The Changing Face of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is the topic du jour for blogs and podcasts, so I’m almost reluctant to write about it. However, I want to share something I realized about myself that breaks from the conversation at large about this popular subject.

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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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Intent Based Networking Hype: Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

I got very interested in intent based networking a few years ago when the term was relatively unknown. However, in the last year or so the term has been adopted by a variety of networking vendors and applied to technologies that I believe have very little to do with intent based networking.

The term has become part of the current marketing narrative leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many engineers and technical individuals. However, I believe it’s very important to consider that intent based networking is not simply the use of a new buzzword by networking vendors. IBN stands on its own as a new networking paradigm, despite it being hijacked by marketing teams.

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Engage with the Networking Community

I’ve been an active part of the networking community on social media for only a few years. Before that I was a passive consumer of tweets, blogs, and videos. A previous manager inspired me to be more active, and very quickly after engaging directly with bloggers, podcasters, and engineers, the value of being an active participant became very clear to me.

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Simplifying Network Security with Context-Aware Micro-Segmentation

I spent about a year completely focused on network security, and one thing I learned was that spending all my time focused on securing the perimeter to the neglect of intra-LAN traffic was a recipe for disaster.

Most of the traffic in our data centers is east-west, with only a small fraction actually being northbound out to the rest of the world. The cost of massive firewall appliance clusters operating at line-rate is astronomical, and it doesn’t make sense to punt traffic all over the place if there’s a better way.

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Networking is Finally Catching Up

Servers, especially Linux servers, have been managed programmatically for years. Today, it goes almost without saying that a decent IT department is running Chef, Ansible, or some other tool to manage their servers as pools of resources.

What strikes me as odd is that this didn’t catch on in the network side of the house. Of course, there are always exceptions. A look at networking forums from years ago will showcase a few ambitious engineers arguing over using Expect or Perl scripts to manage their switches, but this was the exception in the networking industry, not the norm.

At Networking Field Day 17, several vendors that have long embraced network programmability turned their gaze from the data center to enterprise networking, and it seems as if networking may be finally ready to catch up to what we’ve been doing with servers for decades.

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Helpful Mnemonic Devices for Networking

When I was a new high school English teacher I sat through a class on grammar my department chair taught to her 7th graders explaining a preposition is a word that describes anywhere a mouse can go. I’ve never forgotten that.

A few years later I changed careers to IT and found some very helpful mnemonic devices and acronyms that helped me remember various aspects of networking.

Here are a few that I used over the years:

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Dual WAN Router with Dual ISP Using BGP and OSPF

There are a small variety of methods to implement failover of your WAN perimeter between two ISPs. In this post we’ll look at one way to accomplish this goal with a few technical requirements.

Keep in mind that there are several ways to accomplish this same goal depending on the hardware available, the flexibility of the ISPs, and the skill level or preference of the engineer.

This topology utilizes two edge routers and two ISPs instead of the single edge router design I wrote about recently (you can read that here). For this post we’re using Cisco routers, but the concepts apply universally. Our requirements are that we maintain connectivity from our inside host to the internet in the event one of the company routers fails or one of the ISPs fails. Failover and fail-back must be automatic with no manual intervention.

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TELoIP at Networking Field Day 15

No Networking Field Day would be complete without a presentation from an SD-WAN vendor. The technology is now established and maturing into a ubiquitous WAN solution across small and large enterprises alike, so at the upcoming Networking Field Day 15, I’ll be focused on how TELoIP, one of the presenters at the event, differentiates itself from its competitors.

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BGP Default Route Failover Using Reachability

Sometimes political, financial, or logistical hurdles determine how we solve networking problems. In these tricky situations we may not be able to solve the problem the way we’d prefer, but we still need to solve the problem.

In this post I’m going to look at how we can solve a WAN failover scenario when we have a default route learned from both of our service providers and a reachability problem via our primary ISP.

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Amazon S3 Outage: We’ve All Been There

I’ve been thinking a little bit about the Amazon S3 incident. Not really the incident, actually, but the responses to it. More than once I read something along the lines of “I’m sure that guy got fired” with regard to the engineer who entered the fatal command.

Sure, that’s kind of funny for a quick tweet or in the greater context of a blog post on change control, but for me, I’m not sitting at my desk shaking my head right now. Instead, I’m reminded about the times I did the exact same thing (on a much smaller scale) and will probably do it again.

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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.

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Trust But Verify: Lossless End-To-End Visibility from Ixia

Tap everywhere. Tap everything. Trustworthy visibility is the key to network monitoring and security.

This is Ixia’s approach for how networking professionals can get an accurate picture of what’s really going in the network, and this was the theme of Ixia’s presentation at Networking Field Day 13.

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