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Category: process

Network change – who is in control?

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’?   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…

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Four Trouble Ticket Survival Tips

Four Trouble Ticket Survival Tips

Sometimes the phrase ‘working the ticket queue’ is code for ‘doing meaningless work’. If you find yourself playing whack-a-mole with your ticket queue, then this is the post for you. You should strive to do meaningful work and this post discusses some ways to get more value out of the trouble ticketing process. 

3 Suggestions for Network Automation

3 Suggestions for Network Automation

Network automation is a hot topic right now. However, many of the automation solutions focus on edge-port provisioning. I can understand why vendors are chasing this niche; port-provisioning is a high-volume and error-prone activity. Network Automation Ideas Port provisioning isn’t the only cause of heartache in networking. In this post I’ve shared a few painful problems that the network industry could tackle instead. I want to get you thinking and talking about the poor processes which sap your concentration and resolve, and how we could tighten…

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Network config backups – just the beginning

Network config backups – just the beginning

An emergency switch replacement can ruin your day. However, having network config backups is not enough. Restoring full service may not be as easy as just copying the running configuration from your RANCID CVS repo, or your colleagues hard drive. Restoring the ‘identity’ of your original switch is a multi-step and somewhat complicated process.

What about software assisted networking?

What about software assisted networking?

I don’t want a software defined network, I want a software-assisted network. I want tools that will help prevent common but straightforward mistakes and make it easier to baseline a network. These tools have to work on real networks. Those messy, brownfield, imperfect networks that everyone maintains, but not everyone admits to owning. I’ve listed five tools below that I wish I had freely available when working on enterprise networks.  

Hardware – What's the 'holdup'?

Hardware – What's the 'holdup'?

This post discusses power supply ‘holdup’, and how it can impact network or server hardware uptime. The holdup time or ‘output holdup time’ is the length of time that a given power supply can maintain output power to the switch or server after it’s input power supply has been cut. The dependent host will shut down if the power supply isn’t restored to the PSU before the hold-up time expires. I like to think of holdup time as a power…

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Planning projects instead of burning benjamins

Planning projects instead of burning benjamins

Engineers are often unstuck by poor planning and get hit with large financial penalties as a result. Projects can become mired in delays and complications due to unforeseen costs and expenses. There are some unavoidable bumps in the road, but most could be foreseen and eliminated in advance. I want to share a few tips based on some experiences I’ve had over the years.

Career – The network rockstar and the checklist

Career – The network rockstar and the checklist

We’re in the midst of a networking boom at the moment and new technologies are being released at a rapid pace.  So much so that network engineers need a suite of knowledge management tools to navigate the daily deluge of articles, documents, twikis and notes. That said, how much of your day-to-day activities are markedly different than they were two years ago? As I see it, the role of the network engineer is largely unchanged.  One still has to gather…

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Design – Pushing for true network requirements

Design – Pushing for true network requirements

All too often we engineers end up blindly actioning tasks without questioning the true requirements driving the request.  Even if you are ‘efficient’ at deployment, doing the wrong task well is not ‘effectiveness’. Picture the scene when a project manager walks into your workspace.  “Hey junior-engineer-I’ve-never-seen-before, I need to you to install a 3750E-48TS in the Phoenix branch office. It’s a straighforward task, so I expect it complete by Friday.”