The daily life of a Network Architect(Blog)

Final week of voting 2020 IT Blog Awards, hosted by Cisco

Shameless plug, we are in the final week. Some of your favorite Champs are finalists.  Please check out my blog, and if you like it and are inspired, please vote so I can be even more inspiring next year!

Go check it out & vote: You’ll have to do a little math to submit; my Blog is highlighted below in the Most Inspirational category, “The Journey of Binary Bits.” Again thanks to everyone who voted and who supports me for writing this stuff at 1 am. If you like muscle cars, astrophotography, particle physics, check out the links to my other sites and the Blogroll, there is some cool stuff in there.


Installing NEXUS Dashboard for NAE and NIR

We obtained a EFT NEXUS Dashboard back before the holidays so next step was to connect to the APIC fabric in one of the multisites. Because we want to test NIR and NAE, we have to configure the APIC for inband management.

The next few steps will document creating the inband connectivity for the APIC.

In this setup, Since it is a DEV lab we had the original older service engines cabled directly to the fabric. We have 3 NEXUS Dashboard cluster, and all are configured for OOB and CIMC management. The next piece required for the service engine is to configure inband networking for the APIC and service engines. This is required for NIR so it can pull flow data from the switches.

We can configure the NEXUS dashboard by connecting the data interfaces to a L3out connected to the inband network.

We can configure the NEXUS dashboard connecting the inband networking by configuring a EPG to connect to the inband networking as in the following diagram we have the cluster data interfaces connected to a EPG/BD. This is the way we will examine the configuration steps for the EPG/BD method. Down the road we will also experiment with the L3 out concept as well and will write another article for that.

First step is to create a Leaf Profile for the inband connectivity. Navigate to Fabric/Access Policies/Switches/Leaf Switches/Profiles. The right click to start the wizard. Name the Profile some descriptive like the leafs and purpose, then click the plus sign for Leaf Selectors. Again give it a descriptive name and choose block 101 and 102 then click update. Then click Next

We will go back and create the associations so just click Finish to finish the wizard

Next we shall configure The Leaf Interface profile. Navigate to Interfaces/Leaf Interfaces and right click Profiles to start wizard. Give it a Descriptive name

Next Click on Interface selectors + sign to add the APIC and service engine interface connections. In our case we are using 1/9 for the APIC, and 1/10-12 for the Service engine connections. Next we shall need to create the Leaf Access policy group to Apply configurations like LLDP, 10GB etc

Under the Interface Policy Group drop down choose Create Leaf Access Policy

Use a descriptive name , then choose 10GB, LLDP_Enabled in the drop downs. If they are not there create the 10GB and LLDP enabled policies. Next on the Attached Entity Profile choose the drop down to Create a AEP to attach the physical domain to the interface policy and Interface selectors.

Give it a descriptive name and under Domains, click the + sign to ad a physical Domain

Choose Create Physical Domain, give it a descriptive name and create a new VLAN pool.

Give the VLAN pool a descriptive name and click the + sign to add the VLANs. We will use VLAN 1000 for this.

Click OK to close the VLAN and Submit to close VLAN pool

Click submit on the Physical domain

Your physical domain should look like this, click submit

Click submit on the Leaf policy Group

Click Ok to save the Access port profile

Click Submit to finish Creating the Leaf profile

Next Navigate back to the Switch selector to associate the interface selector we just created. Click the + under the Interface Selector Profiles

This finishes the access policies for the fabric now we need to configure management. by default the fabric comes with a bridge domain called inb and VRF called inb and oob under the management tenant.

I am going to configure the in band management GW under the subnet in the L3 config. Click the + sign under subnets to add the subent(Default GW)

I will be using the for the inband GW. I need to advertise Externally and share VRF because my L3out is in common tenant.

I also need to advertise to the L3 out in common tenant. Click the + sign under

I choose my L3Out then hit update

Next we need to create the Inband management EPG. Use VLAN 1001 which we created earlier and bridge domain inb

We also need to add contracts to connect the inband EPG to the common L3 Out EPG

I also like to make sure that oob is prefered so if something isnt right i dont black hole myself. By default its set to inband, however since only OOB is configured it uses the OOB. Once you configure the next steps it will change the routing table and if there is something weird upstream you wont be blackholed especially since mine is only a single APIC.

if you notice the default route is OOB, however once I configure inband that will change and i dont want to blackhole if something goes wrong in my config

Click on the Static management node address to create the inband parameters. Here i am using only node 1 since i have 1 APIC. I used the Inband EPG i created earlier and starting address will be If i had 3 my range would be 1-3 and it would use .3and .4 for apic 2 and apic 3

You will see a warning, but since we verified our prefered is OOB we are good.

We see the new Inband and bond interface

This configuration will allow us to gather flow statistics for the NIR application to monitor and troubleshoot traffic flows in real time from the ACI fabric. Look for future articles on how to install NAE, NIR and APPd applications onto the service engine cluster.

The new NEXUS Dashboard and day 2 operations suites.

I had been fortunate to work on the EFT of one of the best integrated day two operations suites providing unparalleled visibility into a datacenter network. Look for this type of visibility across the multiple domains of WAN, LAN, DC, Cloud as Cisco rolls this fabric analytic and flow engines to manage and report on misconfigurations, bugs, traffic drops from a single platform the NEXUS Dashboard.

The NEXUS Dashboard itself is a high-performance platform utilizing high speed compute, fast HDD, and tons of memory to provide a stable platform to run Cisco’s Day2 apps consisting of Network Assurance Engine(NAE), Network Insights(NIR and NIA combined), MSO and the in the future 3rd party apps. There are also linked services such as Splunk, Service Now, Ansible, and Terraform. Features and integrations will go to the ACI fabric, then to DCNM and conventional NX-OS based networks. So the NEXUS Dashboard is a holistic platform for ACI, DCNm, and NX-OS to host both Cisco day 2 apps and third-party telemetry tools.

Nexus Dashboard applications and integrations.

The NEXUS Dashboard Platform is the hardware-based cluster form factor consisting of a minimum of 3 nodes expandable to 7 nodes. There is also a software-based NEXUS Dashboard that can run as a .ova on ESXi hosts. In a future version, a cloud-based NEXUS dashboard is available.

Both form factors are deployed by connecting the inband management network to the nodes. The first mode is by using the EPG/BD mode and directly connect the NEXUS Dashboard to the fabric to gather telemetry from the APICs and flows from the switches.

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There is also a L3out connectivity by connecting the NEXUS Dashboard’s data interfaces via a L3 out connected to inband management.

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Once the NEXUS Dashboard is configured, day 2 applications Such as MSO, NAE, and NI are added to the NEXUS dashboard. We shall take a brief look at the applications that can run on the NEXUS Dashboard(ND)

First is the Multi-Site Orchestrator or MSO. The MSO is used to create VXLAN connectivity policies between ACI on-prem and cloud sites as well as tenant templates that can extend L2 and L3 connectivity seemlessly with a single policy between sites.

Next in Network Assurance Engine or NAE. To understand the role of NAE in ACI day 2 operation, we must look at what intent-based networking is. Let’s look at the standard intent based networking model. We combine business intent (I need users moving to new finance building 5 to have access to their resources) with IT intent (users in building 5 can only access the internet and resources in the Finance Tenant). A policy is created to fulfill this intent and applied via automation to the infrastructure. What has been missing is an assurance engine to verify the policy applied will give you the correct intent. This is where NAE comes in.

NAE works by collecting data from the APIC then comparing it to the intent, policy and state of the fabric. It uses mathematical modeling and validates code to configurations to validate the policy is correct.

NAE can provide endpoint connectivity analysis using policy explorer and natural language search

NAE has a Epoch timeline anaysis to show when a error occured and what change was made

NAE can alos be used for pre-change validation of ACI policy, security compliance

Finally, Network Insights 5.0(NI 5.0) offers many data sources of telemetry such as Syslog, RIB, and FIB tables, streaming telemetry. It then ingests these datasets and extracts the metadata, and correlates against a database updated from Cisco. This telemetry and coorelation of the metadata NI will derive insights and suggest remediation actions for finding root cause analysis and predictive failure.

Some of the use cases for NI are MTTR, OPEX Savings, Availability and uptime and preventative measures, bug notices of the software and hardware versions, and PSIRT notices. These are all derived from a daily updated database from Cisco. For high security or air-gapped networks, proxies and other methods are available to provide an updated database.

In the future, ND 3.1 will offer a third form factor providing the NEXUS Dashboard in the public cloud. Also, in Version 6.0, all of the day 2 operations(NEA and NI) are combined into one application allowing a single pane of glass view never before available in any OEMs fabric.

For further information look at for upcoming day 2 labs and demos of the NEXUS Dashboard and day 2 operations in action.

Journey Before Destination part deux

Today was my first day back to work after surgery on December 4th. It’s been a roller coaster, and I have not had much time to think about what’s next. I finally saw my surgeon and oncologist last Friday, and they were pleased with the progression, and 6 months of chemo with a port in my chest is the next step next week. So now I have a clear destination, but I don’t want to take that journey. I know many people that have dealt with severe health issues, lost family members, the Covid-19 pandemic; it just freezes you in place to think you and your loved ones are not immortal. This weekend I was pretty lost; it’s been hard for me to move forward. Then I came across this on one of the forums from my favorite series of books, “The Stormlight Archives” by Brandon Sanderson.

You can’t stop as that’s the end of your journey. No matter how many times you fail or are in pain, you have to step forward. And as Sanderson so eloquently said the “The most important step a person can take is always the next one. “ This made my day yesterday figured I would share this as it’s a perfect message to those who feel like they don’t know what to do next.

One of the things that have kept me going through all of this is I am so looking forward to coming back to work at WWT. Family and friends have asked if I was going to retire after all of this? Hell no, I have way too much left in my journey to stop. Plus, I work with the best people on the most cutting edge technology, and there is no end in sight to my journey. I hope this helps someone having a crossroad moment to take the next step.

Christmas Star 2020 (Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction)

The Jupiter and Saturn conjunction picture below was a video taken using SharpCap, then processed in AutoStakkert and PSS to cull the bad frames and keep the most clearest pictures during atmospheric changes(why stars twinkle). In doing any high resolution planetary or moon imaging you must use this technique called lucky imaging to pull only the best frames from the thousands of video frames then stack hundreds of the best into one stacked image. Once the raw photo was produced I spent a ton of time in Photoshop and PixInsight to tweak the image to what you see below.

This has actually inspired me to start doing really detailed planetary images in the future, I’ll need to get a dedicated planetary camera and remove my reducer and get a barlow for more power. Then I’ll be able to take some detailed pics of Saturn and Jupiter once they return (but never this close in the Field of View(FOV)).

Enjoy Merry Christmas to all!

I haven’t done astrophotography in quite a while as it was hard to get my gear in and out of the house the last 18 months due to my PE’s. I wanted to get this once in a lifetime event, and i had my daughter friend help build a wheeled stand for my scope and then lift it on. made out of 2 3/4″ plywood griangle, 5: wheels and a handle to move it it rolls like a dream. I also clamped the legs and mdille of the base with turnbuckles so it is rock solid. 6″ bolts in each corner provide for leveling the entire scope and lock it in place.

The scope is a Celestron 8″ Edge-HD, top mounted guider as well as a off-axis guider in the optical path. A Celestron .7x reducer, Moonlite automated fine focus control, filer wheel and ZWO 1600MM cooled camera make up the imaging path. The scope is a hypertuned and beltdrive converted NEQ6 mount it guides very well after these mods.

The scope was really far out of alignment with the guidescope so had to get that zeroed in on the moon, the used that as a sync point and slewed to Jupiter and Saturn.

On the laptop during the capture you can see Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings. Long way to get from that to final image.

Also a pic of pixinsight during processing

Congratulations! Your blog has been selected as a finalist in the Most Inspirational category of the 2020 IT Blog Awards

It is our pleasure to announce the 2020 #ITBlogAwards finalists. Congratulations! It is now up to the community to weigh in and help select the winners in each category. Show the love. Vote now.

I was very excited to see this in the email last night, in my blogs I inspire people to challenge themselves to do better so I am very proud I was chosen for Most Inspirational IT Blog. Please support me in this award it would mean a lot to win this and inspire me do do more next year! Please follow the link and under Most Inspirational, choose my blog “The Journey of Binary Bits”(Highlighted)

I was submitting my application for #CiscoChampion2021 and it asked if I felt like I was an influencer. I never thought about it, but yes, I am most definitely an influencer. An influencer’s end goal in IT is to become the trusted advisor which I’ve been doing for the past 20+ years. I think each of us is an influencer in some shape or fashion as we influence our children, friends and family, coworkers, and for us in IT sales, customers looking to make hard decisions on multi-million dollar purchases.

To be an influencer, you must have the trust of the people you are trying to help. Trust is everything in life; without that, you cannot have any relationship professionally or non-professionally. And that trust must be ongoing; you cannot gain someone’s trust and then go behind them where you may lose that trust. If you do, it is tough to get back. Along with trust, you must also be honest, but that goes without saying if you are trustworthy

To become a trusted advisor, you must have the person’s trust and be empathetic to the person’s situation and be somewhat humble. In this field, we have many brilliant engineers, and most try to be the smartest in the room. In general, I find that people that are not empathetic and humble can be abrasive, making trust that much more challenging.

One of my favorite things to do is teach; whether customers, co-workers, friends, or family. I have done hundreds of training classes, and workshops and the most important thing I try to do is inspire my students to look deeper into newer technologies and have a more open mind as to not what is, but the art of the possible. I always try and get them to look ahead 3-5 years of what’s coming and why it is important to learn specific skill sets that they need in 3-5 years (such as DevNet skills)

However, to inspire students (or anyone), you must have their trust and be empathetic. One way I do this for both classes and workshops as well as meeting new customers is during the introductions. I usually let the class or customers go first and ask them their pain points, problems, and other issues. I find that discussing your credentials while being humble and the work you’ve done similar to their problems shows both trust and empathy. These two opening things will at least gain you the beginnings of trust. Throughout the training class or workshop, show them your knowledge apply it to their problems while being empathetic. If you can achieve this, you are trusted and well on your way towards being a trusted advisor.

As I look back over 2020 and my blogs and people I’ve helped I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished. Its been a great year and i look to help even more people out in 2021!

Remember “Journey before Destination”

Journey Before Destination

Way of Kings unbranded

The quote below is a line from one of my favorite book series, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, that has profoundly changed my way of thinking and is just a great read. Special thanks to my daughter’s fiance Robbie for leading me to Sanderson; I have read all of his series, Stormlight Archive has had the most effect.

“Life before Death.
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.”

― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Life Before Death

All men must die, but Life needs to come before it. If we consider Life to be more than just our organs functioning to sustain our presence on the planet to do things and expand it to our goals, hopes, and dreams, everyone lives Life in vastly different ways. There are also different forms of death, and it is possible to die without the physical body dies. Choose the better path, the more difficult path, in which you can truly live before you die.

Strength Before Weakness

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Strength before Weakness is doing what you can with your strengths rather than worrying about where your weaknesses prevent you from acting

Journey Before Destination

If you focus on getting to your destination only, the journey will be less enjoyable and fulfilling. There are also times where you may think you know your destination, but if you focus on the journey, you may find your feet treading a different path and ending up at just as good of, if not better, a destination than the one you had intended. Basically, “stop and smell the roses.”

hopeless wanderer. | Stormlight archive, Brandon sanderson stormlight  archive, The way of kings

Today, my discussion will focus on “Journey Before Destination” because a lot of us get caught up in the end game or destination but don’t appreciate or admire the journey. I have been thrown some significant health scares over the last few years, but my last scare 3 weeks ago has made me sit up and think back to my journeys; hopefully, it will do the same for you.

For the last 40 + years of my life, I have worked solely on getting to the destination ( Getting my Electrical engineering degree and various jobs, getting my MSCE and CCNA, CCDA, CCNP, CCCDP, CCIE, various VMWare and other vendor certs.) Spending nights and weekends for 40 years focused on that destination but never really thought about the journey. You pass the tests, get the certification, get the job, get the promotion, but those are just destinations. I do not remember looking back at the journey, getting there as I was too busy looking at the next destinations. As part of that journey, there is a family and friends’ support structure that we often never share the journey with or acknowledge for their help. We always look for another destination.

3 years ago, I started with some breathing issues that doctors chalked up to anxiety and stress from traveling and 60+ hour weeks. I’ve been running around the country for the last 12 years as a pre-sales architect, always looking for a new destination whether it was an account we were trying to win or a new product or architectures to sell like spine/leaf, ACI, or NSX.

2 years ago, I ended up with pulmonary embolisms in my lungs and stopped doing presales and moved into a more lab development role at WWT, and that has helped me focus on the journey of my destinations. I spend more time with my support system and don’t worry about the destination as much anymore.

3 weeks ago, diagnoses of severe anemia, which lead to detailed testing.  The doctors determined that I had advanced colon cancer and needed immediate surgery. Luckily it was removed last week, and my pathology says it didn’t spread. I am very fortunate. Coming face to face with possibly my last destination had given me a couple of weeks to think of what I would change as I wasn’t sure if I would make it out of surgery. Hopefully, for you, the reader, your destinations should be the same, but I would focus on the journey and share with others. Share your trial and tribulations with your support group and co-workers; it’s essential to put Journey before Destination.

I see many people as well as coworkers on the various certification or job sites who make it to their destinations, and my advice if you aren’t doing it, please make sure you stop and smell the roses, share with your support circle and take the time to relish the journey because once you get to the destination, the journey will very quickly be forgotten.

Rebuilding my workspace with new Dell curved monitor that VMWare Intrinsic Security gave me!

I’ve been working from home since 2008 first year was off dining room table then i moved into my guest room so it’s got 11 years of dust and wear. I use my DX80 as a second monitor and things work great. I also have a video and USB switch so i can go back and forth between my work laptop and my high perf 32 core Ryzen I use for processing my astrophotography.

One of the things i have been working on since the summer is participating in creating test questions for the new VMWare VCTA-SEC and VCP-SEC exams(future exams will be coming. These exams went live at VMWorld and because i was a exam writer the 18 of us that created the exam were automatically certified.

One of the things I’ve been looking into as I’ve been working on the exam, was VMWare’s vision of intrinsic security. What they are doing is intrinsically building security into their entire suite of products. They are using Carbon Black, NSX, Workspace one and Cloud healt to provide end to end security from any device, and application to any cloud.

A second piece of this vision is their SASE solution of using Velocloud SD-WAN, Workspace one and VMWare Carbon Black to secure remote workers. This is one place where all of our customer are scrambling to figure out how to cope with security remote users during this Covid crisis. VMWare has done a great job with pivoting to a remote user solution so quickly.

So back to my workspace. The VMWare Intrinsic security team ran a contest during VMWorld and i won a sweet 34″ super HD Dell curved monitor. so i realized i had to extend my desk and workspace so i could fit 3 monitors. Using some plywood i had and a cabinet i was able to color match the stain on my current desk. As you can see 11 years has taken a toll on my original desk.

A little sandpaper and some new polyurathane and i have a new giant desktop!

I did a bunch of cable cleanup and got rid of a lot of old stuff and here is the result. The 34″ dell is in the middle, the DX80 on right and my 24″ monitor, plus my astrophotorgraphy laptop i use outside to run the scope, camera . and guiding. Also above my 24″ I have my podcast equipment I received from Cisco for being a Cisco Champion in 2020. the headphones and mic are super high end and work really well.

Finally here is a pano view showing my scope and rest of room. Its a great workspace that is very functional!

Finally got my Vette emissions to pass using Tech2 emulator

I mentioned this last week that I was having problems with passing NC State Inspection on the Vette due to Emissions Monitor not ready, but wasn’t able to try it until tonight. I’ve been working on cars for almost 50 years, and as time progressed and cars became computerized, you needed tools to read the trouble codes that come out when your check engine light comes on. All cars after 1996 use the OBD2 standard to read data off of the engines computer bus, and these scanners can be very simple $20 handheld to see and clear trouble codes to multi-thousand dollar factory service tools that can perform testing and automatic diagnostics.

There are many good emulators for these factory tools, but they typically need the purchase of a special OBD2 connector to convert to USB so the emulator running on a laptop can connect to the vehicle. I have quite a few of these scanner emulators and vehicle-specific OBD2 to USB converters. They require some digging to figure out what the codes mean and where to look, but modern cars have a ton of electrical components continuously testing to ensure engine, transmission, and other systems are working.

While OBD2 is used mainly for diagnostics, it is also used to verify the vehicles emissions systems are working properly. Typically if your car has a check engine light (MIL) they wont even inspect it. However if you did have a emissions related code that light the MIL and it was repaired and code cleared to turn off the MIL the car still wont be able to pass until all of the various IM readiness monitors are validated and passed by the cars ECU. Usual Monitors are misfire, catalytic converter,EVAP, Air Injection system, Oxygen sensor (O2), heated O2, and EGR. Each vehicle manufacturer has a driving cycle to check each of systems and sometimes they take quite a while to set as there are very small specific driving parameters that must be met for a monitor to set. It may take 100’s of miles and dozens of cold starts to have all of these monitors to set.

The reason they did this was back in the early days of OBD2; there was no IM readiness; just if the MIL was off and it passed visual inspection (lights, brakes, it would pass. It was common practice if you check engine light was on was to pull the battery cable off right before you went to the inspection station, which resets the MIL, and you would pass.

So this leads me up to the Vette problem. Since Covid, I rarely drive it anywhere, and the battery ultimately died. I tried multiple attempts at reconditioning but needed a new one in the end. Of course, disconnecting the battery reset the IM monitors, so I had to go through the GM specific drive cycle to get all of the IM readiness monitors to set.

The piece that’s hard to do is get up to 55 for an extended time, then take the foot off the gas, no brake, and coast to less than 20mph. Usually, most monitors pass with everyday driving, but the EVAP is extremely hard to set. These tests are initiated by starting with an overnight cold start, and if you miss the proper sequence, then it’s another overnight cold start. I have been trying to get my EVAP to pass for months now, and of course, the car is no longer registered as it’s out of the inspection. So I need to go out at night and try to get these tests to run. I found a couple of weeks back that with my ELM327 adapter and software, I could look on Mode 06 data at the EVP tests performed and if they passed. They all passed a dozen or more times; however the sequence wasn’t right to set IM readiness.

So more googling, and I stumbled on dozens of people with the same issues on the forums. It turns out there is something called a Tech2 EVAP service bay test that can be performed with a GM Tech2 dealer scanner. You can get them, but with the device and software is a grand or more.

Looking into scanners, I ran across a company called VXDIAG that makes a VCX NANO OBD2 adapter and emulated Tech2 software that goes on a laptop. I got it off Amazon for $90 with a $10 coupon. Very easy to install on my scanner laptop, and sure enough, it looks and works just like a Tech2.

Once connected to car you go into the EVAP System Bay Test and it walks you through the testing.

It must be from an overnight cold start; hook up the laptop with Tech2 emulator and VCX NANO to OBD2 port and follow prompts. Start car and run between 1800 and 2200 RPM; I used a board between seat and gas pedal and moved electric seat up to get it to 2000 RPM and hold it there. It’s imperative to maintain that RPM for 8 minutes, so it’s nearly impossible to do with your foot. Then hit enter, and it takes about 8 minutes for it to run the Service Bay portion of the test.

It will cycle through the Purge and other sensors then complete test

It then asks you to drive it for 15KM and 600 sec, which I then did, then a message saying take the vehicle back to the bay and hit enter. The final prompt was to shut off the engine leaving Tech2 connected, and it goes through an engine off test (documented nowhere). You can hear relays clicking. After about 5 minutes, it finished, and it set the EVAP IM. So now the car is ready to be inspected and registered. What a PITA, but I can finally inspect it,  get it registered, and tear up the streets in a somewhat legal manner! At least no tickets for not registered can’t promise anything else.

Long night for the workaholic!

So I am always juggling many things in the air at once and trying not to drop any. I was working on a ton of stuff over the last day or so and finally finished almost everything up. I have my two monitors and my imaging car diagnostic laptop going as well.

First up tonight on the left monitor was getting a Cisco day 2 operations EFT cluster configured and software installed and then create the docker cluster. That has gone well, just waiting for things to converge.

Second, on the right monitor is our installation of two full multisites (Prod and Dev), connected in Equinix, with UCS and Pure Storage, Netapp NFS in the future. I had the Pure guy change his iSCSI endpoints to 9000 MTU, and of course, there were a ton of places to change. The vswitch, iSCSCI vNICS, service profiles in UCS, ACI, TOR NEXUS switches. After looking at the entire path found something we missed, so after a rescan, my PURE storage LUNs are available. The next step is final testing, then connecting to the public cloud using the cAPIC stay tuned for that. We are tying in our SD-WAN headend in Equinix in the fabric so users can directly connect via SD-WAN to cloud resources via the ACI fabric in Equinix. This way, we can apply consistent policy and gather telemetry.

AAA Automotive | NC State Inspection Provider

Finally, the bane of my existence last year, the yearly Emissions test for inspection here in NC. Without that, you cannot get the car registered. For non-automotive folks, every modern vehicle since the ’90s has an OBDII port that the inspection stations plug into to see if all Inspection Monitors are ready (IM readiness). If they are not and even one out of the 7 or 8 on a vehicle, they fail the inspection. Some cars and some tests can be very, very painful to get set, requiring insane driving cycle conditions to get it set. It may take hundreds or more miles, dozens of cold starts. If your car battery (like my BMW and Vette) gets low or needs a replacement, once disconnected, all IM’s set to not ready, and you must go through the crazy driving cycle.

First up was the BMW in Dec; it wouldn’t pass emissions due to CAT Monitor not running.

So looking at the drive cycle, everything would pass except that. Because you have to drive it repeatedly to get the right conditions from an overnight cold start, it takes a long time. First, I was out a month, 2 months, 3 months. I had some of the BMW factory scan tools but could not figure it out. Was even on the forum with a wiz from Germany and looking at logs. As you can see, all this is in German, so I had to translate what this was telling me.

Next up was my Dad’s old 1998 Nissan Altima that my daughter drives, this time, it was the EGR IM not ready. This one was reasonably easy had to fix a hose, just went through the proper cycle, and it set.

Oh, and here she is getting her bumper ripped off by some jackass trying to pass her coming out of the shopping center.

After some glue, lots of screws, epoxy, lots of fiberglass, and a new light (used of course) good as new. Less than $100.

Now onto the Vette. The Vette was due at the end of August, and I had to swap the battery out. This replacement caused it not to be ready for inspection. This time it was the EVAP IM. The EVAP is the hardest to set; it is a 17 step process that needs repeating until the monitor sets. The good news is that all the tests are OK. However, they need to set in the right sequential order, or they won’t set readiness.

So I’m out of inspection and registration by months, and I hate driving around unregistered to do the drive cycles, but they leave you no choice. There is no way to turn it off; it has to run the drive cycles until it sets. However, I found that there is something called the GM Tech2 Service Bay EVAP test. The Tech2 is a handheld device, costly, and can run through all of the tests automatically to pass this EVAP IM readiness. VXDIAG has an OBDII interface and software using their VCX NANO to emulate the shop Tech2 on a laptop. I just arrived today from Amazon, so I installed on the laptop( third screen) am hoping this works tomorrow. For $90, it was well worth the try, plus I get all the GM diagnostic tool suite.

If not, I am also looking at HPTuners to make the IM ready and program the ECM. But it’s like $600. The only good thing if I go that route is I can also tune the Vette. Right now, it’s 650+ HP at wheels, probably 720 at the crank. I can remove the restrictor in the supercharger and get meth injection, and with HPTuners put 850+ quickly out of the motor. We’ll see maybe a good XMAS gift.

Next up for the Vette is stripes I’ve been want this for 3 years time, to do it.

Looking at doing the BMW as well.