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Showing posts from April, 2018

Cisco UCS Platform Emulator Installation

To continue my series of posts on building the framework for a functional lab environment, I'd like to talk about the Cisco UCS Platform Emulator (UCSPE). It is a software appliance packaged as a vSphere OVA that approximates a UCS deployment, including the networking components (a pair of switches called the Fabric Interconnects) and both blade and rackmount UCS servers (B- and C-Series, respectively). It can be a great tool for learning and becoming more familiar with the UCS platform. I will be deploying my UCSPE on vSphere 6.7 in my lab, but it should work similarly in other recent versions.

1. Start by downloading the UCS Platform Emulator OVA from https://communities.cisco.com/docs/DOC-71877 - you will need a Cisco Connection Online (CCO) login in order to begin the download. I am using version 3.1(2ePE1) of the emulator for this guide as that appeared to be the latest version available at the time of writing. Side note, I also noticed during the boot process that this versi…

NetApp ONTAP 9.3 Simulator Deployment – Part 2

In Part 1 of the deployment guide, we learned how to deploy a single NetApp simulator on ESXi. For this post, I’d like to detail the process of adding a second simulator to the cluster. We did a lot of the legwork for the first node’s deployment, so adding the second node is a much shorter process.


1. Go through the steps to deploy the OVA package again just like the first simulator (refer to Part 1 steps 7-11 if needed)
2. Once the OVA has been deployed, boot the second simulator. This time, however, we’ll need to interrupt the boot process to access the LOADER prompt in order to change the system ID and serial number of the second simulator (two systems can’t have the same serial/system ID).

Press Space Bar when you see the Hit [Enter] to boot immediately, or any other key for command prompt. Booting in 10 seconds... message. You’ll see a VLOADER> prompt.
3. Run the setenv SYS_SERIAL_NUM 4034389-06-2 and setenv bootarg.nvram.sysid 4034389062 commands to set the serial number and syst…

NetApp ONTAP 9.3 Simulator Deployment - Part 1

I am going to be doing a few of these simulator/lab posts in an effort to set up an environment that will pave the way for future guides and blog posts. Hopefully it'll also be a good resource for folks that want to set up their own labs to test out new features and software versions. Today I'm going to show the steps required to deploy Netapp's ONTAP Simulator 9.3 on vSphere 6.5.  I'll also be doing a follow-up article that will detail the process of clustering a second node with this first one.

Note: My lab has vCenter 6.5 deployed along with a Distributed vSwitch, so the steps will be specific to that deployment. I will also assume that you already have basic networking and storage for your virtual machines in place.

Step 1: Deploying the Simulator

1. Browse out to https://mysupport.netapp.com, click on "Sign In" in the upper right-hand corner and log in using your NetApp account credentials.

2. Click on the Downloads drop-down at the top of the screen and c…

Cisco UCS LACP Port Channel Flapping

I recently encountered this issue during a deployment and wasn't able to find much information about it on the Internet, so I figured I'd make a quick blog post to document the issue and the solution in case other people encounter the same issue.

When connecting UCS Fabric Interconnects to non-Cisco switches (in this case Juniper EX series) we noticed some strange behavior: once every 30 minutes or so, the Uplink port-channel members would go down briefly and then come back up and then everything would be fine until the next occurrence. This would generate an intermittent F0727 error - UCS complaining that its port channels had no operational members.

I turned up LACP traceoptions logging on the Juniper side to see if it might be an issue with the LACP protocol itself, but it did not yield any useful information as to the root cause of the issue.

I turned to the UCS logs to see if I could get any further information, and noticed these log entries repeated many times:

2018 Apr 1…

The Evolution of my Home Lab

For my inaugural blog post, I figured it made some sort of sense to talk about something that I did early on in my career that had a lasting impact on me, professionally - the creation of my home lab and its evolution over the years. It's seen MANY small iterations over the years since I first had anything you could call a lab, but in the interest of time I'll just cover a few major ones and talk about how I use the lab today. Let me paint you a word picture...

The Early Days

Like a lot of IT professionals, I've always been predisposed to exploring how computers worked ever since we got our first hand-me-down 286 from my Grandma. Yes, my Grandma always had a better computer than I did, she was cool like that. In fact, I loved to tinker so much that I distinctly remember that I had tinkered with our "family" computer's operating system (MS-DOS 6.22, if I recall correctly) a little too much one day and it was no longer working properly. As a Christmas present, s…

Welcome to my blog!

First off, let me say thank you for visiting my blog and I hope that you will find some useful information contained within. I have the good fortune (most days I consider it good fortune, anyways) of having a relatively broad area of responsibility in my current job role - it covers a wide range of data center infrastructure components. My hope is that will lead to the production of a variety of content that will benefit people involved in various areas of data center administration.

One of the major projects that I am working on this year is to expand our secondary data center, which includes a new compute environment, storage implementation, new load balancers, new firewalls, and other networking equipment. I plan on creating some posts focused on the deployment, initial configuration and/or just cool ways we're solving business problems with technology.

I have also set some IT certification goals for myself in 2018, as follows:

Citrix Certified Associate - Networking (end of Jun…