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Challenge Accepted

Have you ever read a biography or saw a movie about someone’s life? There are many of them out there. It seems like every month there is a “Based on a True Story…” flick that gets released. It does not matter if the person was an athlete, a politician or even an astronaut; one thing that you will never read or hear them say is “That was the easiest thing I’ve done”. Never. Their accomplishments were hard earned. Blood, sweat and tears went into reaching another level. I would say the same applies to those of us working in the field configuring switch ports , looking over security logs and even providing phone support. No, I am not comparing surviving a war or landing on the moon to someone closing out a “My Netflix does not work in the office” ticket, but a similar mentality is needed. The mentality and actions of someone who wants to reach a higher level professionally needs to mirror those that meet challenges head on or even better: Someone who constantly looks for those challenges. Our professional lives need to be like a treadmill on a constant incline. Many times when our lives level out, we get complacent and speaking for myself, lazy. Look for a challenge and climb! Continue reading Challenge Accepted

Do it Live: Cisco Umbrella

Can you give me a list of all the destinations employees at your company are browsing to on the internet in the office and out? Would you know if all of those sites are safe? Are they clicking on those “Free Tablet Just For You!!!!!!” email links? The internet can be a dangerous place. DNS helps users easily reach destinations. Who is going to remember the IP addresses to hundreds of sites? However, DNS can lead users to malicious destinations as well. You might have a need to protect users or enforce company policies at the DNS level.
This post will be a review of Cisco Umbrella. We’ve been using it in production. This will by no means serve as deployment instructions. Please refer to Cisco Umbrella’s documentation for those. These are just my thoughts on how the process went. Continue reading Do it Live: Cisco Umbrella

Beyond Engineering

So you are interested in networking? I don’t mean attending gatherings, handing out business cards, shaking hands and kissing babies. I mean being a network engineer or administrator? Perhaps you just started the journey at a company and feel slightly lost. If you are, then the following paragraphs are meant for you. This is not only meant to be a motivator to continue learning and applying, but here you will find three things to look for or try to work on that can push you upwards in the work place.

Whether you are part of a small team, large team or riding solo there is much more to network engineering. Sure, there are days where it seems like everyone needs a port configured, but there will be times where you can bring forth your ideas into fruition. There will be times where you look around and figure out ways to improve existing infrastructure. You might be interested in pursuing certain software that can improve a process or provide valid insight. You might want to create or update documentation. You might just want to improve certain aspects of a network, such as routing or security. These are all good things to do, time-permitting and team-willing. If you have good ideas bring them up to your team or your manager. This will not only be a good way to learn, but you can excel career-wise by getting involved and pursuing ways to improve your company. Continue reading Beyond Engineering

Data Center Move: A Perspective

Have you ever had a work-related dream that you’ve woken up from and were thankful it was just a dream? Designing and executing the network for a new data center will definitely give you a few night terrors. I recall the night before our data center move, I dreamed that I woke up late on the day of the move. That’s not too bad right? Well for some reason, in my dream the data center was in another state instead of an hour away. Then my car did not start; I had to “borrow” a car and I got lost on the way there. Again, I was thankful it was a dream. The actual move went a bit smoother. However, these types of projects can be real nightmares for teams. The main thing to do is plan. You the follow this with a few healthy doses of additional planning. Continue reading Data Center Move: A Perspective

Reaching Higher

You might be a young successful billionaire who has absolutely no needs. If you are, congratulations! This might or might not help you out. I am nowhere near that. Many of us are not. We are looking everyday for ways we can improve our skill sets and and climb higher in our everyday work lives. No matter what you do, you should strive for more, to be the best. Yes, it might be a bit cheesy, but complacency usually does not open doors. If you have a dream, a wish for something more, pursue it. Even if you cannot reach that exact goal, you might be diverted down a path you never even thought about. The main thing is to always move forward, reach higher. Continue reading Reaching Higher

Network Devices: Easy Config Tips

If you work in networking, you probably take care of the switches and routers in your environment or have some input on what happens with them. Switches are the doorway to the network. Even if you have a wireless device, the access point you connect to is probably connected to a switch. This is where your PCs, TVs, appliances and many other wired devices connect. Routers can manage connections in and out of your environment along with a plethora of other services. Everyone should have a template or standard config they use on any network device. With today’s tools and services like Prime Infrastructure or DNA Center, you can spread that configuration around or deploy it to new sites; however, you still need a config to apply. Different scenarios and environments call for different configuration, but there are always those sets of commands you can use everywhere. The goal of this writing is to share a few commands that are helpful and I typically apply. Most of these are commands you spot all over certification studies and others I’ve seen other engineers use.
Yes, you probably memorized every single command from the CCNA and even the CCNP…but did you apply them all on every single port? Sometimes, unless there is a need you might not have to. I call it, situational configuration. Apply what you need and what will keep the environment secure. The important piece is to be consistent. On switches, VLANs might be different for each interface, but why would some of your switches have “enable password” and others have “enable secret”? Continue reading Network Devices: Easy Config Tips

Quality of Service

Imagine driving down a three lane highway at a decent (legal) speed. It’s a beautiful day with the sun high in the sky and a nice cool wind coming in through the window. All is going well. In just a few minutes you should be at your destination. Suddenly, all you see in front of you are red lights. You roll to a stop and realize that ahead of you is construction, converting the three lane highway into a single lane snooze-fest. The construction bottleneck has slowed traffic down to a crawl. Hopefully other drivers will let you in as you inch towards the next lane. If only there was a way to just jump to the front of the lane. Well, in this scenario not so much. However, if this was a network full of layer 2 and layer 3 devices, we would have some ways to organize the traffic in a way that the important traffic (cars) keep moving efficiently through the bottlenecks. Continue reading Quality of Service

Prioritizing

No, this will not be a talk on Quality of Service in the networking world. That entry is coming soon. This is a public service announcement on prioritizing your life. Whether you are dealing with a ton of projects at work or a bag of tasks at home, sitting down and taking a step back from everything can help organize and give the proper priorities to everything that stands before you.

Continue reading Prioritizing