Category: Real World

Remote Troubleshooting Crossed Fiber Using Port Channels

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last year I was involved in assisting a datacenter core and access-layer refresh. In this case the IDF’s were reusing existing fiber patches and the run to the datacenter stayed in place. however, within the datacenter core equipment was placed across the room required new cross connects to be ran to the new core cabinet. When the cutovers began to take place the IDF’s were spread out over a large campus. Meaning troubleshooting by walking back and forth to check cabling was extremely time consuming and inefficient. Since all the IDF’s were connected via port channels I was able to figure out which runs were crossed and go fix them all at once using only the ether channel show output. I’ll walk you through the process now.

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Python + XLRD SecureCRT Import

Reading Time: 8 minutes

First of all a disclaimer. I am NOT a programer. I promise this could probably be cleaned up considerably by someone that actually does programming. Also, It may require some tweaking to work on your system. This is tested on Mac 10.12.3 and SecureCRT 8.1*

I’ve always loved using SecureCRT. I often find myself needing to add anywhere from a small to a large number of sessions to my list. Especially in my current role. I had remembered in my past at an old roll where I used Windows as my primary OS (work issued) that I had discovered a forum that had a python and VBS script to import sessions out of a CSV. Now that I am running on Apple I sought out that old forum and grabbed the python script. Drats!!! The python script doesn’t work on my new version of SecureCRT for Mac (8.1). Then I started thinking. Most of the time clients give me a nice spreadsheet of IP addresses. This got me thinking, why not write my own that uses Excel. So here it is!

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Cisco Champions 2017 – A reason to reflect

Reading Time: 4 minutes

tl;dr – THANK YOU ALL!

Yesterday morning I opened up my Spark app and was surprised to see I was added to the Cisco Champions room. I checked my e-mail and saw nothing. I knew it was being announced soon do to some twitter chatter. After validating with members it was true. I was selected as a 2017 member of Cisco Champions. I’m going to say I’m blown away even still today. I am absolutely honored to be part of such an amazing group of individuals. It has caused me to sit back and think about how I even came to know the people I look up to. So how did it start?

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MS KB 3161639/3161608 break CUCM – UCCX web access

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The other week I ran into an instance where a group of customers were unable to access Cisco Unified Intelligence Center. Upon further investigation I was unable to get to admin pages of much of the collaboration suite and call control systems from these users computers either. The suite was on various versions of 9.0.X and 9.1.X due to restraints with many third party integration’s. This issue will occur on anything using the cipher suite mentioned below and is not limited to these versions or applications. This is ultimately where the problem stems from but I’ll take you down the path.

To start I’m going to list the fixes in case you don’t want to read my troubleshooting methodology. Then I will walk you through my discovery and detail the fixes. Remember, which fix is correct for your situation will vary based on use case, security policies, etc.

Fix 1: Uninstall Microsoft Updates causing issue
Fix 2: Re-issue certificate (if possible) using strong ciphers (may require upgrading applications)
Fix 3: Use a different web browser
Fix 4: Re-order ciphers via Group Policy

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Config-ease with Sublime Text Snippets

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I love when tools make my life easier. A conversation came up online the other night and I had shown someone a quick summary of the awesome power of Sublime Text. They wanted to know how I made the magic happen in that video. I felt I should and share it with everyone via a blog post. Here’s a quick video of my uses along with a description of what you can do with it, as well as how to make it work.

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Back To Basics – Patching A Switch

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The other day someone joked that I should write a post about plugging in a cable, or at least something to that extent. Then I started thinking about it. It’s actually a good idea. Everyone has their own way of cabling up a rack of patch panels and switches. Most of us would love to get the exact right length cables for the job however, that’s often not the case. There is a patching strategy I like to use when you are stuck using a box of 7 foot cables when all you really need are 3 foot cables. None the less, we all want it to look as neat as it can when we are done. I’m going to show you my practice when it comes to patching which can be easily modified whether you’r racks follow a panel-switch-panel-switch arrangement or a panel-panel-switch-switch arrangement.

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The Raven or The Macaw

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I.T. has had a large past of using animals to describe individuals, their attitudes, their skill sets, etc. Some of these originated outside of Information Technology such as the age old “Paper Tiger”. We’ve used terms like coding monkey to describe a programmer capable of knocking out code repetitively and constantly.

I’m going to take a slightly different approach on this concept with a thought and philosophy I’ve been trying to get myself into the mindset of applying on a daily basis. This mindset is something we all have the chance to challenge ourselves on everyday in different situations.  The concept is simple and the question goes like this. “Why not become the Raven, rather than the Macaw?” So what am I getting at here? It’s simple, we have two very different birds and many people will chose one or the other based on certain criteria. Here is my logic between the two.

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UC Guerrilla Wallboard on Server 2012 64bit

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I had the circumstances of lack of budget, broken freeware, and understandable need put me in the position of spinning up another unsupported freeware application in the form of a UCCX Call Center Wallboard. As usual, I tend to be a gluten for punishment and tend to try and fight these type of situations into submission. Luckily for me in this case, I had a great solution (UC Guerrilla’s take on the free wallboard), as well as a great resource at my disposal. That resource is none other than one of the best Exchange, Server, and Client engineers I know, and am rather happy to call a friend and colleague; none other than ibageek03 on Twitter.

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You Coach Not Teach Troubleshooting

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A colleague and I have been debating over a few months the topic of troubleshooting. My initial stance on the topic was that you CAN teach troubleshooting. However, as time has passed working with particular individuals I have came to a realization that you CANNOT teach troubleshooting. My belief now is that some people simply have a mind that thinks in logical sequences to rule out options and others don’t. While I’m sure this post may cause some heat towards myself the point isn’t to say anything bad about anyone. My point is that some individuals have a very effective troubleshooting skill set, while others simply have a set rubric of tests that if exhausted, results in a complete halt in process. I’ve come up with four items that impact an individuals ability to troubleshoot effectively even after the initial checklist has been exhausted.

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Bulk enable PIM via TCL

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I’ve been working on doing some multicast labs lately and am constantly resetting my lab devices to their default configs and starting from scratch. As many of us know, to enable PIM on all of your interfaces you must go into each interface and enable it manually. There is no default command to enable PIM on all interfaces. We know PIM should be enabled 1 to 1 with interfaces involved in routing making this a boon. With that in mind, and the fact that I am rather comfortable with the concept of needing PIM on the interfaces, and likely speak and type this command in my sleep, I decided to make it easier and modify a previous TCL script I had written to enable PIM on every interface that has an IP address assigned to it. With the great “Send to Chat” feature of SecureCRT I can do this across my entire topology on one fell swoop. In a real world environment, you could use a tool like Solarwinds to push this out to your devices.

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