Solarwinds Geek Speak

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I wrote a few articles for the Solarwinds Geek Speak blog that I’d like to share. They are short articles, but I think you’ll find some value in each. Start with the 80/20 rule below post below and read the rest if you have the time.

The 80-20 Rule of Analysis and Optimisation

Start with Continuous Improvement, then do DevOps

The pain of network variation – part 1

The pain of network variation – part 2

A disclaimer: Solarwinds didn’t ask me to promote these posts –  I’m sharing them because they’re posts I would have otherwise published on this blog.

Add a comment below if anything strikes a chord, or if you want to disagree, correct me, etc.

 

Clear Pricing for Network Services

I had to buy some switches recently and needed to gather a second quote from another vendor. I went to the Dell website and was pleasantly surprised to quickly find a clear price and a buy-now button for each device on their website.

Normally you’d need an account of the vendors portal to get this information, so it is refreshing to have straightforward access to clear hardware pricing. However it was the list of professional services options shown in the attached image that caught my eye. Continue reading

5 ways to fail – WAN link acceptance

Ethernet WAN linkI’ve had an interesting few months doing WAN circuit turn-ups for a new Data Centre. I dealt with three major carriers, and each experience was worse than the next. I’m not sure why I held such high expectations but I was surprised by their hopeless inefficiency in delivering what should have been a standard product. In this post I’ll examine the problems I saw and their root causes.

In all three situations, 1Gbps Layer-2 ethernet circuit was ordered with a copper ethernet handoff from a rack-installed NID/NTU/whatever-you-call-it-yourself. Lets look at the five issues I hit whilst troubleshooting. Continue reading

East West Segmentation With ACI

 

dome-664000_640East/west segmentation is required in the data center to protect backend networks from each other. Segmentation is often implemented using ACLs between VLANS on your core switch. The ACLS are maintained by network or security engineers but define the flows permitted between hosts or host classes. Continue reading

Basic network change control process

Make your own change controlScenario: You are an engineer who runs a managed network on behalf of a customer. Your manager has asked you to create a change control process. Your customer and your manager will measure you only by the uptime or outages they experience, and don’t care what your process looks like.

I’ve discussed why we need change control in a previous post. Knowing this, what sort of process would you create? I this post I provide a high-level template and some tips. Continue reading

Network change – who is in control?

Network Change

Nothing sparks engineering debate quite as much as ‘network change control’. It’s one of those topics we love to hate. We feel buried by useless bureaucracy. We ask, ‘Why can’t our managers just trust us, instead of weighing us down with meaningless process and red tape’?

Comfort Zone

 

This may be a controversial perspective but I think we’ve gotten exactly what we deserve. We endure heavyweight change control procedures because when we make network changes we break stuff. We break stuff in truly spectacular ways, in ways we could never have predicted. We hit weird bugs, asymmetric configuration, faulty hardware, poor process, or we just have a brain fart/fat-finger/etc.

Continue reading