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Recognizing a Good Network Design

How do you recognize a good network or datacenter design? What contributes to a good design? How do you learn to do network design well, and then continue improving?

Spotting design problems is key to the network assessments my employer, NetCraftsmen, does. There are other important aspects of assessments: network configuration (execution of the design and attention to details), and performance (network bottlenecks, poor choices of equipment, etc.). However, they are more often implementation flaws in the design. If the design itself is flawed, good implementation cannot do much to compensate. We generally require one of our Craftsmen Assessments so we can identify and fix important design problems before agreeing to provide support via our Craftsmen Assurance Managed Services program.

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 41: Being a Cisco Champion

CiscoChampion200PXbadge#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today Cisco Champions share their experiences as  team members and talk about how the program benefits them professionally and personally.

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Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right-click on the episode’s download button)
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Cisco Champion Contributors
Bill Carter @ccie5022
Chris Brown @ChrisKnowsIt
Denise Donohue @LadyNetwkr
Eric Perkins @perk_zilla
Erick Bergquist @erickbe
Jon Hildebrand @snoopj123
Pantelis Stoufis
Scott McDermott @scottm32768
Stewart Goumans @WirelessStew

Rachel Bakker (@rbakker)

Benefits of being a Cisco Champion
Connecting with peers as a Cisco Champion
Memorable Cisco Champion Moments
Being a Cisco Champion at Cisco Live
How being a Cisco Champion helps give back to the IT community
Advice on becoming a Cisco Champion

Cisco Champions Program Overview
Cisco Champions are an elite group of technical experts who are passionate about IT and enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The program has been running for over two years and has earned two industry awards as an industry best practice.

Resources and Links
About the Program
How to Apply for the 2016 Cisco Champions Program (nominations end November 15, 2015)
Contact the Cisco Champions Management Team

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Getting Started in Cisco’s DevNet

Mark Watney is “The Martian”, in case you haven’t heard. In the movie, he’s a Botanist stranded on Mars. But in the book, he’s first a mechanical engineer, and a botanist as his second skillset. It’s hard to if he’s an engineer-botanist or a botanist-engineer, but he’s a pretty cool guy. Think McGuyver with better one-liners. Cool enough for Matt Damon to play his character in the movie.


It’s great when we IT folks have more than one specialty as well. The Martian (Watney) picked Mechanical Engineering and Botany – a great combo when you happen to get stranded on Mars. It seems like Networkers are never just networkers any more as well. It always seems to include some route/switch, but then… voice? Security? Data center? Development?

Which brings me to Cisco DevNet, the topic of today’s post. The name even sounds a Watney-esque: DevNet – sounds like Developer-Networker. But it’s really the single best resource to network with others and find resources about software development related to Cisco products. That includes the complete spectrum of people – from networkers who just cracked a book to start learning Python to people who make their living developing software.

Personally, I find Cisco’s DevNet to be pretty useful, and I have loved the DevNet Zone at Cisco Live. But I wondered how to get you excited DevNet. And the best way I think is for you to try a few features. So my goal today is to introduce you to a few features, and give you a few links as places to launch.

You can pick my suggestions or try your own. I’d love to hear what you tried, and how it worked – If you do, post it here, or tweet me your favorite, @WendellOdom, and put a #CiscoChampion in the tweet if you think of it! Read More »

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Using Cisco VIRL with Additional Components

One of the things we tend to do as networking people is test configurations to see if things work the way we think they will.

Case in point, I just had a talk with a fellow Champion, Teren Bryson (@someclown) and he was telling me how he used VIRL to prove a concept to a customer that didn’t think something was possible.

So that’s what this post is about.

The VIRL Setup

The first thing I want to point out is that this concept will work with other virtual machines. I just happen to be into security and needed to test some ACS configurations when I did this. I have also done this with Cisco ISE as well as the WLC and even the Cisco ASA 1000v prior to the ASAv being integrated directly into VIRL.

You can start by installing VIRL in your choice of virtualization software. In my case, I’m using VMware Fusion 12 Pro on a Mac running OS X Yosemite.

VIRL1 Read More »

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 40: How SDWAN and NFV are changing the MSP world

CiscoChampion200PXbadge#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re talking about SDWAN and NFV with Cisco Product Marketing Manager Bill Reilly.

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Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right-click on the episode’s download button)
View this episode in iTunes

Cisco SME
Bill Reilly, Product Marketing Manager

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Bill Carter, @ccie5022, Senior Business Communications Analyst
Brad Haynes, @GK_bradhaynes, Client Solutions Specialist

Lauren Friedman (@lauren)

Benefits of virtualizing WAN and layering on new services at branch level
Role of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) at VBranch and in SP Cloud
How MSPs are integrating NFV
NFV use cases and surprise deployments in the field
How to deploy and manage NFV in the Enterprise
Skill sets needed to take advantage of NFV
Surprising NFV app policies in the field

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