Using Cumulus NetQ fabric validation with Ansible

Here a new post about Cumulus NetQ, I build a small Ansible playbook to validate the state of MLAG within a Cumulus Linux fabric using automation.

In this case I use the command “netq check clag json” to check for nodes in failed or warning state. This example can be used when doing automated changes to MLAG and to validate the configuration afterwards, or as a pre-check before I execute the main playbook.

---
- hosts: spine leaf
  gather_facts: False
  user: cumulus

  tasks:
     - name: Gather Clag info in JSON
       command: netq check clag json
       register: result
       run_once: true
       failed_when: "'ERROR' in result.stdout"

     - name: stdout string into json
       set_fact: json_output="{{result.stdout | from_json }}"
       run_once: true

     - name: output of json_output variable
       debug:
         var: json_output
       run_once: true

     - name: check failed clag members
       debug: msg="Check failed clag members"
       when: json_output["failedNodes"]|length == 0
       run_once: true

     - name: clag members status failed
       fail: msg="Device {{item['node']}}, Why node is in failed state? {{item['reason']}}"
       with_items:  "{{json_output['failedNodes']}}"
       run_once: true

     - name: clag members status warning
       fail: msg="Device {{item['node']}}, Why node is in warning state? {{item['reason']}}"
       when: json_output["warningNodes"] is defined
       with_items:  "{{json_output['warningNodes']}}"
       run_once: true

Here the output when MLAG is healthy:

PLAY [spine leaf] *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

TASK [Gather Clag info in JSON] *******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.017)       0:00:00.017 ********
changed: [spine-1]

TASK [stdout string into json] ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.325)       0:00:00.343 ********
ok: [spine-1]

TASK [output of json_output variable] *************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.353 ********
ok: [spine-1] => {
    "json_output": {
        "failedNodes": [],
        "summary": {
            "checkedNodeCount": 4,
            "failedNodeCount": 0,
            "warningNodeCount": 0
        }
    }
}

TASK [check failed clag members] ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.363 ********
ok: [spine-1] => {
    "msg": "Check failed clag members"
}

TASK [clag members status failed] *****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.011)       0:00:00.374 ********

TASK [clag members status warning] ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.007)       0:00:00.382 ********
skipping: [spine-1]

PLAY RECAP ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
spine-1                    : ok=4    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=0

Friday 20 October 2017  17:56:35 +0200 (0:00:00.008)       0:00:00.391 ********
===============================================================================
Gather Clag info in JSON ------------------------------------------------ 0.33s
check failed clag members ----------------------------------------------- 0.01s
stdout string into json ------------------------------------------------- 0.01s
output of json_output variable ------------------------------------------ 0.01s
clag members status warning --------------------------------------------- 0.01s
clag members status failed ---------------------------------------------- 0.01s

In the following example leaf-1 node is in warning state because of a missing “clagd-backup-ip“, another warning could be also a single attached bond interface:

PLAY [spine leaf] *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

TASK [Gather Clag info in JSON] *******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.016)       0:00:00.016 ********
changed: [spine-1]

TASK [stdout string into json] ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.225)       0:00:00.241 ********
ok: [spine-1]

TASK [output of json_output variable] *************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.251 ********
ok: [spine-1] => {
    "json_output": {
        "failedNodes": [],
        "summary": {
            "checkedNodeCount": 4,
            "failedNodeCount": 0,
            "warningNodeCount": 1
        },
        "warningNodes": [
            {
                "node": "leaf-1",
                "reason": "Backup IP Failed"
            }
        ]
    }
}

TASK [check failed clag members] ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.261 ********
ok: [spine-1] => {
    "msg": "Check failed clag members"
}

TASK [clag members status failed] *****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.011)       0:00:00.273 ********

TASK [clag members status warning] ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.007)       0:00:00.281 ********
failed: [spine-1] (item={u'node': u'leaf-1', u'reason': u'Backup IP Failed'}) => {"failed": true, "item": {"node": "leaf-1", "reason": "Backup IP Failed"}, "msg": "Device leaf-1, Why node is in warning state? Backup IP Failed"}

NO MORE HOSTS LEFT ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
	to retry, use: --limit @/home/berndonline/cumulus-lab-vagrant/netq_check_clag.retry

PLAY RECAP ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
spine-1                    : ok=4    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=1

Friday 20 October 2017  18:02:05 +0200 (0:00:00.015)       0:00:00.297 ********
===============================================================================
Gather Clag info in JSON ------------------------------------------------ 0.23s
clag members status warning --------------------------------------------- 0.02s
check failed clag members ----------------------------------------------- 0.01s
output of json_output variable ------------------------------------------ 0.01s
stdout string into json ------------------------------------------------- 0.01s
clag members status failed ---------------------------------------------- 0.01s

Another example is that NetQ reports about a problem that leaf-1 has no matching clagid on peer, in this case on leaf-2 the interface bond1 is missing in the configuration:

PLAY [spine leaf] ***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

TASK [Gather Clag info in JSON] *********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.016)       0:00:00.016 ********
changed: [spine-1]

TASK [stdout string into json] **********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.223)       0:00:00.240 ********
ok: [spine-1]

TASK [output of json_output variable] ***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.250 ********
ok: [spine-1] => {
    "json_output": {
        "failedNodes": [
            {
                "node": "leaf-1",
                "reason": "Conflicted Bonds: bond1:matching clagid not configured on peer"
            }
        ],
        "summary": {
            "checkedNodeCount": 4,
            "failedNodeCount": 1,
            "warningNodeCount": 1
        },
        "warningNodes": [
            {
                "node": "leaf-1",
                "reason": "Singly Attached Bonds: bond1"
            }
        ]
    }
}

TASK [check failed clag members] ********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.010)       0:00:00.260 ********
skipping: [spine-1]

TASK [clag members status failed] *******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.009)       0:00:00.269 ********
failed: [spine-1] (item={u'node': u'leaf-1', u'reason': u'Conflicted Bonds: bond1:matching clagid not configured on peer'}) => {"failed": true, "item": {"node": "leaf-1", "reason": "Conflicted Bonds: bond1:matching clagid not configured on peer"}, "msg": "Device leaf-1, Why node is in failed state? Conflicted Bonds: bond1:matching clagid not configured on peer"}

NO MORE HOSTS LEFT **********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
	to retry, use: --limit @/home/berndonline/cumulus-lab-vagrant/netq_check_clag.retry

PLAY RECAP ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
spine-1                    : ok=3    changed=1    unreachable=0    failed=1

Monday 23 October 2017  18:49:15 +0200 (0:00:00.014)       0:00:00.284 ********
===============================================================================
Gather Clag info in JSON ------------------------------------------------ 0.22s
clag members status failed ---------------------------------------------- 0.02s
stdout string into json ------------------------------------------------- 0.01s
output of json_output variable ------------------------------------------ 0.01s
check failed clag members ----------------------------------------------- 0.01s

This is just an example to show what possibilities I have with Cumulus NetQ when I use automation to validate my changes.

There are some information in the Cumulus NetQ documentation about, taking preventive steps with your network: https://docs.cumulusnetworks.com/display/NETQ/Taking+Preventative+Steps+with+Your+Network

Ansible Playbook for Cumulus NetQ Agent Installation

Here a short Ansible script to install the Cumulus NetQ agent on Cumulus Linux switches.

---
- hosts: spine leaf
  remote_user: cumulus
  gather_facts: no
  become: yes
  vars:
    ansible_become_pass: "CumulusLinux!"
  tasks:
    - name: Install cumulus-netq
      apt: name=cumulus-netq update_cache=yes state=present
      register: result

    - name: Restart Syslog service
      service: name=rsyslog state=restarted
      when: result.stdout is defined

    - pause: seconds=5

    - name: Add netq server IP addr
      command: netq config add server 192.168.100.133
      when: result.stdout is defined

    - name: Start netq-agent
      service: name=netq-agent state=restarted
      when: result.stdout is defined

Your NetQ VM needs to be reachable from the switches otherwise the command “netq add server…” will fail.

You find more information in the official Cumulus NetQ documentation:  https://docs.cumulusnetworks.com/display/NETQ/Getting+Started+with+NetQ

Ansible Playbook for Cumulus Linux (Layer 3 Fabric)

Like promised, here a basic Ansible Playbook for a Cumulus Linux Layer 3 Fabric running BGP which you see in large-scale data centre deployments.

You push the layer 2 network as close as possible to the server and use ECMP (Equal-cost multi-path) routing to distribute your traffic via multiple uplinks.

These kind of network designs are highly scalable and in my example a 2-Tier deployment but you can easily use 3-Tiers where the Leaf switches become the distribution layer and you add additional ToR (Top of Rack) switches.

Here some interesting information about Facebook’s next-generation data centre fabric: Introducing data center fabric, the next-generation Facebook data center network

I use the same hosts file like from my previous blog post Ansible Playbook for Cumulus Linux (Layer 2 Fabric)

Hosts file:

[spine]
spine-1
spine-2
[leaf]
leaf-1
leaf-2

 

Ansible Playbook:

---
- hosts: all
  remote_user: cumulus
  gather_facts: no
  become: yes
  vars:
    ansible_become_pass: "CumulusLinux!"
    spine_interfaces:
      - { port: swp1, desc: leaf-1, address: "{{ swp1_address}}" }
      - { port: swp2, desc: leaf-2, address: "{{ swp2_address}}" }
      - { port: swp6, desc: layer3_peerlink, address: "{{ peer_address}}" }
    leaf_interfaces:
      - { port: swp1, desc: spine-1, address: "{{ swp1_address}}" }
      - { port: swp2, desc: spine-2, address: "{{ swp2_address}}" }      
  handlers:
    - name: ifreload
      command: ifreload -a
    - name: restart quagga
      service: name=quagga state=restarted
  tasks:
    - name: deploys spine interface configuration
      template: src=templates/spine_routing_interfaces.j2 dest=/etc/network/interfaces
      when: "'spine' in group_names"
      notify: ifreload
    - name: deploys leaf interface configuration
      template: src=templates/leaf_routing_interfaces.j2 dest=/etc/network/interfaces
      when: "'leaf' in group_names"
      notify: ifreload
    - name: deploys quagga configuration
      template: src=templates/quagga.conf.j2 dest=/etc/quagga/Quagga.conf
      notify: restart quagga

Let’s run the Playbook and see the output:

[[email protected] cumulus]$ ansible-playbook routing.yml -i hosts

PLAY [all] *********************************************************************

TASK [deploys spine interface configuration] ***********************************
skipping: [leaf-2]
skipping: [leaf-1]
changed: [spine-2]
changed: [spine-1]

TASK [deploys leaf interface configuration] ************************************
skipping: [spine-1]
skipping: [spine-2]
changed: [leaf-2]
changed: [leaf-1]

TASK [deploys quagga configuration] ********************************************
changed: [leaf-2]
changed: [spine-2]
changed: [spine-1]
changed: [leaf-1]

RUNNING HANDLER [ifreload] *****************************************************
changed: [leaf-2]
changed: [leaf-1]
changed: [spine-2]
changed: [spine-1]

RUNNING HANDLER [restart quagga] ***********************************************
changed: [leaf-1]
changed: [leaf-2]
changed: [spine-1]
changed: [spine-2]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
leaf-1                     : ok=4    changed=4    unreachable=0    failed=0
leaf-2                     : ok=4    changed=4    unreachable=0    failed=0
spine-1                    : ok=4    changed=4    unreachable=0    failed=0
spine-2                    : ok=4    changed=4    unreachable=0    failed=0

[[email protected] cumulus]$

To verify the configuration let’s look at the BGP routes on the leaf switches:

[email protected]:/home/cumulus# net show route bgp
RIB entry for bgp
=================
Codes: K - kernel route, C - connected, S - static, R - RIP,
       O - OSPF, I - IS-IS, B - BGP, P - PIM, T - Table, v - VNC,
       V - VPN,
       > - selected route, * - FIB route

B>* 10.0.0.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.1.1, swp1, 00:02:14
  *                    via 10.0.1.5, swp2, 00:02:14
B   10.0.1.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.1.1 inactive, 00:02:14
                       via 10.0.1.5, swp2, 00:02:14
B   10.0.1.4/30 [20/0] via 10.0.1.5 inactive, 00:02:14
                       via 10.0.1.1, swp1, 00:02:14
B>* 10.0.2.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.1.5, swp2, 00:02:14
  *                    via 10.0.1.1, swp1, 00:02:14
B>* 10.0.2.4/30 [20/0] via 10.0.1.1, swp1, 00:02:14
  *                    via 10.0.1.5, swp2, 00:02:14
B>* 10.200.0.0/24 [20/0] via 10.0.1.1, swp1, 00:02:14
  *                      via 10.0.1.5, swp2, 00:02:14
[email protected]:/home/cumulus#
[email protected]:/home/cumulus# net show route bgp
RIB entry for bgp
=================
Codes: K - kernel route, C - connected, S - static, R - RIP,
       O - OSPF, I - IS-IS, B - BGP, P - PIM, T - Table, v - VNC,
       V - VPN,
       > - selected route, * - FIB route

B>* 10.0.0.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.2.5, swp1, 00:02:22
  *                    via 10.0.2.1, swp2, 00:02:22
B>* 10.0.1.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.2.5, swp1, 00:02:22
  *                    via 10.0.2.1, swp2, 00:02:22
B>* 10.0.1.4/30 [20/0] via 10.0.2.1, swp2, 00:02:22
  *                    via 10.0.2.5, swp1, 00:02:22
B   10.0.2.0/30 [20/0] via 10.0.2.1 inactive, 00:02:22
                       via 10.0.2.5, swp1, 00:02:22
B   10.0.2.4/30 [20/0] via 10.0.2.5 inactive, 00:02:22
                       via 10.0.2.1, swp2, 00:02:22
B>* 10.100.0.0/24 [20/0] via 10.0.2.5, swp1, 00:02:22
  *                      via 10.0.2.1, swp2, 00:02:22
[email protected]:/home/cumulus#

Have fun!

Read my new post about an Ansible Playbook for Cumulus Linux BGP IP-Fabric and Cumulus NetQ Validation.

Ansible Playbook for Cumulus Linux (Layer 2 Fabric)

Here a basic Ansible Playbook for a Cumulus Linux lab which I use for testing. Similar spine and leaf configuration I used in my recent data centre redesign, the playbook includes one VRF and all SVIs are joined the VRF.

I use the Cumulus VX appliance under GNS3 which you can get for free at Cumulus: https://cumulusnetworks.com/products/cumulus-vx/

The first step is to configure the management interface of the Cumulus switches, edit /etc/network/interfaces and afterwards run “ifreload -a” to appy the config changes:

auto eth0
iface eth0
	address 192.168.100.20x/24
	gateway 192.168.100.2

Hosts file:

[spine]
spine-1 
spine-2
[leaf]
leaf-1 
leaf-2 

Before you start, you should push your ssh keys and set the hostname to prepare the switches.

Now we are ready to deploy the interface configuration for the Layer 2 Fabric, below the interfaces.yml file.

---
- hosts: all
  remote_user: cumulus
  gather_facts: no
  become: yes
  vars:
    ansible_become_pass: "CumulusLinux!"
    spine_interfaces:
      - { clag: bond1, desc: downlink-leaf, clagid: 1, port: swp1 swp2 }
    spine_bridge_ports: "peerlink bond1"
    bridge_vlans: "100-199"
    spine_vrf: "vrf-prod"
    spine_bridge:
      - { desc: web, vlan: 100, address: "{{ vlan100_address }}", address_virtual: "00:00:5e:00:01:00 10.1.0.254/24", vrf: vrf-prod }
      - { desc: app, vlan: 101, address: "{{ vlan101_address }}", address_virtual: "00:00:5e:00:01:01 10.1.1.254/24", vrf: vrf-prod }
      - { desc: db, vlan: 102, address: "{{ vlan102_address }}", address_virtual: "00:00:5e:00:01:02 10.1.2.254/24", vrf: vrf-prod }
    leaf_interfaces:
      - { clag: bond1, desc: uplink-spine, clagid: 1, port: swp1 swp2 }
    leaf_access_interfaces:
      - { desc: web-server, vlan: 100, port: swp3 }
      - { desc: app-server, vlan: 101, port: swp4 }
      - { desc: db-server, vlan: 102, port: swp5 }
    leaf_bridge_ports: "bond1 swp3 swp4 swp5"
  handlers:
    - name: ifreload
      command: ifreload -a
  tasks:
    - name: deploys spine interface configuration
      template: src=templates/spine_interfaces.j2 dest=/etc/network/interfaces
      when: "'spine' in group_names"
      notify: ifreload
    - name: deploys leaf interface configuration
      template: src=templates/leaf_interfaces.j2 dest=/etc/network/interfaces
      when: "'leaf' in group_names"
      notify: ifreload

I use Jinja2 templates for the interfaces configuration.

Here the output from the Ansible Playbook which only takes a few seconds to run:

[[email protected] cumulus]$ ansible-playbook interfaces.yml -i hosts

PLAY [all] *********************************************************************

TASK [deploys spine interface configuration] ***********************************
skipping: [leaf-2]
skipping: [leaf-1]
changed: [spine-2]
changed: [spine-1]

TASK [deploys leaf interface configuration] ************************************
skipping: [spine-1]
skipping: [spine-2]
changed: [leaf-1]
changed: [leaf-2]

RUNNING HANDLER [ifreload] *****************************************************
changed: [leaf-2]
changed: [leaf-1]
changed: [spine-2]
changed: [spine-1]

PLAY RECAP *********************************************************************
leaf-1                     : ok=2    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0
leaf-2                     : ok=2    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0
spine-1                    : ok=2    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0
spine-2                    : ok=2    changed=2    unreachable=0    failed=0

[[email protected] cumulus]$

Lets quickly verify the configuration:

[email protected]:~$ net show int

    Name           Master    Speed      MTU  Mode           Remote Host    Remote Port    Summary
--  -------------  --------  -------  -----  -------------  -------------  -------------  ---------------------------------
UP  lo             None      N/A      65536  Loopback                                     IP: 127.0.0.1/8, ::1/128
UP  eth0           None      1G        1500  Mgmt           cumulus        eth0           IP: 192.168.100.205/24
UP  bond1          bridge    2G        1500  Bond/Trunk                                   Bond Members: swp1(UP), swp2(UP)
UP  bridge         None      N/A       1500  Bridge/L2                                    Untagged Members: bond1, peerlink
UP  bridge-100-v0  vrf-prod  N/A       1500  Interface/L3                                 IP: 10.1.0.254/24
UP  bridge-101-v0  vrf-prod  N/A       1500  Interface/L3                                 IP: 10.1.1.254/24
UP  bridge-102-v0  vrf-prod  N/A       1500  Interface/L3                                 IP: 10.1.2.254/24
UP  bridge.100     vrf-prod  N/A       1500  SVI/L3                                       IP: 10.1.0.252/24
UP  bridge.101     vrf-prod  N/A       1500  SVI/L3                                       IP: 10.1.1.252/24
UP  bridge.102     vrf-prod  N/A       1500  SVI/L3                                       IP: 10.1.2.252/24
UP  peerlink       bridge    1G        1500  Bond/Trunk                                   Bond Members: swp11(UP)
UP  peerlink.4094  None      1G        1500  SubInt/L3                                    IP: 169.254.1.1/30
UP  vrf-prod       None      N/A      65536  NotConfigured

[email protected]:~$

[email protected]:~$ net show lldp

LocalPort    Speed    Mode        RemotePort    RemoteHost    Summary
-----------  -------  ----------  ------------  ------------  ----------------------
eth0         1G       Mgmt        eth0          cumulus       IP: 192.168.100.205/24
                                  ====          eth0          spine-2
                                  ====          eth0          leaf-1
                                  ====          eth0          leaf-2
swp1         1G       BondMember  swp1          leaf-1        Master: bond1(UP)
swp2         1G       BondMember  swp2          leaf-2        Master: bond1(UP)
swp11        1G       BondMember  swp11         spine-2       Master: peerlink(UP)
[email protected]:~$
[email protected]:~$ net show int

    Name           Master    Speed      MTU  Mode        Remote Host    Remote Port    Summary
--  -------------  --------  -------  -----  ----------  -------------  -------------  --------------------------------
UP  lo             None      N/A      65536  Loopback                                  IP: 127.0.0.1/8, ::1/128
UP  eth0           None      1G        1500  Mgmt        cumulus        eth0           IP: 192.168.100.207/24
UP  swp3           bridge    1G        1500  Access/L2                                 Untagged VLAN: 100
UP  swp4           bridge    1G        1500  Access/L2                                 Untagged VLAN: 101
UP  swp5           bridge    1G        1500  Access/L2                                 Untagged VLAN: 102
UP  bond1          bridge    2G        1500  Bond/Trunk                                Bond Members: swp1(UP), swp2(UP)
UP  bridge         None      N/A       1500  Bridge/L2                                 Untagged Members: bond1, swp3-5
UP  peerlink       None      1G        1500  Bond                                      Bond Members: swp11(UP)
UP  peerlink.4093  None      1G        1500  SubInt/L3                                 IP: 169.254.1.1/30

[email protected]:~$ net show lldp

LocalPort    Speed    Mode        RemotePort    RemoteHost    Summary
-----------  -------  ----------  ------------  ------------  ----------------------
eth0         1G       Mgmt        eth0          cumulus       IP: 192.168.100.207/24
                                  ====          eth0          spine-2
                                  ====          eth0          spine-1
                                  ====          eth0          leaf-2
swp1         1G       BondMember  swp1          spine-1       Master: bond1(UP)
swp2         1G       BondMember  swp1          spine-2       Master: bond1(UP)
swp11        1G       BondMember  swp11         leaf-2        Master: peerlink(UP)
[email protected]:~$

As you can see the configuration is correctly deployed and you can start testing.

The configuration for a real datacentre Fabric is of course, more complex (multiple VRFs, SVIs and complex Routing) but with Ansible you can quickly deploy and manage hundreds of switches.

In one of the next posts, I will write an Ansible Playbook for a Layer 3 datacentre Fabric configuration using BGP and ECMP routing on Quagga.

Read my new post about an Ansible Playbook for Cumulus Linux BGP IP-Fabric and Cumulus NetQ Validation.

Data centre network redesign

Over the last month I was busy working on an data centre redesign for my company which I finished this weekend in one of the three data centre’s.

The old network design was very outdated and bad choice of network equipment; Cisco Catalyst 6500 core switch for a small data centre environment with 8 racks is total overkill, two firewall clusters Juniper ISG2000 and Cisco ASA 5550 which were badly integrated and the configuration was a mess.

For the new network I followed a more converged idea to use a small and compact network to be as flexible as possible but also downsize the overall footprint and remove complexity. We adopted parts of DevOps “I like to call it NetOps” and used Ansible to automate the configuration deployment, the whole network stack is deployed within 90 seconds.

Used equipment:

  1. Top two switches were Dell S3048-ON running Cumulus Networks OS and used for internet- and leased-lines
  2. Under the two Dell WAN switches are two Cisco ASR 1001-X router for internet and wide area network (OSPF) routing.
  3. Under the Cisco router, two Dell S4048-ON core switches running Cumulus Network OS and connected existing HP Blade Center’s and HP DL servers. The new Tintri storage for the VMware vSphere clusters was also connected directly to the core switches.
  4. Under the Dell core switches are two Cisco ASA 5545-X in multi-context mode running Production, Corporate and S2S VPN firewalls.
  5. On the bottom of the network stack were existing serial console server and Cisco Catalyst switch for management network.

Now I will start with the deployment of VMware NSX SDN (Software defined Network) in this data centre. Ones VMware NSX is finished and handed over to the Systems Engineers I will do the same exercise for the 2nd data centre in the UK.

About Cumulus Linux and VMware NSX SDN I will publish some more information and my experience in the coming month.