it’s been awhile….

so it’s been a bit since I posted and as I sit here in a Toronto airport, traveling home from 2 weeks in Beijing, I finally have a bit of time to sit down and write.

The last couple of months has brought change and new experiences.

The News:

I have accepted a new role in HP Networking working for the global business unit as a technical marketing engineer. I’m sure this won’t come as much of a surprise, but I will be joining the team responsible for the HPN Network Management product, IMC.

As most people who know me are aware, and I’m sure is obvious to anyone who’s spent some time on my blog, I’ve been a huge advocate of Network Management for awhile, and specifically HPNs product IMC. In the words of one of my former peers;

” This is one of the most of obvious moves in the history of HP Networking. ”

I’ve been doing a lot of TME activities for the last few years, and I am joining an amazing team, many of whom I’ve known for years.
It’s going to be a big change moving from a sales role to a BU role, but I’m excited to learn another side of this wonderful business we all are crazy enough to love.

I’m hoping to keep up the blog and the videos, but it might be a challenge considering my former passion has now become my full time job.

Not a bad gig if you can get it. 🙂

This blog will, of course, still remain my own words, my own opinions, and not represent those of my employer in any way.

@netmanchris

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From Cisco to HP – Quick Start

It’s not uncommon that I have customer who are making the jump to HP networking gear from a Cisco  background.

This post is just a way for me to put together some resources for them to quickly get up to speed and to help make their lives easier.

Resources

CLI Reference Guide

If you’ve got a reasonable background in Cisco networking, the first thing you’ll want to check out is the HP Networking and Cisco CLI reference guide. Someone ( thankfully not me!) went through and created 292 pages of goodness in basically what is a small rosetta stone for a dual-vendor network.

If you know the command on a cisco IOS device. Do a quick search and you’ll find the HPN equivalent.

Interoperability Cook book

It’s VERY rare that I ever get involved in a greenfield environment. Most customers have a legacy network around, and many of those were built on Cisco equipment.  HP has taken this into consideration and put together the HP/Cisco Switching and Routing Interoperability Cookbook  which gives some clear guidelines on setting up both sides of the connections.

HP Press

A lot of people still haven’t caught on that HP Press was launched last year. There are already books out covering the major HP networking certifications, not to mention other HP product lines as well.  These are great resources to have on a shelf for those times when you just have to look something up.

Tips and Tricks

Spanning-tree is turned off by default

Whether or not you agree with this decision, HP has made it and you should be aware of it. If you’d like your new switch to participate in a (r/s/pv/TP ) environment. You’ll need to turn it on.

Command Aliases

I’ll admit it. After spending years in a Cisco world, the word ” show ” jumps out of my fingers faster and onto a keyboard faster than just about anything else except perhaps ” wr”   (  write mem for those of you who grew up in a copy running-configuration startup-configuration” era.  )

Even after years working with the comware products, ( which use the word display in place of show ) I still hit situations where the reflex just kicks in.

Luckily, HP has included a nice alias function which allows you to map new keywords to existing commands.
Included here is my list of commands which I keep on all my comware lab equipment. To say this outloud, there’s no excuse to not learn the new CLI. You will be a better engineer for it. But… it’s also nice to have a safety net for those moments when you’re fingers think faster than your brain.

HP Comware Cisco Alias command List

command-alias enable

command-alias mapping undo no

command-alias mapping reboot reload

command-alias mapping header banner

command-alias mapping reset clear

command-alias mapping acl access-list

command-alias mapping port switchport

command-alias mapping stp spanning-tree

command-alias mapping snmp-agent snmp-server

command-alias mapping user-interface line

command-alias mapping display show

command-alias mapping return end

command-alias mapping quit exit

command-alias mapping sysname hostname

command-alias mapping acl access-list

command-alias mapping save write

command-alias mapping delete erase

command-alias mapping info-center logging

 

note: If anyone has any I’ve missed here, please feel free to post in the comments and I’ll try and update the post.

Hotkeys

One of the other nice touches that HP has done with Comware is to include system hotkeys. This allows you a VERY quick way to input commands without typing the whole thing out. Wonderful for those situations where you can’t see where you are typing. Turned on too many debugs? CTRL_O will perform an “undebugging all” command for you and you get your terminal session back.

There are some default system ( unchangeable ) as well as some user-definable hotkeys which are listed here.

            =Defined hotkeys=

Hotkeys Command

CTRL_G  display current-configuration

CTRL_L  display ip routing-table

CTRL_O  undo debugging all

 

           =Undefined hotkeys=

Hotkeys Command

CTRL_T  NULL

CTRL_U  NULL

 

            =System hotkeys=

Hotkeys Function

CTRL_A  Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line.

CTRL_B  Move the cursor one character left.

CTRL_C  Stop current command function.

CTRL_D  Erase current character.

CTRL_E  Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

CTRL_F  Move the cursor one character right.

CTRL_H  Erase the character left of the cursor.

CTRL_K  Kill outgoing connection.

CTRL_N  Display the next command from the history buffer.

CTRL_P  Display the previous command from the history buffer.

CTRL_R  Redisplay the current line.

CTRL_V  Paste text from the clipboard.

CTRL_W  Delete the word left of the cursor.

CTRL_X  Delete all characters up to the cursor.

CTRL_Y  Delete all characters after the cursor.

CTRL_Z  Return to the User View.

CTRL_]  Kill incoming connection or redirect connection.

ESC_B   Move the cursor one word back.

ESC_D   Delete remainder of word.

ESC_F   Move the cursor forward one word.

ESC_N   Move the cursor down a line.

ESC_P   Move the cursor up a line.

ESC_<   Specify the beginning of clipboard.

ESC_>   Specify the end of clipboard.

Display this

Wow. I can’t say enough about how much I love this command. In a nutshell, display this ( or show this if you have the alias function turned on ) is a context sensitive command that will show you the configuration elements applicable to exactly where you are in the operating system hierarchy.

You want to see what configurations is applied to a specific port? No more  ” do show run inter gig 1/5″.  You just type in “display this” and you get the output.  What about when you’re in the RADIUS configuration mode?  Yup. Display this. Configuring OSPF or BGP on a switch? Display this.

It may seem like a very minor thing, but trust me, you will appreciate the consistency and the simplicity in a very short time.

This post is not intended to make you an expert on HP’s Comware OS, but hopefully, if you’re already a reasonably good networking professional, this will give you a leg up in getting up to speed quickly.

Misc

As with most modern Network OS’s, I would also remind everyone that

  • piping is supported

ex.  display running-configuration | include SNMP

  • the TAB key does auto-complete.
  • The question mark (?) is your friend. When it doubt use it and you will probably see what you’re looking for.

 

Did I miss any other getting started tips? Please feel free to post in the comments!

@netmanchris

A Network Services Platform

So things are starting to get interesting with the HP IMC eAPI that was recently released. It’s really amazing to see the types of creative projects when technical people are presented with new toys. 🙂

So for those of you who didn’t read my last eAPI blog post, let me catch you up. The eAPI is a RESTFul inteface that allows programmers, or scripters to leverage the various network services that HP IMC presents.

Thanks@ioshintsfor a quick look at SNMP vs. RESTfull interface

Basically it looks a little like this.

note: This is not a full list of the IMC modules or services. Check out the HP website for a complete list.

The RESTfull inteface presents the services in a XML format which is consumable to any programming language that can parse XML. ( I’m not a programmer, but that’s pretty much all of the current ones from what I understand ).

Those services are then applied to specific devices. But what’s COOL about this, is the following.

Say you want to change a VLAN on a bunch of ports. Some of those happen to be HP Comware switches, some of them happen to be HP Procurve Switches, and some of them happen to be Cisco switches. The IMC device adapters at the bottom do all the work for you, providing a device abstraction layer so that you can just say ” add VLAN” rather than having to worry about the syntax of all the individual devices.

So what’s actually available in the HP IMC eAPI? Well you can checkout @neelixx’s blog for the documentation. This is the first release, but I’m told that the eAPI will continue to grow with each future release of the platform AND the modules.

But I think what’s a LOT more interesting is some of the projects that have started to creep up.

For example

1) Wouldn’t it be cool if when you sent someone an outlook invite for a meeting in your office that your network access control system would automatically create guest accounts for the day of the meeting and send them to your guests?

2) Wouldn’t it be cool if when your support desk could simply click on a user in Microsoft Lync and automatically see where they have been logged in the network? Check out what access service is assigned to them. Maybe they are having trouble accessing some resources and you want to make sure they are in the right VLAN.

I’ve also started to see other apps pop up such as an application that searches the entire network for the mac addresses of lost laptops and locates the interface they are plugged into. Pretty handy for a hospital where a lost laptop with patient data is a nightmare. Or something as simple as an app for a a College which allows the teacher to shut down all the interfaces for the switches which are in their classroom, and then to turn them all back on with a click of the button.

No login to the NMS.

No call to the help desk.

Just shutting down the ports when the students aren’t listening, and turning them back on when it’s time to work.

What about you guys? HP has given you some color. What are YOU going to paint?