Excited to announce the release of a MOOC that I have been working on with West Virginia’s Network for Education. Check it out and sign up for the class! Read the following press release…

WVNET Press Release
May 9, 2013

Are you ready to get down in the trenches with the experts and learn how to create your own Software Defined Network? If so, this MOOC is for you!

Help us spread the word…. On May 16th, 2013, West Virginia’s Network for Education (WVNET), facilitated in part by West Virginia’s Remote Online Collaborative Knowledge System (WVROCKS), will launch a MOOC on Software Defined Networking (SDN) through Blackboard’s CourseSites.

Software-defined networking is rapidly changing the network environment, but it is very difficult to learn how to actually install and use things like OpenFlow and OpenStack. WVNET’s Director, the Vice Chancellor of Technology for West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission, Judge Dan O’Hanlon, is the mastermind behind the MOOC. He along with a talented group of network engineers and architects have collaborated on an SDN-OPS course that is a hands-on, practical learning experience focusing on the many types of software-defined networking tools currently available. WVNET has been on the learning curve for SDN for the past year as their employees worked with RENCI at Duke to stand up the first Cisco ExoGENI Rack in the world.

WVNET’s MOOC lets students from all over the world learn how to create their own software defined network for free! No gimmicks! No tuition! No lab fees! They have recruited some of the most qualified experts in every area of the SDN Community as instructors, including Brent Salisbury from KYRON (the Kentucky Regional Optical Network) who frequently blogs about SDN; Dustin Burns & Ed Henry — both talented network engineers from Connecticut; Bill Owens from NYSERnet, the NY State Educational Research Network; Ivan Pepelnjak, a CCIE for decades who is one of the most read bloggers in the SDN universe; and Steven Wallace the new Director of InCNTRE at Indiana University who has taught OpenFlow installation classes all over the country.

The WVNET SDNOPS MOOC will begin on May 16, 2013 and continue with different weekly lessons until July 14, 2013. Students will learn about SDN and OpenFlow fundamentals, Hardware Switching and Constraints, OpenFlow Integration and Gateways, Data Center Orchestration, and how to Integrate SDN Networks into the Native Network Architecture.

For more information on how to register, go to .

For information regarding this press release, contact Dr. Mary Stewart, Applications Systems Analyst Programmer Lead, WVNET, 304-293-5192 x231 or

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Wireshark bit me today….

So I was playing with some captures of fragmented packets. My interest was in observing the offset values, and the more fragments bit. I was sending ICMP messages with a size of 2544.




This will obviously be fragmented because it is bigger than my default MTU. When I took a look at the capture this is what I saw.

ICMP filtered


Where are my fragments?????

ICMP unfiltered


Oh there they are. For some reason they are classified at IPv4 instead of ICMP…how very annoying. If anyone knows why let me know.


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As most of you know if you follow my blog, I failed SWITCH on Monday (sad face). But I am determined to pass this soon. I rescheduled my exam for April 29th, purchased some more study material, and im focusing on my weak areas. I have been studying so much, that I just tried to tab out some of these words…..

This week I got to play with some new toys in the data center. We just installed an Anue 5236 to help with our network monitoring, and a Qradar 1202 Flow Collector that will help with mitigating threats and supply us with better reporting. Spun up some more vPC’s to our new ERP servers, and placed the first iSCSI storage array to support ERP until we get our SAN later this year.

Got my feet wet with some Ubuntu this week also. It has been a long time since I have touched anything linux related, and it definitely shows. The next thing I will be doing is trying to get Open vSwitch and some controllers set up in a lab (in all the free time I have these days). I will be done with class in a few weeks, and will roll right into my ROUTE and TSHOOT studies. With any luck ROUTE will be done around August, and TSHOOT in November. Still shooting for CCNP R+S before the end of 2013!!

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Catalyst 6500 FEX??

So not too long ago, Cisco announced plans for the Catalyst 6500 to support Fabric Extenders in the future. With the introduction of Nexus in the data center, I am having a hard time seeing the value in a 6500 series investment. I could imagine setting up a 6500 chassis in a building and having a FEX in closets to allow for a centrally managed access layer. But unless you are deploying a VSS solution and configuring a MEC to dual-home, the failure of the chassis would bring down the entire access layer. No STP in the closets sounds sexy, but at what cost. Now Smart Install would be a great idea for the campus, as far as easy deployment/replacement. If a client switch is failed you can just replace the switch with another identical switch and the network configures the switch automatically, based on the reported CDP information and the saved configuration file. Or, if you add a new switch the standard configuration is automatically applied and you can then do the customizations if needed.

Catalyst 6500 is nowadays mostly directed to campus networks. I don’t see a clear case for using this, because I don’t like the idea of a failing Catalyst 6500 bringing down the whole access layer. In data centers I can see where it is useful because the servers are dual-connected with teaming or link aggregation anyway. I can either dual-home the FEXes or distribute the FEXes accordingly. I can stay FIPS compliant with my VDC deployment (Saves a lot of space in my data center), and allocating my VDC ports top of row with the use of pinning is great.

What does everyone else think about this? Let me know by posting on my blog.


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OK. Lets talk about my recent frustration with the Cisco exams, and what they give you as studying tools on I am taking my SWITCH tomorrow and I am going through all of my test preparation material. I recently discovered the review questions that are available to registered users. Great, I feel very confident in my ability to answer these questions. Took the first Set of questions, scored a 78% ??? OK i looked at the questions I got wrong and took notes. Took set 2……scored a 66% ?? WAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTT. Hold on. The answers to SONA, Wireless, and Technical vs. Organizational goals are totally bogus. So i started reading the posts from other users on these “review” questions. These start around 2010 might I add. A lot of these questions are marked and proven to be wrong. For example…


Since when is increasing revenue a technical goal?? I can kind of see how increasing competitiveness could be a goal (Google, Amazon, FB…etc). Network management, Security, and Reliability are clearly the correct choice.


Page 6 of the CCNP SWITCH Quick Reference guide that comes with the video mentor clearly states that Network Infrastructure, Interactive Services, and Applications are the three layers. Nice try to throw me off, make me fail, and get another $200 for my retake. (Book and online review questions created in the same year…2010 might I add) OCG written by Hucaby……No mention of SONA…printed 2011 6th printing.

Tighten it up CISCO!!!!

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New Territory

Well its official. Brent Salisbury and Edward Henry made me do it. This is my first blog. I will be posting all of my studies in my journey to CCIE R+S starting 1 day before my CCNP SWITCH exam. I will also be posting about things I come across in the world of networking that I think are worth sharing.

Just a little info on me to get things going…..

I am a Network Engineer at CSC, assigned to the General Dynamics Electric Boat account. I have been working as an IT professional for about 8 years now. I entered the networking field in January of 2012 thanks to Ed giving me that kick in the ass that I needed to hit the ground running. Ever since then it has been a mad dash to establish myself in the field, and prove my worth. Before working as an entry level network engineer, I held positions in desktop engineering, software support, and blackberry administration. My goal is to work in the Research and Engineering field, and implement/design cutting edge networks.

I also volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician in my town, and I have been doing that for about 18 months now. Going through my training and licencing was a wild ride. If Emergency Medicine can’t get your adrenaline pumping….i don’t know what will. SDN maybe? :-P.

I have a wonderful wife whom is the love of my life, and a son who is the driving force behind what I do in my life.

That’s enough for now…

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