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Category: Microsoft

Driving Cisco ACI using PowerShell

One thing I have been working on for a long time is to create a set of PowerShell modules for Cisco ACI.

For those that don’t know ACI is Cisco’s Next Generation DataCentre switching fabric. Kind of the next step after Nexus in NX-OS mode. It uses modern tecnniques such as hardware controllers (APIC’s – C220 servers) along with Nexus 9500 and Nexus 93xxx switches to form a leaf-spine deployment.

Whilst ACI has a GUI, MO and NX-OS like CLI (not perfect at all !) along with Python and even Ansible, these quickly run out of steam. Whilst Python is a great language it still takes some learning. Its also not so intuative when passing results between methods.

I realised there is nothing for ACI to utilise PowerShell in a similar way that VMware’s NSX has the most excellent PowerNSX

Hence, my first cut of ACI-PoSH published to GitHub. There is a ton of work to do on this – documentation being a biggie – but it works.

Development Process

I am quite lucky to have been involved in some large scale ACI deploments however when offline from these I have two enviroments that I use.

  • The Cisco DevNet ACI Sandbox availible at https://developer.cisco.com/site/sandbox/ This is a site that contains working examples of most Cisco products, one being the ACI Simulator (Always on) which in an Internet connected APIC. No charge but you do need to register or login. Just the job for testing, learning and development.
  • The Cisco ACI Simulator (see here) You need a valid CCO account and ACI software support to download. It will run in most Hypervisors (I use VMware Workstation and ESXi) but need at least 80GB HDD, 8 cores and 16GB RAM availble. You will also need your friendly Cisco Account Manager to authorise the activation code

Ill be adding more info here in later posts about just how to use it.

Azure Certification

Earlier this year, I decided to do some Microsoft Azure upskilling.   As part of our Microsoft Partner status, we get Azure credits along with other benefits.   We decided to re-platform our services and using Azure made sense.

It can be over whelming when first accessing Azure.  There are so many services, products and features it can be hard to see the wood for the trees!  One advantage is there is so much information availible out there, however Azure changes so frequently it can become out of date.

I was going to work towards the Azure Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) then Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) however I learnt one morning that Microsoft was going to change their certification schemes.   I also learnt the new exams were in Beta AND there was a 80% discount for the first 300 applicants (worldwide)

I managed to bag both the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams, with only just under one month to take them.  There was also no study guides as such, other than the exam synopsis.  Luckilly, I had been studying against the MCSE track and there was some overlap….. Lots and lots of studying however.

In August I took the exams not knowing if I had passed or not.   Microsoft only release exam results once the exams go public.  A week or so ago, i suddently had an email saying congrats on passing both of them.   I was pleased as it made the hard work worthwile.

So its another certification for the bag.   Not sure if Ill continue, but suspect I may or do one of the Amazon AWS exams to keep neutral 🙂

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