Running Cisco UCS Platform Emulator on VirtualBox

My studies of Cisco Data Center technologies have led me to Cisco UCS (Unified Computing Systems). To manage a UCS domain Cisco provides us with the UCS Manager software. This software runs on switch-like devices called Fabric Interconnects acting as the “doorways” between the UCS domain and “the world”.

For all of us studying and needing to understand it without access to a bunch of expensive servers, Cisco was kind enough to create the UCSPE (UCS Platform Emulator) as a free downloadable virtual machine.

Since I’m not a good friend of VMWare and can’t have a bare metal hypervisor, my “playing” focuses mostly on Virtualbox but there is a small detail that must be taken care of:


Problem: After importing the UCSPE appliance you can’t access the GUI even after changing adapter 1 to Host-only or Bridge. Continue reading

VirtualBox: The Quick Solution to “Extension Pack Installer Failed. VERR_ACCESS_DENIED”

Continuing on with the PC migration saga and getting my new toy working a few days ago I bumped into a problem whose solution I share here. This time, it was with Virtualbox Extension Packs.


Problem: It was impossible to install Virtualbox Extension Packs. I got the error:“The installer failed with exit code 1: VBoxExtPackHelperApp.exe: error: Failed to rename the temporary directory to the final one: VERR_ACCESS_DENIED

Continue reading

Putty Settings Migration

There are few things in this world more frustrating and tiring than having to change PC’s. Throughout my life I started perfecting this “art” in Windows and fortunately today I have programs running that have kept their settings since 5 PC’s ago without a need to reconfigure from scratch.

Putty however, our preferred remote access tool, is a program whose migration I never managed to master. Changing from one PC to another always resulted in having to reconfigure sessions and settings from scratch in a new PC… until today! Continue reading

BGP Large Communities: RFC 8092

Well… seems I have been sleeping for a while. Draft BGP Large Communities about which I wrote a little while ago here already go to it’s final stage about a month ago. RFC 8092 was published mid February/2017.

Looking at the differences between draft 06 (published October/2016) and RFC 8092 little was changed except for small language corrections and the “Reserved Large BGP Community values” section.

Will you be able to play with Cisco routers? Not yet! The “big ones” like Cisco and Juniper have not implemented any draft or the RFC. But if you want to stay updated please keep looking at the implementations page. IXPs (Internet Exchange Point) thatfrequently use servers running opensource routing software can already upgrade their code and start testing and defining policies and community values. This Internet Draft is a good start.

To better understand what this new BGP attribute is, have a look at my post from 2016: Large BGP Communities (Internet Draft).

Follow my blog!

I updated the mail subscription service for the blog. The service I used before, Jetpack, had some issues:

  1. The e-mail is sent immediately. More than once I had an e-mail sent when I didn’t mean to publish
  2. Language. All subscribers get updates in both languages, one e-mail per language. This is annoying for anyone that doesn’t understand one of the languages and even for those who understand both.

For this reason I migrated to Mailchimp, which besides being able to send a single daily e-mail whenever there is a blog update, also allows me to send e-mail to all subscribers whenever there is a need even without publishing a blog post.

All subscribers of the previous service were added to the new service subscribed to both languages. If you want to change the language, click on “actualizar preferências” or “update preferences” in the end of the e-mail.

If you wish to subscribe, fill the form at the right of this page ou in the form at the end of this post and make sure to choose which languages you would like to get e-mails. Continue reading

There goes 2016

And there goes another year. Just yesterday it was January 6th 2016 and in a few moments it will be 2017. As its common for many people its a time to evaluate what went wrong and what can be done differently in the new year… but that’s not what I’m going to write about.

Continue reading

The end of “classic” IOS

If you’ve been in IT and networking in the last 5 years, you definitely know the 1st family of Cisco ISR (Integrated Service Routers) 1800, 2800 and 3800. If that’s true, you also seen the transition to ISR G2 (1900, 2900 and 3900) and felt the frustration of the new licensing model.

Well, last month, the end of ISR G2 was also announced and the recommended platform to migrate to in this range are the 4000 ISR.

7600 routers, the old school warriors also had their End-of-Sale announcement and the replacement should be the ASR 9000.

What does this have to do with the title?

Lately (15 years?) Cisco has been introducing new routers working with new operating systems:

  • ASR 1000 running IOS XE in the enterprise edge and aggregation
  • ASR 9000 running IOS XR in the Service Provider core and edge
  • Nexus switches running NX-OS in the Data Center

All of these new OS’s are modular and bring only advantages when compared to the old IOS (Internetwork Operating System).

ISR 4000’s are no longer running IOS but IOS XE. ASR 9000 – recommended for the replacement of 7600’s – runs IOS XR. 2960 and 4500 switches have left IOS and have been running IOS XR for some years now.

This trend clearly shows us that the well known “classic” and monolithic IOS we came to love and hate since the 90’s is coming to an end. After these announcements, there are very few that still run “pure” IOS.

Is there a reason to worry?

No. Fortunately, NX-OS and especially IOS XE is keeping syntax and CLI (Command Line Interface) similarities with the original IOS. The notable differences are underneath in software architecture (Linux Kernel), modularity, memory protection and high availability. Only IOS XR has big differences but you can get the hang of it quickly with a few month’s practice (have a look at XRv)

You want to know a bit more?

Difference between IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR

Cisco NX-OS

Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers Software Configuration Guide: Software Packaging and Architecture

2900 End-of-Sale Announcement

3900 End-of-Sale Announcement


Large BGP Communities (Internet Draft)

This week I was mindlessly going around “the internet” and stumbled upon an interesting IETF RFC draft from the Inter Domain Routing Working Group (IDR WG). The draft is for Large BGP Communities and is currently its 6th version.

What is it why do we need it?

You probably heard of BGP communities. This BGP attribute is defined in RFC 1997 is one of the most used attributes to help service providers apply specific routing policies to a group of prefixes sharing some common property.

BGP Communities are 4 Byte (32bit) values represented as A:B, where A is the decimal representation of the first 2 Bytes and B the decimal representation of the lower 2 Bytes. It is common practice to use the first 2 Bytes as an AS number and the last 2 Bytes to convey information to upstream routers (such as a Local Preference value to be set).

But there is a problem with this. RFC 1997 has been in use since 1996 and since then a lot has changed. One of these changes is the RFC6793 which defined the capability of BGP speakers to use 4 Byte (32bit) AS numbers instead of the shorter 2 Byte (16 bit) AS numbers. Continue reading