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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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Summary: The First 4 Steps to Simplify Your Small Business Information Technology

Sam O’Daniel (better known as the Startup IT Guy) has put together a short list of steps to take when starting or just simplifying your business information technology.  If the next couple of months are your slow season, you can get these steps in motion to have a better handle on IT in the new year. From signing up with a cloud productivity suite to establishing a vendor relationship for purchasing to streamlining network hardware (on Meraki gear, of course!), these 4 steps will help get you out of IT support and put your focus back where it belongs – your business.

Read the full article here.

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IPv6 First-Hop-Security

If you’ve worked with networking sometime in the last decade, I’m sure you’ve heard of this thing called IPv6. IPv6 has been around for quite a while, but it seems to be growing increasingly more popular as of late.
My focus on this article will be some of the challenges with security and IPv6, primarily those that Cisco IPv6 First-Hop-Security (FHS) solves.

Several times I’ve found myself looking at the network traffic traversing a customer’s network, asking if they use IPv6.
Unfortunately, most of the times the answer is no, even though I can see the Link-local and multicast addresses flying by my screen.
When I proceed to ask if they’ve added any security measurements in the network to protect against IPv6 attacks, the answer is mostly: “Why would we need any IPv6 security if we don’t use IPv6”? Read More »

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Nominations Open: Be a Champion for Collaboration

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Particular songs often come to mind when I’m thinking about certain words. It’s usually a 1:1 relationship of song to word, but the mental jukebox for champions seems to vary between Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and “Gonna Fly Now,” also known as the theme from “Rocky.”

When I join a Cisco Champion Radio episode or read a blog post from a Cisco Champion, one of those songs often serves as the soundtrack only I can hear.

Who are the Cisco Champions? Perhaps you should be one. Now is the time to nominate yourself or a colleague for consideration for 2015!  Let’s start with the biggest questions:

  • Are you passionate about collaboration technology?
  • Do you love expanding and sharing your knowledge?

Yes? OK, let’s move on to the next round. Read More »

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Evolution of the Super Administrator

Large enterprise organisations are traditionally siloed from an IT perspective. You have the Server Team, the Network Team, the Storage Team, the Security Team, the Application Team; you get the idea.  There are usually politics involved, where the IT Division resembles a kindergarten with playground arguments and disagreements.

THE GAME IS CHANGING!  With the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), Hyper-Convergence, the “Goldilocks Zone” and Network Virtualisation, you are seeing the rise of the “Super Administrator” – the one person who has the skills that span every silo.  That individual can lay cables, install hardware, configure a router or switch, install a hypervisor, configure directory services, build a VM, configure Windows Server, carve a LUN, zone fiber-channel, configure application firewall rules, manage a hybrid cloud, troubleshoot VDI and present a NAS share. Read More »

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