Category Archives: Personal

Time to say goodbye to Barcelona

As im sitting here in the hotel, waiting to leave for the airport, the only thing on my mind is: Wow.. what an amazing week this has been.
I have met so many old friends and made a bunch of new ones. All of the Tech Field Day delegates and staff are so bright and friendly that its hard to put into words. We have debated, discussed, thought out loud, shrugged our shoulders and laughed hard.
If you are not already following these guys on twitter, you really should go ahead and push that follow button. Here they are: @al_rasheed @TechFieldDay @ioshints @networkautobahn @darkkavenger @bockcay @OrhanErgunCCDE
In the coming weeks I will put together my final impressions of both the Cisco Live event and the entire Tech Field Day Extra event. Also to come is an analysis of some of the presentations we were fortunate enough to receive.
A big shoutout to Ben Gage (@BenTGage) and Tom Hollingsworth (@NetworkingNerd) for inviting me to this amazing event! Thank you guys!
Time to leave for the airport. Take care!
/Kim

Tech Field Day @ CiscoLive Europe 2019

I am honoured to have been selected as a delegate for Tech Field Day during Cisco Live Europe 2019 in Barcelona!
Cisco Live Europe will take place from the 27th of January until Friday 1st.
I am really looking forward to this opportunity. There are some really great names among the list of delegates that I hope to be interacting with quite a lot, both during and after the event.
I am still to receive the official list of presenters, so I can’t tell you just who all the presenters will be, but im sure the Tech Field Day crew will release that information shortly.
When possible, I will be blogging about the presenters for sure. Also, during the event I will be posting to twitter so stay tuned.
A big thank you to Ben and Tom from Tech Field Day for extending an invitation! I can’t wait!
Until then, take care!
/Kim
https://techfieldday.com/event/cleur19/

Cisco Champion 2019

Small update.
I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Cisco Champion for 2019. Looking forward to alot of good information and cooperation from the program! 🙂
 

Useful links for Observium + Rancid

I recently decided that i would like to utilize Observium as well as rancid for configuration backups on my home network. To that effect, the following links really helped me out getting it all setup correctly:
https://docs.observium.org/rancid/
http://packetsandpings.blogspot.com/2013/05/installing-and-configuring-rancid.html
https://layer77.net/2016/08/10/upgrading-from-rancid-2-3-8-to-3-4-1/
Let me know if you run into anything i might help out with.
/Kim

New Lab Server & random updates

New Server:
So I just completed a purchase off eBay for a new server for my lab purposes.
For a while now I’ve been limited to 32Gb of memory on my old ESXi server, which is really more like 20Gb when my regular servers have had their share. Running a combination of different types of devices, each taking at least 4Gb of memory, doesn’t leave much room for larger labs.
I decided to go with a “real” server this time around. So I got an older Cisco UCS C200 M2 server with 2 x Xeon 5570 processors and an additional 96 Gb ram (on top of the 24 it came with). That stil leaves room for a bit of memory upgrades in the future (it supports a total of 192Gb) (had a budget on this one, so couldn’t go crazy).
Work:
Work has been crazy lately. 2 of my Team members just resigned so a lot of workload has to be shifted until we find suitable replacements. That means I’ve been working 65+ hour work weeks for a while now. Something that I dont find even remotely amusing to be honest. But I’ve been reassured that everything is being done to interview candidates, so im hopeful it will work out after the summer holidays.
We have a lot of interesting projects coming up, fx. our first production environment running Cisco ACI. This also included some very good training. Its really a different ball-game compared to the old way of doing Datacenters.
Also on my plate is some iWan solutions. Pretty interesting all in all.
Study:
Im still reading my way through the Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) book. Its still on my list of things to do to take the exam I mentioned earlier, but keeping the work network running takes priority. Also I can’t help but feeling the pull of another CCIE when time permits, but its still just a thought (we all know how that usually goes right? 🙂 )
Personal:
September 16, my long-time girlfriend and I are getting married! Yes.. Married. Scary, but still something I look forward to. We’ve been together for an amazing 11 years on that date so its about time (she keeps telling me). As you may know, I proposed when I went to Las Vegas for Cisco Live last year, so its very memorable 🙂
Thats about it for now!
Take care!

Cisco Live US! 2016

I am fortunate enough, to be able to goto Cisco Live US! again this year.
Last year was such an experience, that my hopes are really high for this year as well.
I will be arriving on Friday the 8th and leaving on the 15th. Not a long stay this time, but it was what my boss could arrange for.
Again this year I will be bringing my better half, so she can experience the city and hopefully we’ll get a few hours of sightseeing in between commitments.
One of the things that im really looking forward to, is meeting up with friends and peers. This year is a bonus for me, as I get to say Congratulations to my friend Daniel (lostintransit.se) in person and not just on the phone, on passing the CCDE practical exam!
Also, a first for me, will be meeting up with Darren (mellowd.co.uk). We have been talking for a long time on twitter, mail and webex and im really looking forward to meeting him in person.
When we get closer to the event, I will be posting my Cisco Live! schedule here.
If you happen to be around the Las Vegas area, or even at Cisco Live!, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up!
See you there!

February – A busy month indeed!

Wow, what a busy month this has been!
So I started my new job on February 1st and thus far, everything has been really great.
My new coworkers are very friendly and helpful.
I’ve spent the better part of february, trying to get to grips with the SP network I will be focusing on from now on. Im still not where I want to be yet, but im getting there. One of the guys I will be working very closely with, started cleaning up the network when he was hired 9 months ago and he’s done a really great job with what he’s had to work with.
There are still some work to be done however, which is the very reason they have hired me and another very good friend of mine. A well run network is a dynamic beast which needs to be tamed. On top of that, the company growth has been around 30% a year, so alot of structure and processes needs to come with that growth, which is where I can really make a difference.
I’ve also had the good fortune of being selected as a 2016 Cisco Champion, which was a very nice surprise. I tried to squeeze in a few good technical posts last year, which I hope was useful to someone on the net. I’ve attended a few briefings so far, but they have mainly been about topics which I dont know enough about to offer any commentary on (UCS for example). Im hoping they are working on something in the routing realm as well 🙂
So for 2016, my primary objective is as previously stated, the CCDE certification.
Next month is Jeremy Filliben’s CCDE bootcamp, which I will be attending. I hope this will kick my butt into gear (I knew the change of jobs would hit my CCDE preparation). Im still aiming for a shot at the practical in late August.
Our Slack study group (Which Daniel Dib and I started) has grown quite a bit and includes a fair number of experts in different areas. If you are serious about CCDE or network design in general, dont be shy to mail me for an invite.
There are however, technologies which I also want to be familiar with to the level of blogging about them.
These include:
– Practical Segment Routing.
– Cisco’s iWAN solution.
– A deep knowledge of the ASR9K platform.
– Programmability (Python, API’s, etc.).
Now, back to work I go 🙂
/Kim

Doing right in the VAR role!

This post is my follow-up on a recent discussion on twitter.
Working for a VAR (Value Added Reseller) is not always the glamours life some make it out to be.
Working as a consultant, what you are really doing, is being the CEO of your own service company.
What you are selling, is basically your own services. The fact that your paycheck is being signed by someone else doesnt/shouldnt really matter.
The customer is building a relationship with you, as much as the company you are working for.
On top of that, you are continually building rapor in the networking world, so in my opinion, I would rather leave the customer with a good solution, rather than having to stick with the insane budgets that sales people end up shaving a project down to, just to get the contract.
So what can you do to create the outcome that is beneficial for all parties concerned (The customer, Your employer and yourself)?
Well, what I have tried in the past, is try and emphasize the importance of leaving the customer with the right solution based on his/her requirements and constraints. This discussion should involve both the technical side of things, as well as any account manager(s)/sales people involved. Try and focus on the long term results, such as customer satisfaction and reoccurring sales because of it.
Toward the customer, do your best to explain why solution X is better than Y, because of the requirements that are in place. Most people are sensible enough that, if you just take your time to explain the solution and have your reasoning in place, they will understand. Both of these (explaining and reasoning), is important for you to build the before mentioned rapor with the customer.
In the end, you should end up with a customer that will ask you for advice when in need, and trust your judgement when you recommend a solution. By doing this you effectively put the “fluff” from the account manager(s) aside and focus on the important work.
As engineers, we tend to focus on the technical side of a solution, but to be successful in our role(s), we also need to pay attention to the human/social aspect. Personally, this is an ongoing exercise, which I try to be very cognitive about when engaging with the customer.
So to summarize:
– Be a teamplayer, but know you are the one who has to face the customer regularly.
– Do your best to understand the customer and his/her requirements.
– Take your time to explain your solution to the customer.
– Never take the customer for granted.
– Pay attention to the social/human aspect when engaging with both the customer and your coworkers.
Now go and have a sit-down with that customer of yours!
/Kim

Why Cisco?

Why do i keep focusing so much on Cisco, when there are clearly alot of different vendors out there with similar products and technologies?
There are several reasons for this.
1) I began the professional part of my networking career with Cisco.
2) Cisco has a proven track record when it comes to education and learning.
3) Even though not always the best match for all use-cases, Cisco is a big player in almost all areas of networking.
4) The networking opportunities provided by Cisco is by far the best of what ive seen. Take for example the Cisco Learning Network.
5) Cisco Press is really awesome in my opinion. They have alot of really high quality books out there.
6) Great opportunities to interact with the company. By this i mean to participate in programs like Cisco Champions and different SME (Subject Matter Expert) related activities.
7) Cisco documentation is not perfect, but its hands down the best I’ve seen across multiple vendors.
8) And ofcourse Cisco Live! 🙂
That being said, recently i have begun to take a more neutral look at technologies. The reason being, that in this day and age, proprietary technologies become less prefered than open and standardised ones. This means that more interopability is possible, and to understand the big picture one cannot rule out other players.
All in all, i see alot of value in leaning towards Cisco. At least thats my outlook on things at the moment.

The case for lifelong learning.

People often ask me why i keep studying and when i will be “done”.
To me, this type of question seems odd, because i am committed to lifelong learning.
I am of the opinion that going through life without learning something all the time would be a life wasted. I think this goes back to the early explorers. Discovering new things, whether it be a new continent or simply a piece of knowledge really excites a certain type of people.
I am by no means comparing myself to these great explorers, but i understand what drove these legendary people to do the things they did, whether it be Columbus or more recently modern day astronauts.
My studies, whether they be in the field of networking or more personal related, will continue until the day i leave this crazy world.
There so much information and knowledge thats readily available in our day and age, that i would find it hard to simply ignore it and just lean back and say: “thats it, im done!”.
As I write this post, its about 6am in the morning. Part of my morning ritual is getting to the office early and spending some time studying before i start work. It helps me get into the mental rythm.
So I have a job for your! Tonight, instead of spending an hour or more watching TV, try and pick a book on a topic thats of interest to you, and read for a bit. You’ll be amazed at how it makes you feel. Afterwards you will have picked up a bit of knowledge you didnt have before! – Its THAT easy!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post!