No VMware NSX Hardware Gateway Support for Cisco

I find it interesting, as I’m taking my first real steps into the world of VMware NSX, that there is no Cisco equipment supported as a VMware NSX hardware gateway (VTEP). According to the HCL on March 13th, 2018 there is a complete lack of “Cisco” in the “Partner” category: I wonder how that works out for Cisco UCS customers. As I continue to remind vendors, virtualization environments cannot virtualize everything. There are still dependencies on things like DNS, DHCP, NTP, and AD that need a few physical servers. There will also always be a few hosts that can’t be virtualized because of vendor requirements, politics, and/or fear. Any solution for a virtual environment needs to help take care of those …

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Intel X710 NICs Are Crap

(I’m grumpy this week and I’m giving myself permission to return to my blogging roots and complain about stuff. Deal with it.) In the not so distant past we were growing a VMware cluster and ordered 17 new blade servers with X710 NICs. Bad idea. X710 NICs suck, as it turns out. Those NICs do all sorts of offloads, and the onboard processor intercepts things like CDP and LLDP packets so that the OS cannot see or participate. That’s a real problem for ESXi hosts where you want to listen for and broadcast meaningful neighbor advertisements. Under Linux you can echo a bunch of crap into the right spot in /dev and shut that off but no such luck on …

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Let’s Prosecute Unlicensed Engineering in IT

Have you been watching this whole dustup with the Equifax CISO, and how people are saying that she is unqualified because, instead of a Computer Science degree, she had an MFA in music composition? Not surprisingly, there’s a massive backlash from the IT community, much of which doesn’t have a computer science degree, either. That’s part of the appeal of technology for many — on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog. I’m a mutt, too. I’ve always found computer science programs intentionally inaccessible, with the faculty actively eschewing any form of practical curricula because they’re not a technical college. Snobbish? Yeah. Not my style. What I find very interesting in all of this is the ignorance of some of the …

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SDN Industry Analysis

Tip of the hat to Ivan Pepelnjak over at — a welcome three minute distraction this afternoon. Enjoy.

Redundant Gigabit Management NICs, Please

I’ve been doing a lot of system design work lately, building virtualization infrastructure for places where there is no pre-existing infrastructure available (also known as the revered “green field” deployment). One of the biggest issues I’ve had is that 10 Gbps switches can fall back to 1 Gbps when the proper transceiver is installed. However, they cannot go to 10 or 100 Mbps. “So what?” you ask. “Nobody in their right mind uses 10 or 100 Mbps anymore.” Management interfaces do, because the manufacturers haven’t bothered to update them to triple speed NICs (10/100/1000 Mbps). The Dell PowerVault 124T tape library can only do 10/100 Mbps. Brocade fibre channel switches, including their newest models, only have 10/100 Mbps capabilities on …

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VMware vSphere, LLDP, and Juniper EX Switches

One of the vSphere environments I support uses Juniper EX4200 switches for networking. Juniper switches don’t support Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP). I love CDP because I can tell exactly what switch & port I’m attached to, and see other information like VLANs, etc. CDP removes a lot of human error from our operations, too. I love it for situations like when two cables are mysteriously labeled as heading to the same switch port or I’m sitting at my desk and I need to refer to a physical port 200 miles north of me. It also means that I don’t need to maintain a document of the switch ports, I can script a dump of the information if I need an …

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Four Things VMware Engineering Can Give Me For Christmas

I hope everybody out there in the virtualization world is having a great holiday season this year! My religion celebrates Christmas, and these are four things I’d love to see under my Christmas tree this year. 1. IPv6 support at all levels of the VMware stack. For a cloud vendor that fancies themselves as forward-looking, not to mention trying to be the “VMware of Networking,” the lack of IPv6 is pretty embarrassing. I know, I know, the tired argument is that nobody is really looking at IPv6. Well, it’s hard to look at when your vendor doesn’t support it much. 🙂 Chicken, meet egg. This would also help ameliorate the fact that VMware products need an awful lot of IPs …

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I was fortunate have been invited to Gestalt IT’s Network Field Day 4. I’m a systems guy so it seems odd that I’d go to a networking event, but as silos in IT fall and virtualization wants to do everything in software there’s quite a lot for a guy like me to contribute. Even if it’s just to add a different point of view to some of the network-centric discussions with vendors. Anyhow, one of the vendors we spoke with was Statseeker. They make statistics gathering software for network equipment. You might be inclined to think that network performance monitoring is a pretty dull topic, and you may have noticed that I usually don’t write specifically about products here. The …

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Fallacies of Distributed Computing

I was cleaning out a stack of old papers and ran across a copy of “The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing” that I’d made back in 2004. As Wikipedia puts it, a guy by the name of Peter Deutsch “asserted that programmers new to distributed applications invariably make a set of assumptions… and these assumptions ultimately prove false, resulting either in the failure of the system, a substantial reduction in system scope, or in large unplanned expenses required to redesign the system to meet its original goals.” 1. The network is reliable. 2. Latency is zero. 3. Bandwidth is infinite. 4. The network is secure. 5. Topology doesn’t change. 6. There is one administrator. 7. Transport cost is zero. 8. …

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Love For The Cisco Toolbar

Inspired by a comment made by Greg Ferro (@etherealmind,, among others, and apologies to, or whoever had the first one: