Sorting Out HCI
Today’s Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) vendors have some exciting product offerings. HCI ultimately provides scalable and flexible storage along with coupling computing resources. Recently at work, our KPI metrics started to show that some of our SAN hardware was having issues keeping up with production workload. So we ended up looking at a few HCI vendors; Simplivity, Nutanix, Pivot 3, and Vmware VSAN. After our initial investigations, it became clear that we weren’t quite ready to step into HCI just yet. Our project scope explicitly called for storage performance. At the current junction, additional compute wasn’t necessary and not budgeted for the project. Since HCI solutions couple storage with computing costs, we ending up investing in an all-flash SAN solution.
However, I was very intrigued with the different HCI platforms. What interested me the most was the ability to scale storage using x86 based systems. During our Nutanix research, I came across their community edition. I decided to load Nutanix CE on my home virtualization server and give it a whirl. There are lots of other great sites with information on how to get the initial setup going, so I’ll focus more on some of my specific findings during my home lab testing.
My previous IT roles have revolved around the administration of different technologies, specifically networking technologies. However, I’ve always had the willingness to perform any other job functions as needed. That’s lead me to learn all types of new things such as tower climbing, billing, phone support, inventory tracking, training, and the list goes on. At my current employment, I started as a network administrator. I moved into a network supervisor position within three years, then was asked to serve as an interim supervisor for another area through a merger. I’m now the supervisor of networking and infrastructure.
Transitioning from a network administrator to a supervisor isn’t always a breeze. When you’ve spent lots of time administering systems, you become ingrained into build, Continue reading »
I recently heard the term “best of breed” used when discussing network vendor selection. I was surprised by this answer because you don’t hear it too often. The more I thought about it, why not “best of breed” selection? My time as a network and infrastructure supervisor has taught me that a data center environment can be full of different compute and storage vendor products. Our SAN environment consists of Pure, Tegile, EMC, and even QNAP. Each product has its place. Pure serves the VDI environment, Tegile/EMC host production, and QNAP serves as a target for our Veeam backups. The team has also categorized and carved out each platform into tiered offerings.
On the other hand, network vendor selection tends to be biased. Typically you’ll see one network vendor selected for the edge/access, distribution, and core. However, you will find a different wireless vendor from time to time.
Many reasons exist
A compilation of the most popular
- We would like to interact with only one vendor for purchases and support.
- ABC vendor only works well with a particular management tool.
- I only know vendor ABC, and we don’t have time to learn something new.
- Did you hear that vendor ABC had an issue with XYZ product, I don’t want those problems.
- Everyone else uses vendor ABC.
- No other vendor supports my VOIP feature set.
- You can’t do XYZ well or at all with any other vendor product.
I will say that there are a few use cases that keep you tied Continue reading »
Being able to track your work efficiently is a very useful skill. For years I completed my work but rarely tracked my work in a project management professional (PMP) sort of way. Sure, I’ve done the weekly reports, sticky notes, Outlook tasks, and Outlook calendar block scheduling, which are all useful. However, simple project management skills help create a consistent and straightforward approach to managing time, resources, and tasks. I’ve seen organizations take an all guns blazing PM approach to a nothing at all approach. Sometimes you’ll see IT subject matter experts resist PM due to the “I’m too busy” or “It takes too much time” statements, but in reality, basic fundamental project management is not that difficult.
Here’s an example of how you can model behavior and start to implement some basic PM skills. I recently had a team reach out to discuss a new project that would require infrastructure resources. The team pulled up a draft diagram, and we began our dialog. I started to ask peering questions, and the diagram began to transform. Once I was comfortable with understanding what we were trying to accomplish, I shared my screen with the team and opened up OneNote. I began typing each major task that needed to be completed and here’s Continue reading »
We recently upgraded some of our WAN link bandwidth capacity from 1Gbps to 10Gbps to decrease transfer rates of backups across our two data centers. Traffic between each site encrypts with Checkpoint physical open appliances. The upgrade to the WAN links involved installing 10Gbps Intel NICs in our Checkpoint open servers. Once all the pieces were in place, I started to test everything using iperf3.
My initial iperf3 TCP results showed a maximum capacity of around 650Mbps. Something seemed to be limiting my ability to push more traffic across data centers. I started looking at the primary site Checkpoint VPN open server gateway. Using top in expert mode, I found that Continue reading »
Extreme Networks Switching Commands
Some of my most visited posts seem to be on brocade switching configuration/commands, so I decided to put together our standard list of commands for some Extreme Networks switches we use. These commands can be used on the B5, C5, K series, 7100 series, and S Series Extreme Networks switches. These switches run the EOS network operating system. Extreme networks product line moving forward will be purely EXOS (ExtremeXOS operating system). Therefore the following commands will become legacy, but are still very useful to know since some of the EOS product line hasn’t reached EOL. Some commands are self explanatory, but for other’s I added a short description. Continue reading »
We recently starting having issues with a building reporting that icmp stopped responding on a distribution router and some access switches behind the router. Some routing interfaces would respond, but the management VLAN interface wouldn’t. Further troubleshooting showed that the CPU processes on the router comprised of two Extreme Networks 7100 series switching running OSPF climbed up to 80/100% utilization. The “show logging buffer” revealed massive amounts of host-dos ARP attack events. The first thought was that a possible infected machine was creating an ARP storm. Continue reading »
I was digging through some of my old notes and came across a few SNMP networking PHP scripts that I put together for some Proxim AP-4000 access points. I put this script and many others together to help manage these standalone access points before there were wireless controllers. This particular PHP script sets up a while loop to modify some SNMP values to modify AP filters. The SNMP values within this script can be modified to be used in changing other values as well. Your setup will require PHP installed along with the SNMP package. Have fun. Continue reading »
I have a few PC’s that I use for testing, gaming, and other side projects. I wanted to pare down on a few systems, so I started looking into a portable gaming server VM home lab setup. I would like the system to be used for testing at least four different VM’s and also allow for some decent gaming performance utilizing VM hardware GPU pass-through.
I first pondered on the Intel NUC Skull Canyon. It’s pretty portable, tough looking, and powerful, but it lacked the ability to easily install an external GPU and the ability to install a hypervisor when it first launched. It’s also pretty expensive and I was trying to stay around the $500-$600 range. I started looking at a few mini ITX cases and remembered coming across the ASRock M8 Mini ITX design in the past. Continue reading »
Being a network administrator/engineer typically requires typing in ssh consoles to get things going. At some point, being able to automate tasks or being able to manipulate configurations based on a certain outcome will become necessary. I’ve gathered a few thoughts on real world views to network automation. The buzzword floating around for this topic is NetDevOps.
NetOps/NetDevOps(my definition): Network automation using code to run commands that would normally have to be typed in manually into each device. Example: Run code that can parse or write through configs, logs, and snmp values in order to take action on a specific outcome.
I won’t go into the details of the ins and outs of NetOps/NetDevOps and how to get started with coding. I’ve provided a list of links with information that other really smart people came up with. Continue reading »