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Monday, December 31, 2012

Difference between NX-OS and IOS

NX-OS is derived from the Cisco MDS (storage) switches and converted in order to make it work with Cisco Switching technology. It’s designed to support high performance and high realibility networks in the datacenter. It’s really based on MontaVista Software embedded Linux, which you can still discover when it boots up. NX-OS is still command line but some of the commands might be different comparing it to IOS.

One of the important differences is that NX-OS is driven by a license model whereas IOS just cared about which image you ran. in NX-OS all features are there, you just need to enable them and activate a valid license for it.

Interfaces behave a bit differently in NX-OS. In IOS you had a difference between FastEthernet, Ethernet and GigabitEthernet (even TenGigabitEthernet) interfaces. No more in NX-OS. You just have ‘Ethernet’ interfaces. Below you see a ‘show int brief’ on a Nexus 5000 series :

switch(config)# sh int brief

Ethernet      VLAN   Type Mode   Status  Reason  Speed     Port
Eth1/1        1      eth  access down    SFP validation failed       10G(D) --
Eth1/2        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/3        1      eth  access down    SFP validation failed       10G(D) --
Eth1/4        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/5        1      eth  access down    SFP validation failed       10G(D) --
Eth1/6        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/7        1      eth  access down    SFP validation failed       10G(D) --
Eth1/8        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/9        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/10       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/11       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/12       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/13       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/14       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/15       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/16       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/17       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/18       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/19       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth1/20       1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/1        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/2        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/3        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/4        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/5        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --
Eth2/6        1      eth  access down    SFP not inserted            10G(D) --

Notice all interfaces are marked ‘Ethx/x’.

There are some important points you need to know before deploying a Nexus in your switching environment :
  • SVI command-line interface (CLI) configuration and verification commands are not available until you enable the SVI feature with the feature interface-vlan command.
  • Tunnel interface command-line interface (CLI) configuration and verification commands are not available until you enable the Tunnel feature with the feature tunnel command.
  • Interfaces support stateful and stateless restarts after a supervisor switchover for high availability.
  • Only 802.1q trunks are supported, so the encapsulation command isn’t necessary when configuring a layer-2 switched trunk interface. (Cisco ISL is not supported)
  • An IP subnet mask can be applied using /xx or notation when configuring an IP address on a layer-3 interface. The IP subnet mask is displayed as /xx in the configuration and show interface command output regardless which configuration method is used.
  • The CLI syntax for specifying multiple interfaces is different in Cisco NX-OS Software. The range keyword required in Cisco IOS Software has been omitted from the syntax (IE: interface ethernet 1/1-2), and the interface range can be configured in ascending or descending order. Cisco IOS Software requires the interface range to be configured in ascending order.
  • When monitoring interface statistics with the show interface CLI command, a configurable load-interval can be configured per interface with the load-interval counters command to specify sampling rates for bit-rate and packet-rate statistics. The Cisco IOS Software supports the load-interval interface command, but doesn’t support multiple sampling rates.
  • I/O modules have a locator-LED (beacon) that allows remote-hands-support personnel to easily identify a specific port. The beacon light can be enabled per interface in interface configuration mode with thebeacon CLI command.
  • An administrator can configure port profiles as templates that can be applied to a large number of interfaces to simplify the CLI configuration process. Port profiles are “live” configuration templates, so modifications to a port profile are automatically applied to the associated interfaces. Cisco IOS uses port macros to simplify the CLI configuration process, but unlike Port Profiles they are applied one time.
  • The supervisor module out-of-band management ethernet port located on the supervisor module is configured with the interface mgmt 0 CLI command.
  • The supervisor module out-of-band Connectivity Management Processor (CMP) port is configured in the NX-OS with the interface cmp module <#> CLI command. The CMP port can also be configured by attaching to the CMP using the attach cmp CLI command.
  • The NX-OS support Nexus 2000 (models 2224TP, 2248TP, 2232PP) Fabric Extender (FEX) connectivity. The parent Nexus 7000 manages Nexus 2000’s software and CLI configuration, so the Nexus 7000 is a single managed entity for all connected Nexus 2000′s. Nexus 2000 host ports are configured using the interface ethernet CLI command. A Nexus 2000 can only be connected to the 10GE M1, M1-XL and F2 modules (Please read the documentation on to understand port connectivity restrictions.)
  • Proxy ARP is disabled on all interfaces by default.

The following list provides some additional facts about the Cisco NX-OS that should be helpful when configuring interfaces.

  • An interface can only be configured in 1 VDC at a time.
  • When assigning interfaces to a VDC on the 48 port SFP/UTP M1 series modules there are no restrictions.
  • When assigning interfaces to a VDC on the 32 port 10GE M1 series modules, all four interfaces in a port group (IE. group 1 =1,3,5,7 group 2 =2,4,6,8, etc.) must be assigned to the same VDC.
  • When assigning interfaces to a VDC on the 32 port 1/10GE F1 Series module, both ports in a port group (IE. 1-2, 3-4, etc.) must be assigned to the same VDC.
  • When assigning interfaces to a VDC on the 48 port 1/10GE F2 Series module, all four ports in a port group (IE. 1-4, 5-8, etc.) must be assigned to the same VDC.
  • When assigning interfaces to a VDC on a Nexus 2224TP, 2248TP, 2232PP all interfaces must belong to the same VDC.
  • One 10 GE interface per port group can be configured in dedicated mode using the rate-mode dedicated interface CLI command on the M1 series modules (The remaining three ports are disabled).
  • The mgmt 0 port is associated to all configured VDCs allowing TELNET/SSH and IP management applications such as SNMP to access the VDC directly. All mgmt 0 ports must be configured in the same IP subnet.
  • The default port type is configurable for L3 routed or L2 switched in the setup startup script. (L3 is the default port type prior to running the script)
  • A layer-2 switched trunk port sends and receives traffic for all VLANs by default (This is the same as Cisco IOS Software). Use the switchport trunk allowed vlan interface CLI command to specify the VLANs allowed on the trunk.
  • The clear counters interface ethernet CLI command resets the counters for a specific interface.
  • An interface configuration can be reset to its default values with the default interface global configuration command.
  • The 48 port UTP M1 series module supports Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) cable diagnostics. All 12 ports in a port group must be shutdown prior to running the test cable-diagnostics tdr interface ethernet CLI command. The results can be verified with the show interface ethernet cable-diagnostics-tdr command.

Another big thing in the NX-OS software is the virtualization methods. In the Nexus 7000 series you are able to create VDC’s. These VDC’s stand for Virtual Device Contexts and in fact duplicate a complete switch seperated from your other VDC’s. Talk about virtualization! Every VDC has it’s own CAM table, own VLAN’s, own everything! The hardware itself is the only shared part of this solution.

Next to VDC’s, the NX-OS software introduced VPC technology. This stands for Virtual Portchannel. Using this technology you can build high available, non-blocking designs using all Nexus switches.

FCIP, IFCP, iSCSI in IP Storage

IP storage: A review of iSCSI, FCIP, iFCP

By Jane Shurtleff

With the advent of new IP storage products and transport protocol standards�iSCSI, FCIP, and iFCP (due out in mid-2002)�end users now have more choices for accessing data over IP networks. With the emergence of these products and standards, the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) IP Storage Forum is rising to the challenge of educating end users on the differences among the three data transport protocols.

The SNIA IP Storage Forum is made up of more than 50 system, storage, networking, and application vendors. At the Storage Networking World conference last month, the IP Storage Forum demonstrated a number of storage applications running on iSCSI, FCIP, and iFCP. They also presented a tutorial on IP storage networking ("Clearing the Confusion: A Primer on Internet Protocol Storage") on which this article is based. The IP Storage Forum tutorial, as well as a variety of white papers on each of the IP storage networking technologies, can be found on the SNIA Website,
Benefits of IP storage
The benefits of IP storage networking have been well recognized within the network-attached storage (NAS) arena for moving files over IP-based LANs. IP storage leverages the large installed base of Ethernet-TCP/IP networks and enables storage to be accessed over LAN, MAN, or WAN environments, without needing to alter storage applications. It also lets IT managers use the existing Ethernet/IP knowledge base and management tools.

However, for block-level data that is stored as either direct-attached storage (DAS) or on a Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN), taking advantage of these benefits requires new transport protocols for moving that data over IP networks. The development of IP storage networking transport mechanisms for block-level storage enables IT managers to create and manage heterogeneous environments where DAS and Fibre Channel SANs can be integrated over a common IP network backbone. These environments will allow better utilization of storage resources and support existing storage applications such as backup and disaster recovery. New developments in IP storage networking (e.g., storage virtualization, which enables managers to create virtual storage pools among geographically dispersed DAS, NAS, and SAN data resources) have also fostered new applications to better manage these environments.
The three IP storage networking transports are significantly different, but they all provide a common function: transporting block-level storage over an IP network. All three transports enable end users to
  • Leverage existing storage devices (SCSI and Fibre Channel) and networking infrastructures (Gigabit Ethernet);
  • Maximize storage resources to be available to more applications;
  • Extend the geographical limitations of DAS and SAN access;
  • Use existing storage applications (backup, disaster recovery, and mirroring) without modification; and
  • Manage IP-based storage networks with existing tools and IT expertise.
The Internet Small Computer Systems Interface (iSCSI) protocol defines the rules and processes to transmit and receive block storage applications over TCP/IP networks by encapsulating SCSI commands into TCP and transporting them over the network via IP.
Fibre Channel over TCP/IP (FCIP) provides a mechanism to "tunnel" Fibre Channel over IP-based networks. This enables the interconnection of Fibre Channel SANs, with TCP/IP used as the underlying wide-area transport to provide congestion control and in-order delivery of data.

The Internet Fibre Channel Protocol (iFCP) supports Fibre Channel Layer 4 FCP over TCP/IP. It is a gateway-to-gateway protocol where TCP/IP switching and routing components complement and enhance, or replace, the Fibre Channel fabric.

Figure 1 illustrates the protocols supported at each end device and their underlying fabric services. The end device is either a host or a storage device, and the fabric services include routing, device discovery, management, authentication, and inter-switch communication.

When considering deployment of any of these IP storage networking mechanisms, you first need to consider your current storage environment and what you want to achieve. Here is a closer look at each of the three transports and how they are deployed.

Figure 1: End devices include hosts or target storage devices, and fabric services include routing, device discovery, management, authentication, and inter-switch communication.

The primary market driver for the development of the iSCSI protocol is to enable broader access of the large installed base of DAS over IP network infrastructures. By allowing greater access to DAS devices over IP networks, these storage resources can be maximized by any number of users or utilized by a variety of applications such as remote backup, disaster recovery, and storage virtualization. A secondary driver of iSCSI is to allow other SAN architectures such as Fibre Channel to be accessed from a wide variety of hosts across IP networks. iSCSI enables block-level storage to be accessed from Fibre Channel SANs using IP storage routers or switches, furthering its applicability as an IP-based storage transport protocol.

Between the standards efforts coming to completion and the SNIA IP Storage Forum's multi-vendor interoperability testing and demonstrations, iSCSI-compliant products will enable users to rapidly deploy IP SAN environments and immediately take advantage of the "plug-and-play" benefits of iSCSI. Many iSCSI products are already available, based on early versions of the specification.
How iSCSI works iSCSI defines the rules and processes to transmit and receive block storage applications over TCP/IP networks. At the physical layer, iSCSI supports a Gigabit Ethernet interface so that systems supporting iSCSI interfaces can be directly connected to standard Gigabit Ethernet switches and/or IP routers. The iSCSI protocol sits above the physical and data-link layers and interfaces to the operating system's standard SCSI Access Method command set. iSCSI enables SCSI-3 commands to be encapsulated in TCP/IP packets and delivered reliably over IP networks.

iSCSI can be supported over any physical media that supports TCP/IP as a transport, but today's iSCSI implementations are on Gigabit Ethernet. The iSCSI protocol runs on the host initiator and the receiving target device. iSCSI can run in software over a standard Gigabit Ethernet network interface card (NIC) or can be optimized in hardware for better performance on an iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA).
iSCSI also enables the access of block-level storage that resides on Fibre Channel SANs over an IP network via iSCSI-to-Fibre Channel gateways such as storage routers and switches.
Considerations for iSCSI deployment Initial iSCSI deployments are targeted at small to medium-sized businesses and departments or branch offices of larger enterprises that have not deployed Fibre Channel SANs. iSCSI is an affordable way to create IP SANs from a number of local or remote DAS devices. If there is Fibre Channel present, it is typically in a data center, which can be accessed by the iSCSI SANs (and vice versa) via iSCSI-to-Fibre Channel storage routers and switches.

Figure 2: iSCSI enables SCSI-3 commands to be encapsulated in TCP/IP packets and delivered reliably over IP networks.

iSCSI SANs can be deployed within LAN, MAN, or WAN environments, as shown in Figure 2. The important cost saving factor to realize in any iSCSI SAN deployment is that the network infrastructure supporting iSCSI SANs is standard Gigabit Ethernet switches and/or IP routers. You can use your existing network and IT support resources with an iSCSI deployment, reducing TCO.

The emerging FCIP protocol standard takes advantage of the installed base of Fibre Channel SANs, as shown in Figure 3, and the need to interconnect these SANs to support mission-critical environments. SANs provide the high performance and reliability required to support business continuance and disaster tolerance environments, including remote backup/archiving, high availability, remote mirroring, and centralized management.

Figure 3: FCIP enables multiple local Fibre Channel SANs to be interconnected, or remote SANs to be managed, over an IP network backbone.

For most of these applications, Fibre Channel SANs can be interconnected to meet the needs for remote storage access. However, by combining IP networking with SAN technology, you can extend the interconnectivity of SANs across much longer distances. FCIP provides the transport for traffic going between specific Fibre Channel SANs over LANs, MANs, and WANs. Like iSCSI, the FCIP protocol is also being developed within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IP Storage Working Group and is expected to be completed by mid-year.

How FCIP works FCIP solutions encapsulate Fibre Channel packets and transport them via TCP/IP, which enables applications that were developed to run over Fibre Channel SANs to be supported under FCIP. It also enables organizations to leverage their current IP infrastructure and management resources to interconnect and extend Fibre Channel SANs.

FCIP is a tunneling protocol that uses TCP/IP as the transport while keeping Fibre Channel services intact. FCIP relies on IP-based network services and on TCP/IP for congestion control and management. It also relies on both TCP/IP and Fibre Channel for data-error and data-loss recovery.

In FCIP, gateways are used to interconnect Fibre Channel SANs to the IP network and to set up connections between SANs, or between Fibre Channel devices and SANs. Like iSCSI, there are a number of "pre-standard" FCIP products on the market.
Considerations for FCIP deployment FCIP enables multiple local or remote Fibre Channel SANs to be interconnected over an IP network backbone. Since FCIP keeps Fibre Channel services intact, it enables you to maintain a high-performance SAN base, while transparently increasing the interconnectivity and data sharing between SANs on an IP network.

FCIP gateways enable you to connect to a standard Gigabit Ethernet/IP infrastructure, so you are able to cost-effectively set up and manage an IP-based SAN-to-SAN network backbone. FCIP SANs can be deployed over LANs, MANs, or WANs.

Like FCIP, the primary market drivers for iFCP are the large installed base of Fibre Channel devices, combined with the momentum toward IP storage networking. The emerging iFCP standard leverages the high performance and interoperability of the Fibre Channel protocol, while taking advantage of IP networks.

Figure 4: iFCP allows Fibre Channel SANs to be interconnected via TCP/IP networks of any distance, using standard Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers.

With iFCP, the lower-layer Fibre Channel transport is replaced with TCP/IP and Gigabit Ethernet. iFCP enables the rapid deployment of IP-based SANs linking to Fibre Channel devices or Fibre Channel SANs (see Figure 4). It allows you to implement enterprise-class solutions based on existing applications, which already communicate with the FCP layer. iFCP enables highly scalable implementations using existing Fibre Channel storage products and also allows multiple Fibre Channel SANs to be interconnected via TCP/IP networks of any distance, using standard Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers.

Enterprise-class solutions within a data center such as centralized backup, remote mirroring, storage management, and storage virtualization are supported within an iFCP environment due to the ability to create a scalable, peer-to-peer Fibre Channel/IP storage network.

How iFCP works Fibre Channel devices (e.g., switches, disk arrays, and HBAs) connect to an iFCP gateway or switch. Each Fibre Channel session is terminated at the local gateway and converted to a TCP/IP session via iFCP. A second gateway or switch receives the iFCP session and initiates a Fibre Channel session. In iFCP, TCP/IP switching and routing elements complement and enhance, or replace, Fibre Channel SAN fabric components. The protocol enables existing Fibre Channel storage devices or SANs to attach to an IP network. Sessions include device-to-device, device-to-SAN, and SAN-to-SAN communications.

Considerations for iFCP deployment Centralized consolidation of Fibre Channel SANs via iFCP is a consideration for those environments where there is a heavy investment in both Fibre Channel SANs and an enterprise-wide IP network backbone. The driving force behind iFCP is the expansion of IP-based network services to interconnect Fibre Channel devices and SANs. The increased port density and lower cost of Gigabit Ethernet switches vs. Fibre Channel switches enables these environments to scale and expand without increasing overall cost of ownership. Like FCIP, applications developed for Fibre Channel SAN environments are supported over iFCP. iFCP's peer-to-peer storage networking benefits enable broad access to, and consolidation of, storage resources to be used by a number of enterprise-class applications.

Even with the differences in transport mechanisms and deployment strategies, the one common factor that makes iSCSI, FCIP, and iFCP worth considering is the ease of deployment, management, and support associated with IP networking. All three transports will continue to be put through their paces with SNIA-supported interoperability testing and demonstrations.
 For more information, refer to the following white papers on the SNIA IP Storage Forum Website (
  • The Benefits of Internet Fibre Channel Protocol (iFCP) for Enterprise Storage Networks
  • The Emerging FCIP Standard for Storage Area Network Connectivity Across TCP/IP Networks
  • Basic Concepts of Internet SCSI.

Cisco OTV : Quick overview

When facing a multiple virtualized datacenter challenge, one easily would pick a layer2 backbone between datacenters because of Virtual Machines able to vMotion to another datacenter. Layer2 has not been developed to be scalable between datacenters however. One must realize that all Layer2 errors ocurring in on datacenter can easily spread over the Layer2 link towards all you DRP datacenters… This blogpost is about OTV, an answer to datacenter scalability while still having Layer2 connectivity between end devices.

Important OTV Features


  • Extends Layer 2 LANs over any network that supports IP
  • Designed to scale across multiple data centers


  • Supports transparent deployment over existing network without redesign
  • Requires minimal configuration commands (as few as four)
  • Provides single-touch site configuration for adding new data centers


  • Preserves existing Layer 3 failure boundaries
  • Provides automated multihoming
  • Includes built-in loop prevention


  • Optimizes available bandwidth, by using equal-cost multipathing and optimal multicast replication
So how does OTV work ? It will create a custom Layer2 network on top of you existing Layer3 network by encapsulation all Layer2 packets destined for another datacenter in Layer3 packets. Broadcasts, boot storms, spanning-tree loops will all be contained in one datacenter as these packets will be filtered or not forwarded at all. When your backbone consists of an MPLS network, you can achieve any-to-any Layer2 datacenter connectivity without any of the risks or downsides… pretty neat!
The requirements for OTV are pretty simple : you need a Nexus 7000 series with a M2 line card. The F1 and F2 line cards do not support the OTV feature. If your Nexus 7000 acts as the default gateway with VLAN SVI’s you will have to create a separate OTV VDC as SVI’s and OTV are not compatible.
You should also have a clear isolation model for your FHRP protocols. In a traditional Layer2 extension, you would have an FHRP active-standby scenario over multiple datacenters. This is still possible with OTV, however this might lead to inefficient use of bandwidth and latency. If you decide to have an active FHRP in each datacenter, you will need to manually isolate the FHRP to one datacenter.
I’m unsure where to place OTV in a solution perspective. It seems it’s more like a enterprise solution as it supports only 256 vlan’s at the moment. However with the VDC capability of the Nexus 7000 it’s possible to create up to 8 VDC’s per Nexus switch creating the opportunity to sent up to 2048 vlan’s over 8 different OTV networks. The design of such a solution seems a bit cumbersome to me.
Another limitation is the amount of OTV devices in one site, which is limited to 2, and total OTV sites in total, which is limited to 6.
If your a service provider and thinking about OTV as your datacenter interconnect protocol, think about your vlan strategy before deploying virtual environments and DRP datacenters.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Managed Services Continues to Grow

A new CompTIA study finds managed services is growing in channel density and generated revenue, reflecting an unrelenting growth curve that is projected to last through the end of the decade.

The Trends in Managed Services Operations study, released last week, finds one-half of solution providers say managed services is either exclusively or part of their product portfolio. The distribution is up 10 percent from the previous year’s study.

Additionally, managed services accounts for more than three-quarters of the revenue of 17 percent of solution providers, and two-thirds see managed services as an increasingly important revenue source. However, the CompTIA study finds relatively low numbers of “pure-play” managed services providers.

“The managed services model is becoming more commonly practiced across the channel and generating demand among end users,” said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “It’s a steadily growing market that is not going away despite some uncertainty.”

The uncertainty comes from the economics underlying the managed services model and the impact of cloud computing on their business model.

The CompTIA findings are consistent with experiences expressed by solution providers and research conducted by The 2112 Group, publisher of Channelnomics. The forthcoming 2112 Channel Revenue and Profit report finds managed services are the most lucrative revenue source for solution providers, making the model highly attractive to newcomers and those expanding their businesses.

Yet, as the CompTIA study confirmed, many solution providers are risk adverse when it comes to managed services. Investment costs and the protracted returns of the fractionalized revenue model – fees paid on a monthly schedule – create a significant barrier to entry for many solution providers.

Surprisingly, solution providers tell CompTIA of difficulties in hiring. Staffing is a significant problem in cloud computing as the number of qualified technicians, managers and salespeople are low while demand is high. Managed services, which is far more mature, is suffering from the same challenge, the CompTIA study finds.

The CompTIA study finds that many solution providers offering managed services are taking a wait-and-see approach to cloud computing; rather than adopting cloud products, they want to see how the market shakes out before making a commitment. While this appears prudent, it could prove fatal.

Research conducted by 2112 and CA Technologies finds the general IT marketplace is transitioning at an increasingly faster pace, led by enterprises seeking new capabilities, followed by service providers (telecom) and service providers seeking to capitalize on new opportunities. The IT channel, this study finds, is approximately three years behind the cloud computing adoption curve.

Managed services could prove a gateway to cloud computing, as the two models share many attributes. Already, managed services tools vendors, such as Level Platforms, Continuum and Kaseya, are offering extensions that allow MSPs to manage cloud assets. Additionally, many remote monitoring and management vendors are working with software vendors to extend cloud application delivery through MSPs.

The CompTIA study concludes the channel will not sit out the services era, as two-thirds will offer some form of managed service before the end of 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Non-definitive guide to the VMware vExpert Program, Tips, Tricks, How to become a vExpert !

by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)


What exactly is this whole VMware vExpert Program and what does it mean to me?! I know that’s what you are asking, because you probably did a search of “VMware vExpert” and turned up this VMware vExpert FAQ Page, or some of these great details outlined in the vExpert Directory.

But if you haven’t read those pages, or you want a little context on exactly what the VMware vExpert Program is all about, it is extremely similar to the acclaimed Microsoft MVP Program, the EMC Elect Program, and even the rarely heard of Citrix Technology Professionals Program! Essentially, this is an award based upon your contributions to society, community, industry. Going above and beyond simply ‘doing your job’. That about sums it up!

What makes the VMware vExpert Program so special

The VMware vExpert Community is very much just that, a community of likeminded professionals who come together for the betterment of society as a whole. It may all sound sort of altruistic but there is no more accurate depiction of the truth than that. The community is filled with people who work tirelessly to help others, who are seen as and sought after as the experts in the industry, many of which feel they don’t deserve the accolade and others who work so diligently to ensure that their impact on those around them eclipses any benefits that may be derived from the mention. The vExperts are the authors, bloggers, podcasters, troubleshooters, helpers, friends and family which makes VMware and Virtualization such a prevalent thread it has been transforming the industry ever since its inception.

A few of the benefits ‘granted’ to the members of the vExpert community are
  • Public recognition of the vExpert award with a certificate, gift, permission to display a logo, and inclusion in any public vExpert listing
  • Access to a private vExpert community of your peers
  • Free subscription to conference session materials on
  • Access to exclusive events, beta programs, software licenses, and other exclusive opportunities to participate in activities with VMware. vExperts do not represent VMware and are not required to participate in any activities

But those are just the *published* benefits, here are some of the unpublished yet fully realized by members of the vExpert Community
  • Priority Access to Private Betas
  • Blogger Early Access Programs (Including Deep Dive Webinars with Product Teams)
  • Influencer Day and Product Launch Briefings (Be on the inside track with the analysts and product launch embargoes)
  • Focus Groups with SMB and Partners
  • Special Opportunities presented by Partners such as Tintri, Symantec, EMC, Trainsignal, Tech Field Day, and more!
  • And a particular favorite of many, private vExpert only CTO Party and Briefings with the Office of the CTO and Steve Herrod at VMworld

But it doesn’t stop there. Some of the extra benefits realized not by all, but by many as the form of opportunities tend to be
  • Special Access to Guest Blogging spots on VMTN and other blogportunities
  • Community Roundtable Podcast speaking opportunities and special guest access
  • VMware Press opportunities to be a Tech Reviewer or Author (They’re always looking for talent, and check the vExpert pool often)
  • Other Press sources opportunities to write and review (Sybex, Video training houses, tech blogs, Windows IT Pro, Speaking Gigs, etc)
  • … The opportunities are seemingly endless!

What exactly are the paths to being a vExpert

Since this is the non-definitive guide after all I can only go on what we know from the 2012 Calendar year which could possibly change. But instituted as part of this cycle was a growth of the vExpert selection criteria to differing paths of Experts; Evangelist, Customer, Partner.


The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path.


The Customer Path is for internal evangelists and community leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have contributed to success stories, customer references, or public interviews and talks, or were active community contributors, such as VMUG leaders.

Partner (VMware Partner Network)

The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements.

What about the selection criteria for the vExpert Program

First let me start out by displaying what are a few caveats and considerations before I get too deeply into selection criteria.
  • The vExpert award is based on contributions during the past calendar year. Activities earlier than the past calendar year are not considered in the awards and should not be entered on the application form.
  • You can use the application form to apply for yourself, and an invitation form to invite others to apply. Everyone is strongly encouraged to apply.
  • The vExpert designation is not a popularity contest. Multiple invitations or recommendations are not considered as a criteria for the award, so please do not ask multiple people to fill in the invitation form for you.
  • The vExpert designation is given to an individual, not to a company. Your contributions could have been a part of your corporate activities, but your individual contribution should be clear and noted in your application.
  • Designation duration is for one year. Existing vExperts are not guaranteed a renewal and are evaluated each year along with other nominees. 
    A committee of VMware employees chooses the recipients of the vExpert designation.
  • You must be 18 years old to be eligible for the award.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the types of things they’d look for on the application in years gone past (for what would be the Evangelist path, As details of Customer/Partner and other evolutions for 2013 come about, I’ll be sure to discuss that as it comes…)

Contributions and Activities to materials such as:
  • Blogs (Blog posts you’ve written re:VMware/Virtualization, and contributions you’ve made to other blogs)
  • Other Writing (Newsletters, Books, Whitepapers, Articles, KB Articles, Tutorials, Guides, etc)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Videos, Interviews…)
  • Events and Speaking (Organized events, spoke at them, involvement, etc)
  • Online Communities (IT Forums you’ve contributed, participated in and been involved in)
  • Tools and Resources (Tools you’ve created, collected, contributed to, resources and guides you’ve created, collections, etc)
  • VMware Programs (Councils, Partnerships, Betas and other kinds of contributions)
  • Actions and activities having gone above and beyond (self explanatory)

For a little more context and details about what each of these lines might be asking for (this is dated) refer to this link for the 2011 Application

The vExpert Program seems amazing and I work in Virtualization but I’ll wait until next year

This is for all of you out there who have said that, or some similar version of events. I know who you are, I’ve spoken with you a number of times. You contribute greatly within the community, internally at a customer, or extensively through the Partner organization. You’re familiar with the vExpert program but you say ‘eh, I’ll deal with that next year’. If this were like a certification deciding to take action NEXT month or NEXT quarter wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this isn’t a Certification. The VMware vExpert Program is a year-long designation based upon your actions for a calendar year. So what does that mean? By not being nominated or choosing to self-nominate yourself when the window of nomination opens, you are costing yourself on the opportunity for an additional 365 days. It’s not to say that ALL those who submit are accepted because they are not, but if you’ve got what it takes and you’re a super star in your own right I cannot for the life of me justify you NOT applying.

Some people like to equate the VMware vExpert to a Certification and will often say “Eh, I’m not changing jobs any time soon, so I don’t see why I should do this”. Yes, certainly like getting a VCP won’t make much of a different to an admin for life but an active Administrator who becomes a vExpert can gain that insight, that knowledge (and getting license keys for testing and all the worlds access never hurts!)

So if I leave you with nothing, I’d like you to take to heart a few tidbits and action items and I’ll share my own experience here
  • It doesn’t hurt to apply or self-nominate into the program. If you’re unknown to the populace at large sometimes the first person to knock on that door and shine a light on your accomplishments has to be you, this isn’t about ego (Especially if you’ve accomplished all of the things you share in your contributions)
  • This is first and foremost a community, not a ‘corporate charter designated by a policy driven figurehead with stringent metrics to follow’ So what I mean there is, if things don’t go as fast as you want them to be, it is not as though this is an SLA you are paying for; But we’re all in this together so lending a helping hand is never discouraged
  • Get involved. Even if you’re objective is not to one day earn the designation of VMware vExpert. Our community is only as strong as its weakest link and as we all grow and become educated we continue to prosper together
  • Even if you sit silent on the sidelines, get to know the vExpert’s in the community and more precisely YOUR community. These people didn’t become vExperts for nothing, they’re glad to help, spread the tech love and cherish and grow those around them

A few words from a silent cat

I’ve been a vExpert for as long as there has been a program (Technically not the FIRST year because I missed the submission deadline, but I digress) and every single year I sit back and look at the nomination form which asks countless questions about what your contributions were for the previous calendar year. (Submissions are usually a few months into the year, so remembering back to December let alone the previous January can be a chore!) Every single year I look back and say, “Well, crap I don’t think I did anything, how can I justify or deserve being a vExpert for this year” and then it all starts to settle in. In past years there’d be a request for your TOP blog posts or TOP cited reference points (limited to 2 or 3) and at first I thought ‘how am I going to find even 1 let alone 3!’ which then turns into “Ooops…. I did 20-30 things in the previous year, how am I going to pare THAT down!” This is surprisingly a common problem within the vExpert Community of Evangelists. Before the VMware vExpert program came to be, and long before it had broken out the Evangelist designation…. We were all evangelists in our own right. It wasn’t our job to do this, we didn’t do this because we were trying to achieve or accomplish some targeted ‘goal’, We saw problems in the world which either needed to be solved or we solved and wanted to share our experiences. We saw great things happening and wanted to make sure everyone around us was able to benefit. We don’t do it because we have to, We even don’t exactly do it because we WANT to. We do it because we are vExperts. We are Evangelists. We are community. I think nothing speaks more truer to that than the VMware vExpert program having doubled year over year of number of members accepted into its ranks, and I know we look forward to that number continuing to grow with other passionate and dedicated individuals like ourselves to make Technology, this Community and the World a better place.


Mobily's Data Center won Uptime Institution certificate

The Mobily Dammam Data Centre has recently been awarded the prestigious Tier III Certification for Constructed Facilities (TCCF), by the Uptime Institute, making Mobily the first telecom operator in the region to achieve this standard.

The Building previously received the Tier III Certification for Design from the Uptime Institute in August 2010. The Uptime Institute is the sole organization worldwide for awarding the Uptime Standard Tier certification for Data Centers.

The rigorous testing required to achieve this standard demonstrates that the facility is designed and constructed to meet the target Tier objectives for Data Centre topology. The primary testing of all systems to ensure uninterrupted operation during planned or emergency equipment maintenance or repair was carried out over a period of many weeks in advance of the 4 day intensive test witnessed by Uptime Engineers.

Many other Mobily Facilities have attained the Uptime Certification for Design which will be followed by TCCF Certification.

"Mobily now has more Tier Certified Facilities than any other Company in the region with 28 existing sites throughout the Kingdom, and another 16 under development for completion in 2013, as part of our ongoing expansion strategy. These facilities are designed and built to meet the highest international standards of reliability and efficiency," said Mr. Eyas Al Hajery, Mobily's Chief Business Support Officer.

"These future facilities will increase Mobily's area capacity by 24,000 square meters and power capacity by 55,000kW."

Mr. Essam Al Jubair, Mobily's Senior Vice President Building And Facilities, added "Having achieved Tier Certification for Design, Mobily continued to invest considerable effort and financial resources to achieve the Constructed Facilities Certification, which verifies that the Dammam Data Centre will suffer no services interruptions for maintenance or emergency. Mobily Data Centers will therefore be concurrently maintainable and provide best in class services in the Kingdom. This is truly a significant accomplishment and a milestone in the Saudi Arabian Data Centre services industry."

Cisco outlines strategy for Saudi Arabia in FY13

Cisco Executives outlined the company's strategy for the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia in 2013 at a press conference held in Riyadh. Led by Cisco's Managing Director for Saudi Arabia, Dr Tarig Enaya.

The focus of the conference was on four key areas which will drive the business focus in 2013:

•Continued investment in Saudi Arabia and a key focus on recruiting and creating opportunities for Saudi nationals.
•Heightened focus on ICT training and CSR initiatives in the Kingdom - Cisco University Relations (UR) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities support the educational and training institutions to deliver high-caliber graduates.
•Supporting diversity initiatives through hiring a female workforce.
•Continued innovation in collaborative technology solutions.

Continued Investment and a Key Focus on Recruiting and Creating Opportunities for Saudi Nationals.

Cisco's operations in Saudi Arabia have grown considerably over the years and today represent a product and services business that is one of the 4 largest in Cisco's Emerging Theater within Europe, Middle East Africa and Russia (EMEAR).

Cisco is committed to collaborate with indigenous organizations and government in Saudi Arabia to help support plans for further accelerated development. In 2013 company's focus will continue to be is information communications technology (ICT) energy, the critical national infrastructure, education, healthcare, defense & national security and the service provider market.

Dr Tarig Enaya, Cisco's Managing Director in Saudi, commented, "Our goal is to drive customer and partner success by making it easier to do business with Cisco in Saudi Arabia. As we continue to align with the country agenda we will focus on creating job opportunities for the growing number of Saudi nationals who are entering the workforce today and in the future."

Dr Tarig also announced the launch of Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia 2013 which will replace the previous Cisco Expo programme. More than just a new name Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia, which will be held at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh on the 4th and 5th Febuary 2013, represents a whole new approach to help customers, partners and attendees gain knowledge and skills tailored to meet the ever-changing business's technical and networking needs.

At Cisco Connect Saudi Arabia 2013 Cisco and its Partners will bring attendees a combination of technical expertise and business solutions that are closely aligned to the Saudi Arabian market.

A Focus on ICT training and CSR initiatives in the Kingdom

2013 will also see Cisco continue to focus on ICT training initiatives for graduates and university students throughout the Kingdom. Waleed Mirza, Cisco's HR Lead for Saudi Arabia outlined several Cisco training programmes that have gained momentum and are growing from strength to strength.

The Cisco Co-op/Internship programme, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, reinforces e-learning projects in the Kingdom through enabling the trainees to complete all of their training courses online, participate in on-the-job training, and submit regular reporting results to programme managers.

Most of the universities in Saudi are currently participating in the programme. Up to 20 students are enrolled twice yearly, for a 1 year on-the-job training programme and up to 60% of the successful students who have completed the program have gone on to be hired either by Cisco, its customers or partners whilst the remaining 40% have gone on to peruse postgraduate studies.

Cisco's Fresh Graduate Programme gives graduates every year the opportunity to join Cisco and spend a year at Cisco's hub in Amsterdam training as a Systems Engineer or Account Managers. Once training is complete, graduates are hired by Cisco. Next year's intake will commence in July 2013 providing an on-the-job training opportunity for 6 graduates.

Additionally, Cisco offers another Fresh Graduate programme called the Associate Network Consulting Engineer (aNCE), which is a unique opportunity to be part of a highly collaborative, fast paced, global environment combining technical expertise, professional excellence and consulting skills to become a fully qualified Network Consulting Engineer (NCE). The selected students undertake off-site training in Portugal (3 weeks) and Belgium (2 weeks) plus in-country virtual learning.

In partnership with educational institutions, government administrations and community based organizations around the world, the Cisco Networking Academy delivers information and communications technology (ICT) education through effective in-classroom learning combined with innovative cloud-based curricula and tools to prepare students for careers in the 21st-century global economy.

The Cisco Networking Academy is present in 19 countries in the ME region with 70,000 students taking classes and 168,000 students since inception. Today, there are 88 academies in Saudia Arabia and 13,000 have been through the programme since the beginning of 2012.

"Our training initiatives demonstrate Cisco's commitment to developing the local ICT sector through transferring the global networking expertise and knowledge to the Kingdom and qualifying the Saudi youth to address the growing demand for the networking experts in the local market," stated Waleed Mirza.

Supporting Diversity Initiatives through Hiring a Female Workforce

Today, female presence in Cisco Saudi is about 15% of total headcount with the company offering a variety of flexible working conditions to suit their varying needs and provide adequate work-life balance. Cisco offers many diverse roles ranging from customer and partner facing to virtual and international roles.

Buthayna Al-Wehaibi, Network Consulting Engineer at Cisco, commented, "I am proud to be a living example of how Cisco is creating opportunities for women in the Saudi workforce. I have worked at Cisco for almost 6 years during which I achieved the Routing & Switching CCIE certificate and attended an 8-month training programme in Jordan and India."

Continued Innovation in Collaborative Technologies

2013 will see Cisco continue launch new solutions and developments, which make it easier for people to collaborate anywhere, anytime and on any device. These new solutions will be focused on unified communication, a next generation of online meetings, as well as social collaboration. Mohammed Alwosh Al-Sammarraie, Country Lead for Cisco Collaboration in Saudi Arabia, introduced Cisco WebEx Meetings Server, Cisco Jabber and the nest generation Cisco TelePresence.

Cisco WebEx Meetings Server which extends Cisco WebEx Web Conferencing to the Private Cloud is an offering designed for organizations in Saudi that require or desire a fully "on-premises" conferencing solution housed in their own data centers.

Cisco Jabber a soft phone with HD video and desktop sharing capabilities powered by Cisco Unified Communications Manager call-control. Delivering secure, reliable communications it enables users to dynamically form and participate in virtual communities providing a collaboration tool to help them work together on any device at any time.

The nest generation Cisco TelePresence for customers in Saudi will include a new three-screen immersive TelePresence platform. The Cisco TelePresence TX9000 Series delivers the highest quality video experience along with advanced collaboration capabilities, further building on Cisco's wide array of TelePresence endpoints for customers of all sizes. It integrates with collaboration tools like Cisco WebEx with One-Touch simplicity and is also designed to be interoperable with all standards-based endpoints from other vendors.

"We are introducing multiple enhancements to our collaboration portfolio, delivered via public, private or hybrid cloud models, in order to give our customers in Saudi more ways to access an expanded set of market leading offerings. These offerings include TelePresence, Web conferencing, unified communications (UC) and contact center solutions. Our new solutions are also in line with the latest IT industry trends around Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - which moves past the limitations of 'PC centric' communication," concluded Al-Sammarraie.   


STC showcases its experience with fiber optics in the FTTH MENA Conference

STC participated in the 4th annual FTTH MENA Conference which was held in Doha under the title "Future at the Speed of Light".

The conference included the participation of key representatives from ICT-QATAR, ITU, and FTTH Council MENA.

Eng. Naser Al Sadoon, General Manager of Marketing in STC's Home Sector, conveyed STC's whitepaper in the conference, through which he discussed effective tools that would promote the future direction to spreading FTTH technology across the region and the globe in general, taking into consideration the increasing demand for broadband services, and the transformation towards the "Smart Homes Concept", in addition to the benefits associated with spreading FTTH use in Saudi society. He also discussed the role that STC plays in providing high-speed Internet and multi-play services, in addition to the Interactive TV "Invision" service.

STC's whitepaper also talked about the modern fiber optics infrastructure that STC continues to work on, by replacing copper networks with the ultra-fast fiber optics. The paper further highlighted STC's success in linking more than 500,000 sites with its fiber optics network, with a reach exceeding 5,500 Km of FTTH spread out across the various regions in the Kingdom, in addition to providing FTTH services to more than 100,000 customers in the Kingdom and future plans to link 1.5 million sites by the end of 2014.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cisco Nexus 6000 Coming Soon and many more updates

Cisco Open Network Environment

This is something new Cisco is investing in. When you talk about what open networking is you will get different views of what it should be able to do. In fact Cisco is developing a framework of API’s or virtual overlays over the physical and virtual networking infrastructure so the infrastructure can be steered by software. It’s software defined networking or even application defined flows if you will.

Imagine a setup where we introduce a new metric on networking links like the effective COST of a link in Euros. Every morning a network admin receives prices and selects the cheapest link to use for that day. If you would want to automate that, you would have to contact Cisco and add a new request to IETF concerning a new networking metric. Afterwards routing protocols would have to change to take into account this new metric. However with ONE, it’s possible to create an algorithm yourself and instruct your devices via API’s to change it’s routing table… the sky is the limit. You could even construct your own encryption algorithm if you wanted to.

There are several flavors regarding Cisco ONE :

- Openflow which is agentbased
- onePK which is built on open API’s
- Overlay technologies such as the Nexus 1000v

Starting with the overlay space, this is an interesting concept. The introduction of VXLAN created virtual VLAN’s in fact which can be layered on top of your existing Layer2 or Layer3 network. This way you can create up to 16 Million VLAN’s! (16 000 000!). Your complete datacenter is the mobility domain. ESX hosts can be interconnected via L3 and your VXLAN’s will bridge them together (over L3 or L2).

In the future Cisco will develop a VXLAN gateway appliance able to bridge your non-virtual vlan’s over L3/L2 networks

Currently the onePK API is being developed with northbound API for app developers and southbound API towards the devices. The goal is to have a unified API for IOS/XE, NXOS, IOS XR,
… It can exist in the box or as an appliance. This will be available first quarter 2013. More available on

Nexus 2000/3000/5000 Roadmap

The Nexus 5010/5020 series will be end of sale at the end of this month. GoldCoast will be the last supported NXOS version for these hardware platforms.

The Nexus 5500 is the current platform to be focussing on with it’s unified ports, L3 daughtercard.
Keep in mind though that for MPLS, OTV or LISP you still need a Nexus 7000 L3 engine. The latest N55-D160-L3 daughtercard has larger table sizes for IPv4 hosts and multicast mac’s : from 8000 to 16000 and 4000 to 8000 entries.

I want to mention the NGA appliance. As the Nexus 5500 series do not support netflow in L3 mode, the NGA appliance was introduces. This appliance generates netflow packets. Input to the device
needs to be generated by a SPAN port on your Nexus 5500 switch.

The latest generation of Nexus 5500 series switches support 24 FEX. Keep in mind when using L3 mode, this amount drops to 8 with the old L3 card and 16 with the newer L3 daughtercard.
Cisco introduced the brand new 5596T Nexus switch, with 32 10Gbase-T interfaces and 16 SFP+ interfaces. These are all FCoE capable, 30m at release (safe harbor) and 100meters in later releases. If you plan to go 10Gbit all the way, this might be your cup of tea.

At the roadshow a new GEM was introduces, the 40Gbit QSFP+ GEM for Nexus 5500. In fact it’s not really a 40Gbit native GEM but allows you to save on optics and power consumption. It’s really 4 wires 10Gbit which are routed into QSFP+ cables individually. You still need to configure a portchannel of 4 interfaces …

Nexus 2000 Products updates

Next to an update to the Nexus 5500 series, the Nexus 2000 series are developed further. The new B22 Blade FEX are now supported in HP,Dell and Fujitsu bladecenters. Keep in mind you need a Nexus 5500 with NX5.2(1) in order to extend these. Nexus 7000 does not support the B22′s. Expect to see high density 10Gbit FEX with QSFP+ uplinks in order to have 40Gbit uplinks.

One of the announcements I was happy about is the pricing strategy around the Nexus 2000 series. Cisco decided to price them all the same at 9000 dollars list price.

The Nexus 2248TP-E-1GE was introduced as a next in line to the 2248TP-1GE. The key differences are optimized buffers and enhanced counters. An excellent improvement for bursty workloads such as video on demand or storage. As all Nexus 2000 series cost the same, just buy this one when you need new Nexus 2000 switches!

The Nexus 2232TE is a 1Gbit/10Gbit switch which is FCoE capable! It’s exactly the same price as the 2248TP but only has 32 10Gbit ports. So you price per port might increase. Otherwise this Nexus will introduce 10Gbit to the server. Another cool announcement if you ask me!

Nexus 6000 was mentioned, which will be a 4RU Nexus with higher port density and a 40gbit base. It should do L2/L3 out of the box. Expect to see this one arrive first halve of 2013. No extra information was provided however.

Last but not least, Cisco mentioned further development around the Nexus 3000. This ultralow latency switch now reached less than 300ns line rate switching and routing… even with ACL’s! That’s impressive … but wait … when going in warp mode (yeah, marketing!) with less than 4K IPv4 host entries you can achieve around 100ns… and when you go into warp mirroring mode you can achieve 50ns latency…. let me repeat that : less than 50ns latency. That’s really amazing.

However warp mirroring mode is about copying data from one port to one or multiple others, there is no real switching involved.

When you are challenged by choosing a stable NXOS, you should still go with 5.2(1)n1(1) as it’s still the long lived release.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

This story is how the Cisco CCIE program was born

Courtesy - Stuart Biggs

I'm Stuart Biggs, a Tech Lead for Cisco voice, video and software development. On July 19, 1993 I became the first human on the planet to become a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert by being awarded CCIE #1025 Routing and Switching.

Once upon a time... that's how a lot of stories start out - right? Well, this story is how the CCIE program was born:   On or about August of 1992, I went to Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan to train them on the AGS, AGS+ and MGS devices as well as IP and X.25. They were rolling out X.25 in a major way. I believe it was called the 'Compass' project. In any case, they wanted a bit more 'hands on' with the hardware as well as a better understanding of IP and X.25. So I flew to Dearborn. We had a week long session where I would draw a network architecture on a whiteboard, break a few cables (before they came in), mess with jumpers on some or all of the AGS+ boards - then give those folks all day to get things going so it matched the diagram on the whiteboard.  They apparently loved it - and I guess word filtered to upper management that they really liked this experience.

Previously, I had been involved in a 'high end' course at 3Com called '3-Wizard'. It was a good course. It dealt with protocol level details that basically related to their '3+Share' file/printer sharing software - somewhat like Novell did in those days. It was based on the Xerox set of protocols - not IP. The problem with that course was that everything they asked on the written could be gleaned from the course materials - and there was no lab. So in my opinion, it was a bit 'lightweight' in terms of content.
  So after my trip to Ford - probably around October of 1992, we put together a team with the sole goal of creating a 'base' of expertise on Cisco products who generally could maintain their own networks - or at least help us maintain them. Back in those days, we may have had up to 100 support engineers - but probably more like 60-80 or so. This was before any of the Cisco buildings along Tasman Drive were built - and even before the light-rail along that same road.  One of the goals of this team was to create a course that would focus on expertise on Cisco products in a real live environment. We wanted to fill in the gaps that the 3Com course left out. The written exam was an afterthought - just to set a bar for admission to the lab exam. Before I forget to mention this fact, the original name of the program was going to be 'Cisco Top Gun' - but as that famous Tom Cruise movie with the same name had recently come out, we figured there may be some legal issues in using that name - so we chose 'Cisco Certified Internet Expert'

 We created a lab - it was a bit adhoc - but matched the technology of the early 90's - FDDI, Ethernet, maybe a bit of X.25 as well as IBM SNA and 1 or 2 routing protocols, oh and I can't forget - Token ring. Those were the ingredients of the day.  So we created a written exam and used that as the 'filter' to folks going to the lab. The first person outside of Cisco to take the written was a guy named Terry Slattery. He's a very nice guy who till this day still holds his CCIE certification (#1026). I was the first lab proctor and messed with the cables, jumpers and all manner of things in order to break the lab setup for Terry. Back in those days, it was pretty easy to mess with a cable or fiddle with jumpers on the various boards or interface cards. So I drew a network on a whiteboard - much like the earlier days with Ford - as to how the network should work and walked out of the room. Terry quite handily sorted things out thus becoming the 2nd CCIE in the world - 1st outside of Cisco. I am amazed as to how well this program has grown. Next year - 2013 will be the 20th year of this program - and people still take notice when someone says they're a CCIE!
  Oh, and what is really amazing is that by some random chance, my employee ID # is the same as my CCIE # - 1025. Totally unplanned by the way. We decided to start CCIE numbers at 1024 (2 to the power of 10) and awarded that to the original lab - so I got 1025.  Team members:I did not do this myself. There were loads of other members that helped out. Some are still at Cisco, some are not - but here are the ones I can remember: John Bashinski, Joe Pinto, Brad Wright, Scott Edwards, Agnes Moran, Matt Burns and Lembit Marder. And others I apologize to for not mentioning...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mobily hosts largest O&M information security center

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) hosts the largest operations and management O&M) center of information security in the world to serve the business sector in collaboration with IBM, the global company.

Mobily is in the process of its final stages of launching the largest operations management center of information security in the world to serve the business sector (security operations center) according to IBM’s regulations.

 Mobily’a MD & CEO Khalid Al-Kaf said creating the operations management center of information security began immediately after the signing of the strategic agreement with (IBM), in a move that reflects both parties’ devotion to touch the needs of the business sector as well as the utmost importance of information security in the workflow within the business sector in various directions.

Mobily considers all investment opportunities that will ensure its sustainability in the provision of advanced services for the business sector at the short and long term, and reinforce its leadership and competitiveness, as well as generating a positive financial return that these investments will have on the company and its shareholders, he added.

Al-Kaf said: “The growth rate of Mobily’s business sector will continue to rise significantly and that is based on our data, which will enable us to achieve this goal.

Mobily and IBM signed a partnership agreement for five years last August enabling Mobily to provide comprehensive solutions to IT, as well as new and innovative services for the business sector. Mobily and IBM are investing in the development of IT services, such as information technology, archiving and retrieval information, in addition to providing cloud computing private services meeting all of the Saudi market’s requirements. The agreement will also give the opportunity to cooperate with IBM researches, in addition to strengthening IBM’s initiative for enhanced strategic geographic expansion to increase its presence in key markets.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How the Internet of Everything (IoE) Will Change the World…for the Better

Courtesy - Dave Evans 
As a futurist and technologist, I’m an optimist. I view technology through the lens of how it can help people.
From this perspective, there is no better time to be alive than now. That’s because we are entering an era where the Internet has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of everyone on our planet—from accelerating the discovery of cures for diseases, to understanding climate change, to enhancing the way companies do business, to making every day more enjoyable.
Already, the Internet has benefited many individuals, businesses, and countries by improving education through the democratization of information, allowing for economic growth through electronic commerce, and accelerating business innovation by enabling greater collaboration.
So what will the next decade of the Internet bring?

From the Internet of Things (IoT), where we are today, we are just beginning to enter a new realm: the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power, and greater sensing abilities. Add people and information into the mix and you get a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create unprecedented opportunities and give things that were silent a voice.
Cisco defines IoE as bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before—turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.
Within this definition, an important aspect of IoE (and how it differs from IoT) emerges—the concept of “network effects,” on which my Cisco IBSG colleague James Macaulay has done a lot of work.
As more things, people, and data become connected, the power of the Internet (essentially a network of networks) grows exponentially. This thinking (“Metcalfe’s law”) comes from Robert Metcalfe, well-known technologist and founder of 3Com, who stated that the value of a network increases proportionately to the square of the number of users. In essence, the power of the network is greater than the sum of its parts, making the Internet of Everything, incredibly powerful.
Given the tremendous anticipated growth of the Internet over the next 10 years, it is critical for business and government leaders, as well as citizens, to begin preparing for what is to come. Here are some questions to get you started:
  • How do I set priorities to match the opportunities that will exist in the connected world of IoE?
  • Given the impact the Internet already has had on my business, what happens when new categories of things are connected at exponential rates?
  • What are the potential benefits and risks of IoE for my business or government organization?
  • How should organizations be structured around information and processes?
  • How will governance, control, and responsibility change in an IoE world?
In my next blog, I will cover some of the ways IoE is already benefiting businesses, people, and governments, as well as how the Internet will be able to address some of humanity’s most pressing issues.
Let me know what you think. Is IoE just another buzzword, will it change the world, or is it somewhere in between?
You can also join the discussion at:
#IoE and #InternetofEverything

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

10 things to know about the Nexus 1000V

  1. At the command line, accessible by telnet or SSH, the Nexus 1000 switch feels just like any other Catalyst or Nexus chassis switch you’ve ever configured. Similarly, it can be managed and monitored via SNMP. Cisco provides SNMP MIBs to supplement these services.
  2. To the Nexus 1000V, participating vSphere servers (or hosts) appear as individual modules much like you would see in a Catalyst 6500 chassis. You will notice, however, that the module count and the virtual port counts associated with each module can scale up much, much higher than you would see in an isolated physical chassis.
  3. The Nexus 1000V was co-developed by Cisco and VMware and can be purchased from either company through resellers. It’s priced per physical CPU – essentially, based on the total count of CPU’s in each VEM (VSphere host)
  4. The Nexus 1000V Virtual Supervisor Module (VMS) plays much the same role in a Nexus 1000V environment as the Supervisor engine in a Nexus 7000 or Catalyst 6500 chassis. However, the 1000V Supervisor Engine is a Virtual Machine hosted on an ESX server. And, as is the case of a physical chassis, it can be implemented in a high availability design with a Standby Virtual Supervisor module existing on a separate ESx host
  5. When a VMware Administrator ties a VMware guest (virtual server) into the Nexus 1000V, a Virtual Ethernet Port is created and associated with that virtual server. That virtual ethernet port then stays with the virtual server even after the server is vmotion’d to another physical server, and is configurable just like a physical port
  6. When you hear about policies tied to Nexus 1000V virtual interfaces, these policies usually consist of one or more of the following attributes:, VLAN, Port Channels, Private VLAN, ACL, Port Security, Netflow, Rate Limiting, and QoS Marking
  7. Network admins are accustomed to creating port channels between network devices. Now they can create them between Nexus 1000V enabled servers and physical network devices using exactly the same commands, even on the server side
  8. Network admins can SPAN and even RSPAN traffic to a network analyzer to troubleshoot network issues down to the specific guest virtual port. This could be done before on the physical port of the ESX server but at the cost of having to filter this traffic to single out the guest(s) VM’s traffic
  9. In the past, server admins were worried about bottlenecks if they gave network admins access within their ESX hosts. This wasn’t necessarily the case since the network configuration tasks (i.e. VLAN, QoS, etc.) have always been required. Server admins are now dynamically presented with network configuration information through the single vSphere GUI using the vSphere/Cisco API
  10. vSphere vSwitches are local to each host as is the configuration on each switch. The distributed nature of the Nexus 1000v across all vSphere hosts now allows admins to configure VLAN’s (in addition to some of the newer Nexus 1000v features) once and have them available to all the hosts within vCenter.

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