Selecting shapes and connectors one-by-one in Visio can be tedious, especially when working with large or repetitive drawings. If you've been drawing for a while, you've probably gotten the hang of selecting just the right subset of shapes using the rectangular select tool, and employing the control key to add or remove any outliers as desired. This can be time-consuming though, especially when you want to pick out just a few connectors from a jumble of criss-crossing lines.
Here's a trick to try next time you find yourself excessively control-clicking: Identify each logical group of shapes or connectors that you'll likely want to tweak, and bundle them up into to their own layer. You can then use Visio's "select by layer" option to grab them all at once later. Take the drawing below, for instance.
Regular readers no doubt have noticed that I haven't posted anything new in the past few months. I've been pretty busy with the holidays, home projects, and adjusting to a new job, and haven't had much time or motivation to devote to writing. Good news though: I have started on a long-overdue refresh of the Packet Life design and code base.
When I originally debuted Packet Life, I ultimately wanted it to serve as major community hub, so I built in features like the wiki and discussion forum. Although Packet Life has grown quite popular over the last few years, these areas of the site have seen little activity. Acknowledging that there are more active and useful sites out there which serve these functions, I've decided to chop off some of the bloat in favor of focusing on the blog and the site's other more popular features.
Here's the fate I've outlined for each function of the site:
Blog: The blog is the heart of the site and will remain mostly unchanged, albeit refreshed and optimized. I'm considering allow guest posts but haven't committed to the idea.
Lab: No, there are no plans to bring the community lab back online in the immediate future. Sorry. And if it is revived, it will move to LabKeeper.net (once I get back to work on that site).
I've been selling physical copies of my 36x24" IOS Interior Routing Protocols poster for a while now. Unfortunately, Google Checkout is going the way of Google Reader next month and soon I will no longer be able to accept payments. Thus, October 31st will be the last day to order copies of the poster.
The PDF will of course remain freely available for download if you'd like to print the print poster yourself after the deadline.
VRFs are an excellent tool for maintaining segregated routing topologies for separate customers or services. I've previously covered inter-VRF routing using route targets, but what if we only want to export a subset of the routes within a VRF? Here's a scenario in which this would be desirable.
Customers A and B each have a site network and a colocation network, and both customers need access to the 192.168.0.0/24 network in the Services VRF. The customers must utilize unique IP space in order to prevent overlapping networks, so each customer has been allocated dedicated IP space from their common provider out o 10.0.0.0/8. Unfortunately, customer A is still has some networks within the 172.16.0.0/16. These networks need to access services in the host colo, but the service provider can't allow this space to be advertised into the Services VRF as it's not approved IP space.
Our goal is to export only the networks within the 10.0.0.0/8 space from the customer VRFs to the Services VRF. How can we accomplish this?
Let's have a look at the initial network state. (This lab was performed using a single router for simplicity. In the real world, these customers would typically be connected via an MPLS VPN.) Each customer and colo network has its own VRF and dedicated route target (RT). The Services VRF has been configured with an import/export RT pair for scalability reasons. No export among VRFs has yet been configured.
It's been nearly a year since I had to take the community lab offline to relocate my home, and I still get frequent emails asking when it will be returned. Sadly, my plan to host it with my current employer didn't pan out, and I'm still searching for a suitable host in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. (If you might be able to give the lab a good physical home, please let me know!)
I also get a lot of emails asking if I can share the scheduling application I used to make the lab available. In short, no, I can't. Not because I don't want to or because it's secret, but simply because that code was written specifically for the packetlife.net site and is not in the least bit portable. But these requests got me thinking: A lot of people obviously would like to be able to share their labs, they just need a platform. Maybe I could rewrite and improve upon the scheduling application to spin it off as its own service.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have caught one or two references to a new project recently. Indeed, this is exactly what I've been working on for the past couple months during my precious free time: A centralized authentication and scheduling service people can use to make their own training labs available to friends, coworkers, or the general public. I call it Labkeeper.
A while back, I set about developing a modest configuration templating system for my employer. When I first joined the company, new network devices were being provisioned using configuration templates stored as Microsoft Word files, which, as you can imagine, was pretty painful. Each variable had to be identified and replaced by hand in a tedious and error-prone process. I wanted something better, but also cheap (or free) and simple. So I started building something.
To kick off my crazy project, I first decided to build a web application based on the Django Python framework (the same platform on which PacketLife.net runs). Django and similar frameworks handle most of the mundane tasks involved in writing a web application and allow for rapid prototyping. It also includes a built-in administration interface for creating and manipulating data independent of the front-end user interface. I spun up a modest internal VM running ...