Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in virtualization, networking, open source, and cloud computing

Technology Short Take #50

Welcome to Technology Short Take #50, the latest in my series of posts sharing various links and articles pertaining to key data center technologies. I hope that you find something useful here!


  • Tyler Christiansen recently published a post on a network automation workflow that was based on a presentation he gave at the SF Network Automation meetup. The workflow incorporates Ansible, git, Jenkins, and Gerrit. If you’re looking for more examples of how to incorporate these sorts of tools into your own network automation workflow, I’d recommend having a look at this article.
  • This post contains a link to a useful presentation on the essential parts of EVPN. It’s quite useful if you (like me) need an introduction to this technology.
  • Need to reset the CLI privileged mode password on your NSX Manager instance? Here’s a walkthrough. (Warning: as pointed out in the article, this is most likely not supported. Use at your own risk.)
  • This article by Russell Bryant is a great overview and update of the work going on with Open Virtual Network (OVN). I’m really excited about OVN and looking forward to seeing it develop and grow.
  • This is kind of cool, and (in my humble opinion) a sign of changing times: Juniper has Vagrant boxes as well as a Vagrant plugin for working with vSRX (virtual firewall) VMs (via this article from Matt Oswalt).
  • Anthony Metcalf has a collection of posts over at PlanetVM on NSX packet walks (see here, here, and here).


  • Need a bit of help comparing the various blade server offerings from the different manufacturers? Kevin Houston’s March 2015 blade server comparisons might be a useful place to start.


  • If you’re interested in an update on how Docker security is evolving, this article on Docker security enhancements by Daniel Walsh is a good read. It’s important to note that these security enhancements don’t really represent “net new” functionality but rather reflect existing Linux security constructs now being exposed and usable by Docker. This is fairly low-level stuff, so be prepared for some potential fine-tuning as you use these newly-available features to lock down Docker containers.
  • There’s nothing new or amazing about this link, but I found it useful and so I’m including it here in case others might need it. Logging is an important part of security, so ensuring that the right devices are logging (and logging to the right location) is important. Here are some general guidelines for configuring syslog forwarding on a Cisco ASA firewall.

Cloud Computing/Cloud Management

  • By now you’ve probably heard about VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO), which was announced in early February. Juan Manual Rey has a write-up on VIO that might be worth reading, if you aren’t already familiar with VIO.
  • Having an application that automatically grows to accommodate demand is somewhat of a “Holy Grail” for cloud-based applications and cloud management platforms. OpenStack Orchestration (aka Heat) has an autoscaling function when used in conjunction with OpenStack Telemetry (aka Ceilometer), but it can be difficult for users to understand and/or deploy. Here’s a post by Christian Berendt that provides an example of a simple autoscaling environment with Heat.
  • Kubernetes is something that a lot of people and organizations are exploring. If you’re also a user of SaltStack, this guide from Jon Langemak might prove useful to you.
  • Kenneth Hui has a nice series running on Mesos. First, he provides a high-level overview of Mesos; that’s followed up by a slightly deeper look at Mesos, then a discussion of persistent storage and fault tolerance. Finally, Ken provides a review of resource allocation in Mesos.
  • If you’re interested in some content on installing and configuring vRealize Automation 6.2, look no further—Jad El-Zein has posted a ton of content generated by an online “install and config” event he held right at the end of 2014. I haven’t had the chance to go through the material, but I’m confident there’s some good stuff in here.
  • Maish Saidel-Keesing wrote up a tutorial on how to install the OpenStack CLI clients on Mac OS X. It’s not terribly complicated (this I say even though I haven’t bothered to do it), but it’s good that Maish took the time to write it up nevertheless.

Operating Systems/Applications

  • I recently walked you through running your own Docker Swarm cluster. Here’s an article that shows how to combine Docker Machine (to provision Docker Engine onto a node) and Docker Swarm (linking together multiple Docker Engine nodes).
  • When I first saw this article, I thought to myself, “Great—someone is talking about the business aspects of adopting a technology like Docker!” Unfortunately, I found some aspects of the article to be a bit more based on hype than reality. Yes, you could run Docker on bare metal and achieve (the author’s words) “massive CapEx benefits” by “eliminating expensive licensing” for VMware. The funny thing here is that the author recognizes that enterprise-grade management and automation tools are needed for Docker, but fails to acknowledge the fact that those tools don’t yet exist (unless you’re willing to build them yourself). Clearly this article is spot on! That being said, there are a few good points in this article, so it may be worth spending a couple of minutes to review it.
  • Much ado was made about the Microsoft-Docker announcement a while back regarding the availability of Docker on Windows. This blog post provides a bit more detail on the fruit of that announcement; specifically, the post talks about Hyper-V Containers, which are similar to Windows Server Containers but somehow—details are lacking at this point—leverage Hyper-V technology to provide better isolation and security. The post also mentions a new version of Windows, Nano Server. More details are Nano Server are available here.
  • Here’s a great article on running Docker containers with systemd; however, I also strongly encourage you to read the from this GitHub repo to get a better understanding of some of the challenges involved in running Docker containers with systemd.


  • Robin Harris (aka StorageMojo) weighs in on the future of NetApp in the face of increasing use of object storage platforms, expanding availability (and dropping cost) of cloud-based storage, and downward margin pressure. The comments on the article are also interesting. I questioned NetApp’s future 5 years ago (and was promptly branded as an EMC marketing shill), but I was genuinely curious what the future held for them. It seems that I’m not the only one questioning what the future holds. (And before I’m accused yet again of being a corporate spokesperson, yes, these same forces affect other players as well. Go read Robin’s article and the comments—it’s all laid out very well there.)


Well, this post has already gotten longer than it should, so let’s wrap it up here. I hope that you’ve found something useful here. Feel free to hit me up via Twitter if you’d like to discuss or comment on anything shared here. Thanks for reading!

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