Category Archives: Vent

A quote from an Ex-Googler

I really like this paragraph, because almost everyone wants to imitate google. Why? well, the answer to that questions seems to be what everyone is missing!

Google’s solutions were built for scale that basically doesn’t exist outside of a maybe a handful of companies with a trillion dollar valuation. It’s foolish to assume that their solutions are better. They’re just more scalable. But they are actually very feature-poor. There’s a tradeoff there. We should not be imitating what Google did without thinking about why they did it. Sometimes the “whys” will apply to us, sometimes they won’t

The quote comes from Cloud Field Day 4, from Ben Sigelman of LightStep.

Thanks to Tom over at networkingnerd.net for the entire post!

/Kim

Complicated Vs. Complexity

I am currently reading Team of Teams, an excellent book!

In it, it highlights an interesting fact that I think is very relevant for the networking world and that is the difference between something that is complicated versus something that is complex.

There is a distinct difference in that something complicated can be broken down into its building blocks and analysed with a high degree of certainty. Think of a car engine for example. It is a very complicated piece of machinery for sure, but it is not complex, since you can divide its functionality down into components. On the other hand think of something like a virus and how it evolves. This is a complex organism that you you can’t be certain that will evolve in a predetermined fashion.

So im thinking, the way we build networks today, are we building them to be “just” complicated or are they really complex in nature instead? – The answer to this question determines how we need to manage our infrastructure!

Just some food for thought!

/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!

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!

Mr. Ferro’s “Arse First Method of Technical Blogging”!

I just had a chance to go ahead and read Mr. Greg Ferro’s ebook called ”Arse First Method of Technical Blogging“.

The book is being published by Leanpub (leanpub.com), an independent publisher and the readers will get free updates to the book as they become available.

Mr. Ferro is well known from Etherealmind.com as well as the Packet Pushers podcast.

The book is all about writing a technical blog. It takes you through some important facets of writing a blog, namely why to blog in the first place and the importance of actually publishing something.

The book is short and to the point, something the book itself preaches in its contents.

The workflow of writing a blog post is examined with the outline of going from the bottom up. An interesting idea that I personally hope will help me get started with some blog ideas I have.

Mr. Ferro also offers some advice from his years blogging at Etherealmind.com as well as some information about editing and publishing tools. I appreciated this information as im always interested in ways of managing information.

My impression of the book is very positive. Sure it needs some work here and there, but its a work in progress and im sure he will incorporate any ideas and suggestions the readers might have. My own suggestion would be to include a short example of writing a blog post

In Summary
”Arse First Method of Technical Blogging“ is a book thats well worth the few bucks. It presents some very good ideas and pointers to get started with blogging technical material.

The main theme of the book is contained in the title. Start from the bottom and go from there, which is a great idea to actually get any writing started at all.

The book is a clear example that Mr. Ferro has put alot of thought into the workflow of writing blogposts, something that is obvious when reading over at Etherealmind.com.

I enjoyed reading the entire thing in one go and can recommend it to others.

Go ahead and get your copy here:

Disclaimer: I paid for this book myself because I was curious about its contents. I have not been asked to write anything or endorse it in any way.

Time to put the beans to rest

Yesterday brought with it another Java security breach. It is security breach that doesnt yet have a fix for it (0-day), so short of disabling Java on your computer, you are out of luck.

Im continually amazed that we keep running this piece of software, but I guess I shouldnt be, given people’s track record of running insecure software (think older Internet Explorer browsers on windows).

My dilemma as a Danish citizen is the fact that we are forced to run Java applications from a certain vendor in order to access pretty much anything from our online banking, to our communication with the government. Ofcourse, the vendor in question doesnt seem to think there’s an issue at all.

I disagree. After countless Java security breaches its time we stop using Java alltogether.

Another great motivational video

Just wanted to share another great motivational video

 

Week on the wire – Week 9.

Its been a rough week. I have been finishing up projects and getting rid of loose ends.

I have also been giving a couple of lectures on IPv6 (Basically primers) to customers as well as some information on basic failover configuration in IOS. The advent of 3G and low cost gives alot of new opportunities for customers.

The rumor mill indicator is a solid green with news of the comming iPad 3.

And yes, i will be getting one as well. Sometimes i think i should have Apple as a permanent part of my
monthly payments.
Head on over to Mac Rumors (http://www.macrumors.com/) to learn more.

Some CCIE datacenter news.
Over on FryGuy’s blog theres a small piece that seems to confirm the CCIE datacenter certification:
http://www.fryguy.net/2012/02/22/ccie-data-center-it-looks-to-be-real/

There are more rumors about Cisco trying to go back to its core business as well. Even though Cisco fully commits to keep making weird things.

In this case its the Set-Top boxes: Cisco keeps making set-top boxes!

I keep thinking they should follow the Apple strategy. Its not bad to take/steal strategies from other companies when it might benefit your own business. In this case its: Keep-it-Simple! Focus on core areas!
Some very interesting information on D-Duplication in Windows Server 8:
http://feeds.fosketts.net/~r/StephenFoskettPackRat/~3/mvH5FuYyhfs/

And finally, i cannot recommend Endomondo enough. I use it to track all my exercises. Its an example of an App and a service that does something really well and doesnt include any crapware.

Try it out at: endomondo.com