Strain relief

I’ve got a problem with sagging cables, and I’ve got a simple solution. Examine the side-by-side images below which show the same fiber connection between a switch and a firewall. The image on the left shows a sagging cable which crosses in front of the switch in the rack unit just below it.

As you may know, this cabling install is a violation of the 167th rule of networking:

Thou shalt contain your cables to your own rack unit and shalt not, under any circumstances, impede access to other rack units or blades.

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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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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.

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Four Trouble Ticket Survival Tips

Trouble Ticket survival tipsSometimes 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.  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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