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Friday, May 12, 2017

Digital Disruption in Service Providers

Every industry can be digitally disrupted - even those that claim to provide the very digital transformation enterprises so desperately seek.

The true benefit of software-defined networking is not separation of control plane and data plane - that doesn't work at scale. It's not easier centralized control and the end of command line with more fancy acronyms like YANG, XML-RPC and REST APIs. The "revolutionary" idea is the separation of the network layer into physical connectivity and logical connectivity. I quote "revolutionary" as tongue-in-cheek - the OSI model always had a separate physical layer and network layer, but in the long move from circuits to fully-managed, bundled MPLS, we seem to have forgotten that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

DNS PII UH-OH

A seemingly normal DNS packet:

ETH: dst:98:76:54:32:10:ab  src:ab:cd:ef:12:34:56  type:0x0800
IPv4: version:4  hlen:5  tos:0x00  length:190  id:44821
IPv4: flags:0x00  offset:0  ttl:128  protocol:0x11  checksum:0xb060
IPv4: src:8.8.8.8  dst:192.168.10.1
UDP: src:53  dst:13245  length:170  checksum:0x8756
DNS: id:21817  qr:1  opcode:0  flags:0x18  rcode:0
DNS: qdCount:1  anCount:4
DNS: nsCount:0  arCount:0
DNS::Question: name:www.www.com
DNS::Question: type:1  class:1
DNS::RR: name:www.www.com
DNS::RR: type:5  class:1  ttl:64  rdlength:16
DNS::RR::CNAME: cname:www.Johnny.com
DNS::RR: name:www.www.com
DNS::RR: type:5  class:1  ttl:64  rdlength:17
DNS::RR::CNAME: cname:www.Fingers.com
DNS::RR: name:www.www.com
DNS::RR: type:1  class:1  ttl:64  rdlength:4
DNS::RR::A: address:25.7.42.197
DNS::RR: name:www.www.com
DNS::RR: type:1  class:1  ttl:64  rdlength:4
DNS::RR::A: address:73.156.82.200

But upon some decoding ...

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Net::SSH2 Upgrade Access to Cisco

I upgraded my Strawberry Perl to 5.24 and my GNS3 test lab for SSH access via CRAPPS suddenly didn't work.

Knowing the Perl version changed, I checked and the Net::SSH2 version changed (0.58 to 0.63). Troubleshooting was pretty easy - just a quick Perl script to open a connection and die on failure with error:

#!perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use Net::SSH2;

my $ssh2 = Net::SSH2->new();
$ssh2->connect('10.254.254.1') or $ssh2->die_with_error;
print "Success\n";

The error was: Unable to exchange encryption keys (-8 LIBSSH2_ERROR_KEY_EXCHANGE_FAILURE). OK, so I said troubleshooting was easy ... the solution ... maybe not so much?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Technology Themes

In my career of technology consulting, projects over the years have been driven by some high level themes regardless of:

  • the technology (i.e., network design, management, security, etc.),
  • the domain (i.e., local, wide-area, data center, etc.),
  • or the customer (i.e., retail, healthcare, banking, etc.)

To summarize roughly by decade:

Decade Theme
1980s Technology Evangelism
1990s Technology Deployment
2000s Technology Evaluation
2010s Technology Justification

I haven't been in information technology for that long,

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

IT Leadership

A CEO has a decision - who to lead IT now that the current CIO is leaving due to many failed projects and a general perception that the company's use of technology is falling behind.

The background: the company has business and department leaders housed in mahogany offices on the top floor of it's fancy headquarters. They've identified that collaboration is the issue - too many decisions are being made in a bubble without the appropriate input from across the business. This is why the last few technology projects have failed and they cannot afford another failure. Current collaboration technology includes Lotus Notes email, no instant messaging, an old analogue phone system and no video conferencing.

The CEO has three choices to fill the role:

  1. The technology wizard - vast experience with the company's IT systems and all relevent vendor / industry certifications.
  2. The MBA graduate - business undergrad with an MBA focusing on Information Systems management, hired two years ago as a director and being groomed for the executive fast-track.
  3. The outside technology consultant with business acumen - loads of hands-on technical experience, but no systems or management experience with this particular company.

What should the CEO do?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Seven Thoughts on The Seventh Sense

I recently read The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo and some reflection on my career as a network engineer and consultant.

I've been designing information and communications technology (ICT) networks for the better part of my career. The process, the technology, the methodology have all changed - in some cases dramatically. We no longer build networks for objects to connect to; we build networks to transport information. This may seem a semantic debate, but the two scenarios require very different approaches. And what emerges may be a very different architecture. Building houses for people to live in seems straightforward. But having information like, "all the people are disabled veterans" changes the architecture from a two-floor cape to a single-floor ranch, and alters many other design elements.

Following are the seven thoughts I need to document:

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Extending Knowledge with Chrome Extension

A bit of Google-ing and a read through the examples on Chrome Extensions, and I was able to create my first very simple Chrome extension.

When I come across a movie that I'd like to see - in a newsreader, YouTube trailer - I like to add it to my Netflix queue. This involves opening a new tab, going to Netflix, typing in the movie name in the search bar and then adding it to my saved queue. It'd be nice to just highlight the movie name text in the page I'm reading, right-click and select "Add to Netflix Queue". So that's what my extension does.

I needed to understand the basic extension manifest, how to use 'contextMenus' and the Netflix search URL. Code can be found on GitHub.

I haven't thought about putting it on the Chrome Store because of the graphics using the Netflix logo. This is not an extension authorized by Netflix so I don't want to have any issues around that. That would of course make installation easier as well as make Chrome not complain and remove the extension on each relaunch due to it not being in the Chrome Store.

I could also look into the Netflix API to see if I could authenticate if not already logged in and do some other checking, but for the 0.0.0.1 version, I'm more than happy I could hack something together that actually works!

 

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