Get Your Network Under Control with Gluware

I think it’s safe to say network automation is pretty mainstream now. Judging by what vendors are doing and what the community is talking about, automation is more than the latest advent of hipster networking. It’s becoming the primary way many network admins manage their networks.

But there are a couple barriers to taking the leap into automation. For some it’s the steep learning curve. There are courses to take, programming languages to learn, and entirely new processes to get comfortable with.

But I’ve worked with enough network engineers over the years to say that a steep learning curve is not an insurmountable problem. Many engineers I’ve worked with have an eagerness to learn new things and grow in their profession.

I don’t believe the issue is learning how to automate a network. I think the real barriers are the time and resources it takes to automate a network at scale in a meaningful way.

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Blog Response: DHCP is not Intent Based Networking

Just recently, the inimitable Greg Ferro took an interesting look at DHCP and explained in a blog post:

“During a recent discussion on DHCP I realised that this process is a near perfect expression of intent.”

The process he’s referring to is DHCP, and notice that he went beyond identifying the DHCP process as an example of automation but also as a “near perfect expression of intent.”

I disagree with Greg’s conclusion, and here’s why.

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Ten Settings to Prevent Zoom Bombing

“Zoom bombing” is when uninvited (and unwanted) Zoom meeting attendees hijack a video conference with unwanted and inappropriate content including audio, video, screensharing, or even transferring unwanted files in chat.

Many companies, schools, churches, and even individuals having video calls with their family rely on Zoom trying to continue life as normal during the current COVID-19 crisis. Keeping these video conferences safe, smooth and productive has been a challenge, so here are 10 settings you can use right now to help prevent Zoom bombing.

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Surprise! You’re Homeschooling! Now What?

If you’ve recently found yourself temporarily homeschooling your kids as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some lessons I’d like to share that my wife and I learned from 10 years of homeschooling our own kids. Before we get started, there’s one overarching truth you need to accept right away:

Homeschooling is hard work.

It takes effort, self-discipline, organizational skill, time-management, and to an extent even financial resources, to provide your children with a solid education, even if it’s for only a few weeks or months.

Juggling homeschooling with your day job will be difficult. Balancing instruction and running errands will be tough. Managing three kids doing three different assignments will be no easy task. But I promise that though it’ll be challenging, it will also be incredibly rewarding for both you and your children.

So let’s get started.

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Building a Software Defined Cloud Network with CloudGenix

Path probing. Intelligent path selection. Application-aware routing. The aggregation of divergent internet links. Those are the things we talked about when SD-WAN was still an emerging technology, but that’s not the case anymore.

Today, a discussion about SD-WAN is a discussion about cloud connectivity.

As SD-WAN shifts from an emerging technology to a maturing technology, several real-world use cases have emerged, and right at the forefront is how we connect to our public cloud resources and SaaS applications.

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Tech Phrases I Love To Hate (and Hate to Love)

I’ve always been interested in how we use language. Why do we choose certain words over others? Why do we speak one way, but write our emails in a completely different way?

In particular, I’ve always been fascinated with dialects and colloquialisms, and our beloved tech industry, a veritable cornucopia of eye-rolling and groan-worthy jargon, does not disappoint.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite tech industry phrases. It’s a few of those short rhyming phrases (or almost rhyming) that we use a lot, but it’s not a list of every tech marketing word I could think of. Frankly, I don’t think I have enough cycles to synergize such a digitally transformative list anyway 🙂

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Is Cisco Software Defined Access Intent Based Networking?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about intent based networking – trying to define it – identifying its core tenets. Without a library of IETF drafts to go by, I listened to vendors explain their platforms, I read their whitepapers, I explored their solutions trying to figure out the commonalities among them and pinpoint exactly what they were all really trying to do.

I believe I came to a pretty good conclusion. IBN is a closed loop system of analytics, orchestration, and continuous validation. And in that process micro-configuration is abstracted from the network operator and replaced with higher level macro-configurations otherwise known as “intent.”

Using that definition, is Cisco Software Defined Access intent based networking?

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Stable Connection

Last night my buddy, Kermit the Frog, and I were hanging out talking about that Twitter conversation yesterday all around BGP – how bad it is – how great it is.

Either way, it got us thinking about all the crazy times we’ve had working with providers over the years setting up new BGP adjacencies.

Kermit decided to write a song about it, and since I’m not a great singer, Kermit took that part, and I just ran the soundboard.

He calls it “Stable Connection.”

We hope you like it.

Teacher to Engineer: My Career Change Story

I graduated college in 2001 with a degree in English and no strong direction for a vocation. After graduation I spent a few months working on the customer service desk at a supermarket while I thought through my next step. After what in hindsight was very little deliberation, I decided to go to graduate school for a Master’s degree and become a high school English teacher. Though I loved literature, writing, and being in the classroom, that became a short-lived career. After only a few years teaching Julius Caesar and T.S. Eliot, I started searching for something new.

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Simplifying Data Center Interconnect with 128 Technology

Data center failover is an expensive, complex, and sometimes fragile component of a network design. Solving this one problem usually involves almost every other team in the IT department, and it’s inexorably linked with the very day-to-day operation of an organization.

How will a business recover from a data center outage?

How can mission critical applications move seamlessly between data centers?

How will our end-users reach an application in the event of a failover?

These are just a few high level questions that, along with very technical and legal requirements, will guide the actual design of a data center failover plan. The answers will determine bandwidth, routing protocols, storage, virtual environments, security, hardware platforms, and every minutia of design right down to how DNS will be propagated and what OSPF metrics are set to.

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Troubleshooting DTLS Handshake Error Joining Cisco 2702i Access Point to 9800 Wireless Controller

Recently I tried to join a Cisco 2702i access point to a 9800-CL wireless controller but found an issue that needed to be fixed prior to it joining successfully. I also recently joined a Catalyst 9115 access point right out of the box and experienced no issue at all, so my theory is that the 2702i had config still on it from when it was previously joined to a 5508 WLC. In this post I’ll go through the few steps I took to fix the issue and successfully join the 2702i to the 9800-CL.

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Networking and Tech Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

I believe continual professional development is absolutely necessary for workers in the IT industry, and for a network engineer like myself, blogs and podcasts have helped with my own professional development as much as formal training courses.

Below is a list of the technology-related podcasts that have been my go-to when driving the many miles I travel per month. Most are networking-related, but some cover information on security, cloud, virtualization, etc.

There are more out there, but these are the handful I always seem to gravitate to. I’d love to get your recommendations for podcasts I should be listening to, so please let me know in the comments.

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