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computing software

IT Simplified: Stackable Switches

What are Stackable Switches?

In NETWORKING, the term “stackable switches” refers to a group of physical switches that have been cabled and grouped in one single logical switch. Over the years, stacking features have evolved from a premium (and costly feature) to a core capability of many enterprise-grade switches (and also in several SMB models).

It’s the opposite approach of a modular switch, where you have a single physical chassis with several slots and modules to grow your switch, used typically, at least in the past, in core switches. Both stackable and modular switches can provide a single management and control plane or at least a single configurable logical switch, with some kind of redundancy if you lose stackable switches or a module. Having a single logical switch, with better reliability, makes it easy to translate the logical network topology in physical topology.

What are Stacking Technologies?

In stackable switches, we usually build the stack with cables that connect all the switches in a specific topology. We connect those cables to specific ports of the switches, depending on the type of stacking.

  1. Backplane stacking (BPS), where specific stacking modules (usually on the back of the switch) are with specific cables (depending on the vendor).
  2. Front-plane stacking (FPS)- VSF, standard Ethernet ports to build the stack, using standard Ethernet cables.

The stacking topology also define the resiliency of the stacked solution, you can have typically different kind of cabling options (depending on the switch vendor and models):

  1. Daisy chain or Bus topology do not build switch stacks because it does not provide the desired level of resiliency.
  2. Ring or redundant dual ring provide resiliency, but with more than two switches the packet paths can be not optimal
  3. Mesh or full mesh provide higher resiliency and also optimal packet paths

To increase the resiliency of stacked switches, there are different solutions based on the concept of a “virtual chassis” with separated management and control planes. Usually, high-end switch models typically implement those solutions.

  1. Backplane stacking (BPS)-Vendors utilize specific stacking modules located on the back of the switch, along with specific cables.
  2. Front-plane stacking (FPS)-In VSF (Virtual Switching Framework), standard Ethernet ports hep to build the stack . This method involves using standard Ethernet cables.

Advantages of Stackable switches :

  1. Management Pane: Logical switch view with a single management interface, which  makes the management and operational tasks very easy. By enabling link aggregation between ports of separate physical switches in the same stack, it enhances bandwidth for downstream links. It simplifies network design by treating “multiple cables” across switches as one logical link using link aggregation solution.
  2. Less Expensive: They offer a cost-effective alternative to modular switches, while still delivering comparable scalability and improved flexibility. Resiliency and performance can be different (worse or better) depending on the implementation.
  3. Flexibility: You can typically mix various port speeds and media types, as well as different switch models with varying capabilities. For example, you can combine switches with PoE functions along with other models.

Disadvantages of Stackable switches :

  1. Performance: For SMB use cases, the stack ports and cable speed are enough to provide high bandwidth and low latency. But when speed increases or the stack expands you may increase the latency and decrease the overall performance.
  2. Stability: The stackable switch market is very mature and relatively stable. However, each vendor adds its unique set of features and functionalities. Different vendors utilize different types of connectors, cables and software for their stackable switches. This causes requirements to use the same product line of switches to take advantage of stacking (not necessarily the same model, because, for example, in Aruba 3810 Switch Series you can mix different models in the same stack).
  3. Resiliency: Depending on the stacking topology, if you have some faults your overall stack may not be operating correctly anymore. So be sure to choose the best topology and ensure higher resiliency on each stack member. For example, using dual power supplies to ensure hardware redundancy. The single management or control plane may also reduce the overall resiliency, but the problem is similar also on modular switches.
  4. Manageability: The single management interface is great, but there are also some drawbacks.Expanding an existing stack could cause an extended service disruption, such as when we reboot all the switches to add a stack member or due to a power failure. Second, removing a switch from a stack could be tricky or require a complex process. Last but not least, upgrading the firmware on all the stack members requires a complete reboot of all the switches.

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Categories
security servers Service software

IT Simplified: DMARC

What is DMARC?

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is an open email authentication protocol that provides domain-level protection of the email channel. DMARC authentication detects and prevents email spoofing techniques used in phishing, business email compromise (BEC) and other email-based attacks.
DMARC, the sole widely adopted technology, enhances the trustworthiness of the “from” domain in email headers by leveraging existing standards.
The domain owner can establish a DMARC record in the DNS servers, specifying actions for unauthenticated emails.

To understand DMARC it is also important to know a few other mail authentication protocols  specifically SPF and DKIM. SPF Organizations can authorize senders within an SPF record published in the Domain Name System (DNS).
The record contains approved sender IP addresses, including those authorized to send emails on behalf of the organization. Publishing and checking SPF records provide a reliable defense against email threats that falsify “from” addresses and domains.
DKIM is an email authentication protocol enabling receivers to verify if an email was genuinely authorized by its owner. It allows an organization to take responsibility for transmitting a message by attaching a digital signature to it. Verification is done through cryptographic authentication using the signer’s public key published in the DNS. The signature ensures that parts of the email have not been modified since the time the digital signature was attached.

How DMARC works

How does DMARC Work?


To pass DMARC authentication, a message must successfully undergo SPF and SPF alignment checks or DKIM and DKIM alignment checks. If a message fails DMARC, senders can instruct receivers on what to do with that message via a DMARC policy. There are three DMARC policies the domain owner can enforce: none (the message is delivered to the recipient and the DMARC report is sent to the domain owner), quarantine (the message is moved to a quarantine folder) and reject (the message is not delivered at all).

The DMARC policy of “none” is a good first step. This way, the domain owner can ensure that all legitimate email is authenticating properly. The domain owner receives DMARC reports to help them make sure that all legitimate email is identified and passes authentication. Once the domain owner is confident they have identified all legitimate senders and have fixed authentication issues, they can move to a policy of “reject” and block phishing, business email compromise, and other email fraud attacks. As an email receiver, an organization can ensure that its secure email gateway enforces the DMARC policy implemented to the domain owner.

What is DMARC in Marketing Cloud?

DMARC can be used by email service providers and domain owners to set policies that limit the usage of their domain. One such policy is restricting the domain’s usage in “from” addresses, which effectively prohibits anyone from using the domain in the “from” field except when using the provider’s webmail interface. any email service provider or domain owner can publish this type of restrictive DMARC policy can be published by Having a powerful CLOUD SERVICES is very important as will protect employees against inbound email threats.

Points to note while authenticating DMARC:

  • Due to the volume of DMARC reports that an email sender can receive and the lack of clarity provided within DMARC reports, fully implementing DMARC authentication can be difficult.
  • DMARC parsing tools can help organizations make sense of the information included within DMARC reports.
  • Additional data and insights beyond what’s included within DMARC reports help organizations to identify email senders faster and more accurately. This helps speed up the process of implementing DMARC authentication and reduces the risk of blocking legitimate email.
  • Organizations can create a DMARC record in minutes and start gaining visibility through DMARC reports by enforcing a DMARC policy of “none.”
  • By properly identifying all legitimate email senders – including third-party email service providers—and fixing any authentication issues, organizations should reach a high confidence level before enforcing a DMARC policy of “reject”.

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Categories
cloud computing software

IT Simplified : Containers and their Benefits

What is a Container?

Container is a software solution that wraps your software process or microservice to make it executable in all computing environments. In general, you can store all kinds of executable files in containers, for example, configuration files, software code, libraries, and binary programs.

By computing environments, we mean the local systems, on-premises data centres , and cloud platforms managed by various service providers. ‍Users can access them from anywhere.

However, application processes or microservices in cloud-based containers remain separate from cloud infrastructure. Picture containers as Virtual Operating Systems that wrap your application so that it is compatible with any OS. As the application is not bound to a particular cloud, operating system, or storage space, containerized software can execute in any environment.

A container is a standard unit of software that packages up code and all its dependencies so the application runs quickly and reliably from one computing environment to another.

A container image is a lightweight, standalone, executable package of software that includes everything needed to run an application:– code, runtime, system tools, system libraries and settings. All Google applications, like GMail and Google Calendar, are containerized and run on their cloud server.

A typical container image, or application container, consists of:

  • The application code
  • Configuration files
  • Software dependencies
  • Libraries
  • Environment variables

Containerization ensures that none of these stages depend on an OS kernel. So, containers do not carry any Guest OS with them the way a Virtual Machine must. Containerized applications are tied to all their dependencies as a single deployable unit. Leveraging the features and capabilities of the host OS, containers enable these software apps to work in all environments.

What Are the Benefits of A Container?

Container solutions are highly beneficial for businesses as well as software developers due to multiple reasons. After all, containers technology has made it possible to develop, test, deploy, scale, re-build, and destroy applications for various platforms or environments using the same method. Advantages of containerization include:

  • Containers require fewer system resources than virtual machines as they do not bind operating system images to each application they store.
  • They are highly interoperable as containerized apps can use the host OS.
  • Optimized resource usage as container computing lets similar apps share libraries and binary files.
  • No hardware-level or implementation worries since containers are infrastructure-independent.
  • Better portability because you can migrate and deploy containers anywhere smoothly.
  • Easy scaling and development because containerization technology allows gradual expansion and parallel testing of apps.
Categories
cloud computing security

Rushed digital transformation is creating security risks

The pandemic provided the kick in the pants that many enterprises needed to finally get long-gestating digital transformation efforts underway. But for many organizations, such transformations turned into rush jobs, with many digital transformation projects being hatched far earlier than expected.

While some of these transformations came out in one piece, many weren’t so fortunate, carrying with them a virulent case of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities have in turn led directly to a surprising number of breaches.

Categories
computing

Azure Cloud

What is Cloud?

Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) paradigm that enables ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale, similar to a public utility.

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Newsletter

Edge Computing Is Changing The Network

 

edge-computing

Edge computing is a way to streamline the flow of traffic from IoT devices and provide real-time local data analysis

The data produced by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices is now processed closer to where it is created than sending it through longer routes to data centers or to the cloud.

By doing this the computing closer to the edge of the network lets your business analyse important data

Categories
Newsletter

How SMBs can adapt easily to cloud according to Dell EMC?

 

According to Dell EMC, SMBs have equal share in the business industry along with the large enterprises. Infact Dell EMC says that SMBs are better than large enterprises as they adapt to the latest technologies very quickly than large enterprises.

It was difficult for SMBs to update their technology; they used to face difficulties due to fewer resources and lack of personnel. But Dell EMC has come up with a brand new flexible cloud like pricing for IT purchasing and consumption will make it easier for SMBs to adapt to the latest technologies. This article tells you about the same thing.