OSPF – Once in your head, it really is open shortest path first ;)

As we traverse the expansive landscape of network protocols, one stands out as a cornerstone, like the granddaddy of routing: OSPF, or Open Shortest Path First.
Its dynamic nature and robust features make it a vital component in the toolkit of any network engineer.

OSPF isn’t just another routing protocol; it’s a dynamic routing protocol designed to adapt to changes in network topology with lightning speed. Understanding OSPF isn’t merely about memorizing commands – it’s about grasping its underlying principles and applying them. One of the favorite reasons I like OSPF is its IPv6 capability – making it ideal for small, medium, and large enterprises. Setting it up in a basic manner is simple and helps the Admins immensely, but once networks get bigger, it can get a bit more complex – especially when other protocols such as BGP are also present.

As many of you know, I’m currently prepping for my JNCIE-ENT exam. It requires a comprehensive understanding of OSPF. But fear not, for armed with Juniper’s resources, we are equipped to conquer this challenge. From understanding OSPF areas and types to mastering its adjacency formation, every aspect is meticulously explored on our quest for eternal mastery – or something like that πŸ˜›

One of OSPF’s defining features is its hierarchical structure, facilitated by areas, allowing for scalability and efficient routing. Whether it’s Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3 LSAs (Link State Advertisements), each plays a crucial role in OSPF’s operation, and mastering them is key to success in the JNCIE-ENT exam.

Let’s have a look at the areas:

Backbone Area (Area 0):
The Backbone Area serves as the core of an OSPF network. All other areas must connect to the Backbone Area, making it the foundation for OSPF routing. It ensures connectivity between all areas within the OSPF domain.

Standard Area (Non-Backbone Area):
Standard Areas are areas within an OSPF network that are not designated as the Backbone Area (Area 0). These areas are interconnected via the Backbone Area, facilitating routing between different OSPF areas.

Stub Area:
Stub Areas are areas where routing information is simplified to reduce routing overhead. In a Stub Area, routers only maintain a default route to reach external networks, leading to a smaller routing table and improved scalability.

Totally Stubby Area:
Similar to Stub Areas, Totally Stubby Areas further simplify routing by allowing only a single default route to be advertised to routers within the area. This greatly reduces routing table size and complexity.

Not-So-Stubby Area (NSSA):
NSSAs are areas that allow for the introduction of external routes (routes learned from other routing protocols or redistributed routes) into OSPF without requiring full OSPF routing information. NSSAs use a special type of LSA, called Type 7 LSAs, to advertise external routes within the OSPF domain.

    Not that hard, right? Well – true, but there’s something else called an LSA-Type that you need to remember. Let’s have a look at that as well:

    Type 1 (Router LSA):
    Generated by every OSPF router for each area to which it belongs, Type 1 LSAs contain information about the router itself, including its interfaces and neighbors within the same area.

    Type 2 (Network LSA):
    Generated by the Designated Router (DR) for each multi-access network segment, Type 2 LSAs describe the network segment itself, including all routers connected to it.

    Type 3 (Summary LSA):
    Originating from Area Border Routers (ABRs), Type 3 LSAs summarize inter-area routes, providing information about networks from other areas. A single Type 3 LSA can represent multiple Type 1 and Type 2 LSAs from other areas.

    Type 4 (ASBR Summary LSA):
    Also generated by ABRs, Type 4 LSAs provide information about how to reach Autonomous System Boundary Routers (ASBRs) within an OSPF domain.

    Type 5 (AS External LSA):
    Generated by ASBRs, Type 5 LSAs advertise routes to networks external to the OSPF domain. These LSAs allow OSPF routers to learn about routes to destinations outside of the OSPF domain.

    Type 6 (Multicast OSPF LSA):
    Historically used for Multicast OSPF routing information, Type 6 LSAs are now considered obsolete and not used in modern OSPF implementations.

    Type 7 (NSSA External LSA):
    Exclusive to NSSAs, Type 7 LSAs are generated by ASBRs within NSSAs to advertise external routes. Type 7 LSAs are converted to Type 5 LSAs by the NSSA ABR before being propagated into other areas.

      My problem was/is that I know the LSA’s and Areas, but often struggle way more than I should with combining them in the most effective way. I’ve spent the last weeks and months mastering OSPF – compared to a colleague, who struggles with BGP – I guess every engineer has stronger and weaker protocols in his memory – but that’s what makes this job so unique and interesting 😊

      Redistribution, another cornerstone of network design, enables seamless integration of different routing domains. Juniper’s SSB study material equips us with the needed knowledge to redistribute routes optimally, ensuring consistent reachability across our network. The SSB (Self-Study-Bundle) has some really good Labs for this task if you ask me – and the JNCIE-ENT is a very fun and solid exam πŸ™‚

      How Marvis was created…

      Who said that adam was the first being created by god?
      I found this antique (okay 3D-printed fresh off the printer) model of Marvis – do you believe us MistFits now when we say that Marvis is our Lord and Savior and is as old as time itself? πŸ˜‰

      Yes – This sculpture really exists (no April fools)
      Yes – this is a birds-nest for obvious reasons…
      Yes – reach out to me if you want the STL-File πŸ˜‰
      And YES – we do have a LOT of fun πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

      MISTFITS – It’s happening…

      Great News Folks πŸ™‚
      I’ve joined a very exclusive group of people united under the banner of Juniper Mist (praise Marvis, our robotic overlord, and savior) to show you all how awesome the solution has become. As you know, I’m working every day (and night) with the MIST System (mostly Campus Fabric with the EX and SD-WAN with the SRX) and it makes life as a network engineer/architect so much easier.

      The new group also has a brilliant name: MISTFITS!

      I’m very excited and thankful for this opportunity as some really BIG Names known in our Industry also joined – but we don’t want to spoil all the fun, do we? πŸ˜‰ More info coming soon – stay tuned πŸ™‚

      HPE acquiring Juniper – so what?

      As you might have heard, last week HPE and Juniper told the world, that HPE will be acquiring Juniper.

      Nothing more, nothing less.
      And yet, for some folks this was a clear sign, that ravens would flood the earth, Jehovah was coming and the world would end… Again: without knowing even a single detail of what will happen. It was just the headline “HPE will acquire Juniper”. I was (and probably still am) one of the very very few folks who genuinely believe that competitors should start to shit their pants right now because this new company will probably be the next leader in every space, taking a LOT of customers away from them. Unlike the “A&C Deathbringers” spreading a lot of misinformation already (probably because they are really really scared) I think this new company will shine in the networking space. Imagine a HUGE portfolio, fully AI-powered, covering EVERY field of networking and with access to not only network but compute and storage as well: M-I-N-D-B-L-O-W-I-N-G!
      Both companies have a successful portfolio and both benefit from the other’s expertise. Will we see some products vanish? Who knows because exactly: It’s still to freakin early to tell…
      We will probably see some new (AI)products, solving problems that we think are unsolvable today.

      A lot of you reached out to me, asking me how I feel about the situation, asking If I am okay (that was really sweet – thanks) asking if I will continue my Journey towards my “All JNCIE” and most importantly:
      Does it still make sense to get certified for any JNCI-A-S-P-E? (Got that question SO MANY TIMES)

      Well: Getting JNCIS-MistAI-Wired certified earlier today (a really solid exam by the way – GREAT Job Folks) and signing up for my next JNCIE-ENT attempt hopefully shows my point of view.
      Nothing has changed!

      DAMN RIGHT I’m still following this goal – and why shouldn’t I?
      And why should you stop getting your Juniper Certification?
      Has anything changed? Not really
      So why should I / should you worry about unlaid eggs?
      Why should anyone think about every possibility that might happen, wasting our precious lifetime with scenarios that probably will never even become reality?
      Folks – just breathe πŸ˜€

      Let’s just wait for what will happen. Even if something happens in 2-3 years – can we change that?
      Not really – so why waste energy on that (now)?

      Even if your JNCI-A-S-P-E or your beloved device gets “cut” – do you lose the knowledge about the protocols?
      The knowledge about the mechanisms of networking?

      Not really. Remember: Juniper certifications are one of the most valuable in the entire networking community for a reason: because they are veeeeeery close to the daily work and the tech itself. As you can see in most blueprints, the exams all focus a LOT on the actual gears running behind the protocols and don’t just ask you “How does Juniper do this, that, these, those” – sure there are some questions about JunOS, the cli or a certain Juniper based GUI in some exams – but the concepts, the tech, the protocols are the same for Juniper, for Cisco, for Aruba, for Arista and what not.

      Put me in front of ANY Device (assuming feature parity):
      Sure It will take longer for me to check how the syntax is applied but without sounding cocky I bet every nickel that I have that once I’m finished, your device will do exactly what I want it to do – just like any EX or QFX πŸ˜‰

      Why that is you ask? BIG-Surprise:
      Same tech, same RFCs, same protocols (vendor lock-in protocols aside as nobody should use them in 2024 anyway to avoid a vendor lock-in)

      It’s mindblowing how many “Analysts”, “NextGen-Network-Experts” and “Enterpreneurs” suddenly pop up like Trolls leaving their caves after a long winter to report that this is a bad thing just to grasp on that sweet sweet social click that “fear” creates. Do you know so little about networking? Do you really know what a Router does? I beg to differ if I read some articles even coming from big tech portals in our Industry – makes me question if the folks who actually knew stuff have already retired…

      I have one clear piece of advice for anyone getting nervous at this stage of the acquisition:
      Why don’t you just sit back, stop telling everybody (including yourself) that the world ends, take a sip of tea, and enjoy the ride – you might be surprised what’s coming =)

      For me, the last week was already better than any movie I’ve seen so far.
      I already filled my Popcorn up because I bet that new dystopian articles will follow πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Reflecting on 2023: Certifications, Courses, and Exciting Ventures Ahead

      As we approach the end of 2023, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the achievements and milestones that have shaped my professional year. From personal and professional growth to exciting new projects, the journey has been nothing short of fulfilling.

      This year has been great in terms of learning and professional development. I am proud that I could re-certify all my certifications that have not only enriched my knowledge but have also opened up new opportunities in my career. My dedication to continuous learning has led me to explore numerous (new) courses, providing a well-rounded understanding of the ever-evolving landscape in my field. Juniper did an AMAZING Job by making sure that the courses were up-to-date with the latest trends and tech developments. I can now also say that I have been sitting in every course officially available (trust me, not an easy task) and the AATP was a HUGE help. It allowed me to strengthen my knowledge, meet new folks, and share new ideas and concepts – exactly what I was hoping to achieve with this.

      Certifications are (in my opinion) still the BEST WAY to show what you are capable of as they allow a third party (customer, employer, etc.) to quickly verify your skill level without having to test this themselves. Sadly, more and more folks seem to disagree, letting certs expire – but don’t worry, that’s not impacting me at all. I believe in this value and I will continue to re-certify (and even certify higher) as I believe in this system. Also, the certs are needed to even be considered for bigger, impactful, or public sector projects – something that a lot of folks lately seem to forget about… As the level of knowledge of new colleagues starting in IT sadly constantly seems to drop (at least from what I see every day) and true Experts are rarer than ever, Certifications are the probably single most important measurements. Most are hard to achieve (trust me, I know what I’m talking about) but that’s what makes them so valuable. I seriously hope they stay on that difficulty and that the difficulty will not be dropped to a minimum (like schools, driving tests, and such) where at some point everybody is certified, nullifying the value completely.

      Some folks asked me about this so I wrote down some Numbers (my journey 2023):
      Active Certifications: 22
      Training-Courses visited: 16
      Hours spent on learning (after hours):
      Roughly 780!
      That’s 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, but probably way more since I also labbed on the weekends due to my JNCIE prep studies.

      One of the most exciting developments in 2023 has been the transition into the role of Lead Architect for our Juniper Enterprise Team. This role brings with it increased responsibilities and the chance to contribute to innovative projects. I am thankful for the trust placed in me and am eager to make a positive impact in this leadership position. I can proudly say that I’m finally working at a place that feels like β€žhomeβ€œ. A significant part of my professional journey this year has been the privilege of working closer than ever with Juniper. The collaborative mindset and the opportunity to work with the most talented professionals have been key in my personal and professional growth. I look forward to continuing this journey in 2024

      And let me tell you: I’m just getting started πŸ˜‰

      2024 will be full of exciting projects and hopefully, 2! new JNCIE Titles

      I can’t wait to see you all next year. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all of you!

      I achieved a part of my all-time-goal and got all written Juniper Certifications :)

      I’m REALLY REALLY excited to share some news with all of you – those of you who will be in Madrid this July for the TechSummit 2023: Prepare to party πŸ˜€

      With the EoL of both the JNCIP-Cloud and the JNCIE-Cloud, I can officially announce that after working tirelessly for the past 12 years I now hold each JNCIA, each JNCIS, and each JNCIP that is currently available πŸ™‚

      And you know what? I didn’t even realize this was happening until I tried to register for my last missing P (JNCIP-CLOUD) for the TechSummit this year and “failed” to register due to the EoL-Announcement which I completely missed…

      But don’t worry – I still have a LOT to study for (and panic in the exam room) and I will hopefully still meet some of you at the certification booth in Madrid this year. Just because I can’t sit in a written exam anymore doesn’t mean I can’t wish everyone going for an exam all the best in-person πŸ™‚ And trust me: If I can do it – YOU CAN DO THIS πŸ™‚

      With both Cloud P and E gone, “all that’s left” (Yeah – I said it out loud…) for me is the
      JNCIE in ENT, DC, and SP – so prepare Exams, because I’M COMING FOR YOU!

      It will be a lot of hard work, will require my full attention (after all it’s the Masterclass of Exams), and will cost me even more grey hairs + also a lot of sleep. However, if you ask me it’s totally worth it (anyone who ever took an E-Exam will know what I mean). The path towards an E-Level-Exam is filled with so much knowledge and so many new things to learn, how can anyone not enjoy this? πŸ™‚

      HUGE HUGE shoutouts go out to 2 very important people in my career that always helped me and whom I could always ask for advice during my Juniper certification journey: Staci and Adam
      I literally cannot thank you both enough for always supporting me and always guiding me and the community πŸ™‚ You folks are special and you are the reason that I stand here today and I will never forget that!
      Additionally, I want to thank the Team at Axians Networks & Solutions for creating an environment that allows me and all of my wonderful colleagues to shine and work on so many awesome projects!

      Since I cannot register for an Exam anymore, I have a Voucher to give away πŸ™‚
      It’s valid for any written Exam (A, S, or P-Level) and is valid until 2024. I don’t like the idea of first come first serve so this giveaway will be a bit different: DM me on Mastodon, or Twitter (yes, I opened my DM’s there), or write me a Mail and tell me, what exam you want to try and why. You don’t need to send me an essay but maybe more than just “give voucherz pleaz” πŸ˜€
      The giveaway is open until July 11th and I will reach out to the winner on July 12th – maybe I can even deliver this voucher in Madrid if you are there πŸ™‚

      Juniper vEvo is out

            1 Comment on Juniper vEvo is out

      Something good before the weekend starts: Prepare your Labs folks πŸ™‚
      vEvo is finally here!!!!!


      Docs: https://www.juniper.net/documentation/us/en/software/vJunosEvolved/vJunosEvolved-kvm-deployment-guide/vJunosEvolved-KVM/topics/vjunosevolved-understand.html

      More Info soon – happy labbing πŸ™‚
      And ICYMI: the new EVE-NG has support for the vEX Template πŸ™‚

      vjunos-switch / “vEX” Template for EVE-NG

      Here is the official “unofficial” Template: vEX-EVEng.zip
      Alternative Link: https://jncie.eu/vEX-EVEng.zip
      HUGE Shoutouts to everybody who helped to get this up and running during the last few days!
      Tippin my Fedora for you πŸ™‚

      The vEX (EX9214 virtual) is finally out!

      As some of you have noticed, we got a little something: https://support.juniper.net/support/downloads/?p=vjunos
      That’s right – it’s the new vEX that I already mentioned due to some rumors floating around in my last Webinar is finally out πŸ™‚

      It’s available for download now if you have a Juniper Account. Sadly, the image seems to have some issues and unfortunately, no one was reachable yet to discuss these issues from the Juniper side. If you are a Juniper dev for the vEX and like what we do with the EVE-NG Team then please reach out to me directly!
      The Version is already fully supported in EVE-NG but there are still a lot of questionmarks left when it comes to the implementation and the configuration.

      Hopefully, next time early access is granted to the folks doing extensive testing for virtual solutions (WINK WINK) to be able to solve the first questions BEFORE the image is released – this would have solved some confusion for sure πŸ˜‰

      Anyways – Let’s hope the vEX delivers what was promised (fully integrated into MIST including Campus-Fabric) so that we can finally have a virtual MIST Lab πŸ™‚ I keep you posted once I’ve tested this image extensively myself.

      Update 2023-04-25:
      Juniper’s vEX (vjunos-switch) dev reached out to me so we can work on the remaining questions πŸ™‚ THANK YOU SO MUCH!

      Update 2023-04-26:
      Here is the official “unofficial” Template: vEX-EVEng.zip
      HUGE Shoutouts to everybody who helped to get this up and running during the last few days!
      Tippin my Fedora for you πŸ™‚