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Updating your Cisco Small Business Router Firmware

October 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm PST

Hello all,

Hope you all are enjoying a productive week. This week I thought it would be prudent to talk about upgrading router (+switch and wireless access point) firmware. The firmware is software that is embedded on the router. This firmware is normally updated to include new features and enhancements to the device. All of our firmware upgrades are FREE.

So take a look at a quick Knowledge Base article (based in our fabulous support forum) on upgrading the firmware on the new RV130 and RV130W: https://supportforums.cisco.com/document/12318721/firmwarelanguage-upgrade-rv130-and-rv130w-using-web-interface.

You will need to download the firmware to your computer and connect an ethernet cable from computer to your router.

Side note: We have an option, yes there is another way. Check out this blog on FindIt.

Make it great rest of the week.

Marc

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MDS 9700 Scale Out and Scale Up

This is the final part on the High Performance Data Center Design. We will look at how high performance, high availability and flexibility allows customers to scale up or scale out over time without any disruption to the existing infrastructure.  MDS 9710 capabilities are field proved with the wide adoption and steep ramp within first year of the introduction. Some of the customer use cases regarding MDS 9710 are detailed here. Furthermore Cisco has not only established itself as a strong player in the SAN space with so many industry’s first innovations like VSAN, IVR, FCoE, Unified Ports that we introduced in last 12 years, but also has the leading market share in SAN.

Before we look at some architecture examples lets start with basic tenants any director class switch should support when it coms to scalability and supporting future customer needs

  • Design should be flexible to Scale Up (increase performance) or Scale Out (add more port)
  • The process should not be disruptive to the current installation for cabling, performance impact or downtime
  • The design principals like oversubscription ratio, latency, throughput predictability (as an example from host edge to core) shouldn’t be compromised at port level and fabric level

Lets take a scale out example, where customer wants to increase 16G ports down the road. For this example I have used a core edge design with 4 Edge MDS 9710 and 2 Core MDS 9710. There are 768 hosts at 8Gbps and 640 hosts running at 16Gbps connected to 4 edge MDS 9710 with total of 16 Tbps connectivity. With 8:1 oversubscription ratio from edge to core design requires 2 Tbps edge to core connectivity. The 2 core systems are connected to edge and targets using 128 target ports running at 16Gbps in each direction. The picture below shows the connectivity.

Edge Core Design Day 1

Down the road data center requires 188 more ports running at 16G. These 188 ports are added to the new edge director (or open slots in the existing directors) which is then connected to the core switches with 24 additional edge to core connections. This is repeated with 24 additional 16G targets ports. The fact that this scale up is not disruptive to existing infrastructure is extremely important. In any of the scale out or scale up cases there is minimal impact, if any, on existing chassis layout, data path, cabling, throughput, latency. As an example if customer doesn’t want to string additional cables between the core and edge directors then they can upgrade to higher speed cards (32G FC or 40G FCoE with BiDi ) and get double the bandwidth on the on the existing cable plant.

Edge Core Design Scale UP

Lets look at another example where customer wants to scale up (i.e. increase the performance of the connections). Lets use a edge core edge design for this example. There are 6144 hosts running at 8Gbps distributed over 10 edge MDS 9710s resulting in a total of 49 Tbps edge bandwidth. Lets assume that this data center is using a oversubscription ratio of 16:1 from edge into the core. To satisfy that requirement administrator designed DC with 2 core switches 192 ports each running at 3Tbps. Lets assume at initial design customer connected 768 Storage Ports running at 8G.

Edge Core Design Day1

 

Few years down the road customer may wants to add additional 6,144 8G ports  and keep the same oversubscription ratios. This has to be implemented in non disruptive manner, without any performance degradation on the existing infrastructure (either in throughput or in latency) and without any constraints regarding protocol, optics and connectivity. In this scenario the host edge connectivity doubles and the edge to core bandwidth increases to 98G. Data Center admin have multiple options for addressing the increase core bandwidth to 6 Tbps.  Data Center admin can choose to add more 16G ports (192 more ports to be precise) or preserve the cabling and use 32G connectivity for host edge to core and core to target edge connectivity on the same chassis. Data Center admin can as easily use the 40G FCoE at that time to meet the bandwidth needs in the core of the network without any forklift. Edge Core Edge Design Scale Out

Or on the other hand customer may wants to upgrade to 16G connectivity on hosts and follow the same oversubscription ratios. . For 16G connectivity the host edge bandwidth increases to 98G and data center administrator has the same flexibility regarding protocol, cabling and speeds.

Edge Core Edge Example 1 ScaleUP

For either option the disruption is minimal. In real life there will be mix of requirements on the same fabric some scale out and some scale up. In those circumstances data center admins have the same flexibility and options. With chassis life of more than a decade it allows customers to upgrade to higher speeds when they need to without disruption and with maximum flexibility. The figure below shows how easily customers can Scale UP or Scale Out.

 

Edge Core Edge Design Scale Out Scale Up

 

As these examples show Cisco MDS solution provides ability for customers to Scale Up or Scale out in flexible, non disruptive way.

“Good design doesn’t date. Bad design does.”
Paul Rand

 

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Next Generation Data Center Design With MDS 9700 – Part III

This week is exciting, had opportunity to sit on round table with Cisco’s largest customers on an open ended architecture discussion and their take on past, present and future. More on that some other time let’s pick up last critical aspect of High Performance Data Center design namely flexibility. Customers need flexibility to adapt to changing requirements over time as well as to support diverse requirements of their users. Flexibility is not just about protocol, although protocol is very important aspect, but it is also about making sure customers have choice to design, grow and adapt their DC according to their needs. As an example if customers want to utilize the time to market advantage and ubiquity of Ethernet they can by adopt FCoE.

Flexibility

Moreover flexibility has to be complemented by seamless integration where customers can not only mix and match the architectures/protocols/speeds but also evolve from one to other over time with minimal disruption and without forklift upgrades. Investment protection of more than a decade on Cisco director switches allows customer to move to higher speeds, or adopt new protocols using the existing chassis and fabric cards. Finally any solution should allow scalability over time with minimal disruptions and common management model. As an example on MDS 9710 or MDS 9706 customers can choose to use 2/4/8 G FC, 4/8/16G FC, 10G FC or 10G FCoE at each hop.

Multiprotocol Innovation

Let’s review each aspect of flexibility at a time.

 

Architecture:

Cisco SAN product family is designed to support Architecture flexibility. From smallest to  the largest customers and everything in-between.  Customers can grow from 12 16G ports to 48 ports on a single 9148S. They can grow from 48 16G Line Rate Ports to 192 16G Line Rate with MDS 9710 and upto 384 ports on MDS 9710. Finally having seamless FC and FCoE capability allows customers to use these directors as edge or core switches . With the industry leading scalability numbers, customers can scale up or scale out as per their needs. Two examples show how customers can use Director class switches (9513, 9506, 9710 or 9706) based Architecture for End of Row designs. Similarly customers can orchestrate Top of Rack designs using Nexus fixed family or MDS 9148S.

Examples of Edge Core Designs with MDS ToR and EoR

If they want to continue with FC for foreseeable future or have sizable FC infrastructure that they want to leverage (and have option to go to FCOE) then MDS serves their needs. Similarly they can support edge core designs, and edge core edge designs or even collapsed  cores if so desired.

 

FC Edge Core and Edge Core Edge

 

If customers need converged switch then Nexus 2K, 5K and 6K provides the flexibility, ability to collapse two networks, simplify management as shown in the picture below.

FEX and Nexus Edge Design Options

Speeds

Customers can mix and match the FC speeds 2G/4G/8G, 4G/8G/16G on the latest MDS 9148S, and MDS 9700 product family. With all the major optics supported, customers can pick and choose optics for the smallest distance to long distance CWDM and DWDM solutions in addition to SW, LW and ER optics choices. In addition MDS 9700 supports 10GE optics running 10G FC traffic for ease of implementing 10G DWDM solutions based on ubiquitous 10GE circuits.

Protocol

FC is a dominant protocol with DC but at the same time a lot of customers are adopting FCoE to improve ROI, simplify the network or simply to have higher speeds and agility. Irrespective of the needs and timeline MDS solution allows customer to adopt FCoE today or down the road without forklift upgrades on the existing MDS 9700 platforms while leveraging the existing FC install base.

FCoE Flexibility

The diagram above shows how customers can collapse LAN and SAN networks on the edge into one network. The advantage of FEX include reduced TCO, simplified operations (Parent switch provides a single point of management and policy enforcement and Plug-and-play management includes auto-configuration).

Another example to allow non transition less disruptive for customers Cisco has supported the BiDi optics on the Nexus product family. This allows customers to use the the same same OM2, OM3 and OM4 fabrics for 40G FCoE connectivity and still don;t have to rip and replace cabling plant.

BiDi Option

For customer who are not ready to converge networks but want to achieve faster time to market, higher performance, Ethernet scale economies can use separate LAN and SAN network and use FCoE for that dedicated SAN .

Evolution path from FC to FCoE

Coupled with broad Cisco product portfolio means that customers have the maximum flexibility to tune the architecture precisely to their needs. Cisco product portfolio is tightly integrated, all the SAN switches use same NxOS and DCNM provides seamless manageability across LAN, SAN, Converged infrastructure to Fabric Interconnects on UCS.

Broad Product Portfolio

From the last 3 blogs lets quickly capture what are the unique characteristics of MDS 9700 that allows for High Performance Scalable Data Center Design.

24 Tbps Switching capacity, line rate 16g FC ports, No Oversubscription, local switching or bandwidth allocation.

Redundancy for every critical component in the chassis including Fabric Card. Data Resiliency with CRC check and Forward Error Correction. Multiple level of CRC checks, smaller failure domains.

In next few days lets put this all together to see how customers can deploy scalable networks that allow them to Scale Up or Scale Out in a non disruptive way.

To learn more about the MDS 9148S please join us for a webinar.

“In business, words are words; explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality.”

Harold S. Geneen

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A Partner Experience with the new Cisco WAP371 802.11ac Wireless Access Point

September 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm PST

Hello all,

Hello all, I trust everyone’s week is going well. Today we get to hear from Michiel Beenen, the founder of TechConnect, based in the Netherlands. Michiel recently heard about the new Cisco WAP371 and wanted to see if this new 802.11ac wireless access point hit the mark. He has already deployed the WAP321 and WAP561, so the new WAP371 was peaking his interest. Here is what Michiel had to say:

“After many years of working with Cisco Aironet and Small Business devices, it was time for our company to start testing new access point models that would support Wi-Fi AC (higher speeds). But for many smaller companies and even for at home, Aironet products are just a bit to much and require way more knowledge than then you would simply need in a SMB/Home environment.

So after testing out the WAP321 and WAP561 last year we decided to buy a couple of Cisco WAP371 access points and so far the experience has been great. Installation was as easy as plugging it into your network, browsing to the IP of the access point and then following the Wizard.

The wizard will simply ask for a new admin password, Wi-Fi network names and security and if you want to setup a ‘cluster’ of WAP access points. A cluster can be very handy in a lot of cases, when you have more than one access point, a cluster takes care of a lot of things like roaming between access points and automatically updating the most important settings to each access point within a cluster (things like SSID and other settings will be automatically synced between all devices).

After the wizard is finished you get back into the graphical user interface and from there you can basically do whatever you want. Adjust settings like QoS, Radio channels, VLAN but also Guest support (with or without a Portal).

So far we have been testing with multiple iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Macbooks plus some Airplay speakers and it all seems to work perfectly fine.

Speed-wise we have reached speeds of up to 870Mbps so far over AC Wi-Fi and up to 250mMbps on the 2.4GHz band.

All in all, we are very satisfied with this product and happy that Cisco is coming up with products like this for the Small Business and Home users.”

More about TechConnect:  TechConnect started in 1997, from the melting pot of several successful tech community web sites. Through the years, it has evolved into an internet company whose focus lies on technology solutions, gaming, music and online advertising.  In the beginning, TechConnect was about the passion for technology, and the drive to making dreams come true.

TechConnect’s strength lies in the unique blend of skills and knowledge brought about by the varied and international nature of its employees. Hailing from across Europe, and from all walks of life, TechConnect employees are the lifeblood and heartbeat of the company, with their ideas, varied life experience and professional training. TechConnect helps small and medium sized companies in the Netherlands and Belgium with IT solutions and web services.

Michiel Beenen is the Founder and Managing Director of TechConnect. Internet entrepreneur and online gaming enthusiast, Michiel started the online community (GameConnect) through a combination of his passion for bringing friends together. Michiel has worked on many projects on the cutting edge of online and offline technology, and each has allowed him to build an unparalleled amount of personal connections at all levels of the advertising and gaming worlds, and he loves nothing more than creating new opportunities and projects driven by passion and technical aptitude.

 Thank you to Michiel for taking the time out to pen this up for us. Make it a great rest of the week.

Marc

techconnectsittard

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Prepare for Data Breaches! They Will Happen … to Anyone

September 15, 2014 at 5:05 am PST

Do you feel that you’ve been hearing a lot about data breaches lately? You are right! Take a look at the chart below. There is plenty of time left in September, but the data breach calendar is already filled with victim names. And August? I don’t even have enough space to put down all the victim names.

If anyone believes that if we do a great job, we can fully guard our data and valuable information assets against attacks and breaches, now it’s time to think again. The reality is, data breaches can happen to anyone. They are happening everywhere from household names, to lesser-known businesses or organizations, and  to the mighty government of the United States. The question is no longer “if”, it is “when”.

However, this does not mean that we will just give up. On the contrary, we need new thinking. And get prepared. We need to be prepared before breaches take place to minimize their chances to succeed. We need to be prepared during breaches to detect and stop them. And we need to be prepared to rapidly apply mitigations after breaches. We cannot totally eliminate these risks, but we can control and minimize them. Read More »

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