This Valentine’s Day, a Love Note for a Protocol

Dear Link Aggregation Control Protocol,

How do I love thee, let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of a 42u rack. A love so deep and vast it rivals ipv6 address space, yes, this is how I heart you LACP.

We’ve known each other for quite a long time and I have to say, you’re still the #1 Protocol in my heart, even after all these years and all those Layer 7 load balancers, DNS Round Robins and all the rest competed with you for my affection. You and I have been through some tight spots together, haven’t we LACP?

Hey LACP, remember that time the CIO was going to tour the datacenter on short notice, which sent waves of panic throughout the IT Department? Yeah, we all rushed to the server room to clean up the lazy patch cable runs we had made for the last several months.

The other guys were nervous…”Can we do this during production?” they shrieked while holding patch cables strung across the back of three racks, connecting the local Domain Controllers, Print Servers and SMB shares to the switch stack.

"Can we team it?" asks Bob the System Engineer. "Yes we can!' replies LACP.
“Can we team it?” asks Bob the System Engineer. “Yes we can!’ replies LACP.

“Relax, ” I told them. I knew you had our back, LACP. I didn’t even have to look at the switch, I just knew, in my bones, that you would work.

“LACP,” I told the junior guys. “Learn it, love it, live it,” I said as I removed one, then two, then three patch cables out of a server during production hours.

“LACP,” I repeated to the slack-jawed and frightened help desk guys, emphasizing each letter like it was sacred, special, even secret.

“It’s a way of life,” I said seriously.

I acted as though I was the guy who wrote you, but really, you were the one that saved us that day LACP, you were the one that allowed us to re-patch much of the server room just minutes before the CIO rolled up with zero whining from the users.

It was all you LACP. You’re the sort of quiet,low-level Layer 2 protocol that a guy like me could get along with.

You know what else i like about you LACP? You’re one cool, calm, collected and low-drama protocol. Not like those other protocols.

MPIO, that bitch got nothing on you. IP Multipathing? Ha! OpenSolaris is buggy, and Apple is too expensive. I’d take you LACP over MPIO or IP Multipathing any day, even for iSCSI, even if it’s against every vendor’s manual. Damn the best practice guides, damn the fancy new stuff, I trust you LACP. I get you and you get me.

lacp4eva knucklesAnd forget layer 7 load balancers. Talk about high maintenance drama queens. Always demanding this policy or that update, whining when the stuff behind them fails. Who needs that LACP, who? Yeah I know L7 load balancers do some things you can’t do, but so what? Everything up there in Layer 7 can do more than you, but no one can do their job quite as well as you, LACP.

LACP, when I think of you, I want to break out in song. You’re just so beautiful, so perfect, so harmonious. You’re what Plato was going on and on about in that cave, you’re the real technology equivalent of that Footprints poem, you’re what inspired Bill Whiters to write this:

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on


You’re always there LACP, in the background, just a few lines in my switch config, just working in the background getting the job done, bringing balance to the force. You never ask for recognition or praise, you don’t need renewal contracts or support agreements, no vendor has a lock on you.

You even work on Dell PowerConnect switches. Damn!

IEEE 802.11ax? More like IEEE 802.11awesomeee!

Yeah LACP, you got all that and a bag of chips humble attitude too.


lacpHumanity could learn a thing or five from you LACP:

  • Teaming is better than going solo
  • Balance the load among all your colleagues and team members
  • To each according to his need, from each according to his ability
  • The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, even if that means failing over the other 7 members of the team to the one that remains while the staff re-patches everything to make the switch stack look neat

Damn. I’m getting weepy here LACP.

This Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that you’ll always have my heart LACP. You are the greatest of the Layer 2/3 Protocols, the first among all, you inspire me and you complete me.

I heart you LACP and you keep at it, ok?

Author: Jeff Wilson

20 yr Enterprise IT Pro | Master of Public Admin | BA in History | GSEC #42816 | Blogging on technology & trust topics at our workplaces, at our homes, and the spaces in between.

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