Archive for the ‘misc’ Category
Yes, I know I’m late. Just remember I’m lazy, and it all makes sense.
This year I’ve decided to go a little more practical with my goals. Instead of “get this cert” or “learn about that”, I’ve decided to take some steps to help myself. That is, in order to learn and advance, I need make sure I give myself the opportunities to do so. Damn, that sounded like some crap from a marketing department, so let me use my own words.
- Find a place to study. When I took my current job, we moved to another city and to a very small apartment. Now I don’t have the spare bedroom as an office and a quiet place away from everything. Of course, my study schedule and quality has suffered because the only place to study I have now is less than 10 feet from the wife and the TV. I’ve got to find a place that’s quiet.
- Find a place to lab. Right now, I’ve got a pile of Cisco and Juniper gear sitting on a shelf at that same study location.. I’ve either got to find a way to access these remotely (somewhere quiet) or find a service to employ to get hands-on experience.
- Go to Cisco Live US. After missing last year, I won’t let myself miss it this year. It’s within driving distance, and, more importantly, the hotels will be cheap again in Orlando. There’s no excuse not to go.
If I can accomplish these goals, then I’ll be back on track for getting some new certs or finishing out some old goals. And I seriously do miss studying and learning.
See you guys at Cisco Live. Yes, I’m going to wear my Juniper Ambassador shirt.
The year is finally coming to an end, so it’s time yet again to look at goals and embarrass myself by publicly admitting that I didn’t meet them. Oh, well. Let’s get this done so I can go back to sleep.
I changed the layout of the blog, so the page with my goals isn’t really visible. Here’s what I claimed I would do this past year.
- Select a CCIE training vendor – Yeah…this didn’t happen. This is a very high-priced item, and I simply couldn’t afford the packages I wanted. We’re talking $8k – $10k for everything. Yikes! I asked management at work to pay for it. They said they would but that I would have to agree not to leave the company for some long length of time. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where finding a new job meant writing a check for $10k, so I decided to pass on it. Without the financial backing, this ended with me just sighing pitifully on my couch.
- Take the CCIE R&S lab – Of course this didn’t happen without the first one. I guess I could have bought the materials that I could and just got on a bus to Raleigh to see what happens. This whole thing was complicated by the fact that the new job is 95% Juniper. My waking hours at work and my study time at home were spent trying to figure out how Junos works; I tried my best, but it was just too difficult for me to study both at the same time. For the trifecta of excuses, I also had an issue with my study area. I went from a 4-bedroom house to a 1-bedroom apartment when we moved for the new job. There’s no quiet space at all to study at all – a huge problem I need to fix.
- Pass JNCIA-Junos exam – Wo! I actually did this one. I took this exam a few months back and passed it without any problems. Good for me! One out of three!
As for my goals, it really wasn’t a very good year. Even for me, it was bad. I’ll tell you, though, it’s very hard to study when you don’t have one subject or a place to do so. Definitely things I need to work on in 2013.
Since the Mayan doom did not hit us, we move into 2013. I hope you all have a prosperous and happy new year. The best of luck to you all.
We’ve been looking for a new Network Engineer for quite a while but are having no luck at all. There is plenty of talent out there, but finding a high-end Juniper guy is almost impossible around here. We’ve loosened up our requirement for Juniper experience just to get someone in for interviews. This led us to one prospect and an interesting story.
This guy’s resume was very impressive. For the last 5 years, he’s been the Network Architect at a very large company. His experiences were off the chart. Large-scale Enterprise deployments. Monster PCI environments. Years of Juniper experience. Years of Cisco experience. I had to talk to this guy, so I got a phone interview with him.
His phone interview was great. We talked about all of the different models of Juniper gear. All the different Cisco routers. Checkpoint. F5. He even had experience with the FWSM and CSM (I’m the only other guy I know who’s dealt with those modules!). This guy was dead on target with what we needed. Before I knew it, it was 2 hours later, and I had to stop the call before we went too late into the night. We hung up, and the other engineer and I huddled to talk about this guy. There was no doubt about it; it was time to get this guy in for a face-to-face. My Director and I met him for dinner the next week. He was well prepared for everything we had for him. He knew about the company. He knew about each of us. He had all the answers we wanted. All thumbs up, so we moved on to the technical lab the next week.
I told him to be prepared for a BGP and an OSPF lab that would be on both Cisco 1800s and Juniper SRX 240s. When he showed up, he had a notebook full of notes and configurations. He had his laptop full of examples and implementation notes. Wonderfully prepared this guy was, so I drew the lab on the whiteboards for him. An routed VPN tunnel with BGP between a couple routers. Some OSPF and redistribution here. Some VRF/RI there. Not very complicated, but not very easy either.
I expected him to be done in about 3 hours or so. After 20 minutes, I asked him how we was doing. He was still configuring IP addresses on interfaces. After an hour, he was still working on getting OSPF working. After two hours of struggling, I helped him get the VPN tunnel up and running. Hour four was spent working through the VRFs and leaking. I finally just called it done to give him a chance at the Juniper stuff in hopes that he was faster in Junos than IOS. Nope. At the 7 total hour mark, I finally just told him he had to go.
I was ready to hire this guy after the phone interview. My Director’s loved him after the face-to-face and actually said he was worried that this guy would be bored in our environments. The obvious moral of the story is that you have to actually challenge a potential coworkers before making a hiring decision.
And I will never think about hiring anyone without putting them through the paces.
After years of getting so-so service from my old hosting provider, I’ve finally migrated over to an unnamed competitor. After my thorough testing schedule, I have no doubt that
everything nothing is broken. Surely I didn’t miss some diagrams or audio files or videos or anything. If you happen to find anything amiss (and you won’t), let me know.
Maybe I’ll actually have a real blog article one of these days.
The year is finally over. Actually, it sort of snuck up on me. I must be getting really old or something to let that happen.
At the beginning of the year, I posted my goals for 2011. How did I do? Not too well. I batted .500, so feel free to boo me.
- Hurry up and finish CCNA Voice : I finished that on 7 February. Was it worth it? Not really. I haven’t used the knowledge, and voice isn’t my thing. I got it to spice up the resume, but it didn’t really come into play at all. Oh, well. It’ll expire in about 2 years.
- Pass CCIE R&S written exam : I got this one finally. I flunked out at Cisco Live this year, but I redeemed myself on 23 August with a pass. Jody still owes me a drink since I hold the record for lowest passing score.
- Select a CCIE training vendor : Yeah…I never got to that one. When I finally got through the written, my job had completely drained my motivation. I fixed that problem by getting a new job, but that didn’t help free up any time to figure out which vendor I wanted to use. #fail
- Schedule CCIE R&S lab : That obviously didn’t work out, either, since it’s dependent on selecting a training vendor. #fail
What does this hold for this year? Getting some training and scheduling an exam is obviously priority. Since my new job is going all Juniper, going through those certifications would be next. Another super-busy year, I’m sure.
Good luck to everyone in 2012.
I like to take a month or so off from blogging during the summer, but my CCIE R&S written studies pushed that back a bit. I’ve finally got my lazy self back on track, but it may just be for a few days since I’ve accepted a new job in another city and am in the process of moving.
I am really excited about the new position. Since I haven’t started yet, I’m not going to reveal who the company is, but you’ve all seen the name. They’re forming a new group to handle specialty services for customers, and I’ll be working for the manager of that team as the Senior Network Engineer. My future boss is a CCIE, so that’s a great start; we didn’t even have a CCNA at my current company until about 2007. The job is going to be great, and the wife and I are both up for new adventures.
So, why am I leaving? I’m going to take the high road here and not whine about all the little issues, but there are several that pushed me to look for a new job. For one, my current company is primarily in print media – newspapers, magazines, books, etc. When was the last time that you read a newspaper? Hell, I haven’t read a newspaper in 13 years and I work for a newspaper company. Sales of print media have been dropping quickly since this whole Interwebs came about, and revenue from the online versions of media are less than 10% of those from print. It’s just a matter of time before the whole industry goes away, and I wanted to move on gracefully. Scrambling for a job in this economic climate wouldn’t be a happy place.
The most pressing reason for leaving the company, though, is the fact that the IT services are in the process of moving to a new joint venture company headed by NIIT Technologies. While this opens up a much broader world, there is always the question of how long my job will be in place with the new company. I’ve spent the last 4 weeks meeting with the NIIT guys, and they are absolutely wonderful. They know their stuff, ask the right questions, and do their homework when learning about the network. Without a doubt, I’d enjoy working with them, but the my group’s future (and even the future of the whole new company) is no longer a certainty. Again, it’s time to move on gracefully.
Now we have to move to the big city of Atlanta. I have a small apartment there to live in while we work to sell the house. The wife is staying for nowto get the house ready to sale, but I’ll make the 5-hour drive on weekends to help out. It’ll be a struggle for the next few months until the house is sold, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the end.
I start the new job on Monday, 7 November, so I’ll be making my way up with my TV and blow-up mattress this weekend to start the adventure. My last day with my current company is actually tomorrow, so I’ll be on the road to headquarters to hand in all my stuff. Hands will be shaked (?), lunch will be eaten, “do they have any openings” jokes will be told.
Most importantly, though, something bigger and better will begin.
Here’s a story from last week with little of no teaching value.
I got a call from one of our business units looking for some routing help. We don’t usually care about their production networks, but they were seeing some funky traceroutes, so I agreed to try and help them out.
They sent over two fresh traceroutes from a host on a 7600. In one of them, the trace went to the 7600 and then on down the line as expected. In the other, the trace showed the 7600, another router’s far interface IP (that is, an interface not facing the 7600), then the 7600′s interface facing that router. Every few minutes, the path was switch between the two. The dude told me that they were an OSPF shop, so I asked him to send me the standard show ip route and show ip ospf database commands so I could see what’s going on. The word “unexpected” comes to mind when trying to describe what I found. So do other words that aren’t very appropriate.
The 7600, the main router at the main campus, was in OSPF area 50. The router that showed up in the trace was also in area 50. The same was true for every other router at that location, so I figured that area 0 was at another location. Nope. All routers at all locations (probably around 20 total) were all in area 50, and area 0 was nowhere to be found. I always thought you could run a single non-backbone OSPF area, but I never understood why you would actually choose to do so. If you want one area, that’s fine, but why not make it area 0?
That single area was working so I didn’t ask too many questions and looked again at the outputs they sent over. I chuckled a bit when I noticed that the routes to the target network were showing up as an OSPF type-2 external. I got a copy of the config at the far network and, lo and behold, I found that there is a single network statement for the transit network back to the main campus along with redistribute connected subnets. For some reason, instead of actually advertising networks natively in OSPF, all the networks with hosts on them were being redistributed. I wasn’t there to redesign their network, so I just sighed out loud and kept looking.
I got a copy of the OSPF config for the main campus’s 7600 to see if would show why the traceroute was weirding out on them. Here’s the part where I actually laughed out loud on the phone. Right in the middle of the config, I see “area 50 nssa”. Yes, this single non-backbone area with no real costs being advertised was configured as a not-so-stubby area. Not only did they go out of their way to make it a non-backbone area but they also wanted it as a stub area. Since they had all the other networks redistributing into the area, they had to make it NSSA. It’s a week later, and I still roll my eyes.
How did this happen? When this business unit was being turned up, they actually outsourced the initial build to a company who will not be named here. They’re the ones who put in this creative OSPF configuration that I’m putting in my hall of shame (if I had one). They’re also the ones who caused the reported problem. After a few more hours of looking around, our guys discovered that the other company put in a new VPN endpoint configured with the IP of the SVI of the 7600. IP conflicts aren’t good, eh? Once that was changed, everything returned to normal.
A fun few hours indeed. At least it was entertaining.
If you’ve worked in any particular area for some significant amount of time, you have probably noticed that how much you think you know about a subject has changed over time. This is nothing earth-shattering, and we’ve all had this realization over the course of our lives; it’s come up a lot lately in the course of my career, so I thought I’d share.
When you learn a new topic, your actual knowledge levels starts at a low point and gradually works its way up until you’re an expert (if you’ve lasted that long). You start with nothing and learn more and more until you get bored and stop. If you evaluate how much you know at intervals during the process, you’ll see that your self-assessment is more of wave than the straight(er) line of actual knowledge.
Stage 1 – “I know nothing.”
You know very little or nothing about a subject. You may have just been introduced to the subject, or, perhaps, you may have read a little bit about it. In any case, you know in your mind that you know nothing but are willing to learn.
Example: Let’s think about the first time someone talked to you about a hub. You probably knew it was how to get your LAN party rolling, but you really didn’t know how it worked.
Stage 2 – “I know everything.”
This is where a lot of people spend most of their time on a particular subject. You’ve read up on a subject or taken a class, and you assess your knowledge as very high. The truth, though, is that you’re just starting your learning experience. The term “knows enough to be dangerous” applies to this stage.
Example: You now know what a switch is and that it uses MAC addresses to send packets between two hosts on the same network*.
* Using less specific and/or accurate terms is a sure sign someone is in stage 2.
Stage 3 – “I was very wrong; I know nothing about this subject.”
After spending a while in stage 2, you have a moment of enlightenment where you realize the cosmos is a lot bigger than you are. Your self-assessment has dropped to a very low level when you finally see all the details that you’ve been missing all these months or years. When you get around to studying seriously about a subject, you spend most of your time here learning and realizing how much is ahead of you.
Example: You now know that a switch does a lot more than you thought – trunks, VLANs, STP, CAM tables, backplanes, fabrics, etc.
Stage 4 – “Experts keep telling me I’m an expert.”
You’re self-assessment is still pretty low from stage 3, but you hear that you are a subject matter expert in the eyes of the learned. I’m talking about people who you know as experts calling on you for help. As you get more and more accolades from your peers, your self-assessed level grows and grows. It may be years or decades before you begin this stage, and most of us will never reach this stage. Of course, you are never finished learning, so this stage lasts into infinity.
Example: You’ve just been asked to write the next book on mega-super-advanced switching.
lunisolar date calculations questions to me.
The biggest impact is the fact that I won’t have access to a CSM or FSWM any more. These are two pretty unique devices, and I get quite a few questions on these guys. I’ll try my best to recount what I know, but I’ll have to get information from buddies at the old job if research is needed. The CSM has been a backbone of this blog for a while, so I’ll need to find another area with a similar demand for examples and configuration help. The FWSM doesn’t measure to the same scale, but the old company is the only one I know that runs those things, so the world may be that much poorer in FWSM information.
Another big impact has to do with my new company. I don’t even want to name them right now since I don’t know their attitude towards posting information about their operations on a blog. Though I always sanitize the configs and move output around to make it generic, I’ll need to run it by management before even attempting to give on-the-job examples. In the meantime, keep an eye out for my study notes on this new technology I’ll be
Since my career is taking a big turn, the blog is going with it. Stay tuned to see where we wind up. :)
After several months of semi-serious job searching, I’ve landed a new position with a local company. I don’t know how much I should reveal about them, but I’m really excited to be joining their team. I’ll pass on more details as I get a feel for what is appropriate, but I’ll say that the position involves Nexus 7ks, ASR 1000s, and supporting private cloud technologies. It should be really fun and quite a new adventure for me.
Don’t worry, I won’t use “cloud” in future blog articles.
Edit: I missed one key word – Telepresence. :)