Backup Plan

Found this in a hotel tonight. Always good to have a backup plan

Posted in GNS3 WorkBench | Tagged

Why Easter doesn’t it fall at different times in different time zones

If Easter Sunday falls “on the first Sunday AFTER the first full moon after the vernal equinox”, why doesn’t it fall at different times in different time zones?  This year for example, tonight’s (Easter Saturday March 31 2018) full moon occurs after midnight in places between the International date line and the UTC+11 time zone. So according to the formula, Kiwi kids should have to wait another week before breaking open those chocolate eggs.

Well, it turns out that the formula is not set by the astronomical path of the moon, but by a bunch of men (I’ve no doubt women weren’t invited) who formulated the Ecclesiastical Lunar Calendar so long ago that it was before the split of the Gregorian and Julian calendars. (In 325 AD/CE in fact).

Which means today we actually have two Easters, one for each of the divergent calendars, even though both follow the same formula.

Anyway, in the said Ecclesiastical Lunar Calendar, the vernal equinox is always March 21, irrespective of the position of the earth in regard to its transit around the sun. And Easter is always the Sunday following the Pascal Full Moon. And for the calculation of Easter, the Pascal Full moon is defined as been the 14th day after the Ecclesiastical Lunar new moon – so we are back to the Ecclesiastical Lunar Calendar and its ancient origins.

Now it’s probably a good thing that there is a universal standard or two, it means we only have two variations – the Gregorian and the Julian – of Easter throughout the world, and children in New Zealand, Fiji etc. don’t have to hang out for another week to get their Easter Eggs – oh that’s unless they are following the Julian calendar (as Orthodox Christians do), it which case they will have to wait until April 8 2018!


Posted in blog, opinion

CSMA/CD and full duplex for wireless? It could be coming

A group of researchers at National Instruments have found a way to listen to radio signals while receiving on the same frequency.

The team found a solution that relies on in-band full duplex, so it can sense while transmitting, which potentially eliminates all collision overheads in wireless networks.

This could have huge implications – and even give your home wifi a boost if you have a lot of users – certainly will give the office and cafe wifi hotspots a boost.

The problem with existing wireless communications is that once a device starts transmitting, it doesn’t know if another device has transmitted at the same time (causing a collision) until it has finished transmitting and waited for an acknowledgement from the Access Point.  If no acknowledgement comes, it tries again. This is called Carrier Sense, Multiple Access with Collission Avoidance (CSMA/CA).

Your ancient (1980-c2000) shared Ethernet on the other hand operated in much the same way, a device would start transmitting, but was able to detect if any other device transmitted at the same time, and so stop transmitting immediately. This was called  Carrier Sense, Multiple Access with Collission Detection (CSMA/CD) and is course much more efficient than Collision Avoidance.

But that is not the whole story. Modern wired Ethernet networks use two pairs of wires to transmit, and another to recieve, meaning they can transmit AND receive at the same time. Full Duplex.  If we could do that for wireless, (and this article indicates that they have achieved full-duplex operation albeit with just 6 devices at this stage), then the benefits could be much greater.


Posted in blog, opinion, wifi, wireless network | Tagged ,

Why have WordPress made it soooo hard to follow someone?

WordPress, you have hosted my blog since 2010.  I won’t start a tirade of things you STILL can’t do on WP, but I am going to have a whinge about one feature you have obscured.

Why have WordPress made it soooo hard to follow someone?  I should never have to respond to a reader’s comment such as the one I got today.

I would like to thank you sooooo much for such a awesome ACI blogs, I found things here which are not well documented even in Cisco Docs. You are surely doing a great job. I wish to find a subscriber button on your website and keep up with your great work.

For those who would like to follow my blog, or any other blog, you have to move your cursor to the bottom right-hand corner of the page, and/or scroll up a bit (scrolling is clearly the only option on a mouseless device). You will then get an option pop up giving you the chance to follow or subscribe to my blog.


Posted in opinion, rant, wordpress | Tagged | 2 Comments

RedNectar’s HX Pre-Install Checklist

…has been updated and is found here:

Posted in Cisco, Data Center, Data Centre, Hyperflex, UCS | Tagged , , ,


Note: This post started as an answer I gave on the Cisco Support Forum. This version is slightly expanded with pictures and examples.

In this post I will examine the roles of three very important protocols that exist in the ACI environment.

I will explain

  • that IS-IS is the underlying routing protocol that is used by the leaves and spines to learn where they sit in the topology in relation to each other
  • how Leaf switches use COOP to report local station information to the Spine (Oracle) switches
  • how BGP and MP-BGP is used to redistribute routes from external sources to leaf switches.

Let me start with a picture.  Imagine a simple 2leaf/2spine topology with HostA attached to to Leaf1 and with HostB attached to to Leaf2.

  • Leaf1 has a VTEP address of
  • Leaf2 has a VTEP address of
  • Spine1 has a VTEP address of
  • Spine2 has a VTEP address of
  • HostA has a MAC address of A and an IP address of and is attached to port 1/5 on Leaf1
  • HostB has a MAC address of B and an IP address of and is attached to port 1/6 on Leaf2

Enter IS-IS

The leaves and spines will exchange IS-IS routing updates with each other so that Leaf1 sees that it has two equally good paths to reach Leaf2, and Leaf2 sees that it has two equally good paths to reach Leaf1.

Leaf1# show ip route vrf overlay-1
IP Route Table for VRF "overlay-1", ubest/mbest: 2/0
*via, eth1/51.2, [115/3], 6d20h, isis-isis_infra, L1
*via, eth1/52.2, [115/3], 6d20h, isis-isis_infra, L1

For now, that’s all we need to know about IS-IS – it is the routing protocol used by the VTEPs to learn how to reach the other VTEPs.

Now think about the hosts.

This is where COOP comes in.

When Leaf1 learns about HostA because, say HostA sent an ARP request seeking the MAC address of (which you know is HostB, but that’s not relevant at the moment), Leaf1 looks at that ARP request, and just like a normal switch, learns that MAC A is present on port 1/5.  But the leaf is a bit more clever than that, and looks INSIDE the payload of the ARP packet and learns that Host1 also has an IP address of and records all this information in its Local Station Table.

Leaf1#show endpoint interface ethernet 1/5

VLAN/Domain  Encap VLAN  MAC/IP Address  Interface
65           vlan-2051  a036.9f86.e94e L eth1/5
Tenant1:VRF1 vlan-2051    L eth1/5

AND THEN reports this information to one of the spine switches (chosen at random) using the Council Of Oracles Protocol (COOP).  The spine switch (oracle) that was chosen then relays this information to all the other spines (oracles) so that every spine (oracle) has a complete record of every end point in the system.

The spines (oracles) record the information learned via the COOP in the Global Proxy Table, and this information is used to resolve unknown destination MAC/IP addresses when traffic is sent to the Proxy address.

Note that all of this happens without anything to do with BGP.

But to round off the COOP story, we would assume that at some stage Leaf2 (a citizen) will also learn HostB‘s MAC and IP and also inform one of the spines (oracles) at random of this information using the COOP.

Spine1#show coop internal info repo ep | egrep -i "mac|real|-"
EP mac : A0:36:9F:86:E9:4E
MAC Tunnel :
Real IPv4 EP :
EP mac : A0:36:9F:61:88:FD
MAC Tunnel :
Real IPv4 EP :

So COOP is used solely for the purpose of distributing endpoint information to spine switches (oracles). As far as I know, spine switches never use COOP to distribute end host information to leaf switches.

So where does BGP fit in?

BGP is not needed until an external router is connected.  So now imagine that Leaf2 has had a router connected and has learned some routes from that external router for a particular VRF for a particular Tenant.

How can Leaf2 pass this information on to Leaf1 where HostA is trying to send packets to one of these external networks?  For Leaf2 to be able to pass routing information on to Leaf1 and keep that information exclusive to the same VRF, we need a routing protocol that is capable of exchanging routing information for multiple VRFs across an underlay network

Which is exactly what MP-BGP was invented for – to carry routing information across MPLS underlay networks.  In the case of ACI, BGP is configured by choosing an Autonomous System number and nominating one of the spine switches to be a route reflector.  MP-BGP is self configuring, you don’t need to do anything to make it work!

(Although you will have to configure your Tenant to exchange routes with the external router.)

Leaf1# show ip route vrf Tenant1:VRF1, ubest/mbest: 1/0, attached, direct, pervasive
*via, [1/0], 04:43:32, static, tag 4294967295, ubest/mbest: 1/0, attached, pervasive
*via, vlan25, [1/0], 03:52:23, local, local, ubest/mbest: 1/0
*via, [200/5], 00:11:41, bgp-1, internal, tag 1

aka Chris Welsh

Posted in ACI, ACI configuration, APIC, Cisco, Data Center, Data Centre, EPG, L3 Out, L3out | Tagged , ,

Guest Post! WTF Are all those Checkboxes? (ACI L3 Outs) – Part 2 of ???

Found this great post explaining a lot of fine detail on ACI L3 outs – make sure you check out the original!

Come Route With Me!

My friend and colleague Mr. Jason Banker recently ran into some good times with the mysteries of the ACI L3 Out Checkbox Madness! He Slack’d me and told me he’d found some clowns blog post about it (yours truly) and that some updates and additional information was needed, so he kindly volunteered some time to help out! Without further ado here is Jason’s Checkbox Madness:

As we continue to deploy fabrics we always joke about these damn routing checkboxes shooting us in the foot.  We play with different scenarios in the lab to ensure we understand how these pesky boxes work and what other options we have for future deployments.   The scenario here was to use get different OSPF areas connected to the same border leaf using ACI as the transit.  This scenario brings up some certain challenges and hopefully my testing will help others understand it a little better…

View original post 999 more words

Posted in GNS3 WorkBench