Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Brocade Network Advisor

I have been getting into BNA quite a bit lately.  I really think this is a value add for the Network Admin/Engineer.  I'm working my way through the ins and outs of it, as time permits, but I see some things that are real game changers for the network admin/engineer.
I was talking to one of the guys here at Brocade, and one of the things he said really caught my attention.  He said he was talking to a group of CLI guys, and one of the things he asked them was that in five years from now, do you think you will be still doing things in CLI?  Well, I have to say, as a CLI guy myself, the answer is NO.  I'm seeing a lot of really cool stuff from Brocade that is driven to make the stress and headache of the network guy less and less.  Which, in reality, is what we all want.  Im setting up BNA to monitor a few switches, but with that, BNA also does config work for you.  Im pushing the following commands to change the two switches I have in a lab:
default-vlan-id 3000
vlan 200
tagg eth 1/1/1
int eth 1/1/1
vlan 1
tagged eth 1/1/1
int eth 1/1/1
dual-mode 1

So, lets look at a screenshot of what happened:

If you will notice, I push the commands on the left (in the square) to the two switches on the right.  Imagine if you have 100 switches in the network.
Below, just to check, is the config off one of the switches.  I cut and pasted and edited the stuff that was not part of this config:
vlan 1 by port
 tagged ethe 1/1/1
vlan 200 by port
 tagged ethe 1/1/1
vlan 3000 name DEFAULT-VLAN by port

default-vlan-id 3000

interface ethernet 1/1/1
 dual-mode  1

Now image you typing in the config in the box on the left (all as if in CLI) and then pushing to the 100 switches in your network?  Wouldn't that be cool?  Well, it is.  It saves time.  It saves money.  It saves you from being at work so late.  It frees you up to do other things you need to do.  Man, I'm telling you, this is nothing compared to what is in BNA now and what is coming in other Brocade products.
Here is another feature that allows you to see the changes made to a config.  Just a quick screenshot, shows you the below (I made another untagged eth 1/1/35 in some testing):

I'm seeing a lot of cool things within Brocade.  Things I didnt get to see at the VAR level.  And I'm excited about the direction that things are going.


  1. Looking for some pros/cons of L2 VPN(VPLS,VLL) vs L3 VPN(MP-BGP). Management wants to roll out large L2 domains (/22 in some cases) across the campus, using a central firewall that we manage as the gateway for these networks. I have heavy reservations about spanning L2 across our cores, even using MPLS, it just doesn't seem safe to me. I need some good solid arguments against it, and an alternative to it. My thoughts are assign a large /22 to one department, then break that up into /24 or /25 inside a building to ease IP address management and use MP-BGP to connect those network back to each other and import a default route that routes traffic back through the central firewall. We are a Brocade shop.

    1. Your reason: broadcast storms that take down the whole network.
      Personally, I'd do L3 to each site. I'd also do class C subnets for each vlan. Make it simple.
      Spanning L2 across multiple sites is not something I prefer, unless there is a specific reason for it, which sometimes there is. But if you can't come up with a specific reason, I'd do L3. Think broadcast storm, what's going to happen if/when that happens? Everyone on that vlan will know. No reason to make your life difficult.


Your comment will be reviewed for approval. Thank you for submitting your comments.