Tag: cisco

New ACI deployment? Watch out when connecting APICs to Leafs

It’s one of those articles aimed at the people with Cisco ACI experience who don’t bother with reading all the install and other guides again while going through n’th time of building and ACI fabric, like me. When it comes to Cisco ACI, you really should.

There’s a small change with the physical build of the third generation of APIC server where 10G SFP interfaces from APIC towards the Leaf switches (used for fabric discovery and later for the in-band controller to fabric communication) where 4x10G card is built in the server and not like 2x10G on M2/L2 and other first and second generation of APICs.

When you see those 4x10G ports on the server, the logical thing to do will be to use the first two ports on each APIC and connect them to two Leafs (for redundancy and stuff). It ended up being that is not really how Cisco intended those interfaces to be used and it will end up blowing your fabric stability and management. I was able to discover the fabric and register the fabric leaf and spines. It was even possible to configure the whole thing up to the functional fabric and L2-L3 functions but the APIC cluster was always unstable and going in and out of configuration stale and data diverged statuses on cluster view.

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Software-defined data center and what’s the way to do it

SDDC – Software-Defined Data Centers

Times of Software Defined everything has long since arrived, the need to implement many appliances, two or more for each network function, is not so popular anymore. The possibility to manage packet forwarding, load balancing and security of network traffic inside the datacenter from one simple web console is showing finally that things can be managed in a simpler way after all. All vendors in the networking world tried to come up with their own way of centralizing data center management, as it ends up, all of them did it, some better than the others. As always, it’s not a surprise that some vendors are better in creating hardware-based forwarding solutions and some others in software solutions (in this case, software for packet forwarding).

Requirements

It seems that we have basically only a few good options when wanting to select a complete SDDC solution. The data center needs to provide a large number of server access ports in the form of networking devices that are configured and managed as simply and promptly as possible. Datacenter network needs to be configured in a way to provide robustness and stability of packet forwarding at almost line rate and all that at 10-100, even 400Gbps speeds.

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Cisco Champion for 2020

 

I made it to the list of Cisco Champions for 2020 which is now the third year in a row!Cisco Chempion 2020

The primary reason I could again be selected between the first 100 Cisco champs for 2020 in the early acceptance process is the stuff that I shared through this blog and because of the contact with people that got to me directly via my blog comments or e-mail.

Again, 2019 was another year full of great projects and big challenges with new technologies. We finally break the barrier of NFV and Automation and got some great stuff done using automation within software-defined data center solutions both with Cisco and other vendors.

Having this badge is cool, but connections and sharing with the networking community is something that’s even better and it makes me create more material and share it here soon.

This year will be a blast, again!

Cisco ACI – API Calls vs JSON POST

API Calls method

The fancy way of configuring Cisco ACI Fabric is by using Python script for generating API calls. Those API calls are then used to configure Cisco ACI by pushing those calls to APIC controller using POSTMAN (or similar tool). Configuration changes done this way are those that you are doing often and without much chance of making mistakes.

You write a Python script and that script will take your configuration variables and generate API call that will configure the system quickly and correctly every time.

The thing is that you need to take the API call example and use Python to write a script that will recreate that API calls with your variables of configuration and do that correctly. You need to know to code in Python and you will need a certain amount of time to write that script.

POST JSON file method

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Setting up Cisco ACI From Scratch

This Cisco ACI article describes the first few things you will do when getting ACI Fabric components in your datacenter.

So let’s see what we have here:

Get Your Gear

In this one, we will get three APIC controllers, four Leafs and two Spines to build simple ACI and few 2060 switches for OOB management:

  • 3x APICs APIC-CLUSTER-M2 – APIC Controller Medium Configuration (Up to 1000 Edge Ports)
  • 2x Spines N9K-C9364C – Nexus 9K ACI & NX-OS Spine, 64p 40/100G QSFP28
  • 2x SFP Leafs N9K-C93180YC-EX – Nexus 9300 with 48p 10/25G SFP+ and 6p 100G QSFP28
  • 2x Copper Leafs N9K-C9348GC-FXP – Nexus 9300 with 48p 100M/1GT, 4p 10/25G & 2p 40/100G QSFP28
  • 2x Catalyst 2960 OOB management switches

You need to cable Leaf and Spines in-between properly to form CLOS topology from the image below with 40G or 100G optics. Each Spine, Leaf and APIC controller needs to be connected to non-ACI OOB management network. You need then to connect redundantly APIC controllers to two Leafs with 10G optics and start the APIC initialization and fabric discovery.

Cable The Thing

Spines are all ports 40G/100G so you Choose your ports as you like, and for Leafs, each of them has last 6 ports 40G/100G so use one of those to connect to each Spine and you have your Leaf’n’Spine.

ACI Fabric with APIC

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