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Why Network Design in the Modern Era Has Kept Me from Retirement

Network Design in the Modern Era1In youth-oriented Silicon Valley, it’s risky to mention this, but I’ve been around for a long time. In fact, in theory I could retire! I already moved to a small town in the Pacific Northwest where the cost of living is low, and I could spend my days hiking in the mountains.

But actually I can’t retire. Why? The networking field is too interesting! In addition, modern networking, with its emphasis on design, applications, policies, and users, focuses on the same concepts that have interested me from the beginning. Not only that, but I firmly believe that with today’s network design tools, we are positioned to build networks that are faster, larger, and even more user-friendly than ever. How could I retire when that’s the case?

In the Beginning

I started my career as a software developer. This was long before agile software development became popular, but nonetheless there was a focus on agility and flexibility. The goal was to develop software that could be used in multiple ways to support a broad range of users. The focus was on user behavior, application modeling, systems analysis, and structured design. Read More »

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6 Tips for High Density Network Design

The guys from No Strings Attached Show just published their podcast we sponsored featuring Jim Florwick yesterday and already the verdict is in: Jim Florwick is awesome.

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to download the podcast yet (What are you waiting for?! Download  podcast) or you have a few extra minutes to scan a short blog to decide whether or not you want to download the podcast, I asked Jim what his key takeaways are when it comes to high density design.

Here are Jim Florwick’s 6 tips for HD network design (for the REAL meat, tune into the podcast):

  1. High density client environments are quite common with today’s users being very connected – today’s users are always connected.  With planning, this can be managed quite successfully.  Understand the limitations, be aware of how legacy requirements will affect the outcome, and set expectations accordingly. Efficiency is key and removing some of the blockers (legacy) first is essential.
  2. 802.11ac represents another quantum leap forward in technology and will eventually allow a much richer user experience.   It is a transition that must be managed and balanced against your current mission requirements.  Evaluate channel/bandwidth requirements carefully.  Monitor the mix of client devices operating in your environment and update frequently. Read More »

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Steps to Optimizing Your Network – Design & Hardware Strategy

In my last post, I discussed the importance of a strong network foundation.  Let’s get a little deeper into this now. The strategies depicted in the diagram below have been developed over nearly two decades of Cisco Services experience in the field.  These outline what MUST be addressed in order to successfully and fully optimize your investment.  Omission of any one will induce risk into the project.  I will highlight this as we pass through the strategies.

Optimized Strategy Design 2

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IPv6 Just Works: Cisco Live London Dual-Stack Network

Another year, another CiscoLive. This was the last year in the London venue, and since it was the third time we did it, we had a chance to incorporate learning from the previous two years. As a result, I would say the network was quite a success.

The key element of the design, led by Mark McKillop, was the balance between showcasing the latest technology and maintaining the simplicity of the network. This year we had a mixed L2 + L3 core design. This design helped decrease the impact of various parts on each other. The L2 core was in place for the “special-case” requests, which a routing-based infrastructure could not help with. Read More »

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Why Hybrid Clouds Look Like my Grandma’s Network?

Do you think hybrid clouds look like your granny’s network too? Well, that may be extreme, but there is no doubt that hybrid clouds are networked in ways we saw things connected a decade back. Consider a recent example I came across while discussing cloud adoption at a large global enterprise headquartered in the US. Their Asia office wanted to deploy a regional application for local use. It was impractical to deploy it at one of the two large data centers in the US since user experience would be sub-optimal due to latency issues. Hence they chose a local cloud provider to host the application. Sort of a hybrid cloud situation. So what? Read More »

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