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Category: network design

Cut-through, corruption and CRC-stomping

Cut-through, corruption and CRC-stomping

Corrupted frames are the devils spawn.  A few noisy links causing frame corruption can quickly degrade network performance, and troubleshooting them is getting harder.  These integrity errors generally occur when signal noise causes a binary ‘1’ to be mistaken for a binary ‘0’ or vice-versa.  This post takes a look at integrity errors and the impacts of corrupted frames in a cut-through switched network.  Throughout this post I’ll use the term ‘CRC errors’ term to refer to frame integrity errors which…

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Does config automation demand inflexiblity?

Does config automation demand inflexiblity?

Imagine you’ve just designed and deployed a data center. It was hell but you are smiling. Your design is homogenous, simple and elegant. A greenfield datacenter full of shiny, identical network devices. Because the design was so consistent and repeatable you scripted the generation of the device configurations without too much hassle. This is a network with an easily ‘provisioned’ network configuration. But day-one provisioning is only one part of the puzzle.  The real prize is a centrally ‘controlled’ network configuration, where all config…

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Airflow is important – terminology is key

Airflow is important – terminology is key

Data center cooling and large chassis As a network engineer you need to be aware of the data-center environment where your chosen device will be deployed.  A huge wedge of the cost of running a datacenter are spent trying to keep it cool.  So preserving hot-aisle and cold-aisle airflow containment is a big deal for your data-center manager.  But it’s pretty easy to order hardware that messes with the datacenter airflow.  You need to watch for context and read the…

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Network design – scale without busting your budget

Network design – scale without busting your budget

Rapid growth I read an article by Greg Ferro about twenty-percent-growth recently.  Greg makes the point that most network growth forecasts are grossly overoptimistic.   However, my experience in the service provider world is that ‘the business’ underestimates growth in most cases. Network engineers have a fiscal responsibility not to gold-plate their network designs; network gear is just too damn expensive.  But you can over-optimise for cost.  It is incredibly frustrating to overhaul and scale-up a network within a year of the initial…

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