felt like Han Solo’s (he shot first, you know) Millenium Falcon when you opened the throttle – instant, strong forward movement regardless of speed or gear. Open throttle and you are heaved down the road. Thus, I had to name the machine something. It was a grotesque bronze color, so for a while I called her the Copper Rhino, but eventually I settled on the name Aluminum Falcon (Hayabusa is the Japanese name for a variant of the Peregrin Falcon) as a good play on the name Hayabusa and also because the intake system set up a resonance in the upper midrange that reminded me of the warbling cry of a Wookie.

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