Solarwinds Geek Speak

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.


Effectiveness – Network Truths, Principles and Fallacies

I gave a 13-minute talk to the Irish Network Operators Group (INOG) recently. In this 13-minute video I argue that you can become more effective, and happier, by standing back and reflecting on how you work, leveraging existing truths, fallacies and principles.

I introduce The twelve networking truths and the 8 Fallacies of Distributed Computing. I then describe a handful of my own learnings and fancy terms like Chestertons Fence and the Gordian Knot.

Check out the video folks, I’d love your feedback.

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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

3 Suggestions for Network Automation

3 suggestions for network automationNetwork 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 your process then automate the pain away.

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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.”

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RFQs: Get Value from your VAR

Today we’re going to take a look at a very specific aspect the network project delivery workflow; seeking a quote from a value added reseller or VAR.   A VAR re-sells equipment and services on behalf of network equipment vendors.  In this post we’ll look at what a VAR is and how to reduce the time lost on equipment ordering.  Like RMAs,  RFQs are not sexy, but mishandled RFQs can burn a lot of time that you could otherwise spend designing and improving your network.

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