Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 12 December 2014 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:
Practical demonstration of the differences between Docker & Vagrant
After the post was published, Twitter user Mark Snow (@highspeedsnow) wondered whether I’d tried Vagrant. Vagrant has been on my “must get round to trying” list, so despite the fact that pretty much any solution will be “too much solution” for the specific use case I had in mind, it seems churlish not to try out another solution that I can, in time, most likely reject as pointless.
A great free font from the League suitable for headlines, titles and front pages of documents.
A new classic, this is a bold, modern, geometric sans-serif that has no problem kicking its enemies in the chest.
Definitely one to have in your toolbox.
Because there is always something to look up this official Wikipedia App for the iPhone will replace a couple of other apps
Official Wikipedia App for iOS. Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia containing more than 32 million articles in 280 languages, and is the most comprehensive and widely used reference work humans have ever compiled. The app has been rewritten from scratch and is better than ever before.
You can’t beat Wikipedia for basic reference information, especially on networking technolgies that aren’t in the core of my expertise.
Ethan Banks is talking about the constant stream of requests we get from companies who expect, or even demand, that we promote their product on our websites.
Packet Pushers won’t engage in these sorts of marketing tactics. Why? We have an implicit agreement with our audience to be honest with them about what they are getting. Sponsored content is clearly marked as such, and always will be. What’s more, Packet Pushers won’t allow just any old content to hit our feeds just because someone is willing to throw a few dollars at us. We screen companies. Every sponsored podcast is based on an outline we helped put together, trying to make sure it’s going to be interesting to the audience. Every sponsored blog post hits our eyes before it hits the feed. We make recommendations about how to improve vendor content so that a reader will get a benefit from it.
What makes this offensive is that these people don’t respect or even comprehend the time and commitment is takes to blog, podcast or write consistently. Its not wrong for them to make money being in marketing, its not wrong for their targets to get paid as well.
Alcatel Lucent announced their software router this week. Unlike companies like Cisco and Juniper, they make it plain that SDN/NFV is big deal
It is not an understatement to say SDN and NFV are a seismic shift in the way service providers think about their networks. Indeed, SDN and the virtualization of network functions will be seen as one of the industry’s defining moments – it will change the way our customers design and build their networks, and the way they offer services.
I took a look at their VSR and it’s shipping today with 160Gbps of performance out of the box. Wonder what the licensing costs ? Is it prohibitive like Cisco & Juniper ?
The Internet Architecture Board is stating that new protocols should have encryption enabled by default.
Newly designed protocols should prefer encryption to cleartext operation. There may be exceptions to this default, but it is important to recognize that protocols do not operate in isolation. Information leaked by one protocol can be made part of a more substantial body of information by cross-correlation of traffic observation. There are protocols which may as a result require encryption on the Internet even when it would not be a requirement for that protocol operating in isolation.
The impact on network security over time is enormous. There are lobby groups ( like the so-called Open Web Alliance ) that oppose encryption because it reduces the effectivenes of load balancers, NAT gateways, Fancy QoS and more.
Terminal / Monospaced Font that I will be using for a while.
I went through the current Menlo drop from Apple, and re-created the same changes I had made to create Mensch. With so much more control over the shapes, it came out a lot better. It might not be obvious on a non-retina screen at a small point size, but it’s a pretty clear improvement on the new screens. I’m still calling it Mensch, but it’s a Mensch 2.0.
I like Menlo but not enough to use it. Maybe this will be a better version.
Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 22 September 2014 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:
Cisco ACI Infrastructure Design Guide for brief introduction the product and some of the basic design considerations.
As always, Cisco documentation is well done. Still searching for more so I can understand the product better but I’m not yet convinced that ACI is a worthwhile compared to other products. It is still in beta and maybe it will make up some ground in the future.
Microsoft will save $150MM out of $200MM projected spend by using Azure as their private cloud.
Ormond said that there was a “bow wave” of servers that would be coming to the end of their lives in the next five years, and that replacing them as-is with their workloads left in place would cost on the order of $200 million and would fill the coffers of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and the other companies that Microsoft buys servers from. Ormond estimated that if the targets to move to the cloud could be hit over the next five years, Microsoft could eliminate about $150 million in that capital expense for servers.
Microsoft is moving all of its internal IT to Azure and this article talks about a 5 year migration plan to complete. Fascinating. Just not that this would not be a ‘public’ cloud but a private cloud.
I’ve been recommending to customers to diversity their IT strategy into different product types to take advantage of cost saving. Garter is recommending a mix of Agile and ITIL:
Bimodal IT also implies that hybrid IT is really simply the peaceful coexistence of non-cloud and cloud application components — not the idea that it’s one set of management tools that sit on top of all environments. VMware admins are obviously attracted to the ability to extend their existing tools and processes to the cloud (whether service provider IaaS or an internal private cloud), but that’s not necessarily the right thing to do. You might run traditional IT both in non-cloud and cloud modes and want hybrid tooling for both — but you should not do that for traditional-IT and agile-IT modes (regardless of whether it’s non-cloud or cloud), but instead use best-of-breed tooling for each mode.
Hard to see a typical enterprise being able to run two sets of processes but the struggle to make ITIL work couldn’t get any worse.
It is time for TFTP to pass from common use. And Lindsay Hill highlights the bad parts of TFTP, especially how slow it is and then highlights some replacements.
I love being reminded that technology has changed almost every aspect of our lives for hundreds and hundreds of years. This article looks smaller innovations that made larger cultural changes possible.
High-quality horse stirrups were a byproduct of such improved smelting techniques which; as Paolo Squatriti, a medieval historian at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, points out, enabled a mounted rider to whack his opponents over the head without falling out of the saddle. “This made the ‘knight in shining armor’ possible,” he said.
Warning: This link goes to Forbes.com which has a lot of popups and is somewhat spammy. The article is good though which is quite rare on Forbes.
Cisco claims that shipping fast and often is a customer value. Except it usually bugs, failures, constant time lost to service outages and much more pain besides for the customer. But does it also create a culture inside of Cisco of low quality development when the customers can find the bugs ?
Our customers expect the same quality, simplicity and customer experience from Invicta as they’ve become accustomed to with other Cisco products, so we decided to put a temporary hold on shipments while we address those deployment and experience issues We expect to resume shipments later this fiscal quarter (Aug-Oct).®
If I’m buying from a startup or buying cheap then “buggy & incomplete” is fine but paying Cisco a premium price to fix those bugs ? Thats not a good deal for the customer – what do you think ?
Ubiquity Networks is expanding from WiFi into LAN with its low cost, low frills but full features. 24 x 1GbE ports for $399 is a great deal for branch offices and SME applications.
Ubiquity have built a good reputation at what they do and seem to be gaining traction in their target market.
A signficant part of the Internet broke again:
A routing leak this morning by VolumeDrive was passed on to the global Internet by Atrato causing disruptions to traffic in places as far-flung from the USA as Pakistan and Bulgaria.
The tragedy of the commons continues. A simple mistake impacted a large number of people but no one is to blame.
Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 13 August 2014 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:
Vendors like to supply prepared quotes for journalists to use in articles. Journalists like to use them since they fluff out a rewrite of press release quite nicely. So when Chris Mellor at The Register writes “quote cannery” this, I laughed hard.
Concerning today’s news, HGST’s Ulrich Hansen, SSD product marketing VP, visited the quote cannery and fished this out
Free ebook from Juniper on OpenContrail. I read it and its highly recommended to get an understanding on the approach to SDN that Contrail takes. Contrail chose to use MPLS, BGP and GRE as the protocol foundation and this difference can be off-putting since it is so different to other approaches.
This Day One book provides an overview of OpenContrail, the Juniper technology that sits at the intersection of networking and open source orchestration projects.OpenContrail is an Apache 2.0-licensed project that is built using standards-based protocols and provides all the necessary components for network virtualization – SDN controller, virtual router, analytics engine, and published northbound APIs.This Day One book reprints one of the key documents for OpenContrail, the overview of its architecture. Network engineers can now understand how to leverage these emerging technologies, and developers can begin creating flexible network applications.The next decade begins here.
Juniper Day One series are always very good and lots of free books on Juniper technology to review.
Kevein Dooley thinks that CCIE Program has been devalued. He makes good points that I find difficult to argue with. The days of complex internetworks that used routing protocols are over because it’s cheaper and more reliable to buy more bandwidth, more routers or simply rebuild the network. Using nasty router hacks is not a good solution when working in low cost, high reliability systems.
The problem with the CCIE certification is that, despite the difficulty of the exam, the credential has been massively devalued in the last decade because too many people who really aren’t qualified have somehow managed to pass the exam, and because being able to pass an exam is not the same thing as having skill in the field.
On the other hand, knowing the deep details does provide a useful understanding. The old CCIE program had a component that encouraged personal skills, work habits and good communication but these values were lost when Cisco Learning took over the program. I feel that the underlying purpose and goals of CCIE training has changed over time and the Cisco Learning division haven’t kept the program relevant to modern networking. Of course, the definition of modern networking is no longer clear with private cloud and SDN disrupting the future landscape so there may be no clear answer.
Mellanox contributes MLAG code to the Open Ethernet program
“Mellanox continues to drive the community effort to enable Open Ethernet switch solutions for cloud, web 2.0 and enterprise data centers,” said Amit Katz, senior director of Ethernet switch product marketing at Mellanox Technologies. “The open source MLAG release allows companies to improve their switch software stack by offering their customers enhanced network resiliency and better utilization of their network.”
On the other hand, Mellanox is an Israeli company and with the recent outbreak of one sided violence in Gaza, I’m reluctant to consider this a good thing. I won’t be recommending Mellanox unless some form of peace is found in Gaza. (both sides need to find peace and funding the national economies of both sides will prolong the violence).
Interesting project to add L3 routing and other services to Neutron and Nova in OpenStack
A set of Layer 3 plus Services for OpenStack.
Loved this: “However, we found we were able to say something more clearly and with a bevy of excellent synonyms by using the Sanskrit word अखण्ड (akhaNDa) which has such lovely connotations as “non-stop,” “undivided,” “entire,” “whole,” and most importantly, “not broken.”” and “Akanda is in use at DreamHost for our OpenStack-based public cloud, DreamCompute. As we work on bringing Akanda to the community, we will be working on additional documentation, user guides, etc.”
Sometime ago, I linked to a presentation on using Fourier transfoms to look for syncrhonous patterns in logs from applications, servers and network devices. This blog posts responds that after testing the practical application of the idea is hard, probably too hard to be practical.
I studied physics in college, and I worked in computational research, so the Fourier Transform was a huge deal for me. In his talk, Noah gives some really interesting takes on the application of digital signal processing techniques to ops. I came home inspired by this talk and immediately started trying my hand at this stuff.
I was listed in this list of top 10 blogs. I agree with the list.
We’ve put together some recommendations for you. The list includes some of the most high-profile networking bloggers in the industry, including Greg Ferro, Ivan Pepelnjak, and Ethan Banks. Other big names include Lee Badman, Jason Edelman, Terry Slattery, and Ed Horley.
Very good article on the nature of open source and how small companies that develop software can be used by big companies.
Well, welcome to the modern world of open source, Gruman, where the vast majority of successful open source projects are exactly like this. Take a look at OpenStack, Linux, or any other commercially mainstream open source project. They’re all written by (wait for it!) companies — not for peace, love, and freedom, but for sales, market share, and customers.
The rise of open source businesses and software is a defining issue for all IT infrastructure since many cloud platforms use vast amounts of open source code, development platforms, languages and much more. You need to understand the open business model and how it changes the market.
Another day, more problems on the Internet but this time due to TCAM limitations in obslete Cisco routers. Looks liek Verizon made a mistake on their filtering which allowed 15000 extra routes into the global routing table.
Now that we know that there was indeed an increase in prefixes it is time to look into where these prefixes came from. Looking at the our data we quickly see that the new prefixes being announced at that time were almost all originated by the Verizon Autonomous systems 701 and 705. All of the new routing entries appear to be more specific announcements for their larger aggregate blocks. For example BGPmon detected 170 more specific /24 routes for the larger 188.8.131.52/16 block.
I want to highlight that the ISP are at fault for not replacing the obsolete equipment. Cisco is a victim of its success here and not the cause of the problem.
Cumulus Linux announces support for x86 platforms and this is a big deal.
Support for x86 CPU architectures, further simplifying application development and integration on networking devices — Dell S6000-ON, Penguin Computing Arctica 4806XP
The Ethernet Alliance is an influencing organisation for the IEEE. It brings mostly complete standars to the IEEE for approval (which begs the questions why have the IEEE at all ? )
The justification for the 25GbE CFI is to form a study group to explore providing a single lane 25 Gigabit Ethernet (25GbE) specification for server interconnects to support server-ToR implementations based on the new 25GbE interface. This justification is based on the development of the underlying 4x25Gb/s architecture that supports 100GbE. Those familiar with the development of 40GbE may recall that 40GbE was identified as the next server rate back in 2007 by the then IEEE 802.3 Higher Speed Study Group. While 40GbE has found much market success in data center networking, the 2007 forecast that the market would be shipping 40GbE based servers in volume by 2014 was optimistic, which is leading to speculation of the validity of the entire conceived rate scheme from the 40GbE / 100GbE project. It should be pointed out that such debate now has the benefit of hindsight of what happened, as opposed to the situation at the time of the Higher Speed Study Group, which was required to make the best decisions it could, based on the information it had at the time.
John D’Ambrosia is one the lead influencers on Ethernet standards and talk about the 25GbE and that the forward IEEE roadmap may need to be changed. Worth reading to see that the IEEE is no longer in control of Ethernet and that the roadmap will change.
Collection of useful, relevant or just fun places on the Internets for 27 July 2014 and a bit commentary about what I’ve found interesting about them:
This article highlights that ISP investment in their networks has declined rapidly over the last few years.
It turns out that, as a percentage of the money they pull in, ISPs have generally spent less on infrastructure over time — from a high of 37 percent of revenue in some cases to a low of around 12 percent more recently.
If this level of under-investment or profit taking becomes an established trend then its unclear what the future of the Internet would be .
Full credit to Cisco who have released their H.264 code and licenses to the community under BSD licensing scheme.
The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard–H.264–requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.
We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.
This is an enormous contribution to the community and Firefox has already announced that they will be including this version in the near future.
Chris Swan takes a look at the very high prices for network traffic in AWS cloud
Let’s take a practical (and personal) example. At the start of last year the Raspberry Pi images for OpenELEC that I was hosting on my Pi Chimney site were being downloaded around 35,000 times a month generating 3.5TB of network traffic.
When evaluating public cloud it is critical to analyse the cost of the network traffic, especially Internet traffic. The most common customer trap is that incoming traffic is free making it simple to onboard but a corresponding increase in per-byte costs for traffic exiting the network making it very expensive to leave (and specifically Amazon AWS is very expensive). Chris lays out the costs and highlights how expensive it is to run a website.
The Arista-led 25 Gigabit standard gets legs at the IEEE. Here is restricted access website where the “open standard” goes into secret mode where IEEE members develop a closed standard for you to use. It’s called “consensus” apparently.
It took a consortium of Arista, Google, Facebook and Microsoft in the market to force the IEEE act correctly and developed standards that the market needs. Shame. We need better standards bodies instead of the current foolishness.
Carl does it old-style using IRB to bridge VXLAN-VLAN for a home lab. Highlights that new technology is a hack of older technology (RFC1925 Rule 11).
Thats not all though. Bridging… whoa thats old too! I love talking to guys that sat the CCIE R/S way back when (two-day lab) and listening to them talk about bridging IPX and Appletalk! Another quick wiki search shows an RFC (1286) from 1991! My duct tape and bailing wire VxLAN gateway, while a bit (lot) kludgy, is not much different from a software or hardware bridge (it’s just not actually participating as a VTEP like a real gateway would), and at the end of the day it’s just a fancy bridge.
Nice collection and screen captures of fonts for use at the CLI / Programming. My current preferred font is Adobe Source Code Pro (free and open) from Sourceforge
Choosing a font to use in your editor is a very important step in your workflow that many developers don’t think twice about. Small things like the difference between 0 vs o or l vs 1 and large things like the readability of the font is key to your productivity and strain on your eyes.
Graphic showing the 85% of large companies intend to deploy SDN by 2016 based on research from Infonetics.
Confirms and aligns with other surveys that I have performed.