Work Stuff – More Studying – Collapsing the Data Center


I created a task for myself at work, not that my work load hadn’t already been enough.

I wanted to implement Active Directory authentication on our Alcatel-Lucent equipment using a Windows Server 2008 R2 server acting as an NPS server. I wasn’t able to find much documentation on this at all on the web or at Alcatel Unleashed or even Alcatel’s configuration manuals or user guides. They were, however, nice enough to provide me with the Vendor Specific Attributes(VSA’s) that needed to be added to the RADIUS server to provide the appropriate information to the device. I will post the complete write-up on that at a later time, as I am still writing the documentation at work and I want to finalize it before I post it.

On a better note! I’ve been doing a lot of CCNP preparation as of late, and I am starting to feel more and more comfortable with the concepts and application of the material. I’ve worked my way through EIGRP and OSPF and I have moved on to route distribution. The more I read and the more I work in my home lab and GNS3, the more thirsty I become for learning and digesting anything network oriented. Using route-maps and ACL’s to efficiently distribute routes between different domains or to assign specific metrics to routes to make it even more efficient! I find myself analyzing everything at work to see how I can make it more efficient. Which can’t be a bad thing, and they certainly benefit from it.

OK, I’m sure you’ve heard enough in my posts about my studies. Let’s talk about some industry buzz for a while. Collapsing the data center, in a good way. In the past, traditional networks required an abundant use of distribution layer switches to communicate with the core layer of the network. The article states that there isn’t as much of need for the distribution layer anymore. That the access layer switches could communicate directly with the core for core services. As we move further into the future and the more I work with these types of technology, the more I realize that there may actually be some logic to this theory. In the past, equipment couldn’t be considered as reliable as it today. Decreases in power demand, footprint and cost, and increases in reliability and performance are starting to allow devices to last longer and produce better results. This leaves us with the option to start eliminating some distribution layer devices and start uplinking access devices directly to the core.

Most arguments I’ve heard against this idea addresses redundancy and availability. But, if you have an access layer switch uplinked to a distribution layer device which then uplinked to the core, and that distribution layer switch were to fail, you’re still left with the same results as if the access layer switch failed. No connectivity.  So, the idea of less complexity and more performance is always something we’re all keen on as network junkies.

Another topic I’d like to discuss in a later post would be “cloud” technologies. While good in theory, I think the world is in for a bit of an eye-opener when we really start moving heavily toward companies who provide a cloud service. I see it as one giant security threat. Even with the ideas of public, private, or hybrid clouds. But, I digress. I will write that up in another post.

Though I’m still new to the in depth studies and theories of networks, I still strive to make the best judgements with what I know. Please feel free to add input or correct me in any of my statements.

Thanks for reading!,




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