Posts Tagged ‘CCNP’

There has been some slight confusion and ambiguity around the “single-connection” configuration statement provided by Cisco switches and routers, including SAN MDS switches. As of this writing, Cisco Nexus 9000 NXOS switches on 7.0.3.I5.1 code do not support single-connection in their tacacs host configuration; however, certain MDS switches do. In either case, if you do find yourself wondering here for the answer, let me elaborate for you.

The purpose of single-connection is to multiplex all of your TACACS authentication requests using a single TCP oriented connection from the switch to the TACACS server. Using tac_plus, an open source TACACS server, you can absolutely set the single-connection bit from say, a Cisco 9706 MDS switch; however, upon packet analysis of any TACACS authentication requests you may discover the single-connection bit is set to 0.

Refer to draft-grant-tacacs-02 and scroll to the FLAGS section for an explanation of where you will, and should, see the single-connection bit set in the TACACS flag. Basically, you’ll only ever find the bit set in the initial setup of the connection so both the TACACS server and the client agree on single-connection TCP. Thus, instead of each and every TACACS request coming through as a unique TCP connection (essentially having to use multiple sockets, sockets being the 4-tuple of SRC IP, DST IP, SRC port, and DST port) the TACACS query and response messages are just carried over the single TCP connection.

If your system supports this, its worth attempting to see if it works as it can save some resources; however, your mileage may vary.


It is a common mistake to assume X number of ports in an etherchannel equates to the common port speed * X; however, this is grossly incorrect and I’ll attempt to explain this behavior to you in layman terms

First, you should ALWAYS combine etherchannel bonds in even numbers (2, 4, 6, or 8). Why? It is the hashing algorithm used to determine how to load balance across the Etherchannel, more to come on how that works.

Second, you need to examine the traffic patterns on your network. If you have a model where your servers live in the “core” of your office and you have access switches connecting back to the core through etherchannel, you’re likely to have a lot of different source addresses (IP and MAC address) going to a common destination address (IP and MAC address). This is especially true of a backup server solution pulling backups for all your computers in the network or for users sending their default gateway traffic to a router which has a L3 port-channel configured from the core switch, which is a common network pattern you’ll find today. Finally, you can have server-to-server traffic patterns, where the source and destination IP addresses remain constant; however, the servers are probably utilizing numerous source and destination TCP/UDP ports; thus, the Etherchannel carrying this traffic needs to be adjusted. What about if the both models are going across the same Etherchannel (clients to the server and server-to-server) and you can’t build a separate etherchannel? The only recommendation here is to examine your traffic carefully, figure out what is more effective for your organization, we won’t get into that here.

Third, you need to understand what load balancing algorithms are available to you. However, take notice, this largely depends on the equipment you’re using. If your organization, like one I have worked inside, has decided that using 3650/3750 devices as a “core” to their network, you’re limited to the basic; however, if your organization uses true core switches (4500, 6500, 6800) you have all the options available to you. I will list the options available in ALL models below

  • src-ip – Source IP address only
  • dst-ip – Destination IP address only
  • src-dst-ip – Source and destination IP address only (XOR)
  • src-mac – Source mac address only
  • dst-mac – Destination mac address only
  • src-dst-mac – Source and Destination mac address only (XOR)

Now, here is what you’ll find available on true core switch models, in addition to the above:

  • src-port – Source port only
  • dst-port – Destination port only
  • src-dst-port – Source and Destination port only (XOR)
  • src-dst-mixed-ip-port – Source and destination IP along with the Source and Destination ports
  • src-mixed-ip-port – Source IP address and port
  • dst-mixed-ip-port – Destination IP address and port

The above commands all depend on what you’re running in your infrastructure, hardware and code level. It pays to put in the appropriate devices according to their duties. If you’re using devices like a 3560/3750 as your “core” you could be out of luck considering the few options available to you with one exception, you can look at installed a 10GB module in your switch and running Etherchannel 10GbE. This WILL NOT fix the load balancing issue but it will provide you the increased bandwidth to get you through until you’re capable of installing the appropriate hardware to support your needs This is given you’re using fiber for Inter-switch links and it supports 10GbE across the distances you’re looking to span.

Understanding your traffic patterns will be a process; however, one I think a lot of you forget is about the L3 Etherchannel you could be using between your core switch and your router. Think about this, the switch resolves the next-hop default gatway and this NEVER changes; thus, destination traffic address is always the same; thus, if you want to see if you’re able to utilize that Etherchannel more appropriately, set your etherchannel to hash based on source mac address towards the router.

I won’t let this get too long, I’ll follow up with some nice diagrams later.


Much like on firewalls you can create object groups in Nexus, which you can utilize when you’re implementing ACLs


object-group ip address {OBJECTNAME}
{subnet/mask}
{subnet/mask}
{subnet/mask}...
exit

ip access-list {ACL_NAME} permit ip addrgroup {OBJECTNAME} [destination]

Makes like simple, huh? What about showing the access-list that has been configured with an object group? Well, under the show access-lists summary you won’t see this, you’ll need to “expand”

show access-lists {ACL_NAME} expanded


Why do VTP in the data center? I have absolutely no explanation for this, it is generally just a bad idea to use VTP to begin with. Perhaps “easy” is one argument, but look at the problems you face with it:

  • Rogue switch with higher revision can screw the network
  • ON some IOS versions, if not all, the VLAN configuration doesn’t reside in the startup-config
  • Rogue switch can be used to gather VLAN information on the network, helping form an inside attack

In a data center you expect a highly available, reliable, and secure computing environment, this is something VTP simply doesn’t offer for a network in the data center. Look at the Nexus lineup, VTP is a feature which is disabled by default! What a great concept, finally! I’ll go ahead and just say it, if you’re using VTP in the data center, you’re just being lazy.


Want to know what subnets are being discovered/learned off a specific interface? The the show ip cef [interface]

wan-gw1#show ip cef ser2/0
0.0.0.0/0
nexthop 10.129.23.65 Serial2/0
10.16.0.0/12
nexthop 10.129.23.65 Serial2/0
10.32.0.0/16
nexthop 10.129.23.65 Serial2/0
.....Lines omitted for brevity

Just that simple, just remember the purpose of CEF, if you forgot, read: Cisco IP CEF Overview


Let’s just get down to business, we all use it but few of us understand what any of it means. The documentation is a little, well, complicated for some people so I aim to give you a better understanding of the Cisco configuration register, also known as the config register or config-reg. Read the rest of this entry »


Yup, they have something similar now, here is the skinny:


archive
path flash1:
maximum 14

Now, before you make a change, issue this command:


configure terminal revert timer <1-120> <--- in minutes

Go ahead and make your changes, if you get disconnected, it will rollback the configuration in the amount of time you selected.

If the configuration works and you want to commit the changes:


configure confirm

That's all folks, a "commit confirmed" for Cisco IOS.


I have seen a lot of these courses go up online and you find people flocking to them for this super easy way into a big salary IT networking job overnight. I don’t believe one can go from the skills of a CCNA to a CCNP in X number of weeks. The vast difference between the skills you’ll need in the CCNP is so far from the CCNA concept it isn’t funny. In fact, I have long said I would love to see Frame Relay disappear in favor of configuring for more real world scenarios like: MPLS and Metro-E. However, they keep churning out Frame Relay information because it is easy to learn. Perhaps this is the reason why we have so many white board interviews that can last hours upon hours because we’re churning out CCNA/P certified engineers with little to no real world experience. I believe in the long term approach by gaining valuable work experience and studying along the way. If you’re looking to get ahead you should also purchase lab equipment and learn at home when you can, nothing at all replaces learning the hard way by trying to build it yourself and test all kinds of scenarios. If you’re looking for a quick way to get certified without experience these classes will help you get there, just don’t expect to do that well in white board interviews. If you’re a seasoned vet and just want to make sure you pass the first time because you’re a busy IT professional, these are good too.


I see a lot of confusion about the Type-4 LSA and what it does. This confusion is high in the CCNA world because little is explained about it and one might think it is useless; however, this is valuable when you’re learning or doing route redistributing into OSPF using External type-2 redistributed routes with multple ASBRs redistributing the same external routes. Read more… Read the rest of this entry »


Spanning-tree is the red headed step child of networking and I firmly believe it is not spanning-trees fault, I blame ignorance of the engineer. Spanning-tree is a tool and like any tool it is typically designed with a specific purpose; however, like most tools in life, you can apply the tool against something else not intended to get desired results. The ignorance people have for spanning-tree causes a lot of issues on networks I have had to resolve in the past and they were relatively easy to resolve. I will explain the single most forgotten configuration parameter: bridge priority: Read the rest of this entry »