Author: Josh O'Brien

Storage Wars the Epic Battle Rages On

So tonight as I was getting into bed I did my normal scan twitter to see who I have pissed off or what might be going on that should rob me of sleep.  Well tonight @david_Strebel asked the following questions;

“Who thinks FCoE will win over iSCSI?”  and I responded “Not I” and then David asked the next logical question which was why not and here is what I had to say in the incredible detail that Twitter allows;  “l2 boundaries, specialized hardware other than nics, hate relationship from most network people.”


The problem with this answer is pretty clear though.  It does not really answer the question just gives a few power point bullets to appease the crowd.  I don’t feel like this is enough though.  So I am going to attempt to lay out my overall view on this issue of who will win iSCSI or FCoE and why.  For those of you who don’t want to read the whole article which might get a a tad windy I don’t think either will win.  But I don’t think FCoE will emerge as the leader until something better come along.  For those masochists who like this kind of crap read on.

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Method and Madness: How to fix what other people broke

I will be the first to admit that I make mistakes.  I make lots of mistakes.  But I learned a long time ago that it is not the mistakes that define us but
what we do when we make them.  To that point it is both fascinating and infuriating when I enter someone’s network land and find that they have gone out of their way to do nothing to solve their own problem or in many cases to even
build a proper functioning network.  So I am going to set out to show the Methods I use to deal with these people and their problems and the Madness that they have brought to the table to cause the issue.

This is going to be a series.  Really my first series of posts, and they will all fall under the heading of Method and Madness with some sort of witty little
tagline.  I will be pulling on a careers worth of situations that were totally preventable and how we resolved the problem or moved past it.

The format for each of this will be as follows:

Situation:  This will be the “lab” Scenario piece of the post in which I outline
the base problem as well as the end goals of the situation.  This section will
include a base diagram for use as reference.

The Method:  This will be the troubleshooting and resolution phase of the post and
will breakdown the ultimate solution or bypass to the problem.

The Madness: This section will be my analysis of how things got to this point in the first
place.  Keep in mind I have no in interest in posting garbage about oh look the senior
network engineer put a wrong static route in at 4am and a junior guy had to find it.
No I am more interested in exposing the issues where a Network Engineer or worse a team could not solve a problem that should be second nature for them to solve.  In doing so I hope others will learn from and not find themselves in these situation.

So with all that said look for them.  I hope to have the first one out by the end of
the week with about 50 Million other projects so bear with me.  I think these will be a great recap for me and both education and humorous for you.  I really encourage your feedback on these posts because I am not always right and there are lots of different paths so resolution of a problem.

Quick and Dirty…Ooohhhh….Yeahhhh

Quick and dirty is how I like it when I have 4000 menial tasks to get done.  So another oldy but goody that I had to dig up today was how to delete a full directory structure and its contents from a Cisco files system.  So here it is enjoy.

From normal enable mode:

delete /recursive /force flash:(enter the root file name)

So delete is the easy one.

/recursive sets the flag to recursively cycle through the whole directory structure you specified.  So you should probably never type

delete /recursive /force flash:  BAD DON’T DO IT!

And finally /force eliminates all the are you sure you don’t want to shoot yourself in the forehead messages.

Again quick and dirty saves time but if your dumb about using it can get you in trouble.

“the best $1.80 I ever spent”

If your not sure what the title quote is from Check out Young Guns 2.  As for this post however keep reading to see if I ever get to a point.  Currently it is 3:37am in the morning.  Again I can’t sleep.  Not sure if I rested to much today after a week of almost not sleep, drank a bit to much caffeine or if I am just currently unable to calm down during this career transition.  No matter what the cause I did what I normally do when I realize I wont sleep before I have to get dressed and head into work  (in this case a my old office, my current clients office and the new office by the end of the day) I took a shower shaved and put on some coffee.  I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower or when driving on long trips alone.  It was durring the above mentioned shower that this post and the thoughts it contain popped into my racing mind.  Enjoy it could be a fun read.

Most of the feedback I have received concerning my new job and career path has been overwhelmingly positive.  But some has not.  Quite bluntly a few feel I have whored myself out for money.  So let me tell you what I told them…Yes as a matter of fact I did.  I did it for the money.

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Moving on up. From VAR to VP.

I left the world of Government employment about six years ago.  At the time I was questioning if I even wanted to keep doing the whole IT thing.  Some people are wired to work for lazy bureaucrats who lie cheat and steal their way through the governmental ranks.  I am not.  That 3.5 year experience  just about broke my will and my desire to succeed.  However I am a bit more resilient than that, and when I landed a job at a consultant with a now defunct Silver VAR it quite laterally changed my life and career.  What I learned was that my desire to succeed and drive solutions was not dead just beaten and bruised. Read more

Josh’s Rules on Selling Solutions

So here I am at 2:15 AM.  Storming outside and me all hopped up on caffeine.  I just took a break from righting my last post:

Welcome to the HP Dream world where reality does not apply.

During that little breather I though you know what people must think I am a Cisco Zealot.  Well that could not be further from the truth.  I am a self confessed Technology Zealot.  It it is new, shiny, blinks, chirps or at some point in its lifecycle lived in a Data Center I want it.  But alas at least at this point in my life I have to make money.  I do that by working for a Cisco VAR.  We sell 90% plus Cisco.  Unlike past jobs I do not rep Juniper, HP, F5, Foundry…oops I mean Brocade, Arista, 3com, Shoretel, Avaya or anyone else that directly competes with Cisco Networking, Compute or Unified Communications.

That being said I do not think Cisco has the best product in every segment.  But I wont flesh that out on my blog.  If you want that info there is a price.  You are either a customer with a requirement I can’t meet at which point I will be honest with you or you are a professional friend who I feel comfortable discussion the finer and rougher points of our industry with.  What I will say though is I have some Rules for what I will sell and I wont sell.  I am going to lay those out to you and in a few cases why I feel how I feel.  I hope this will provide insight to others who design, sell and deploy solutions in our industry for clients.  At the end of the day our integrity is all we really have, Vendors crash, employers go under and clients come and go.

1.  If I wont run it in my basement I wont install it at a client!

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Welcome to the HP Dream world where reality does not apply.

So last night while working on a Scalable Compute and storage design for a client, this post popped up in my twitter stream from @ErinatHP;

“New HP blog post “In the light of day – the Cisco UCS hype doesn’t match the promise” ; UCS not all its marketed to be”

So in my normal do not let a stupid dig by a lame duck player go unmatched I responded “Oh I can’t wait to read this FUD” (you can check me out on twitter @joshobrien77)

All the twitter marketing and pissing matches aside I meant what I said and I did look forward to reading the HP Spin on where their market is vanishing to.  And here are my responses, while they might not be the most technical they are not un-informed from the basis of the Cisco UCS platform or the HP C7000 with FLEX-10 Platform.  And remember at the end of the day I represent me not Cisco not my employer, just little old me.

Also just so if this gets nasty I want to make sure that I am crediting this correctly:

All of the HP Writes: Are direct Quotes from Duncan Campbel with HP on his blog which you can find here:


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TACACS+ on Nexus 7000

I have been through a couple of these Nexus deployments now that use a combination of 7Ks, 5Ks, and 2Ks. If you know anything about this platform you know that TACACS and AAA only really apply to the 7K and 5Ks. Here is my working template of what it takes to get these guys talking to and ACS server.

tacacs-server key 0 YOUR.ACS.KEY
tacacs-server host X.X.X.X
tacacs-server host X.X.X.X
tacacs-server host X.X.X.X
aaa group server tacacs+ GROUP.NAME
server X.X.X.X
server X.X.X.X
server X.X.X.X
source-interface YOUR.VLAN or YOUR.VRF or YOUR.ETHERNET

aaa authentication login default group GROUP.NAME
aaa authentication login console group GROUP.NAME
aaa authorization commands default group GROUP.NAME
aaa accounting default group GROUP.NAME
aaa authentication login error-enable
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Stupid Certs

So after a few weeks of messing around with my lab and getting my CCNP study materials ordered, I started prepping for my CCNP this weekend.  My plan was to knock down my CCNP by the January 2011 and then jump right into my CCIE R/S Studies and take my written no later than January of 2012 followed by the Lab no later than July 2012.  While this is all still very doable I ran into an annoying little hangup today.  I do not have my CCNA.  For me this was not a problem considering until a few months ago I had planned on just jumping into my CCIE R/S and it does not require that I pass my CCNA for go for it.  But today as I was looking up some CCNP info I noticed the annoying pre-req of CCNA to achieve my CCNP.  Cisco this is BS.  No other way to cut it.  Really you’ll let me take a run at your largest cert without jumping through knowledge hoop I passed years ago but you won’t let me go for the CCNP (which is the arguably my current point in my career). Read more

Get Your ACS in Order!

ACS 1113 Appliance Password and IP Change Process:

1.  Insert ACS Recover CD into DVD-Drive
2.  Connect Console Cable (DB9 to DB9) to Laptop and Appliance
3.  Start Terminal Session with Following  (115200, 8, None, 1, NONE)
4.  Connect Monitor and Keyboard to ACS Appliance
5.  Power Cycle ACS Appliance
6.  Use Keyboard and mouse to Select Option 1 for Administrator Password Reset
7.  Remove Recovery CD from Appliance
8.  Press Enter on Keyboard to reboot appliance
9.  Disconnect Keyboard and mouse from Appliance
10. Wait approx 5 minutes for Console session to return.  (Don’t rush it, get a coffee or a snake then come back)
11. At login prompt user the Default = Administrator with no password.
12. You will be prompted to enter a new username.
13. You will be prompted to enter a new password, you will be prompted to enter this twice
14. Login with new Username and Password
15. Connect Ethernet Port 1 (Top Port) on Appliance to laptops ethernet port wait for green link light  (Without this step the appliance will not accept interface changes.)
16. Type “Set IP”  Follow the prompts to enter new IP information and select YES at the end
17. Type “Set domain” Follow the prompts to enter the new DNS prefix select YES at the end
18. Type reboot
19. Wait approx 5 minutes for Console session to return.  (Don’t rush it, get a coffee or a snake then come back)
20. Login with new Username and Password
21. Type Show to validate your config changes
22. Disconnect from laptop
23. Connect to production network
24. Done

For a Good Time Forward Your Ports.

Over the past few months I have been ramping up for the next phase of my career.  I strongly believe that Data Center technologies are going to power the future of not only servers and applications but indeed all sectors of IT services including networking.  Recent announcements from both Cisco and VMware about competing virtual firewalls, new L2 virtualization models within VMware and players such as Vyatta seem to indicate that I am correct.  So along those lines I have been working to re-design my home lab and ramp up to learn these technologies as well as knock down my CCNP in prep for starting my CCIE early next year. Read more

Sometimes we just dont need routing

More than once lately I have come across L3 capable switches that have ip routing enabled by default even though it is not visible in the config.  This has happened on every single 4500, 4900, 3560 and 3750 I have touched in the past 6 months.  So I am pretty well aware that the first thing I need to do if the device is to function as a basic L2 switch is do no ip routing.  However it appears that this is lost on quite a few people.  I have been working at a client for a few weeks who is doing a basic core routed vlan network with dot1q trunks to each of their sites off of their Metro Ethernet WAN.  The issue has nothing to to do with normal traffic but instead management traffic.  If you have ip routing enabled and have also set ip default gateway your going to end up with some problems getting to the actual device to manage it.  If you are not going to use a VRF for management simply do no ip routing on the device and it will work just like any other L2 only switch.

DHCP is Doing What?

Recently, we had a branch site complete the renovation of a new wing. In doing so, we had to build a new telecom closet to feed the area. We added another stack of 3750’s, that connected back to the pre-existing closet via 1Gig fiber link (which that closet then connects back to our core via Optiman). We’ve basically added another stack to the same subnet for that site. Nothing out of the ordinary for us networkers.

Then a few weeks after they opened, they started having issues with certain pc’s in that new wing. There were approximately 15 pc’s that would have a daily Duplicate IP Address Conflict error message on them. So, Help Desk sends a ticket to our group. It was a Saturday afternoon, when I called the lady back and she confirms she has had these issues since they opened. A reboot fixes the issue, but only temporary for that shift. I promised this user that I would follow-up until we found the issue. Read more

Do Not Social Engineer Yourself out of Clients or your Job!

About 9 months or so ago a weird thing happened to me.   I had been using Twitter heavily and liked the idea behind 4Square.   So I added the app to my BlackBerry and started checking in.   Then as I prepared to meet a friend after work at his office I got a call from my then General Manger demanding to know where I was.   Being after work I told him meeting a friend, but he persisted.   So I told him.   At that point he demanded to know why I was there and if I was on company business.   This whole situation pissed me off but more to the point exposed that people are tracking us via our social media footprints with the right to do so being granted by our use of the systems.   In this particular case it was me posting to 4Square, which injected a tweet into Twitter which was then re-posted into LinkedIn where my GM and I were linked and he was watching my activity.

Right then and there I pulled the 4square app off my phone and turned my Twitter geo-tagging to optional.   My reason had nothing to do with being tracked by my management.   All they have to do is ask and I tell.  I don’t really care that some people have no real work to do, so they stalk employees via social media.   As a matter of fact we should assume managers do this crap.   The real reason was that I realized how easily I could expose information about clients Read more

“the books you read and the people you meet”

Ever since I saw Dave Ramsey at Catalyst a few years ago I have been a huge fan.  Then last February we went through Financial Peace University.  From that point on I have pretty much become a zealot.  Yeah I’ll admit it.  Since February we have led two more FPU classes and until our local talk radio show moved to a new format I listened to Dave everyday.  As it is I continue to listen on the net and the podcast.

One of the lines that I have taken to heart is then Dave talks about one of his friends saying “your only difference between now and ten years from now will be the books you read and the people you meet”.   I think there is something to this.  For me I meet new people everyday and in the past two years I have been lucky enough to not only meet new people  but actually interact with them and grow my sphere of friends and colleagues.  One thing I have not been doing though was reading non-fiction outside of the technical material need to do my job.  In January though I committed to changing that and if you will notice the sidebar of the the blog or choose to click on this link you see what I have, am and will be reading.

If you take the time you will notice that much of my reading focus is on marketing, business and sales.  Part of that is me wanting to be better at what I do as a Network Engineer in an expanding market.  But I won’t lie by saying that there isn’t a bigger plan to my reading madness and I look forward to sharing that with you all in the next few months.  Until then what have you read and who have you met?  Because 10 years from now what you start doing today could change your life.

Winbook 37T1 and Sony RM-AV3000 THANK YOU GOD!

Nice and simple post. After 3 years of Having our Winbook 37T1 LCD Which as been a great Cheap TV. I Paid $399 New for it. And 2 Years of having my Sony RM-AV3000 that I traded a set of JBL PC speakers for I can say that they work together.

Tonight I just sat down and kept trying likely codes until I found that it responded to the Samsung TV Code 8026 for the Sony RV-AV3000. I hope this gets indexed and helps some other folks. I know from reading on AVS forum that some of these TVs respond to Tatung codes but in my case it did not.


Recently we got an order of Cisco 1142 Access Points in. What we discovered was that if you order a 5 pack you end up with Autonomous Access Points.  If you order the 10 pack you can choose Autonomous or LWAPP.  Anyway we needed the ones we ordered to be LWAPP for the environment they were destined for.  So we did what we normally do and we fired up the AP conversion tool…wait for it…but it does not support conversion of the 1142.  Yeah that’s right the conversion tool wont convert the 1142N APs.  So after about 3 seconds of digging I found this Convert 1142 to LWAPP.

That link gives you 99% of what you need to pull this off.  The rest is a valid CCO account and the hardware.  To do mine quickly I setup a spare 3750-PoE switch we had on our bench.  Keeping it quick and dirty I just set it up as follows using my console cable for the the CLI input:


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If you Strike us down we will only become stronger. #GartnerSucks

I have felt this way for awhile, Gartner sucks!  While I worked for the State of Ohio I saw several instances of what appeared to be more than independent reviews of a product/technology.  And pretty much ever since then I have viewed Gartner and other analysts with a HUGE grain of salt and I mean the like that would kill T-REX if it fell on him.

But last night my general annoyance with Gartner jumped to a level of flat at hatred and disdain for them as an organization.  They have moved from a model of bottom feeding and instigation to a model of attacking criticism and silencing key players in the next gen Networking field over minor criticism.

Steve Chambers at posted the following on his site: Read more

The Great Hope Re-Visited

So back in October of 2007 I posted The Great Hope.  Since then a lot has changed for me especially in my world and view of finances.  Back then I was struggling to pay things off and hanging onto promises made by employers that were never kept.  Today I am a Dave Ramsey zealot!  So what I am getting ready to talk about is a bit out of my new character.

In June of 2007 I had told my Father in Law (very good with money) that if I invested 10k right then and there I would get a 70% average return.  Well go back and read the old post, because I did a bit better than that.  Dave Ramsey teaches that we you should not invest in the open stock market unless your a pro or you have dealt with all your other investments as he calls out in his Financial Peace plan.  Mainly he encourages heavy investment in Growth Stock Mutual Funds which over time average around 11.8 to 12.4 percent.  With that said though I have done ok with my Virtual Portfolio and I would gladly have placed my own cash in the same setup. Read more

Been a good day. Got me some getlibs!

So on my personal laptop (Dell Lattitude D630) I installed Ubuntu 64bit 9.10. I did this for two reasons.

  1. This is the same laptop I have for work and it is safer to mess with this one and know that it works then the one I have to use every day.
  2. I really want my family to get away from Windows OS’s as their only option.  So now the wife works every day with an Open Source OS and that is cool!

One of the huge annoyances so far with 64-bit has been that adobe applications just as air don’t seem to like the 64-bit binaries and libraries.  For me this has sucked because I am a HUGE fan of TweetDeck.  I use my Twitter account as a gateway to other IT professionals and entrepreneurs all over the world.  So not having my goto platform for Twitter working at home as sucked.

So this afternoon I took a few minutes and did what I have done at least 5 other times in the past few months and and I Googled “TweetDeck in 64-bit Linux” and today it returned GOLD! .

I wan to say a bit thanks to Tony for doing his homework on this and helping the rest of us cheat and get it working.  Also wanted to post the link for more info on getlibs .  If you are going to play with 64-bit linux understand what getlibs can do for you.

Hope this helps some folks and enjoy!