Friday, July 29, 2016

What Is A "Line Rate" Switch?

I said in a post recently that I would describe what "line rate" meant in a switch.  First, I'm going to give an elementary description, and then I can move on to a real live example.
First, lets say we have a 12 port switch.  That is all it has on the front, is just 12 1Gig ports, and nothing else.
Really, this means that if you give the switch everything the network has got, on its connected ports, can it pass all that traffic?  So here is how we calculate our first example.   We have 12 1Gig ports.  We take 12, and multiply it by 2 (TX and RX) to get 24Gbps.  Our switch backplane (on the inside of the switch) has to be rated at 24Gpbs for this to be line rate.
Think of it like this.  If I have 12 water pipes going into the drain, and I fill all 12 of them up.  Can the end pipe where it all dumps into handle it?  Same principle.  Can the switch handle all the traffic coming in if it was completely maxed out on its ports?
Above is kindof a visual.  If water is coming in from the left side, and it goes to the right, will that second pipe handle it?  In this case, yes is the answer.
Now, here is a real life example.  How about the Brocade 6610?  There is 48 1Gig ports (TX and RX) that equals 96Gig (48 X 2).  Then you have 8 10Gig ports.  Thats another 80Gig X 2 = 160Gig.  Then, there is another 4 40Gig ports on the back, which totals 4 X 40 = 160 X 2 (TX and RX) = 320Gig.  Now, add 320Gig + 160Gig + 96Gig.  That better give us 576Gig!  And, it does.  So the Brocade ICX6610 is considered, and rightly so, a "line rate" switch.
Now lets consider the Cisco 3850-48P.  You have 48 1Gig ports (96Gig with TX and RX), 4 10Gig ports (80Gig total with TX and RX), and up to 2 40Gig ports in an add on module (160Gig total).  Thats 96 + 80 + 160 = 336Gig.  Uh oh, the switching backplane only rates at 176Gbps.  Thats a problem.  If you subtract the 2 40Gig ports that come on that add on module, then you get 96 + 80 = 176Gig, which is "line rate".  Be aware if you add that 2 port 40Gig module.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quote For The Day: 22

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Quick Comparison: Brocade ICX7250 vs Cisco 3650\Cisco 3850

I had to do a quick comparison between a Brocade ICX7250 and a Cisco 3650, both low end closet switches.  Both of these switches turn out to be "line rate" switches, but there are some performance differences.  Ill do a post on "line rate" calculations on Friday.

Cisco 3650-48PS
Switching backplane - 176 Gbps 
Forwarding rate - 77.37 Mpps (Remember, this is million packets per second)
Stacking bandwidth - 160 Gbps 
Stacking Number - Stacks up to 9 units
# of 10 Gig ports available - 4
Warranty - 5 years after EOL, but only 90 days TAC support

Brocade ICX7250-48P
Switching backplane - 256 Gbps
Forwarding rate - 190 Mpps  (Remember, this is million packets per second)
Stacking bandwidth - 80 Gbps
Stacking Number - Stacks up to 12 units
# of 10 gig ports available - 8
Warranty - 5 years after EOL, but  3 years TAC support

Lets go one step further.  Lets compare the Cisco 3850 switch as well, just for fun.  This is a "line rate" switch, unless you add the 40Gig module:
Cisco 3850-48P
Switching backplane - 176 Gbps
Forwarding rate - 130.95 Mpps (in million packets per second)
Stacking bandwidth - 480 Gbps
Stacking Number - Stacks up to 9 units
# of 10 Gig ports available - 4
Warranty - 5 years after EOL, but only 90 days TAC support
NOTE***  IF you add a 40Gig module for an addition of up to 2 40Gig ports, you no longer have a "line rate" switch.  The switch is way oversubscribed if you add this module in place.

Just FYI for when you order your ICX7250 (and you should over the Cisco 3650 or 3850):
Q. What comes in the box with Brocade ICX 7250 Switches?
A. Brocade ICX 7250 Switches include a power cord, two-post rack mounting brackets with mounting screws and bolts, RJ45-to-DB9 adapter for serial console, rubber feet, power cord clip, and a USB serial console cable. The Brocade ICX 7250-48P comes with a 13 A, 110 V power cable.
Note: Stacking cables must be ordered separately.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ring Doorbell

I want to tell you about this cool thing called "Ring". It's a doorbell/camera/intercom system device, and I just bought one. It connects in place of your doorbell, and when someone approaches, it starts recording video to the cloud.  The guest can push the doorbell button, that will ring your doorbell when they get there. When the motion detection goes off, you instantly get a message on your smart phone, which will have an app that you downloaded. When you get that alert, you can click on it, no matter where you are, and view the person that has approached. You also have the ability to talk to them if you choose, through the app and through the intercom. It's pretty cool. If anyone shows up at my door, even if I'm at work, I'll know about it. Really cool stuff.
I took some screenshots so you could see, through the app, what it looks like. I have my camera sideways, for the placement on the wall is best in my situation. Plus, the motion range in my case works better this way.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why Should You Believe The Bible?

This question was brought up to me recently, and I guess I've never really thought about it much. I have always believed it, honestly. But he shared with me an interesting PPT that I'd like to share with you. It's short and to the point. Click here for the download.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sizing The Infrastructure Correctly

I remember a time when I came into a customer to fix a "network" problem.  When I got there, I found that the CPU on several switches that were daisy chained together was pegged out to 100%.  I couldn't even console in and get much of a response on the CLI.  Ultimately, I found that the equipment wasn't sized correctly for the environment.
When you are an engineer looking at a customer environment, you have to make sure that you understand what is going on with the traffic (how much and what kind).  You have to understand how many servers there are.  How many users there are.  How many remote site there are.  How many wireless devices there "normally" are.  How many Internet based applications there are.  This list can go on and on.  My point is that you have to size the network infrastructure correctly.  If you don't, the customer is going to be very sad with you.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

OSI Hardware Model

I came across this below and I thought it worth sharing. Some people are visual, and I hope this is helpful. Routers are a L3 device. Switches can be both L2 and L3 devices.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Excellent Resource For Brocade Info

This site was created by one of the Brocade SEs and is an excellent resource.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quote For The Day: 20

Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
~~ Mother Teresa

Monday, July 18, 2016

Brocade CLI For The ICX: Primary (Basic) Commands And The Cisco Equivalents

I put this together in an excel spreadsheet some time back when I worked at a VAR, and have now put this in a powerpoint presentation.  This PPT is for Cisco engineers that want to learn the Brocade ICX CLI.  These are the primary tasks that a field engineer will encounter when trying to implement a Brocade switch.  This will help you get your new Brocade gear up and running on the network and passing traffic.  One thing to note, is that you will need to download it, instead of viewing it online.  For some reason, online viewing distorts some of the columns.  Let me know if this is helpful.
Click here for the download.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Thought: Galatians 2:19-21

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Brocade VDX vs Cisco Nexus: Configuration Management Difference

I've gotten enough experience in both Brocade VDX and Cisco Nexus to see some very key differences. Differences that are real game changers. I know, you are going to say that now that I work at Brocade, I have to say good things about Brocade over the competition. Well, keep in mind, this is my personal blog, and it belongs to me. I have a responsibility to my customers to always be truthful, no matter what the outcome. And you have my word that I will be truthful, no matter what. It's not a "competition thing" to me. It's a "character thing".
With that said, I have put in enough Cisco Nexus gear in data centers to know that when I have put in redundancy, say in a pair of 5Ks with connected FEXs, in order to get everything configured appropriately, I have to do the config twice. Meaning once on 5K #1 and then again on 5K #2. I have always said that Cisco should have designed it in such a way where you only had to do one config, which sync'ed over to the redundant 5K. However, that just is not the case. By the way, you can sub that 5K I just mentioned with 7Ks or 9Ks. It doesn't matter.
However, Brocade did do this right. In what's called "logical chassis mode", all the VDXs are configured together, ONCE!  The VDX fabric looks like a stack of switches. Cisco also looks like a stack, just two separate stacks that have to be configured separately. But with Brocade, all devices look like one device, configured only once. This, to me, is a huge differentiator.  So much so, I call that a game changer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quote For The Day: 19

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. ~~Billy Graham

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Pretty Cool Thing: 2/2/1 And 15 Minutes

There has been a lot of "race" related stories going around lately in the media that is really tiring.  I don't need to get into it, as you are already aware if you read the news.  So, I have a story that I'd like to share with you, about what happened to me recently.  I realize that as I tell you this, it comes from "my perspective".
I don't know about you, but there are some things about drive time that is kind of cool.  I personally like to drive with the windows down, radio off, and just go.  On this particular day, it was in the mid 90s with high humidity.  Really just a typical, warmer day in the south.
As I'm driving along I-20, between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, I notice two SUVs ahead, parked on the side of the interstate.  I whizzed by them doing 75 mph, and I noticed that there were two women standing behind the SUVs, with a child stroller outside the vehicle.  One of the SUVs had a flat tire, which happened to be on the driver side rear (the interstate side).  That is really all that I saw as I went by.  In my mind, I'm thinking "two women, flat tire, mid 90 degree weather".  Probably not the best situation with the heat, let alone the safety of the women (and potentially children) on the side of an interstate with no where to go.  I never hit the brakes as I went by.
Occasionally this will happen.  My conscience will start to "flare up", more noticeable than the normal.  As I'm driving along, that "more than noticeable" thing inside was telling me to go back.  I had to go about 7 miles to get to the next off ramp to turn around and go back, which I did.  As I drove by on the opposite side of the interstate, I noticed there was a third person there, standing with the two women.
I got to the next off ramp to get turned around in the right direction again, and headed back towards where these folks were.  As I pulled up, I noticed a slightly different story than what I originally saw.  I saw two Hispanic women, and two black men.  My thought was, "maybe two married couples".  To me, nothing is special about this story yet.
I pulled up beside them and one of the men approached my truck.  He held up a tire iron and said his iron wouldn't fit the lug nuts on the flat tire, and asked if I had one that might work.  "I probably do" was my response, and I got out.  I carry a four point tire iron, just because you never know when you will need it.  I got out the tire iron, jack, and my cheater bar (a four foot, 4 inch in diameter pipe).  As I walked up to the SUV with the flat tire, I greeted all who where there and started working on the flat tire.
Now, at this point, keep in mind we have two Hispanic women, two black men, and one white man.  All together on the side of I-20.  I don't know where you are from, but this is an unusual site.
I'm going to go ahead and tell you then end, and come back to some details I noticed.  The flat tire did get fixed, and everyone went on their way.  Now, lets back up just a little bit for some interesting things I noticed.
1.  First, I found out that the two black men were not married to the two Hispanic women.  As the story unfolded, black man #1 told me that he was driving his daughter to college (UofA) and that he stopped to help these two Hispanic women who were obviously stranded.  Only to realize he didn't have the right size tire iron for their SUV.  Apparently, neither did the two women.
2.  I noticed that as I bent down on my knees, working on this tire, black man #2 got his silver window visor out of his SUV and put it on the ground beside me, so that I could put it under my knees so that I would not get scratched up (or burned from the heat) as I worked on the tire. The pavement gets hot in the sun.
3.  As I worked on the tire, black man #1 told me he was going to walk up a few feet away from me to try to direct traffic away from me as best he could, since I was on the interstate side and traffic was less than a couple of feet from me, going 70 to 80 mph.
4.  Black man #1 also told the two Hispanic women that Tuscaloosa (the direction they were headed) was the nearest place to get their tire replaced, and that they should do this if they were traveling far.
5.  When I got the tire changed, me and black man #1 shook hands.  I gathered all of my things and, since my hands were full at this point, black man #2 gave me an forearm/elbow bump.
6.  As I walked past the two Hispanic women, they were very grateful for the help, and stated so to me.
7.  As I went to put my stuff in the back of my truck, black man #1 helped me carry one thing I was struggling with (a jack stand), since I had my hands completely full with my jack, cheater bar and tire iron.
8.  This is just interesting to me, but one thing black man #1 said to me was that he told the two Hispanic women that he would wait with them until some help came, since his tire iron didn't fit.
I was the first to leave this scene.  I don't know what happened after that, except that at some point they left too.
As I think back on this, I think this one situation, in Alabama, has totally defied what the media pushes and what seems to be popular opinion.  If you are not from Alabama, then you should know that what the media pushes on you ABOUT Alabama is not true.  Racism does not run rampant like they want you to think.  I think this story illustrates that.
Now, for a deeper thought...
When I told you that my conscience "flared up" more than normal, what I really mean is that I think the Holy Spirit was guiding me to go back.  I think its interesting that as I drove 7 miles to get to the next turn around, and 7 miles back (that is a total of about 15 minutes or so drive time), that maybe that 15 minutes worth of changing a tire was meant for me to do.  I'm still thinking back on this moment in time, but I saw something very cool in those 15 or so minutes that I was there with those four other people.  I am certain that I don't know to full volume of that 15 minutes.  I would really like to hear the perspective of the other four people involved in this story.  I mean, if you are one of the black men, you would say "this white guy stopped to help two black men and two Hispanic women".  Or from the perspective of one of the Hispanic women: "two black men and a white guy stopped to help".  It would probably be even more interesting to hear their "whole story" about that day. I cant say with certainty, but I do think that all five of us where there, in that moment of 15 minutes, for a reason.  (It was actually longer for those four.)  I think if the Holy Spirit was involved, and I do believe He was, then I probably know just a little bit of the whole of that story.  I don't tell you this story to say anything special about me.  I tell you this because of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now, one more thought about #8 above.  Were they waiting on me in particular?  Maybe they would say "anyone that could help".  But from God's perspective, were they waiting on me?  I don't have that answer, but its an interesting question.
I think of Acts 9:10-19.  Not to the same scale, but what if there actually was a bigger picture in that 15 minutes?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Brocade ICX7750

Have you seen these switches?  They are 1U and are great performers.

The ICX7750-48F and ICX7750-48C have a switching backplane speed of 1.92 Tbps.  The ICX7750-26Q comes in at a switching backplane speed of 2.56 Tbps.  Thats huge.
The  ICX7750-48F and ICX7750-48C  forwarding rates comes in at 1.44 Bpps, while the ICX7750-26Q stands at 1.90 Bpps.  Again, thats huge.

Here is the datasheet for more info.  Ill put together a comparison of "apples to apples" equivalents of other manufactures soon so you can look at the comparisons.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Thought: Pray For Your Enemies

I can't seem to think of one negative thing about praying for your enemies, or those you don't like. Can you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Brocade VDX

Brocade has a solid data center product in its VDX line. I'm getting more and more into it, and I'm impressed more and more by the day.   As I have time, I'll start posting more about it. I can tell you this, that I have experience with Cisco's Nexus line, and I'm liking the Brocade VDX line better. More to come.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day USA!  Let us remember those whom we never knew who obtained something special. Let us not forget the original patriots. We don't see these kind of men today, unfortunately.