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So You Want to be a Network Engineer. Here’s Where You Should Start!

First lets talk about what a Network Engineer is. According to The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing. Retrieved April 27, 2015, from Dictionary.com website a Network Engineer is:

“A high-level LAN /WAN technician who plans, implements and supports network solutions between multiple platforms. A network engineer installs and maintains local area network hardware and software, and troubleshoots network usage and computer peripherals.”

Network Engineers can wear many different hats. I believe the more “Traditional” Network Engineers mainly work on devices such as Routers, Switches, Firewalls, Wireless Access Points and Controllers, Load Balancers, Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems as well as some server maintenance involving virtualization and network management software. Next we should discuss the overview of the differences between Network Engineering and Administration. Keep in mind I am just talking from an industry general view/standpoint. Some companies may not differ between the 2 titles. Engineers and Admins tend to share a lot of responsibility when it comes to maintaining and troubleshooting a network. The dividing line seems to be in the design/installation area with the bulk of this work generally being done by the more “experienced” engineers. Admins usually fall under the NOC (Network Operations Center) which in large companies/agencies is usually staffed 24x7x365. I have also seen the difference broken down into tiers when it comes to troubleshooting escalation. Network Admins usually fall in the Tier 1-2 range with Engineers being considered Tier 3. Read More »

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#CiscoChampion Radio S2|Ep 4. VIRL

CiscoChampion2015200PX#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’ll be talking with Cisco Distinguished Engineer Joel Obstfeld about VIRL. Our Cisco Champion guest hosts are Brad Haynes and Scott Morris.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.

Cisco SMEs
Joel Obstfeld, Cisco Distinguished Engineer

Cisco Champion Guest Hosts
Brad Haynes, @GK_bradhaynes, Client Solutions Specialist
Scott Morris, @ScottMorrisCCIE, Senior Instructor

Highlights
What is VIRL
VIRL Wow features
VIRL and CML
Who will benefit from VIRL
Deployment scenarios

Resources
http://virl.cisco.com/

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IPv6 in the Cisco Live World of Solutions

Just recently I wrote about the IPv6 enabled logo program here at the Cisco Live 2014 World of Solutions (WoS). It is now time to share some of the results! In what follows I will say that I did not have enough time to exhaustively visit every single demonstration in the WoS. My time there was confined to a short window on the Tuesday morning, where I went to investigate and locate the IPv6 enabled demos myself.

Armed with my phone camera and IPv6 enabled logo stickers, I began my journey in the WoS starting with the Cisco demonstrations.

It didn’t take me more than a few steps to find the first one – Cisco Autonomic Networks. My colleague Amit Dutta was showing this technology in action and here you can see him alongside the demo which is tagged with the IPv6 enabled sticker. Check out the technology and the logo! Also leveraging the Autonomic feature set, Cisco was featuring the Autonomic Train with my colleague Toerless Eckert. Read his extensive blog that explains the demonstration in details and watch the video.

Another place in the Cisco campus where I found IPv6 in action was with the Cisco VIRL team. My colleague Joel Obstfeld was showing VIRL in action and v6 is fully supported by VIRL which was on clear show in the WoS. See Joel here alongside the VIRL demo and the IPv6 enabled sticker is on clear view.

onePK provides IPv6 capabilities and were demonstrating this. Jason Pfeifer is seen here alongside his demonstration on the Cisco stand bearing the IPv6 enabled logo.

Cisco Prime also has extensive support for IPv6. I found my colleague Gilles Clugnac demonstrating these capabilities and we identified his demonstration as being IPv6 enabled.

Then I talked to some of the Partners:

  • Citrix Nestcaler provides server load balancing for IPv6 and provides an IPv6 proxy function that allows Data Centre’s and hosted web server to enable a dual stack presence. I met Charles and David on the Citrix stand and they showed me v6 in operation.
  • APCON was showing their Network Monitoring technologies which were fully v6 enabled. Timothy Kcechowski showed me this in operation on the APCON stand and we placed the IPv6 enabled logo on their demo.
  • Netformix has a suite of tools that have long supported IPv6 and they were also happily showing v6 in action. This picture shows Justin Giffen and Mario Oliver alongside the Netformix platform with the IPv6 enabled logo on display.
  • SevOne provides Network Performance Management tools for Big Data. Jason Smith demonstrated this to me and here is his picture alongside their stand with the IPv6 enabled logo on display.
  • Infoblox has a fully featured IPAM/DHCP solution and it is fully capable of IPv6 support. This platform was on display on the Infoblox stand and Ken Crozier showed me IPv6 in operation.
  • Network Instruments provide Monitoring and Analysis tools. They were IPv6 enabled and received their sticker. Here you can see Charles Thompson on the Network Instruments stand alongside the monitor showing the IPv6 enabled logo.

I had a great time meeting old and new friends and spent many an hour in very interesting meetings trying to help move IPv6 forward inside our customer networks. I look forward to Cisco Live in Milan in early 2015 when I hope to be able to place more IPv6 enabled stickers. See you there!

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Get Inspired by Cisco Live Europe 2014

Cisco Live Europe 2014 (Milan) just ended and I think I will need a few days to reorganize my ideas. It was my first opportunity to attend #CLEUR, and moreover I did it as a CCIE.

CLEUR is not just a Cisco event (or should I say THE Cisco event) but also a unique opportunity to experience technology, expertise, vision, and inspiration.  And of course meet friends. Read More »

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VIRL Saves the Day!

One of the themes of my posts is that the overall ONE strategy, including virtualisation, would create an environment for network systems development that would meet the expectations of systems developers accustomed to the “enterprise” style of software development.

An enterprise systems developer expects the required systems resources for software development to be readily available for development and test purposes. When those resources constitute web application servers and databases, this is trivial with virtualisation, and generally unremarkable in today’s enterprise environments.

When those resources constitute expensive, high-end, routing and switching platforms, though, life is not that straightforward. A major part of a network engineer’s time is spent on obtaining, connecting and configuring network equipment for demonstration and test purposes. You can’t just try an idea out when it occurs to you, as the required network platforms often can’t be available when, and in the configuration, you want.

But imagine what you could do if those network resources were available at a click of a button. What if network engineers had the same capabilities as software engineers to create virtual environments of near perfect fidelity? Well, with the technology of the Virtual Internet Routing Laboratory (VIRL), that we are demonstrating at Cisco Live in Florida, that possibility is getting closer. Read More »

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