If you haven’t disabled telnet on your switches, shame on you!

March 20th, 2017 at 10:57 PM  Comments Off on If you haven’t disabled telnet on your switches, shame on you!

I am surprised at how many networks I run across that still have telnet and plain old http not only enabled, but the only way to manage these devices.  This really is a easy change and in my experiences doesn’t have any drawbacks, so why do people still have these enabled on their network?  Why are device manufacturers allowing these as options in new devices being configured?

The reason I bring this up today is unless you are living under a rock (and if you are, I am sorry) you have heard about Wikileaks providing information on a huge amount of network vulnerabilities that are, and have been on many of the devices we have in our corporate networks.  Cisco has now released a listing of devices (the first of many I am sure) and details of the cause.  Surprise!  If these devices are in your network and have telnet enabled, you have a big problem on your hands!  If you still have devices managed by telnet, even if they are not Cisco you need to stop reading this post, and get to planning some changes!

This is probably the first of many security exploits we will see in the coming weeks.  If you have equipment on this list, I would start planning firmware upgrades for the short term, and refreshes for the long term!

Cable Management fun with a Cisco 6509

May 23rd, 2012 at 11:35 AM  No Comments

Every company in my IT career I have walked into a jungle of cables with no documentation or labels.  I am starting to wonder if I will ever walk into a place where I don’t have to tear into everything and re-build from scratch.  I realize that IT staff is usually overworked, but there is no excuse for letting it get this out of hand.

I admit, in a fire I don’t always label/run everything the proper way, but I always make sure I go back (usually late hours of night/wee hours of the morning, I love my job!) and make sure it is done right.  I guess I should stop ranting and get back to the original subject of the post.  Afterall, those Lazy IT admins keep people like me out of the unemployment line.

Until my most recent position, I have never dealt with a large switch like the Cisco 6509 or 96 port patch panels (the maker of these patch panels, IMO, should be shot).  I am a big fan of what you can do with a good old fashioned 48 port switch, a Neatpatch and a 48 port patch panel.  I was stumped when I walked into the IDF for the first time and saw this.

It is Cousin It with a bad dye job!  You have to look close but you will find a Cisco 6509, 2x 96 port patch panels (other two are at the top) and 2x 24 Port Cisco 2970G switches.  I had no idea where to start, so I fired up Google.  The only thing that I could find for cable management for one of these beasts was the SMB-6509 from CE COM.  It looked great and had some awesome functionality. With no budget for the cleanup there was no way I was going to get approval for the $300 – $400 price tag and the other cable management I needed to finish the job (original estimate was around $2,000).  So I jumped on and started to look around.  I found some nice inexpensive items that looked like they would work for the IT guy with no budget.

Qty Description Cost (ea) Total
4 Black Box Cable Management D-Ring $2.00 $8.00
18 Siemon Cable Carriers $2.00 $36.00
4 Leviton 1U Cable Management Arm $35.00 $140.00
384 Belkin 3, 4 & 55 Foot Patch Cables $1.50 $576.00
Grand Total $760.00

I used the large Black Box Cable Rings for the top 96 port patch panels.  They held quite a bit of cable but they were a little flimsy.  I lined the Siemon Cable Carriers along the side of the Cisco 6509, one dedicated to each card.  If they were bigger, it would have helped tremendously.  I made sure I ran all of the copper from the right and just ran the power and the fiber (easily moveable) from the right.  This allows access without disconnecting any cables if I ever need to replace the fan card.  The 1U cable managers were used for the 48 port switches that have replaced the 4x 24 port switches at the bottom.

Enough about how I did it, here is the outcome.

I realize this isn’t the professional quality you were looking for.  I have some more velcro work to do and I need to add a couple more switches, but I don’t want to do any of that until we decide if this Cisco Catalyst 6500 series is staying in this IDF or being relocated.  At least it wasn’t a horror film like it started out as.  The CE COM Solution with a couple of neat patches would have been awesome, but not something that is in the cards right now.  For under $1,000 and many hours of work, I now have an area that is manageable, and documented.

For closing, I just want to leave you with one thought.  Just because you don’t get the solution you want (CE COM and Neatpatch in this situation) doesn’t mean you leave it broken.  With a little creativity, and lots of work you can make just about anything work.  Well, OK, maybe two thoughts.  Data running through 110 blocks?!


Cisco unveils new Linksys E4200 high performance home router

January 19th, 2011 at 11:03 AM  2 Comments

Cisco has unveiled their high performance home network router, the Linksys E4200. Not only is this thing feature packed, it comes in a pretty nice looking case for something that will be tucked away and never touched. Maybe Cisco intends to change that and wants you to put this bad boy on your desk for the world to see?

For $179.99, this thing packs a pretty hefty list of features:

  • Simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) wireless-N
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB Storage Port with built-in UPnP AV media server
  • WPA/WPA2 encryption and SPI firewall
  • QoS traffic prioritization
  • 6 internal antennas, 3×3 MIMO

The USB Storage Port lets you add an external USB drive to your network and share files at home or over the Internet. The built-in UPnP AV Media Server allows for streaming of your video and media files to an Xbox 360, PS3, or other UPnP compatible device.

Cisco also has plans to turn the USB port into a Virtual USB port with a future firmware upgrade, this will also enable printers to easily connect to the network so all users in the home can print wirelessly.


Storage Tiering vs Caching

November 12th, 2010 at 9:06 AM  3 Comments

During the first day of Tech Field Day #4 in San Jose we heard from two storage vendors who had two different thoughts on how storage should be configured.  We started out the day with NetApp who went over everything from their new OnTap 8.0.1 software, to the joint venture with Cisco and VMware called FlexPod as well as a presentation from Greg Kleimanon, Director of Marketing, on how NetApp uses caching in their arrays.

NetApp believes their Intelligent caching using Flash Cache is the best way to handle some of the hurdles that customers are facing today.  Kleimanon stated that Tiering is expensive and complicated to manage.  He did comment that there are companies (Like F5, another vendor from a previous Tech Field Day) that have created algorithms to dynamically manage tiering but he echoed that these algorithms are not proven.

The last presentation of the day was from Avere Co-founder/CEO Ronald Bianchini, Jr.  He was very passionate about his product and it showed through the presentation.  Avere uses your current “slow” storage for archive and uses a hybrid of RAM and SAS/SSD drives for faster reads/writes.  This solves the problem of speed in space by using a non traditional process of putting their box with the fast stuff (RAM & SAS/SSD) in front of your traditional SATA slow array.  It uses a algorithm to decide which items should be written/read from the RAM, the SAS/SSD drives or the SATA drives depending on the most efficient way to handle the data.

So what are your thoughts?  Caching or Tiering?

After seeing both presentations I think Tiering as implemented by Avere is the right way to implement the solution.  The way Avere breaks down the data and gives it the most efficient access path to the storage just makes sense.  Look for big things coming from Avere, especially in their FXT Series.

Update:  Here are the videos of the two presentations.  Watch and share your thoughts!

NetApp Presentation 1, 2, 3

Avere Presentation

Disclaimer:  Tech Field Day is organized by the great folks at Gestalt IT and paid for by the presenters of the event.  Even though my travel, meals and hotel accommodations were paid for my opinions are my own and it will not affect my posts.

Not everything made by Cisco is made of gold

March 8th, 2010 at 3:14 PM  5 Comments

The scenario:  You’ve found yourself working at a company that is experiencing phenomenal growth.  The employees have actually decupled in the past year and show no signs of slowing in the near future (on this note, when was the last time you saw the “decupled” in print?). You have inherited a network that is truly a Frankensteinian creation that not even the original architects understand any more.  You have noticed that you neither have a working firewall nor a decent VPN system, though Cisco VPN is used by a handful of key employees to connect to a Cisco 1800 series router.  The IP scheme for the organization, which spans three sites, is using the 192.x.x.x address space. You wish to straighten everything out with a minimum of downtime and as seamless as possible for the end-users.  What do you do?

Well, instead of telling you what to do, allow me to tell you what not to do.  Not just that, let me drill into your collective skulls what not to do.  Are you ready?  Here it comes:

Do not, and this is key, so write it down… do not buy a Cisco SA 500 series device.


Cisco doubles density of 9000 series edge router

August 28th, 2009 at 12:19 PM  No Comments

Cisco announced Tuesday that it would begin selling an enhanced version of its Cisco Aggregation Services Router 9000 Series, which will double the amount of line cards it can hold by introducing new single-slot cards.

The new configuration will allow 16×10 Gigabit Ethernet line cards, delivering over 100 Gbps of bandwidth. Cisco claims that this new configuration leads the industry in density and scalability, unlike some competitors that only can support 50G today.

The 9000 series router is typically used to deliver TV, video on demand, Internet video and other high bandwidth traffic. It is also used by wireless carriers to support their Internet infrastructure.