New Series – Versus

As I read and learn new things, I find that in a lot of cases, terminology (and acronyms) can be one of the stumbling blocks to understanding. I literally have lists of definitions and acronyms scattered around my notes. Once you learn a new term, it can sometimes be helpful to compare it to other terms you may already know – associative learning.

As I’ve been reading, studying and learning about things, some things stand in stark contrast to something else. I’ve decided to try to blog some of these opposites in a new series called “versus”. For example, black vs. white. I’ll try to define each of the terms, and describe how they are opposites, and any similarities. Hopefully, this will help me solidify my learning, and potentially be entertaining and enlightening as well.

Cisco Live! 2015 tweet

I attended Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego this year. Like I did last year, I attended a class on Saturday. This time I attended an all-day lab on the Cisco APIC-EM (I hope to write a post on it soon). After the class, trying to be funny, I tweeted the following;


CLUS Tweet

Saturday Evening, @CiscoLive picked up my tweet and sent it out as “Overheard at #CLUS;


As you can see, it garnered quite a few favorites and retweets.

Sunday evening was the official tweetup. I got in the picture again;


(I’m three or so rows back on the left side.)

The really surprising thing for me was that during the intro to the Luminary Keynote on Tuesday, Karen Walker, Cisco Chief Marketing Officer, called out my tweet;

Keynote Tweet

I was actually in a lab all day, so I missed the keynote. Of all the sessions to miss, and my tweet is called out?

If you have access to CiscoLive replays, you can see it here. If you don’t have access, you can get free access to the Cisco Live! On-demand library here.

You never know which tweets will catch on. (I think I’ve heard that before.)

Acronymopedia: API

Application Programming Interface.

APIs are a way for one program to use the functions of another program. For example, If I write a program that catalogs the name, address and phone numbers of my favorite restaurants, I can use the Google Maps API, to incorporate maps and directions to these locations. I don’t have to add the mapping functionality to my program.

Some APIs are publicly usable (like Google Maps, Twitter, etc). (here is a list of the most popular APIs).  Some APIs are just used from an internal program to another internal program.

Most SDN implementations utilize a REST (or RESTful) API. This type of API allow the programmer to use information from the network, either to see status, make changes, etc. without having to write a networking application, or dig through a database of information.

In SDN-world, APIs are divided into two groups;

Northbound – which are APIs from the Higher layer orchestration or management layer. OpenStack Neutron (the networking component of OpenStack) has an API which would be considered a northbound API (OpenStack can make changes to the network using this API).

Southbound – which are APIs to and from the actual network devices. OpenFlow is considered a southbound API, as is Cisco’s onePK.

Introduction to Cisco’s ACI

ACI Overview

When Cisco announced the acquisition of Insieme in Nov. 2013, Cisco revealed  its long-awaited Software Defined Network (SDN) strategy; Application Centric Infrastructure (or ACI).

ACI is essentially a “policy-driven” network. Network policies are defined by the network administrator, and the network implements those policies.

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Cisco Live 2014 – Day 0

Day zero, since the primary Cisco Live! activities start tomorrow. Today however, you could sign up for and attend workshops (Labs). After learning the hard way from a different conference, I decided not to miss the opportunity to get some hands-on training.

So, early Sunday morning, I walked from my hotel to the Moscone Center. to attend a Nexus 7000 course.  Having never actually logged into one, it was a chance to actually run my fingers on the CLI. The good new is, its all Nexus-OS. Nothing really new there. However, the concept of Virtual Device Context (VDC) was new to me. It sounds reasonable when you read about it, but, actually logging into the device and creating a VDC, makes it somehow more real. (Does that make me a tactile-learner?)

This evening, there was a “tweetup” where you could get to meet people that have only been a twitter handle on your screen. Being somewhat new to the game of Twitter, I’ve been tweeting some things in relation to Cisco Live using the hashtag #CLUS. I even had a twitter conversation with @CiscoLive.  At any rate, I was also lucky enough to meet some of my “heroes” in the networking industry, namely, Ethan Banks (@ecbanks), Amy Renee (@amyengineer) and Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd).

CLUS Tweet Up

I’m trying to meet-up (the old-fashioned way, by phone) with an old friend who is also supposed to be here, but, unfortunately, I’ve yet to make the connection.

All-in-all, a good day 0.

Software Defined Networking

Introduction to SDN

(This entry is scheduled to be published on our corporate newsletter, the Datatrend Insider. A link will be added here when it is published)

As a new and emerging technology, Software Defined Networking (SDN) is somewhat difficult to define. Ask 10 different people what SDN means, and you are likely to receive 10 different answers. (Does this remind you of the term “Cloud” in its early days?)

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Acronymopedia: BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a term used to describe the trend of employees bringing their own computing devices to work. Laptops, tablets and smartphones, sometimes referred to as the “consumerism of IT”. The intent of BYOD is to enable “anywhere access” to corporate information from devices owned by the employee. Without a well thought out plan from the IT organization, BYOD can expose the corporation (and its customers) to security problems.

BYOD can also be an acronym for “Bring Your Own Destruction”, which refers to the potential chaos a poorly planned policy from corporate management and IT.


In my reading about different technologies, I keep running across the term, “tuple”. I’ve ran into it on multiple occasions, in different networking topics. The authors of these documents seem to believe I already know what a tuple is, and use the term quite frequently. Unfortunately for me, somewhere along the way in all of the study I’ve done over the last few years, I apparently failed to notice when the term came in to popular use. So, being the good geek that I am, I decided to do a bit of research to make sure I know what a tuple is, and how its used.

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