The Pie Problem: Growth and Ratios

29 June 2015 | Comments Off on The Pie Problem: Growth and Ratios

Why does it seem life goes faster as you get older? There are several reasons, of course — a primary one being it always seems there’s more you need to do and less you want to do, as you get older and take on responsibilities. I know that the last 17 years, since my first…

Architect or Designer?

8 June 2015 | Comments Off on Architect or Designer?

Are you an architect or designer? What’s the difference? A reader asked this last week in email — my (probably) less than perfect response. First, we have to dispense with this objection — network people aren’t “architects” in the first place. Nor are they “engineers.” Okay, so… A challenge: what else would you call someone…

Resume Building

3 June 2015 |

It’s a discussion in meeting rooms, boardrooms, hotel conference rooms, and post-conference cocktail parties: Why isn’t IT working? Ask anyone in a corporate or government job and you’ll get an earful. As I was writing this book, I’d occasionally throw the question out to friends, clients, and beleaguered airplane seatmates. The responses come fast and…

Data Can’t Lie?

20 May 2015 | Comments Off on Data Can’t Lie?

A statistician is someone who can put their head in a hot oven, and their feet in a bucket of ice, and say, “on the average, I feel fine.” Before we move completely into a world where people are counseled, “use the data, Luke,” disregarding their own beliefs and feelings, we need to have a…

Vendor Neutral

13 May 2015 | Comments Off on Vendor Neutral

And then Bilbo held the router up to the light and wondered aloud… Whatever is, vendor neutral? Vendor neutral certainly receives a lot of play in the world of network engineering. You might have even heard the words come out of my mouth during my case study on the Telepost Greenland network at Interop a…

General Howe’s Dog

11 May 2015 | Comments Off on General Howe’s Dog

The morning after a battle — one of the first won by the American army in its battle for freedom from the British Empire — if you happened to be on the scene, you might see an American soldier, under a white flag of truce, struggling with something small he is carrying between the lines.…

A GUI and a Wizard

7 May 2015 | Comments Off on A GUI and a Wizard

One of the brilliant things about conferences like Interop is the hallways (and if you’re not going to Interop, this is why you should be!). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sessions, but—like the IETF—I often get much more out of the conversations with folks who know networking, and yet have a completely different…

Own the Problem

4 May 2015 |

In the late 1990’s, I was on the routing protocols TAC team in Raleigh — which means I answered the phone, and said things like, “This is Russ from Cisco TAC, how can I help you?” Generally what followed was a crash, or, well, just about anything. The design on the left is what we…

Observations on Ownership

30 April 2015 |

We are clearly moving to a software focused world — this conclusion is almost as inevitable and natural as taking your next breath (or eating that next Little Bits burger — but don’t get the big one unless you’re really hungry). But, as with all things, there is a flip side to the world going…

Freedom to

13 April 2015 |

Pardon me if I go a little bit on the philosophical side of life as a network engineer this week, but we need to have a little talk about freedom. This last week, Ethan wrote a post on his new criteria for network design and architecture. While I agree with the points Ethan makes in…