Phase 2 of the network migration involved moving all the floor switches, which are currently connected to the 6509s, onto our 5548 distribution layer switches. One of our buildings is populated with 3750s and each IDF closet has two 1Gb uplinks up to the core. Our other building is populated with 2950s also with 1Gb uplinks to the core. Currently no floor switches are using etherchannels. Which means that 1 port from each IDF is in an STP blocking state. Obviously this is not ideal. For this phase we will also be migrating all the 3750s to use 10Gb uplinks as well as utilizing port channels between 3750 stacks. The 2950s unfortunately will have to stay on 1Gb uplinks however they will also utilize portchannels.
Before I go on I just wanted to let everyone know that this phase was completed yesterday night. We ran into some problems with the configuration on the Nexus 5ks. One in particular was a vlan was missing from the vlan database. The strange part about this was that the vlan showed in the vlan allowed list on the trunk links. You would think that some sort of error would have showed on the log. Another issue that we had was that some vlans were missing on the peer-link vlan allowed list on the 5ks. Besides those two issues the night went rather smoothly.
To be honest though, the most difficult part about this whole night was making sure that the fiber cables were properly flipped. As you know fiber has a Tx and Rx so the run between the access switch and the 5k has to match up. This can get confusing though when you through fiber patch panels into the mix. We had one person at the 5ks and one person going to each floor switch to swap cables and verify configuration.
All in all it was a successful night. As of right now we will not be moving anything else for about 2 weeks. At that point we want to completely remove the 6509s from our network as well as moving the rest of the blade centers to the Nexus.
So after a long and at times stressful night, we finally finished all the tasks we had planned. The second I stepped into the office at 10pm it was all work up until about 8am. I never experienced time fly by as fast as it did. It is almost surreal to think about. So here is a breakdown of my night from start to finish.
Upon getting in I immediately had to start some preliminary work on the floor switches. Basically logging into each one and setting them to vtp transparent mode and saving the configs. One of our older buildings was still using the vtp client/server model so we figured this would probably be the best time to change everything to transparent. After that task was completed I had to run one of our backup internet lines to a 3750 (which hung off the Nexus). At the time the backup line was attached to the 6509 so running the cable to the Nexus cabinet wasn’t much of an issue. It’s about 12am at this point and this is where the fun begins!
So in Phase 1 we are still leaving the 6509s in our network, the only change we are making is that instead of the 6509s running layer 3 they will be made layer 2, and the layer 3 will go to the Nexus. So in order to introduce the Nexus to the network we needed to connect the Nexus to the 6509s. Basically we did this by creating an 8Gb port channel between the Nexus and the 6509. We also increased the connection between our two 6509s from 2Gb to 4Gb. After that it was smooth sailing. We shutdown vlans on the 6509s one at a time and brought them up on the Nexus.
Now that layer 3 has been moved completely to the Nexus it was time to migrate a blade server and a single floor switch. We have a a stack of 3750s in the Nexus rack that is dedicated for blade center aggregation. The blade center has 2 switch cards on the back of it with 4 ports each. So on the 3750s I created 2 port channels going to each switch module on the blade server. Super smooth and had no issues. Well there was one issue, a port on the switch module had gone into err-disabled. A quick shut no shut quickly fixed the port channel link. Next came the floor switch. The floor switch currently was running at 1Gb and we needed to migrate it to 10Gb. Here I changed the modules on the 3750 floor switch to be 10Gb capable and copied the trunk link configs to the 10Gb interfaces. I then created a port channel from both interfaces. Again no issues
So that is basically a breakdown of the entire night. I am going to spare you a lot of the boring details that happened throughout the night. Reason being is that I don’t want to relive them again lol. The next step in our network migration now is finish migrating the rest of our blade centers as well as moving the rest of our floor switches.
The time has finally come to implement the Nexus switches into our production network! I have mixed emotions of both excitement and nervousness because this is the first time I have ever done a change over of this magnitude. However what excites me the most is the experience I am going to gain from doing such a large migration. To help the our team stay organized we have broken down the migration into three phases. I will only talk about phase 1 for now.
Phase 1 entails introducing the Nexus into our core network and moving layer 3 routing from our 6509′s to it. Basically what will happen is we will shutdown all the vlan’s on the 6509′s and bring them up on the Nexus. Besides just moving layer 3 to the Nexus we also plan on moving a single floor switch to a 5548. Reason being is that we want to take this migration as slowly and methodically as possible. Also if the switch move goes smoothly we may even move over a couple more. One other task that we have planned for that night is moving a highly populated blade center to the Nexus. This will help take a load off the 6509′s and also allow us to begin on migrating the rest of our blade centers (if the move is successful of course) .
Oh and best of all? The maintenance window for these changes is 10pm to 7am!!! I have not pulled an all nighter like this in a long time but I am so ready for it. In the next couple days I am going to try and change around my sleeping pattern so that way when it comes Saturday I won’t be a zombie. I’m sure the Redbull and Starbucks will also help I will report back on either Monday or Tuesday on how the night went.
My studying hasn’t been where it should be these past two weeks. Lot’s of things have been coming up with life/work which obviously had to take precedence. In addition to the below study plan I have also been reading Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals in my free time. It really is an outstanding book that also coincides in some ways with my CCNP Switch studies. I have noticed that the Data Center topics have a good amount of overlap with Switch, which is really nice because I am really really growing a liking towards Data Center tech.
I am going to try and kick some of my studies into high gear considering I am nearing my halfway point. If you didn’t know I typically give myself 20 weeks to pass an exam.
I had the opportunity to get the CCNP INE Series from work and I must say I am really impressed. Brian’s teaching style is on point and he even goes through real world examples which really drives many of the topics home. This video series has definitely been my favorite so far. Honestly I think it has been more helpful than The Bryant Advantage and CBT Nuggets combined. I strongly recommend it if you are looking for solid CCNP training material. Below is what I have completed since my last study update.
So in light of me wanting to expand my knowledge of data center technologies I have decided to go ahead and purchase a book published by Cisco Press titled “Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals: Understanding Techniques and Designs for Highly Efficient Data Centers with Cisco Nexus, UCS, MDS, and Beyond”. Quite the long book title if I do say so myself. The title alone stood out to me because it mentions 3 technologies that I have been immersed in since starting my new job. Nexus, UCS, and MDS are advanced technologies that I hardly even knew anything about 3 months ago and now I am expected to bring myself up to speed ASAP. Well I don’t have to bring myself up to speed, I can just sit back and enjoy the ride however I am not that kind of person. I want to understand what I am working with as well as be able to explain it to someone else. So basically I looked through the books chapters and I saw that it would be very helpful so I went ahead and placed an order for it. What made it more appealing for me is that it is a recommended reading for CCNA/CCNP/CCIE Data Center candidates. As we know there aren’t many published training materials for that certification track yet.
I did buy a book about two months ago published by Sybex titled “CCNA Data Center Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking 640-911″. I skimmed through this book rather quickly however it did not go nearly as in-depth as I needed it too. I could probably even pass the first part of the CCNA:DC at anytime. Seemed like a lot of review of CCNA topics with some Nexus stuff thrown in.
Technologies that I am currently learning for our new data center include Nexus 7010, 5548UP; UCS Blade Servers as well as 6248UP Fabric Interconnects; MDS 9513. Hopefully this book will give me a much greater understanding of all the above.
So I came across a forum post this morning and I just have to write about it. Basically there is this man who has been working at the same job for almost 20 years and is upset because he is not making the money that he wants too. It is evident through his posts that he lacks confidence in himself and blames other people for his short-comings. Saying things like “the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer”. These kind of statements make me sick to my stomach! These are the kind of people I don’t want in my life because they literally try and drain the motivation out of you. They have completely submerged themselves in this mentality that there is nothing they can do to succeed in life so they mine as well feel bad for themselves. Well guess what? I am here to tell you this is 100% false. I can say this in confidence because I am living proof that if you work your ass off everyday and never lose sight of your goals you will be successful. There is going to be hard times, a ton of them in fact, that you will need to overcome. However these are merely testing your will and motivation because once you get past those hardships your goal will be in arms reach.
There are a ton of these people in the working world and I am sure many of us work with one on a daily basis. The people that complain about their pay or that they will never be able to afford a certain thing. Isn’t it funny that these people don’t try and change their situation? Really…they sit at work all day and complain…then they go come and complain some more to their family. It makes no damn sense and it actually makes me laugh. Nothing is free in this world and you will only be paid as much as your worth. So logically we should try and make ourselves more valuable right? Exactly! Go out there and make your employer value your work. Get certifications, go for your masters, lead a big project, do whatever you can to make yourself more valuable in your employers eyes. If after all that work and your employer still looks at you the same way then it is time to jump ship and move on.
“Don’t sell yourself short, decide what you are worth and go and get it”
The past two weeks of work have been pretty busy; filled with Nexus labs, everyday miscellaneous tasks, and now learning Cisco UCS. Basically, at least the way I understand it, the Unified Computing System is Cisco’s way of bringing your network, storage, and servers of your data center together. I might add that it does an awesome job at that too!
In our rack we have two 6248UPs that connect down to the UCS blade server via FCOE (4 10Gb links to each 6248UP for a total of 8 links). We then have the 6248UP connecting up to the Nexus 7010 via fiber Ethernet (4 10GB links, 2 from each 6248UP). Lastly, we have 4 FC links going from each 6248UP to our MDS SAN. Pheww!! you do not want me to tell you how long it took me to wrap my head around all this lol. The 6248UP is an awesome switch that can speak ethernet, fiber channel, and fiber channel over ethernet which makes it very useful in data center environments. Oh and one more thing, the 6248UPs are also connected to each other through their L1 and L2 ports. These ports need to be connected in order to have the two 6248s run in cluster mode. Also management ports were connected. Okay that’s it I’m done lol. I am posting a picture below of the basic topology of what I described above. The only difference is that our equipment and links are slightly better then what the topology shows.
So yesterday I decided to go ahead and start on the initial configurations of getting this all connected. First I cabled everything up as described above. Next I consoled into the 6248UPs and configured them in cluster mode. The whole setup is very intuitive. All I had to do was enter some basic IP address information on each of the switches and say that I want to run them in cluster mode. I also had to enter a Virtual IP that the switches would share. After all that was done I could then open up my web browser and browse to the virtual IP address. This took me to the UCS manager interface. All I can say is this interface is awesome! it gives you information on the entire UCS system on just about anything you would ever want to know. You can also configure the ports by right clicking them. The only configuration I did was changed the 8 links we have going down to the UCS to server ports. Hopefully today I will have time to go back in and play around a little more. Oh and I forgot to mention the UCS manager even builds you a graphical network topology of what it detects connected to it!
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