The Hedge #72: Lisa Caywood and Marketectures

The open source world is not much different than the commercial world in terms of building marketectures rather than useable software—largely because open source projects still rely on sources of funding and material support to build and maintain a product. Many times, however, the focus on these marketectures get in the way of real work. Join Tom Ammon, Russ White, and Lisa Caywood as we discuss the problem of marketectures and the broader world of open source software.

Technologies that Didn’t: Directory Services

One of the most important features of the Network Operating Systems, like Banyan Vines and Novell Netware, available in the middle of the 1980’s was their integrated directory system. These directory systems allowed for the automatic discovery of many different kinds of devices attached to a network, such as printers, servers, and computers. Printers, of course, were the important item in this list, because printers have always been the bane of the network administrator’s existence. An example of one such system, an early version of Active Directory, is shown in the illustration below.

Rethinking BGP on the DC Fabric (part 4)

Before I continue, I want to remind you what the purpose of this little series of posts is. The point is not to convince you to never use BGP in the DC underlay ever again. There’s a lot of BGP deployed out there, and there are lot of tools that assume BGP in the underlay. I doubt any of that is going to change. The point is to make you stop and think!

Why are we deploying BGP in this way? Is this the right long-term solution? Should we, as a community, be rethinking our desire to use BGP for everything? Are we just “following the crowd” because … well … we think it’s what the “cool kids” are doing, or because “following the crowd” is what we always seem to do?

In my last post, I argued that BGP converges much more slowly than the other options available for the DC fabric underlay control plane. The pushback I received was two-fold. First, the overlay converges fast enough; the underlay convergence time does not really factor into overall convergence time. Second, there are ways to fix things.

Book Updates 0221

Someone recently asked me to suggest a list of books on thinking skills; I figured others might be interested in the list, as well, so … I decided to post it here. Further, I’ve added a few books to my “recommended book list” here on rule11; I thought I’d point those out, as well. My first suggestion, of course, is that if you want to improve your thinking skills, read. I don’t just mean technical stuff, I mean all over the place, in the form of books, and a lot.

So, forthwith, some more things to read.

The Hedge #71: Nick Russo and Automating Productivity

When we think of automation—and more broadly tooling—we tend to think of automating the configuration, monitoring, and (possibly) the monitoring of a network. On the other hand, a friend once observed that when interviewing coders, the first thing he asked was about the tools they had developed and used for making themselves more efficient. This “self-tooling” process turns out to be important not just to be more efficient at work, but to use time more effectively in general. Join Nick Russo, Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White as we discuss self-tooling.

History of FARNT with Laura Breeden

FARNT was a regional consortium of smaller network operators that eventually helped drive the adoption of TCP/IP and the global Internet, as well as helping efforts to commercialize Internet access. Join Donald Sharp and Russ White as Laura Breeden discusses the origins of FARNT, it’s importance in the adoption of early Internet technologies, and the many hurdles regional network operators had to overcome.

On the ‘net: The Art of Conviction

I was recently a guest on The Art of Conviction podcast, where we covered a bit of my background, some of the challenges I’ve faced in getting where I am, and then we moved into a discussion around my recently finished dissertation. I’m working to find places to publish more in the area of worldview and culture; I’ll point to those here as I can find a “home” for that side of my life.

Rethinking BGP on the DC Fabric (part 3)

The fist post on this topic considered some basic definitions and the reasons why I am writing this series of posts. The second considered the convergence speed of BGP on a dense topology such as a DC fabric, and what mechanisms we normally use to improve BGP’s convergence speed. This post considers some of the objections to slow convergence speed—convergence speed is not important, and ECMP with high fanouts will take care of any convergence speed issues. The network below will be used for this discussion.