The Final Countdown to Cisco Live

Here we are, just under 2 weeks until Cisco Live 2016 in Las Vegas begins. Depending on when you are travelling there to begin the conference, whether it’s for the DevNet Springboard event or Hackathon that begin on July 9th, or on Sunday or Monday, I know if you’re anything like me, you’re getting excited. If it’s your first time or your twentieth time attending Cisco Live, there’s always some things that I like to remember before I attend, so I figured that I would share some of those reminders with everyone.

Bring a variety of clothing. I know this might sound weird, but if you’ve never been to Las Vegas before and look at the weather forecast, you probably think that you will want the coolest clothing possible. While this is true when you’re outside, the convention center seems to have an uncanny ability to keep the session rooms like ice boxes. Jeans aren’t a bad idea, unless you are going outside.

Have room to bring things back with you. I know it’s tempting to fit everything into a small carry-on for the week, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll more than likely make at least one visit to the Cisco Press store during the week. Couple this with the vast amount of shirts and other trinkets that you’ll be inundated with at the World of Solutions, and you might want to make sure you have some room to haul all of it back with you.

Socialize!!! This is a tough one for me to do, and even after meeting people over the past few years at CLUS, I still find myself sending messages to people via Twitter who are literally 5 feet away from me during the event, but make sure you engage with people. I’ve met some really cool people through this event, and it’s always nice to have people who you can throw ideas off of once you leave and head back to the real world.

Check out new things. If you’re a developer, and especially if you aren’t, you need to check out the DevNet zone. There is so much cool stuff going on here, and I’m sure that there will be even more this year. My main interest has been VIRL over the past year, and I’m going to be checking this area out to learn how I can use it even more to help in my studies and in my every day work. Trust me, as someone who knows very little about the developer side of things, it’s really cool to see the sorts of things that are on the horizon.

Cisco Live is my favorite event of the year, mainly because it’s something I’ve had the opportunity to attend for the past 6 years. This year, through the Cisco Champions program, I get to sit on a panel as well. So if you don’t already have something scheduled on Thursday at 11:15am, feel free to sign up for CISTHT-1001 and hear me and some other awesome people discuss Building Your Personal Brand with Social Media. I look forward to meeting more new people this year. When I’m not in a session, I usually lurk around the Twitter/Social Media zones, so feel free to say hello if you see me.

VIRL on bare metal – lessons learned

So this weekend, I made the jump to getting VIRL working on a bare metal server that I was able to get my hands on. The server in question is a Dell Poweredge R710. Nothing too new, but it has a dual Xeon and 32GB RAM, so I figured I’d see what it could do. Mind you, I have never installed anything onto a server before in my life, but I like a little bit of a challenge and to learn some new things, so I figured I’d give a little rundown of some things I encountered.

First things first, I downloaded and burned a DVD with the ISO file to a disc and booted it up on my server. The install process is very easy to follow along at http://virl-dev-innovate.cisco.com/iso.bm.php, so I highly suggest using that if you, like me, have never done anything like this before. After the installation was completed, I restarted and booted up to the VIRL server. I should, however, note that before this step I wasn’t even seeing my HDD’s, as the SAS controller was disabled. This was easily fixed and installation itself was easy.

Once logged in, I started to sense that some things weren’t right. First off, I couldn’t even ping out on my server. I didn’t see any IP information set up on eth0, then I realized that the server I was using used the em nomenclature for ports, rather than eth. I quickly modified the ‘/etc/network/interfaces’ file and changed the naming to match what my server used. Restart, and success, I can ping out. (This was not success, as I learned later).

I started to go through the checks in the installation process and everything looked good, except I noticed linux-bridge-agent under the neutron agent-list wasn’t happy or alive. I ignored this (big mistake) and moved on, figuring that it’d work later. I was able to get through the activation process of the SALT server just fine, but I had to modify my ntp daemon to point to em1 again instead of eth0 before it could talk to the salt server and authenticate.

I updated my VIRL server to run the latest VMMaestro and other components, loaded up VMMaestro, and started up a design from INE.  Succe….fail. None of the routers would load up. They kept indicating “state changed from BUILD to ERROR with message: No valid host was found”. I rebooted the server a few times, no luck. I then started searching Google for this error. Finally, I stumbled on this link that laid out my solution: http://community.dev-innovate.com/t/linuxbridge-agent-down-vms-fail-with-no-valid-host-was-found/3685. I had to go through the virl.ini file and edit all of the interface pointers to eth and modify them to my controller addresses. After going through these steps and a couple reboots, I’m happy to say that my VIRL server is working just fine.

This was definitely a learning experience, and one I’m mainly documenting for my own records, so when I attempt this again I hopefully have something to reference when I inevitably run into these same issues. I’ve been enjoying running the server at home, labs run with no problem and memory isn’t an issue yet. I have a feeling when I start loading up some larger IOS-XR topologies in the future that I will probably need to kick up the memory, but so far, everything is working well.

~Dustin