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Cisco Quality of Service Design Guide

Quality of Service is one of those topics that has always peaked my interest. You don't see it deployed in every network, nor is it really necessary if the bandwidth never approaches what the network is capable of supporting. However, many situations call for traffic queuing and shaping behavior beyond the default configuration - that is where good design comes in. 

The Cisco Enterprise QoS Solution Reference Network Design Guide is one of the best reference guides I've ever seen for configuring QoS on Cisco equipment. There are books and other white papers on QoS, but those either cost money or make you sign up for an account to access them. This one is free. 

GNS3 Update

If you haven't checked their site in a while, the team over at have released an updated version of their graphical network simulator. Quite a few new features have been baked into this release, including a new etherswitch router node type and improvements to the snapshot feature. Definitely worth checking out if you have been using this tool for labs.

Patches gone bad

Remember those patches that were released last week? If you are having problems with outlook now, you might want to click on Edit > Undo Microsoft's Lame Patch. Apparently the patch Microsoft released for Outlook 2007 last week, KB2412171, was supposed to make things better and it didn't. 

In fact, there are several new anti-features that may prompt you to remove the patch including:

The Network Is Not Down

Prepare yourselves! Yesterday was the dreaded Microsoft patch Tuesday and that can only mean one thing, millions of PCs configured to automatically update themselves at 3:00am are potentially breaking themselves before end users get to their desks!

In all honesty though, there have been many support hours spent on troubleshooting problems that have been caused by patches being applied. Sometimes that server vulnerability was actually a feature being utilized by the primary application being hosted on the now "fixed" server. If users can't access the application, they'll let you know.

Archive and Restore your Cisco Configs


If you are used to typing "wr" to backup your configs, Cisco has been working hard at making it less easy to backup your configuration to flash. For years I've heard that write memory is "going away" and that everyone should use "copy running-config startup-config". If you are working on some newer platforms (NX-OS), you might find that wr doesn't work unless you create an alias:

alias exec wr copy run start

But there are cooler ways to backup your configurations now (aside from using third party tools), such as the Archive feature.

To backup your configs using Archive, here's a script to backup your config to disk0 once a day for two weeks:

Router(config)# archive
Router(config-archive)# path disk0:backupconfig
Router(config-archive)# maximum 14
Router(config-archive)# time-period 1440

If something happens to the config and you want to roll back to yesterday, that's where  configure replace comes in:

CCNP TSHOOT Exam Topology

Many of you seeking to take and pass the TSHOOT exam may already be aware that the topology for the exam is posted right on Cisco's site, but I just learned about it so I have to share!

Right on Cisco's site on the TSHOOT (642-832) Practical Exam Demo & Tutorial page is a link to the TSHOOT Exam Topology

If you are planning on taking this exam and currently studying it, be sure to get more familiar with the topology before making your first attempt. Already being familiar with the network before having to troubleshoot it is definitely going to save you some time. 

Juniper Acquires Altor Networks

Juniper announced today that they have acquired Altor Networks, a premiere provider of virtual security products.This is yet another addition to the acquisitions Juniper has made this year.

Google Sued for Trespassing

Google lost the lawsuit that alleged they trespassed while taking pictures for street view, according to an Associated Press report located here. In 2008, Aaron and Christine Boring brought the issue to court when Google trespassed on a private road in order to snap some photos of the couple's house to add to their maps website. 

After over two years of battling it out, Google finally conceded and agreed to pay the couple One US Dollar, a steep discount from the $25,000 in compensation the couple was originally seeking. Don't get any ideas kids, the lawyers fees are a lot more than what Google will be willing to pay you.

ITIL Compliance Made Simple?

Infoblox published a whitepaper a while back entitled 10 Simple Steps to ITIL Network Compliance. Most whitepapers provided by vendors that I've read are simply some high level technical information wrapped around their marketing speak to try to get you to buy their product that will save the world and do the dishes all at the same time. This white paper is no exception. However, if you plug your nose and read past the first few pages of introduction stuff, the top ten list starts around page 4 and they make it easy to skip the marketing hype by putting it at the end of every bullet point. Check it out if you want a quick high level list. 

Free CCIE Training Videos

The team over at Internetwork Experts (INE) has assembled a great set of free training videos that cover a wide range of topics, available via this link:

Their latest and greatest will cover LDAP Synchronization and Authentication in Unified Communications and will be broadcast on Dec 14. Sign up if you want to watch it when it's first broadcast, or if you wait, it will probably be posted on that page like the others.

Also, if you haven't given it a try yet, check out the free 60 minute login over at CBT Nuggets:

Tekcert on Facebook has a Facebook page! For all of you out there that wanted to post a comment that was about the site or directed to Jeremy about how awesome his CBT Nuggets are, you now have a place to drop us a line. The wall is open to everyone, so have at it!

Also, if you didn't see the icon on the bottom of the page, Tekcert is on Twitter too! There's usually a tweet every time a blog post is made and when other updates to the site are made. 

Follow tekcert on Twitter

Feel free to pick your favorite social media avenue to tell us about your latest certification, give us a heads up about something on the site, or simply say hello. And definitely keep the comments coming on the site, they're great!

Cisco 3750 switches get some needed attention

If you have ever setup a stack of Cisco 3750 switches and thought the StackWise feature could use some improvement, well Cisco read your mind. At least that is what I thought when I first laid eyes on the 3750-X switches. Finally, dual power supplies that are hot swappable and a cool feature called StackPower that saves the day when both power supplies fail!

For those of you who haven't heard of StackWise, it is basically a feature that Cisco has offered with some of their access-layer ethernet switches and blade server switches which allows several switches connected together with special cables to be managed as if they are a single switch. This means a server connected to a port on switch 1 can talk to a server on switch 2 without ever leaving the switch stack. Plus there is an added bonus of one IP address and system to manage instead of however many switches are in your stack.

Juniper is Jumping in to the mix

Juniper announced yesterday that they will be closing the deal with Belden to acquire Trapeze Networks, a Belden brand of wireless products. This fills a gaping hole in Juniper's product offering since they have just about everything else to offer in the enterprise space. With the acquisition Juniper will have a ton of patents on wireless technologies and a decent offering of WLAN controllers, Access Points, and Wireless management systems. 

Certification Vouchers


What's that you say? You pay full price when you take a certification exam? Oh, no no no, this just wont do. If you are planning on taking taking a certification exam and you are used to paying full price, let me introduce you to the voucher.

Since most IT certification exams (i.e. Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA) are taken from third party test centers, such as Pearson Vue and Prometric, there are opportunities to pay for exams ahead of time using a voucher system. The voucher is simply a string of text you copy from an email and paste into the purchase form which will either remove some of the price or completely pay for the exam. This is similar to coupon codes for online stores, except you pay for the voucher and then that covers some or all of the cost of the exam.

Earnings Reports and Pepto

Whenever I think of the stock market, I picture of a bunch of rich old men in a suits standing around arguing about how much more money one has than the other and gambling on senseless things. Ever see that movie Rat Race?

Yesterday, Cisco's stock (CSCO) took a dive after a weak forecast during their earnings report. What does that mean? To me, it means share holders are upset because they were expecting to be more rich than they will be, so they retaliated by taking their ball and going home. Nothing new there.

For the rest of us though, there will still be networks to design, routers to configure, and problems to troubleshoot. Leave the jacuzzi filled with pepto for the weird ones.

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