Latest Posts

Best of Breed

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 »

A simple start to project management

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.

project management board

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 »

Checkpoint CPU optimizations

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 – enabling a few things on b5/c5/k series

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 »

Troubleshooting ARP/IGMP/Router CPU

The Issue

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 »

Some PHP SNMP scripting

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 »

Portable home lab virtualization server + gaming

Portable Options

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.

asrockm8portableserver

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 »

Why NetDevOps/NetOps will become important for Network Administrators

dev ops codingBeing 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 »

What does a Network Administrator do?

The Network Administrator

I wanted to share what a network administrator’s daily job duties, functions, and tasks may entail on a daily basis. For those new out there to the realm of IT, a network administrator typically interacts with the hardware/software components that transfer data to and from devices over a physical distance through some type of medium. Some of these devices include: personal computers, laptops, tablets, servers, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, wireless access points, and any other devices that rely on transmitting data. The components that are typically managed daily by a network administrator are switches, routers, wireless access points, DHCP/DNS servers, IP address provisioning, documenting/diagramming the network, monitoring bandwidth usage, and maintaining copper/fiber cable plants. Continue reading »

Checkpoint VPN MEP by default…

I started having issues that required the use of deploying another checkpoint VPN gateway. My team setup the new VM, installed Checkpoint Gaia, and completed the configuration for VPN. I created a new site in my windows checkpoint endpoint security client that pointed to the new DNS entry and off I went. I started to have issues being able to connect to the new VPN gateway after a few days, so I enabled logging in the checkpoint endpoint client. I discovered that my client was trying to connect to one of my original VPN gateways even though I didn’t have the original gateway defined in the VPN client. After a quick call to support, we found out that MEP (multiple entry point) was enabled by default on checkpoint VPN gateway’s that used the same encryption domain. I had to disable MEP, but couldn’t find any settings in the GUI.  The following KB article gives directions on how to disable MEP:

https://supportcenter.checkpoint.com/supportcenter/portal?eventSubmit_doGoviewsolutiondetails=&solutionid=sk78180

MEP wasn’t the desired configuration, but I could see its benefit of being enabled for a redundant VPN gateway setup. I may enable MEP in the future. Only time will tell.

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