Lindsay Hill network control, visibility, management

Efficiency vs Effectiveness

I’ve been wondering about how we’re approaching networking change. We know we need to make things better. Are we changing the ‘right’ things? I’ve got a feeling that we’re not, but I suspect that we’re too constrained by higher-order systems.

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Configure the Brocade NOS REST API to use HTTPS

Brocade VDX switches have REST and NETCONF interfaces. The REST API uses the built-in HTTP server. By default, this uses plain-text HTTP. As of NOS 6.0, you can (and should!) use HTTPS. If NOS has a certificate configured, it will automatically use HTTPS. Here’s how to configure it.

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Help! My Boss is Scared of Automation!!!

A reader asked “What can I do if my boss won’t let me automate my tasks?” Sadly some people still have a fear of automating even common, well-understood tasks. They’re worried about automation run amok. They think it’s safer to have a human typing in commands. But you know better. Humans have a place. But that place is not executing the same sequence of steps, over and over.

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Learning to Love Codenames

One of the things I struggled with when starting at a vendor was dealing with project codenames. There is no secret decoder ring - you have to learn the names the hard way. I couldn’t understand why descriptive names weren’t used. It took a while, but I’ve come to understand the reasoning behind the obscure names now. It’s still a stretch to say I ‘love’ them, but I can at least understand them now.

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Modifying Packet Captures with tcprewrite

Recently I wanted to look at the structure of sFlow packets. Of course I can read the specs, but it’s often easier to look at some real packets. So I set up a simple network, configured sFlow, created some traffic across the network, and used tcpdump to capture the sFlow packets.

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NZ IPv6 & DNSSEC Update

A year ago I published a table of New Zealand ISP IPv6 support. At the time support was fairly poor. I’m pleased to report that things have gotten better over the last year. There has also been a very pleasing uptick in DNSSEC support.

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Brocade VDX SNMP Changes

Brocade tightened up some SNMP settings with NOS 6.0.x. This improves security, but it also means that you will need to modify your configuration if you upgrade. If you don’t, SNMP won’t work, and you’ll get errors with BNA/Nagios/Cacti/etc. Here’s the changes, and how to get SNMP working with NOS 6.0.x. NB This applies to [VDX Data Centre switches](http://snmp-server contact “Field Support.” snmp-server location “End User Premise.” snmp-server sys-descr “Brocade VDX Switch.” snmp-server community ConvergedNetwork snmp-server community OrigEquipMfr rw snmp-server community “Secret C0de” rw snmp-server community common snmp-server community private rw snmp-server community public snmp-server user snmpadmin1 groupname snmpadmin snmp-server user snmpadmin2 groupname snmpadmin snmp-server user snmpadmin3 groupname snmpadmin snmp-server user snmpuser1 snmp-server user snmpuser2 snmp-server user snmpuser3). Other product lines have different configuration.

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Using InfluxDB + Grafana to Display Network Statistics

I loathe MRTG graphs. They were cool in 2000, but now they’re showing their age. We have much better visualisation tools available, and we don’t need to be so aggressive with aggregating old data. I’ve been working with InfluxDB + Grafana recently. Much cooler, much more flexible. Here’s a walk-through on setting up InfluxDB + Grafana, collecting network throughput data, and displaying it.

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Sit Stand Desk Setup

I work from home these days. Therefore it’s important that I have a decent desk setup. My previous setup was pretty crappy, but I only worked from home part-time. I’ve been using a standing desk at home, and wanted to move to a sit/stand model for full-time use. Here’s what I did.

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Brocade BNA API

Brocade Network Advisor (BNA) has a REST API for accessing Fibre Channel-related data. The documentation includes a sample Python script showing how to connect to the API to retrieve Fabric info. The script given only works with Python 3.x. It’s also a pain to copy out of the documentation as you end up with a few extra characters in there. Here’s a version that will work with Python 2.7. I’ve also made a few other modifications - in this one, you can set the BNA IP, Username & Password at the top of the script.  I’ve also made it PEP8-compliant.

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