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Posts Tagged ‘Cisco C-Series’

Book Review: IPv6 for Enterprise Networks

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I just finished reading “IPv6 for Enterprise Networks”, published by Cisco Press.   All I can say is that unless you have the hots for IP protocol discussions, this book will not rock your world.   It’s not that it is a poorly written book, it’s just that I don’t find IPv6 to be exciting.   That being said, the authors do a very good job in covering the material.

As is typical of tech books, we start with the obligatory history lesson.  Why should we transition to IPv6?  Simple, we are running out of IPv4 addresses.  Lesson over.  There is more to it in the book, but let’s be real here:  The largest driver is the lack of IPv4 addresses.

With that chapter out of the way, the book covers the basics of network design.  This is a chapter that appears in a number of Cisco Press books.  It’s a good reinforcement of network design principles that we should all do well to remember.

Now that two basic chapters are out of the way, the authors delve into IPv6 itself, how it is different from IPv4, and how to get from here to there.  This is where the book shines.  It’s a great reference for making the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

As part of making the transition, the authors discuss the pros/cons of many of the various migration strategies such as running a dual protocol stack, running a hybrid network, and more as they relate to the different types of networks (campus, branch, data center, and so on).  It should be noted that each network type has its own chapter.  There is simply too much information that the readers need to be aware of that it would be a disservice to cover them together.

The authors simply could have ended the book there, but that would have made for incomplete book in my opinion.  Thankfully, they kept going and included a chapter on managing an IPv6 network.  While much remains the same, there are differences that may arise that readers should be aware of.  In some cases, it’s just how to enable the monitoring/reporting capabilities of the equipment.  In other cases, IPv6 just handles things differently.

As with most Cisco books, there are plenty of screen shots, command lines, and such given that the reader should be able to copy from to get from point A to point B.  I like this.  Far too many books out there have too few examples.

The last item covered turns out to be my favorite: setting up a lab.  While it is not a monkey script type of chapter (type this, click this) it still gives the reader enough detailed information to be successful.  Personally, I think that if you need a monkey script, then maybe this is one area where you shouldn’t be working.  What really surprised me in this chapter was the inclusion of screenshots from an ESXi host showing how to configure it for IPv6.  Talk about timely and relevant.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes.  While not exactly a page turner for most people (again, we are talking IPv6 here), it is a very good reference guide for making the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

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Some Photos of the Cisco C-210 M2

August 25, 2010 1 comment

I posted yesterday some thoughts on the C-210.  Here are a few photos to help visualize what I was referring to.

This first photo is of the C-210 internals.  Notice the size of the fans and the wasted space between the fans and the motherboard.  Click on the photos for larger images.

Photo of Cisco C-210 M2 server insides

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This next photo attempts to show the depth differences between an HP DL380 and a C-210.  It also shows how long the entire server/cable arm combo is.   It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, but the HP cable arm is just a hair longer than the cable mgmt tray on the right.  The C-210’s cable arms sticks out past the cable tray a few inches.

C-Series and HP cable arms in use.

This last photo is a closeup (sort of) of the C-210 cable arm.  Ignore the purple cables.

Larger image of C-210 cable arm in use

Categories: cisco Tags: ,

A Major Milestone Has Been Reached!!

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

We did it, and we did it early.  We completed the move of our existing VMware infrastructure onto the Cisco UCS platform.    At the same time, we also moved from ESX 3.5 to vSphere.  All-in-all, everything is pretty much working.  The only outstanding issue we haven’t resolved yet involves Microsoft NLB and our Exchange CAS/HUB/OWA servers.  NLB just doesn’t want to play nice and we don’t know if the issue is related more to vSphere, UCS, or something else entirely different.

Next up: SQL Server clusters, P2Vs, and other bare metal workloads.

SQL Server migrations have already started and are going well.  We have a few more clusters to build and that should be that for SQL.

P2Vs present a small challenge.  A minor annoyance that we will have to live with is an issue with VMware Converter.  Specifically, we’ve run into a problem with resizing disks during the P2V process.  The process fails about 2% into the conversion with an “Unknown Error”.  It seems a number of people have also run into this problem and the workaround provided by VMware in KB1004588 (and others) is to P2V as-is and then run the guest through Converter again to resize the disks.  This is going to cause us some scheduling headaches, but we’ll get through it.   Without knowing the cause, I can’t narrow it down to being vSphere or UCS related.  All I can say is that it does not happen when I P2V to my ESX 3.5 hosts.  Alas, they are HP servers.

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We’ve gone all-in with Cisco and purchased a number of the C-Series servers, recently deploying a few C-210 M2 servers to get our feet wet.  Interesting design choices to say the least.  I will say that they are not bad, but they are not great either.   My gold standard is the HP DL380 server line and as compared to the DL380, the C-210 needs a bit more work.  For starters, the default drive controller is SATA, not SAS.  I’m sorry, but I have a hard time feeling comfortable with SATA drives deployed in servers.  SAS drives typically come with a 3yr warranty; SATA drives typically have a 1yr warranty.  For some drive manufacturers, this stems from the fact that their SAS drives are designed for 24/7/365 use, but their SATA drives are not.

Hot Plug fans?  Nope..These guys are hard-wired, and big.   Overall length of the server is a bit of a stretch too, literally.   We use the extended width/depth HP server cabinets and these servers just fit.   I think the length issue stems from the size of the fans (they are big and deep) and some dead space in the case.  The cable arm also sticks out a bit more than I expected.  With a few design modifications, the C-210 M2 could shrink three, maybe four inches in length.

I’ll post some updates as we get more experience with the C-Series.