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I was sitting in a small tapas café in Barcelona with Robb and his wife enjoying a plate of Jamon Iberico. It’s amazing ham served with tomato bread and it is the best ham I have ever ate in my life.  Oh man, one slice in your mouth and your taste buds sing like David Lee Roth on Ice Cream Man. We cannot get it in the United States like that. It was illegal in the U.S. for a while then they started selling it, but it’s not even close to the same, don’t waste your money. OK either way, I’m getting off track here, it’s awesome, and plenty of yums were heard.

As we were sitting there, I popped my knuckles. I’ve been doing it since grade school. So now, I just do it without thinking about it kinda like breathing. Robb’s wife leaned over to me and in a kind and delicate Texas accent said; “if you pop your knuckles one more time I’m gonna jab this fork right in your skull…bless your heart…”  Understand too, she had been eating dinners with us for about a week now listening to me blabber on about OSPF timers, ASIC floor planning and how much power the Death Star would need to actually blow up a planet. Robb is used to it. He’s had seven years of Jimmy Ray practicum training, but his poor wife…man, respect to someone that has that much control to last a whole week.

We all have pet peeves that we either hate or do that other folks hate. Of course not you dear reader, your perfect, keep reading. Like any engineer, my pet peeves are indexed, cross referenced and compartmentalized. I have them for fishing, scuba diving, racing and of course…networking. Here are five things that really make me say; “Oh Dude…come on man!”

Peeve 00x01: Setting long TTL’s and/or long XLATE timeouts. Network Geeks are like the digital equivalents of Jack Lelanne (including the blue jumpsuit) they all want to reduce something. For us, it’s network traffic. Setting long TTL’s will work…but if you make a fat finger error typing something… it may take hours before you know it.  Plus, many social sites that are pulling content from other sources are sitting their TTLs in the seconds range. Don’t do it. Resist the dark side because troubleshooting this is a real pain.

Peeve 00x02: Using the HOSTS or LMHOSTS to get around something; “real quick”. Back in the day, when Microsoft network used WINS (they still do and yes you need to config it), these files saved a tons of time especially in the earlier Outlook Express days and it’s much faster.  MS networks resolve names in the following order LMHOSTS, Local Cached Info, HOSTS file, DNS then NetBIOS. (you can change that behavior in the SYSTEM.INI file). Sounds good right? Ahhhhh….NO. All networks now are very DNS centric although the name resolve order is still the same. So if ya make a change in the HOSTS file, then later on run into an “odd DNS error” you know one that makes ya say…Hmmmm…never saw that before…that’s odd…chances are it’s a HOSTS file. Too many hours of troubleshooting cutting into our XBOX 360 time have been lost here.

Peeve 00x03: Lack of Documentation. Nobody likes it. Ok I can feel myself getting mad typing this one….It seems like a waste of time especially as busy and dynamically changing as our jobs are. Without documenting and/or commenting scripts/configs you are not only putting the network at a massive risk, you are absolutely guaranteeing that you’ll be called in on your day off or vacation. Basically, you’re a friggen whanker. When I’m at a Star Trek convention dressed up as a Klingon showing off my totally groovy Bat’leth moves, it’s a total buzz kill to take a call on legacy firewall rules that I didn’t either clean up or document. Comment configs, write down changes, type it in a doc. Store it in a central place for IT teammates. Do not make it long and detailed or you’ll stop doing it. Time (24 hour clock), Date, Exact Change, System name, Your name. This quick and simple procedure will save tons of time and really make you the network rock star! If you don’t take the time to document, when you pass away, your eternal punishment will be following someone driving slow in the fast lane, riding shotgun with an old man talking to his grandkids on a cell with bad reception in a Prius with Justin Beber playing on the radio non stop. 

Peeve 00x04: Using non routable User Principal Names.  Ah remember when Family Guy was still funny and domain.local was just fine? Then along came this friggen cloud thingy and messed everything up. Many network admins have tested cloud technologies and turned them away due to slowness, SSO not working, log on failures and other “weird errors” Then here comes the bashing! “Cloud Networking sucks worst the Star Trek NG episodes with Barclay in them” Look folks, Barclay does suck for sure, cloud networking can really make our life A TON easier! If you are still using non routable UPNs, you’ll have a ton of cloud issues. It’ ain’t gonna work! Flipping over to a routable one is really easy and hey, since it’s TechWiseTV, I’m here to help! (Otherwise I charge by the hour…) Chances are most users are using their email (SMTP) namespace then just:

-          AD DomainsTrustsright click PROPERTIES then add Alternative UPN. Add your domain you actual own and use for email.

-          Now you can use my cool script thang:

Import-Module ActiveDirectory

 Get-ADUser -Filter * -SearchBase ‘DC=domain,DC=local’ | ForEach-Object ($_.SamAccountName) {

 $CompleteUPN = $_.SamAccountName + “@domain.com”

 Set-ADUser -Identity $_.DistinguishedName -UserPrincipalName $CompleteUPN

 }

I just used this a couple weeks ago at a site having probs with Office365 in a test lab. Worked great!!

Peeve 00x05: Not verifying backups. This is the last one because it’s the biggest one on the list. If you forget everything else, please, I beg you, test your backups at least once every two weeks. I do not mean the verify process that runs at the end of a cycle. Your logs should tell you successful backups for sure. Test them. Pull the media from a few random servers and restore one in your lab. Make sure your team knows exactly how to do this.  Learning this during a system failure will destroy your cred with the check signers. DOCUMENT THE TEST!!! (that’ll save your tail in a post mortem analysis). Like our favorite sports teams, our networks will fail. Sometimes for a good reason and other times…you’re gonna be like…ummm…what?  No doubt about it. Practice it like a fire drill because in many ways it is. I have seen many good IT folks shown the door because of data loss. Data protection is the absolute easiest thing to get money from bean counters on. Nobody wants to be the no vote on that line item. If so DOCUMENT IT! My Dad always taught me; “Never go cheap on what comes between you and the Earth” Buy the best shoes, socks, tires and mattress. I’d add backup solutions to that list also.  Buy the best and know it inside and out.

Well looks like TechWiseTV is going back to Barcelona for VMWorld. Now where did I put that helmet??

Jimmy Ray Purser

Trivia File Transfer Protocol

The name; “Fido” is linked to dogs because of their loyalty.   Fido comes from the Latin root word “fidus” meaning loyalty. 

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2 Comments.


  1. Back in the days of Novel, Token Ring and Cobol, 00×03 was the most basic Job Security strategy. But, one grows wiser and the world keeps going around with or with out us. So i’m with you on this one. I keep freshly carved wooden stakes now days to impale those time vampires that make me work more than needed due to lack of documentation.

    /* Sent from my Mac because I gave up on MS */
    REM Looking forward to read more from you

       0 likes

  2. Looks like you found my pet peeve, your/you’re.

    “Of course not you dear reader, your perfect”

       0 likes

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