To quote the late Bob Ross, “It’s hard to see things when you are too close. Take a step back and look.” When you are in the middle of those early morning troubleshooting sessions, it can be easy to panic. First, you are dealing with being woken up abruptly; everything is fuzzy. Then the person on the other end of the line might not be able to explain exactly what is happening. This combination usually leads to some fun times, sarcastically speaking. The best advice is to take that step back and look at the overall picture. No matter what your troubleshooting approach might be, the goal is to have one. The worst thing you can do is aimlessly wander around hoping to bump into the solution. In this entry I will dig into my mental ticket system of random issues I’ve ran into over the years, pull out three, and cover how those issues were resolved. Continue reading “Adventures in Troubleshooting: Chapter 1”
As we are busy diving into the world of programming and automation, I’d like to remind everyone of a way to make simple config changes to a Cisco switch or router using a text file. This might not be a breakthrough, but it helps when making changes to switches or routers when those changes can possibly disconnect you from the device. Imagine working on a re-IP of a switch or even a point to point link. You have your notepad ready to go. There is a new IP and default route and all you have to do is copy/paste. You paste in the IP and lose connection. Your default route change never actually pasted because you lost connection right after the IP change. You can no longer connect to the device; panic ensues. What might be a better way to make this change and avoid the “Uh oh!” moment? Continue reading “Simple Cisco Text File Changes”
Building a network for a new site from the ground up is great experience for engineers and administrators. However, if you are not organized it can also be a nightmare. Companies all over the world handle the “New Site” process differently. The way you maneuver through the project depends on the size of the organization as well as the teams involved. Some places have a complete Project Management Org that will take your project, organize it, shine it up and help you complete it. Project Managers can be a big help by following up with vendors, partners and making sure the teams are meeting deadlines among other things. However, sometimes you might not have a team of PMs helping you. You might be the PM for your particular “New Site” project. Whether or not you are the one doing everything or just the racking of equipment the following items or milestones are just reminders of tasks to keep in mind. Continue reading “New Location, Who Dis?”
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”
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”
You just purchased a fancy new bookshelf from your favorite store that gives furniture funny names. You carefully place the gigantic box for this bookshelf, or as they call it a “bookenspiel” in your living room and cut the box open. There are a so many parts! The manufacturer seems to have crammed in half the world into the box. Building this bookshelf looks a bit daunting now. At the store, the bookshelf did not look like it would be this complicated to build. You continue taking bags of parts, boxes of parts and pieces of wood out. If it was not for the instruction manual you would have flung everything out of a window. The instruction manual lets you build the bookshelf. It takes half a day, but you get it done. However, imagine for a moment if there was no instruction manual. This half a day build becomes a full day or much longer. As a matter of fact, it might be so frustrating you give up. That instruction manual makes a huge difference. Documentation matters. Continue reading “The Importance of Network Documentation”