David Varnum

Author Archives: David Varnum

Terraform an HA-VPN between GCP and Cisco

Doing Infrastucture-as-Code (IaC) with Ansible has given me a headache – so I’ve recently been playing around with Terraform as an alternative to Ansible for certain tasks that require Cloud IaaS interactions. The goal of this blog post is to build an HA-VPN solution between GCP and an on-premises Cisco IOS-XE device (CSR) using Terraform. […]

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Using Ansible and NetBox to deploy EVPN on Arista

Ansible, Nornir, and other automation frameworks are excellent for generating and deploying configurations in an automated fashion. In Ansible, you can run a playbook, loop through hosts in your inventory file, and deploy configurations with host-specific information by leveraging host_vars and group_vars. Unfortunately, as your automation environment starts to grow and become more critical, you’ll […]

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Applying Essentialism to certifications and skills development in the Tech Industry

We often compare ourselves to others around us. We are impressed with the skills others possess, the content others produce, the appearances others maintain, the successes others have achieved, the feats others have conquered. This constant comparison can lead to melancholic states of ambivalence, and sometimes depression due to the artificial expectations of who we […]

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Becoming an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

Architecting for the cloud is becoming a highly desired skill set. Working as a consultant, I’m often in situations where clients are overwhelmed with questions about the cloud. How do I migrate my applications? How do I secure everything? How does it integrate with LDAP and DNS? What’s the best way to connect to the […]

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7 Guiding Principles for Leading Data Center Networks

Whether you’re starting out on a fresh playing field or diving into a mud pool of decades-old complexity, designing and deploying a new or modernized data center is a rewarding endeavor; not just for the engineers and architects, but also for the businesses that reap the benefits of agility, scalability, and performance that come along with it.

And the first step on that road is to talk. The initial conversations with thought leaders, business strategists, and technical architects are the most pivotal in the discovery phase of any large project. It is at this phase that the box is forming, and questions must be asked outside of it to shape its dimensions. To transform the network, you must be prepared to ask challenging questions that drive conversations around open networking, automation, modularity, scalability, segmentation and re-usability. Before vendor selection, it is essential to compile a list of business and technical requirements founded upon a set of guiding principles.

Here are seven to keep in your pocket:
1. The network architecture should use standards-based protocols and services
2. The network should be serviceable without downtime
3. The network architecture should promote automation
4. The network should be consumable
5. Physical boundaries Continue reading

A minimalist approach to network architecture

Minimalism, as a current concept, is not just about owning fewer things, or eliminating distractions, or consuming only specific coffees sold in unlabeled packaging at chairless coffee shops. Minimalism is a philosophical force and practical approach to life, that when applied correctly, can bring peace, happiness, and enrichment to your way of living. How do these core virtues of minimalism apply to network design? Read on. (And don’t worry, you can keep all of your stuff, your color TV and cell phones, and your roomy house, too – we’re just talking about networks here.)

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who founded theminimalists.com, sacrificed their former careers to share the concept of minimalism all over the globe, helping more than 20 million people live more meaningful lives. They’ve grounded the concepts of minimalism into a practical and elegant foundation that fits nicely in a modern society. They defined what many believe to be the core virtues of minimalism, ideas to internalize on your journey through life. When it comes to network design, here are five core virtues that prove to be incredibly valuable:

• Reclaim your time
• Create more, consume less
• Contribute beyond yourself
• Experience Continue reading

Arista BGP EVPN – Overview and Concepts

Introduction Traditionally, Data Centers used lots of Layer 2 links that spanned entire racks, rows, cages, floors, for as far as the eye could see. These large L2 domains were not ideal for a data center, due to the slow convergence, unnecessary broadcasts, and difficulty in administering. To optimize the data center network, we needed […]

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Securing Bitcoins with TREZOR

TREZOR is a hard wallet for securely storing crypto assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Protection mechanisms like a mnemonic recovery seed, PIN, and encryption passphrase safeguard your assets (private keys) by requiring your physical interaction in order to make transactions. For those crypto noobies, I think it’s easiest to describe the TREZOR functionality […]

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Leveraging SD-WAN for Mergers & Acquisitions

A colleague recently asked me if SD-WAN could be leveraged to expedite network integration as a result of a merger or acquisition. His thoughts were that this could potentially provide a means to securely integration networks in a short amount of time.  At first I thought this made no sense — SD-WAN is not related to this challenge […]

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Issue deploying CSR on ESXi vSphere 6.5

I recently ran into a slight bump when deploying the Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000v (CSR) on ESXi vSphere 6.5.  The error message I received when trying to deploy the CSR OVA was: VALUE_ILLEGAL: Value “VMXNET3 virtio” of ResourceSubType element not found in [E1000, VmxNet2, VmxNet3]. I Googled this message and found nothing. Great, well […]

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OCSA Passed!

It’s official – I passed the ONF Certified SDN Associate exam. I’m OCSA #SDN10356! If you’re interested in obtaining this certificate, I recommend you read through my short blog series covering the resources necessary on the blueprint. ONF Certified SDN Associate (OCSA) – Part 1 ONF Certified SDN Associate (OCSA) – Part 2 ONF Certified […]

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ONF Certified SDN Associate (OCSA) – Part 5

The OCSA exam tests your understanding of components in an SDN framework, your ability to articulate the fundamental workings of networking and the OpenFlow protocol, as well as your knowledge of vendors, solutions and projects available in the SDN landscape. This is the last part in a series of posts that review the blueprint for […]

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