Ivan Pepelnjak

Author Archives: Ivan Pepelnjak

Pick a Topic for NSX Deep Dive Software Gone Wild Episode

Dmitri Kalintsev, one of the networking guys from VMware NSX team, has kindly agreed to do an NSX technical deep dive Software Gone Wild episode… and you have the opportunity to tell him what you’d like to hear. It’s as easy as writing a comment, and we’ll pick one of the most popular topics.

Do keep in mind that we plan to do a technical deep dive, and it has to fit within an hour or so or nobody will ever listen to it, so please keep your suggestions focused. “Troubleshooting NSX”, “NSX Design”, or “NSX versus ACI ” is not what we’re looking for ;)

Palo Alto Virtual Firewalls on Software Gone Wild

One of the interesting challenges in the Software-Defined Data Center world is the integration of network and security services with the compute infrastructure and network virtualization. Palo Alto claims to have tightly integrated their firewalls with VMware NSX and numerous cloud orchestration platforms - it was time to figure out how that’s done, so we decided to go on a field trip into the scary world of security.

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Latency: the Killer of Spread-Out Application Stack Ideas

A few months ago I described how bandwidth limitations shatter the dreams of spread-out application stacks with elements residing (or being dynamically migrated) between data centers. Today let’s focus on bandwidth’s ugly cousin: latency.

TL&DR Summary: Spreading the server components of an application across multiple locations (multiple data centers or hybrid cloud deployments) can easily result in dismal performance even when there’s plenty of bandwidth available.

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How Does MPLS-TE Interact with QoS

MPLS Traffic Engineer is sometimes promoted as a QoS solution (it seems bandwidth calendaring is a permanent obsession of some networking engineers, and OpenFlow is no more a solution than MPLS-TE was ;), but in reality it’s pretty hard to make the two work together seamlessly (just ask anyone who had to implement auto-bandwidth MPLS-TE in a large network).

Not surprisingly, we addressed the topic during our MPLS Tech Talk.

BGP Deaggregation with Conditional Route Injection

Whenever there’s a weird request to do something totally illogical with BGP, there’s a knob in Cisco IOS to get it done (and increase the heartburn of CCIE candidates). Conditional Route Injection (the ability to insert more specific prefixes into BGP without having them in the IP routing table) is one of them.

Keep in mind: being a MacGyver is not a long-term strategy. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

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That’s It for 2014

A dozen webinars, tens of public presentations and on-site workshops, numerous highly interesting ExpertExpress sessions, three books and over 250 blog posts. That should be enough for a year; it’s time to go offline.

I hope your company has a New Year freeze (and not let’s upgrade everything over New Year policy), so you’ll be able to do the same and enjoy some time during the rest of the year with your loved ones. See you in 2015!

VRF Lite on Nexus 5600

One of the networking engineers using my ExpertExpress to validate their network design had an interesting problem: he was building a multi-tenant VLAN-based private cloud architecture with each tenant having multiple subnets, and wanted to route within the tenant network as close to the VMs as possible (in the ToR switch).

He was using Nexus 5600 as the ToR switch, and although there’s conflicting information on the number of VRFs supported by that switch (verified topology: 25 VRFs, verified maximum: 1000 VRFs, configuration guide: 64 VRFs), he thought 25 VRFs (tenant routing domains) might be enough.

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Performance Tests and Out-of-Box Performance

Simonp made a perfectly valid point in a comment to my latest OVS blog post:

Obviously the page you're referring to is a quick-and-dirty benchmark. If you wanted the optimal numbers, you would have to tune quite a few parameters just like for hardware benchmarks (sysctl kernel parameters, Jumbo frames, ...).

While he’s absolutely right, this is not the performance data a typical user should be looking for.

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Hotel California Effects of Public Clouds

In his The Case for Hybrids blog post Mat Mathews described the Hotel California effect of public clouds as: “One of the most oft mentioned issues with public cloud is the difficulty in getting out.” Once you start relying on cloud provider APIs to provide DNS, load balancing, CDN, content hosting, security groups, and a plethora of other services, it’s impossible to get out.

Interestingly, the side effects of public cloud deployments extend into the realm of application programming, as I was surprised to find out during one of my Expert Express engagements.

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