network engineering


My Network Cutover Soundtrack

Here’s a list of carefully thought-out pairings of songs for specific types of network activities like cutovers, refresh projects, and typical pain-in-the-butt network tasks.

Click on the network-y activity to listen, and make sure to have your sound at a decent volume. Most of these tasks take longer than the length of one typical song, so usually I’m listening to the entire album.

Keep in mind that these links open a YouTube window. Feel free to refute, agree, or suggest alternatives in the comments.


1. Hacking out ACLs for an ASA cutover

2. Racking a pair of massive data center core switches

3. Mission Critical Site-to-Site VPN Troubleshooting

4. The moment you’re in the middle of CLI drudgery and you begin to sense the entire 2am cutover starting to go south

5. Rebuiling a Call Manager after hours from an old backup

6. Mounting a couple hundred access points

7. Bouncing data center core switches back and forth during a code upgrade

8. Configuring routing and seeing adjacencies coming up perfectly on every router

9. Spending the afternoon placing hundreds of access points in Prime

10. Troubleshooting some gear while suffering from the flu and sitting in the cold part of a data center

11. Driving home in the middle of the night in the summer with the windows down and moonroof open after a gloriously perfect cutover 

12. Putting the finishing touches on an AMAZING IDF re-cable

13. Working on documentation

14. Driving home in the middle of the night tired and hungry after only a meh cutover

15. Cranking out emails


Apstra: The Intent-Driven Cure for Network Blindness

Apstra, Incorporated isn’t focused on new features, more advanced silicon, or some new widget. Instead, they’re offering a different way to look at networking. Apstra offers an early form of intent-driven networking that abstracts network programmability and allows network engineers to configure intent rather than device features. We expect the network to behave in a specific way, so we configure our intent accordingly. I was very excited to meet the Apstra team at Networking Field Day 13, and they didn’t disappoint.



SD-WAN with VeloCloud at Networking Field Day 13

It looks like we’re going to have some SD-WAN goodness next week at Networking Field Day 13. I love the technology itself because of the real-world use case and practical benefits a good SD-WAN solution can offer.  Many of the SDN-labeled offerings out there are still a little immature, but adding intelligence to the WAN edge is something that is already being adopted wholeheartedly in even small enterprises.



Network Automation: Another Tool in the Toolbox

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a few tweets and blog posts regarding the immaturity of network automation methods and the danger in utilizing those methods in production networks. Though I agree that processes always have room to mature and that wiggling wires in a production environment always poses some risk, I believe this new emerging narrative in social media makes several assumptions that aren’t necessarily true.


cropped switches

The Joy of Just Getting the Job Done

Getting the job done, whether blog-worthy or not, always gave me a deep sense of accomplishment in my work. Besides, it’s always the junior engineers cutting over IDFs in the middle of the night that get to expense all the pizza they want.