An Update for my Adoring Fans

I feel like a teenage girl with a fashion blog who hasn’t posted in 6 months and comes back with “I know I haven’t posted in a while…”  Sigh.  It’s been right at a year since I actually published a post, so I figured I would give everyone an update.

I’ve had some personal things going on lately, and those have taken all of my energy.  We’ve made it through those rough times, so my energy is coming back.  I’m feeling better every day, and I hope I can get back to producing some content.  And, let me tell you…I’ve got some stuff to talk about.

*insert star wipe here*

We got a new director-level dude at the office, and he’s really mixing things up for us.  His philosophy includes changing the way we do everything that we do.  Like literally everything.  He ran a report for me on my ticket queue and showed me that 60% of my ticket count was on stupid stuff that’s below my pay grade.  His advice : Make somebody else do it.  So I did.  I taught myself some more Python (not hard since I’ve done coding stuff throughout my career and college), learned some Ansible, wrote a couple modules, put some playbooks in Rundeck, and taught our support center how to use them.  Now I don’t have to worry about that noise any more.  Inspired by my resounding success, I looked at other tasks I was doing.  Firewall rule updates, simple routing changes, packet capture setups…now all done through some sort of automation tool.  The whole team is involved, too.  On a regular basis, my teammates and I get calls from other groups asking for help automating their own tasks.  Proud moments for us.  More on that later.

We’re not only changing the way we do things day-to-day, but we’re also thinking about longer-term architectural changes.  We’re bringing in whitebox switches where we can to save capital while still providing functionality and stability. In our first journey down the whitebox road, we went with Cumulus Networks running on top of EdgeCore switches to form a pretty little EVPN fabric in one of our smaller data centers.  I’ll write more on this later, but it was a great experience doing something other than the normal IOS and NX-OS configurations.  If we put our new-found enthusiasm for automation together with this Debian-based OS on the switches, we get a nifty little system that’s functional, scalable, stable, flexible, manageable…I’m running out of Ls here.  I’m really super-excited to be part of this.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is attending Cisco Live.  I will be there next week with bells on.  This year, I’m going on the Imagine pass, so let’s see what happens.  As usual, my schedule will be pretty booked.  The Saturday Adventure is at Kennedy Space Center.  I’ll be at Tech Field Day Extra on Monday and Wednesday.  World of Solutions is on the schedule somewhere.  There are parties.  There are tweetups.  There are get-togethers.  A full week of building the real social network (you know…like eyeball contact) and catching up with both people and technology.  All make for a great experience that I wouldn’t miss for anything.  I’m sure I’ll see a lot of you next week in Orlando.

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