August 21, 2019

The Networking Nerd

The Sky is Not Falling For Ekahau

Ekahau Hat (photo courtesy of Sam Clements)

You may have noticed quite a few high profile departures from Ekahau recently. A lot of very visible community members, concluding Joel Crane (@PotatoFi), Jerry Olla (@JOlla), and Jussi Kiviniemi (@JussiKiviniemi) have all decided to move on. This has generated quite a bit of discussion among the members of the wireless community as to what this really means for the company and the product that is so beloved by so many wireless engineers and architects.

Putting the people aside for a moment, I want to talk about the Ekahau product line specifically. There was an undercurrent of worry in the community about what would happen to Ekahau Site Survey (ESS) and other tools in the absence of the people we’ve seen working on them for so long. I think this tweet from Drew Lentz (@WirelessNerd) best exemplifies that perspective:

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So, naturally, I decided to poke back:

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That last tweet is where I really want to focus this post.

The More Things Change

Let’s think about where Ekahau is with regards to the wireless site survey market right now. With no exaggeration, they are on top and clearly head and shoulders above the rest. What other product out there has the marketshare and mindshare they enjoy? AirMagnet is the former king of the hill but the future for that tool is still in flux with all of the recent movement of the tool between Netscout and now with NetAlly. IBWave is coming up fast but they’re still not quite ready to go head-to-head in the same large enterprise space. I rarely hear TamoGraph Site Survey brought up in conversation. And as for NetSpot, they don’t check enough boxes for real site survey to even really be a strong contender In the enterprise.

So, Ekahau really is the 800lb gorilla of the site survey market. This market is theirs to lose. They have a commanding lead. And speaking to the above tweets from Drew, are they really in danger of losing their customer base after just 12 months? Honestly? I don’t think so. Ekahau has a top-notch offering that works just great today. If there was zero development done on the platform for the next two years it would still be one of the best enterprise site survey tools on the market. How long did AirMagnet flounder under Fluke and still retain the title of “the best” back in the early 2010s?

Here Comes A Challenger

So, if the only really competitor that’s up-and-coming to Ekahau right now is IBWave, does that mean this is a market ripe for disruption? I don’t think that’s the case either. When you look at all the offerings out there, no one is really rushing to build a bigger, better survey tool. You tend to see this in markets where someone has a clear advantage. Without a gap to exploit there is no room for growth. NetSpot gives their tool away so you can’t really win on price. IBWave and AirMagnet are fighting near the top so you don’t have a way to break in beside them.

What features could you offer that aren’t present in ESS today? You’d have to spend 18-24 months to even build something comparable to what is present in the software today. So, you dedicate resources to build something that is going to be the tool that people wanted to use two years ago? Good luck selling that idea to a VC firm. Investors want return on their money today.

And if you’re a vendor that’s trying to break into the market, why even consider it? Companies focused on building APs and wireless control solutions don’t always play nice with each other. If you’re going to build a tool to help survey your own deployments you’re going to be unconsciously biased against others and give yourself some breaks. You might even bias your survey results in favor of your own products. I’m not saying it would be intentional. But it has been known to happen in the past.

Here’s the other thing to keep in mind: inertia. Remember how we posed this question with the idea that Ekahau wouldn’t improve the product at all? We all know that’s not the case. Sure, there are some pretty big names on that list that aren’t there any more. But those people aren’t all the people at Ekahau. Development teams continue to work on the product roadmap. There are still plans in place to look at new technologies. Nothing stopped because someone left. Even if the only thing the people on the development side of the house did was finish the plans in place there would still be another 12-18 months of new features on the horizon. That means trying to develop a competitor to ESS means developing technology to replace what is going to be outdated by the time you finish!

People Matter

That brings me back to the people. It’s a sad fact that everyone leaves a company sooner or later. Bill Gates left Microsoft. Steve Jobs left Apple. You can’t count on people being around forever. You have to plan for their departure and hope that, even if you did catch lightning in a bottle, you have to find a way to do it again.

I’m proud to see some of the people that Ekahau has picked up in the last few months. Folks like Shamree Howard (@Shamree_Howard) and Stew Goumans (@WirelessStew) are going to go a long way to keeping the community engagement alive that Ekahau is so known for. There will be others that are brought in to fill the shoes of those that have left. And don’t forget that for every face we see publicly in the community there is an army of development people behind the scenes working diligently on the tools. They may not be the people that we always associate with the brand but they will try hard to put their own stamp on things. Just remember that we have to be patient and let them grow into their role. They have a lot to live up to, so give them the chance. It may take more than 12 months for them to really understand what they got themselves into.


Tom’s Take

No company goes out of business overnight without massive problems under the hood. Even the biggest corporate failures of the last 40 years took a long time to unfold. I don’t see that happening to Ekahau. Their tools are the best. Their reputation is sterling. And they have a bit of a cushion of goodwill to get the next release right. And there will be a next release. And one after that. Because what Ekahau is doing isn’t so much scaling the mountain they climbed to unseat AirMagnet. It’s proving they can keep going no matter what.

by networkingnerd at August 21, 2019 09:52 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Brief History of VMware NSX

I spent a lot of time during this summer figuring out the details of NSX-T, resulting in significantly updated and expanded VMware NSX Technical Deep Dive material… but before going into those details let’s do a brief walk down the memory lane ;)

We’re running an NSX Deep Dive workshop in Zurich in early September, followed by NSX-T update webinar in mid-November.

You might remember a startup called Nicira that was acquired by VMware in mid-2012… supposedly resulting in the ever-continuing spat between Cisco and VMware (and maybe even triggering the creation of Cisco ACI).

Read more ...

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at August 21, 2019 04:41 PM

My Etherealmind

Closing the Shutters on EtherealMind

I've been publishing on Etherealmind for more than ten years and its been quite a journey. I've changed and its time move on.

The post Closing the Shutters on EtherealMind  appeared first on EtherealMind.

by Greg Ferro at August 21, 2019 03:22 PM

XKCD Comics

August 20, 2019

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

The First Networking Fundamentals Videos are Online

In mid-June I started another pet project - a series of webinars focused on networking fundamentals. In the first live session on June 18th we focused on identifying the challenges one has to solve when building an end-to-end networking solution, and the role of layered approach to networking.

Not surprisingly, we quickly went down the rabbit holes of computer networking history, including SCSI cables, serial connections and modems… but that’s where it all started, and some of the concepts developed at that time are still used today… oftentimes heavily morphed by recursive application of RFC 1925 Rule 11.

Read more ...

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at August 20, 2019 06:38 AM

August 19, 2019

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Migrating ipSpace.net Infrastructure to AWS

I’m too stupid to unwind and relax over summer - there’s always some janitorial task to be done, and I simply cannot leave it alone. This summer, I decided to migrate our server infrastructure to AWS.

TL&DR: It went smoother than I expected, and figuring out how AWS virtual networks, public IP addresses, and security groups work while creating AWS Networking webinar definitely helped, but it also took way longer than I expected.

Read more ...

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at August 19, 2019 06:34 AM

XKCD Comics

August 16, 2019

The Networking Nerd

Fast Friday – Mobility Field Day 4

This week’s post is running behind because I’m out in San Jose enjoying great discussions from Mobility Field Day 4. This event is bringing a lot of great discussion to the community to get everyone excited for current and future wireless technologies. Some quick thoughts here with more ideas to come soon.

  • Analytics is becoming a huge driver for deployments. The more data you can gather, the better everything can be. When you start to include IoT as a part of the field you can see why all those analytics matter. You need to invest in a lot of CPU horsepower to make it all work the way you want. Which is also driving lots of people to build in the cloud to have access to what they need on-demand from an infrastructure side of things.
  • Spectrum is a huge problem and source of potential for wireless. You have to have access to spectrum to make everything work. 2.4 GHz is pretty crowded and getting worse with IoT. 5 GHz is getting crowded as well, especially with LAA being used. And the opening of the 6 GHz spectrum could be held up in political concerns. Are there new investigations that need to happen to find bands that can be used without causing friction?
  • The driver for technology has to be something other than desire. We have to build solutions and put things out there to make them happen. Because if we don’t we’re going to stuck with what we have for a long time. No one wants to move and reinvest without clear value. But clear value often doesn’t develop until people have already moved. Something has to break the logjam of hesitance. That’s the reason why we still need bold startups with new technology jumping out to make things work.

Tom’s Take

I know I’ll have more thoughts when I get back from this event, but wireless has become the new edge and that’s a very interesting shift. The more innovation we can drive there means the more capable we can make our clients and empower users.

by networkingnerd at August 16, 2019 07:07 PM

XKCD Comics

August 15, 2019

Honest Networker

Honestnetworker getting the news that Juniper PR-search is up again.

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by ohseuch4aeji4xar at August 15, 2019 08:18 PM

August 14, 2019

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Reinventing Your Own STP Wheel...

One of my readers sent me a link to an interesting L2-over-IP "design". Someone tried to connect two data centers with redundant etherip links using home-brewed redundancy mechanism and (surprise, surprise) managed to bring both of them down. The obvious fix: patch the etherip device driver.

EtherIP is pre-VXLAN Ethernet-over-IP technology yet again proving RFC1925 Rule 11.

I don't know enough about OpenBSD to figure out whether (A) it doesn't have STP at all, (B) STP doesn't work over EtherIP, (C) host routing based on ARP entries would be too much of a hassle, (D) some people don't understand the networking fundamentals, (E) everything looks like a nail once you found a hammer, or (F) all of the above. Insightful comments would be highly appreciated.

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at August 14, 2019 01:19 PM

XKCD Comics

August 12, 2019

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Why You Can't Fix a System from the Inside

Stumbled upon an interesting article describing numerous examples of how it's impossible to fix a system from the inside because the good guys always lose to the more aggressive (and less scrupulous) individuals.

It's amazing how well the same ideas apply to TCP-versus-UDP, P2P traffic versus everything else (this one has been fixed after a lot of pressure from the outside), latency- versus drop-based TCP congestion management and $vendor marketing.

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at August 12, 2019 01:08 PM

XKCD Comics

August 09, 2019

Potaroo blog

DNS Query Privacy

In this article we'll look at DNS Query Name Minimisation in some detail and present the results of our measurement of the current level of use of this resolver query technique in today's Internet.

August 09, 2019 07:30 PM

The Networking Nerd

Fast Friday- Black Hat USA 2019

I just got back from my first Black Hat and it was an interesting experience. It was crazy to see three completely different security-focused events going on in town all at once. There was Black Hat, B-Sides Las Vegas, and DEFCON all within the space of a day or so of each other. People were flowing back and forth between them all and it was quite amazing.

A wanted to share a few quick thoughts about the event from my perspective being a first timer.

  • The show floor wasn’t as bit as VMworld or Cisco Live, but it was as big as it needed to be. Lots of companies that I’ve heard of, but several more that were new to me. That’s usually a good sign of lots of investment in the security space.
  • Speaking of which, I talked to quite a few companies about a variety of analytics, telemetry, and insider threat monitoring solutions. And almost all of them had a founder from Israel or someone that was involved in the cybersecurity areas of the IDF. That’s a pretty good track record for where the investment is going.
  • The Vegas booth gimmicks never change. I think I’ve spent too much time at Vegas conferences because I’m starting to recognize the magicians and other “performers” at the booths. I’m glad they can get some work but I don’t know if the companies realize that there needs to be some new blood out there.
  • I found it very different that you could print pretty much any name on your badge that you wanted. I saw a few El Chapos, Pablo Escobars, and even a generic “IT Buyer”. Consequently, people were a little curious about my Twitter badge flag. I guess the idea of announcing your identity to people is a bit strange at a security conference.
  • Being on the press list for the event meant that I got to see some cool briefings. But it also meant sorting through some things that didn’t make sense. And there there was the Quasi-Prime Number presentation spam that I got. I don’t go into much more detail other than to point you to this Twitter thread which is a comedy goldmine of the presentation referenced in said email. Thanks to @MalwareJake for pointing out the original thread and all the amazing comments about how the harmony of music can be an input into crypto randomization.
  • Lastly, I wish I would have had more time to go down and check out DEFCON. A lot of my friends that were in town were there and seemed to be having the time of their lives. DEFCON seems more in line with my Batman job instead of my Bruce Wayne job though. Guess I’ll have to take some vacation to check out DEFCON next year.

Ultimately, I had a great time checking out Black Hat. There were some parts that needed polish and some things about having 20,000+ in Vegas that I’m not keen on. But it’s a successful conference and likely will be one I attend in 2020. If for no other reason than to give my VPN a workout again!

 

by networkingnerd at August 09, 2019 03:45 PM

My Etherealmind

Using Automation vs Making Automation

First published in Packet Pushers Human Infrastructure Magazine 58 – you can subscribe here Another side of the debate around programming, automation and orchestration. Are you a user or a maker ? Platforms are 80/20 For the last 20 or 30 years, network management software has followed an 80/20 approach to customisation. On the first […]

The post Using Automation vs Making Automation appeared first on EtherealMind.

by Greg Ferro at August 09, 2019 12:43 PM

XKCD Comics

August 07, 2019

My Etherealmind

AirPods Review

TL:DR - five out of ten. Maybe.

The post AirPods Review appeared first on EtherealMind.

by Greg Ferro at August 07, 2019 06:09 PM

PacketLife.net Blog

Real World APIs: Snagging a Global Entry Interview

As my new job will have me traveling a bit more often, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Global Entry (which is similar to TSA PreCheck but works for international travel as well). A few days after submitting my application and payment, I was conditionally approved. The next step was to schedule an “interview,” which is essentially a 10-minute appointment where they ask a few questions and take biometrics. The interview must be done in person at one of relatively few CBP locations.

Here in Raleigh, North Carolina, my two closest locations are Richmond and Charlotte. Unfortunately, CBP’s scheduling portal indicated no availability for new appointments at either location. No additional context is provided, so I have no idea whether I should keep trying every few days, or attempt to schedule an appointment at a remote location to coincide with future travel.

no_appointments.png

My only hope at this point is that spots will eventually open up as other applicants cancel their appointments or CBP adds sufficient staff to meet demand. But that means manually logging into the portal, completing two-factor authentication, and checking both of my desired appointment locations each and every time.

Sounds like a great use case for automation, doesn’t it?

Continue reading · 4 comments

by stretch at August 07, 2019 12:19 AM

XKCD Comics

August 06, 2019

Networking Now (Juniper Blog)

Delivering Security That Scales

IT and infrastructure are expanding, driven by the demands of the business and the expectation of always-on availability with a secure and positive user experience. As the infrastructure grows, it is also becoming more complex. This complexity is taxing on both the security and operations teams and creates blind spots for traditional defenses. Securing today's infrastructure requires enhanced visibility and multiple points of enforcement throughout the infrastructure.

 

by oschuermann at August 06, 2019 05:41 PM

Security Intelligence for the MX Series Routers

Network operators and security engineers are battling attacks and trying to protect the network while at the same time struggling with more workloads and costs around network administration. By incorporating Juniper Networks’ security intelligence onto the MX Series routers, security can be extended to routing infrastructure to turn connectivity layers into automated defense layers at scale. This combination, available in JUNOS 19.3, helps network operators provide another level of security.

by Trevor_Pott at August 06, 2019 01:00 PM

August 05, 2019

Networking Now (Juniper Blog)

Extending Security to All Points of Connection: Containerized Security with the cSRX

The use of containers as a low-footprint infrastructure upon which to run microservices introduces another layer of infrastructure that needs to be secured. With Juniper Connected Security, organizations can provide industry-leading security for their containerized workloads, extending visibility and enforcement all the way down to the communication between individual microservices within an application.

 

by Trevor_Pott at August 05, 2019 09:01 PM

My Etherealmind

Packet Pushers 2019 Audience Survey

The Packet Pushers audience survey is a necessary, pithy (and privacy protected!) survey to help us get things right.

The post Packet Pushers 2019 Audience Survey appeared first on EtherealMind.

by Greg Ferro at August 05, 2019 04:58 PM

XKCD Comics

August 04, 2019

XKCD Comics

Disappearing Sunday Update



You can read the chapter list and introduction to How To at blog.xkcd.com and learn more at xkcd.com/how-to.

August 04, 2019 12:00 AM

August 03, 2019

Honest Networker

AutoBW

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by thei7coote3ud5wi at August 03, 2019 09:49 AM

August 02, 2019

The Networking Nerd

Conference Packing – The Little Things

It seems like conference season never really ends. Between RSA, Cisco Live, Black Hat, and VMworld, I’m always running around to something. I enjoy being able to meet new people and talk to companies at these events but I also find that a little bit of planning ahead helps immensely.

There’s always a lot of discussion from people about what to pack for a conference. There have been some great posts written about it, like this one from Bob McCouch in 2014. He definitely covers all the important stuff that people would want to know, such as comfortable shoes and a bag big enough to carry extra things just in case you come back with enough fidget spinners to sink an aircraft carrier.

However, I’ve found in recent years that the difference between just surviving a conference and really being prepared involves a few extra items I never thought I’d need to bring back when I first started doing this in 2006. Maybe it’s the Scoutmaster in me, but being prepared has gone from being a suggestion to a necessity. And here are a few of those little necessities that I have found I can’t live without.

First? Aid.

I’ve found that traveling with a first aid kit is a huge upgrade in Quality of Conference Life. I’m not talking about one of the crazy backpack-style ones that first responders carry. Or even the small plastic ones that you can find in a local department store that have everything under the sun. No, the best first aid kit is the one you pack yourself. So you know you have what you need and you know what you have.

For my first aid kit, I pack small:

  • 3-4 bandages. Preferred to be breathable (not plastic or cute)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Cotton balls
  • Small alcohol swab (for cleaning and drying out blisters)
  • Q-Tips or other cotton swabs
  • Cuticle scissors

It’s a simple kit but it works wonders. You can take care of minor cuts and scrapes, blisters (which are the bane of every conference), and other things like wound treatment. You can even use cotton balls as earplugs in a pinch. The rest is designed to travel light.

Note that I didn’t list any pain relievers in there. That’s because I separately carry a lot of ibuprofen in my bag to help with tired muscles after standing all day and headaches after waking up. I carry enough that it won’t easily fit in the Ziploc bag that I use for my travel kit. It’s also easier to access in my bag without having to go into another bag. Make your kit easy to use and easy to access so you can get to it when you need it.

Portable Power

It’s funny how we’ve come to depend so much on our mobile devices now. I’ve gone from not even caring if I left my Nokia phone in my room to not being able to function without a smart device or two on me at all times. That also means that I’ve become hyper aware of how long I’m going to be able to use my device. And in places where there are a lot of phones competing for signal or a lot of interference, you’re going to drain your device battery a lot faster.

The other issue is that modern devices have much bigger batteries than in the past. My iPhone XS has a battery thats almost 2,700 mAh. My iPad Pro battery is 8,100 mAh. The battery in a MacBook is almost as much as well. Which means you’re going to either need to be tied to a power outlet often or you need to carry a battery pack.

Most conference guides I’ve seen will tell you to bring at least one battery pack. Since I’m crazy prepared, I always have two. One of them is bigger and designed to provide power on a regular basis away from a power outlet. It’s usually something above 10,000 mAh that takes a while to charge when it’s fully depleted. I’m about to upgrade to a newer unit that has USB-C PD charging and delivery and can recharge all my devices more quickly. The Wirecutter has some great reviews of bigger power banks to recharge all kinds of devices.

I also still need to carry a smaller battery pack for just my phone, especially when I want to travel light. And since I’m trying to travel light I don’t want to carry any extra things, like cables. Normally, I try to have a USB-C, micro USB, and Lightning cable at all times to handle any charging needs. But if it’s after hours and I’m just looking to have my phone charged so it doesn’t die, all I need it a Lightning cable. I’ve been using this Ventev PowerCell 6010+ for the last year thanks to an awesome friend and it does exactly what I need it to do. It recharges my phone more than once and fits in my pocket. The Lightning cable is also attached so I don’t need to worry about anything dangling out of my pocket. And in a pinch it can give a little extra juice to my iPad. You should check them out if you just need something small and simple.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The final thing I pack in my kit that seems out of the ordinary is earplugs. Why? Well, it turns out that conferences are loud. Like, really loud. And that means that you can’t even hear yourself think sometimes. This is especially true if you end up going to the big closing event. This usually involves a DJ or a band playing as loud as possible. And, depending on where you’re sitting or standing you may not be able to hear them clearly for the ringing in your ears.

Likewise, the conference floor is often a jumbled mess of booths, music, and even once a marching band! You need to have some kind of way to block out the noise without completely drowning out what is going on around you. Yes, I know it’s really easy to pop in a set of earbuds or put on a pair of over-the-ear headphones while you walk around. But in my line of work, I don’t want to be distracted by music either. I want the din of all the crowd to die down while I concentrate. It’s also a great way to make any workroom instantly quiet when I need to write up a report during an event.

If you happen to have a custom pair of earplugs already for some reason, such as swimming or shooting sports, you’re already ahead of the curve. Those things probably do an amazing job of blocking out everything. For those of us not lucky enough to have something custom, just hop down to a drugstore or department store and pick up on a set or three of the really cheap foam plugs. You can pass them out to your friends and even make a new one or two. Just don’t expect to converse a lot!


Tom’s Take

I find the little things are needed to make life more bearable. Because knowing that I have them makes me less likely to stress about all the crazy stuff that can happen during a conference. The unexpected happens all the time. Yet, by definition, we can’t expect it! But, if we know how to prepare for the majority of those things we can focus on having a good conference experience. We may not need a cell phone jammer or an oddly-specific size of metric wrench, but carrying the things above has really helped me when it comes to relaxing a bit at conferences.

by networkingnerd at August 02, 2019 02:36 PM

PacketLife.net Blog

Connection Restored

I was embarrassed to realize recently that it’s been well over two years since my last blog post. Life has a way of getting away from you, I suppose. But I’ve decided to try and reboot the blog, and hopefully get back to writing regularly. Let me kick things off my sharing what I’ve been up to recently.

Goodbye, DigitalOcean!

After nearly five years working at DigitalOcean, I made the difficult decision to part ways with the company. In my time there, I was fortunate to work with an amazing team, and witness the truly amazing evolution of a startup company from niche player to major cloud provider. Most of all, I’m thankful to DigitalOcean for the opportunity my role provided in extending from traditional network engineering into development and automation. I’ll miss working with my DO team, but I’m excited to see where the future will take them.

Continue reading · 13 comments

by stretch at August 02, 2019 12:46 PM

XKCD Comics

July 31, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 30, 2019

Potaroo blog

TCP MSS Values

It may sound a little esoteric, but after a recently exposed Linux vulnerability the setting of the MSS value in a TCP handshake evidently matters. What values are used out there in the Internet today?

July 30, 2019 10:30 PM

July 29, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 26, 2019

The Networking Nerd

IT Burnout – The Task List

Sadly, this picture above is me. I used to think I had one of the best memories in the world. It turns out my memory is well-suited for bar trivia and routing protocol esoterics. My memory doesn’t appear so adept at remembering other little things that are of more important, such as remembering to buy a gift for a birthday or following up on an email that I sent last week.

Human brains are great at processing information. But some of the ones that are best at processing it are horrible at recalling it. I think of it not unlike a three-tiered storage array. The fast access tasks are in the fastest storage tier where they are needed. The longer term but less important info goes into the near-line tier where it can be recalled when needed. And in my case, the bandwidth to that tier is slow and unreliable.

Exciting Things!

One of my solutions to this problem is getting better with task management. As bad as my memory is, it’s also not well suited to writing things down to remember them. The irony is almost too delicious to ignore. I need to write things down so I don’t forget them, but I forget to write them down. I’ve been studying more and more processes like Getting Things Done or Zen To Done to help me change the way I store and process information.

I’ve really been trying to use Things as my go-to task manager. Everyone has their favorites and the best task manager is the one you use on a regular basis. I’m trying to get better about using it to collect my thoughts so I can focus on things like writing posts and answering emails without dedicating time and mental bandwidth to actually remembering to do those things.

It’s handy to have a task manager on every device I use. I can drop tasks where I need them and when I need them. The ability to transfer notes and other writings to my devices and have it all sync automatically is wonderful. But it’s also a curse in disguise.

Too Many Things!

The curse of trying to capture all the information you want to remember is that you have to then process the things you remember for yourself. And trying to do that has made me realized I have a lot of things I want to try and keep going all at once. And even just seeing all the daily things I want to try and keep track of is reminding me that I have lots of juggling that I do frequently.

This idea of seeing all the things I have to do on a regular basis could easily lead to IT burnout in your job. I’ve felt it before in my engineering role when I looked at all the jobs on the board that needed to be done and realized I didn’t have enough hours in the day to finish them all on the schedule that they needed to be done.

It does feel good to see all the tasks that I’ve checked off the list as I get things accomplished, but I also know that I feel a sense of dread when I set a future date for an email or a contact to follow up on. The idea of putting it “out of sight, out of mind” lets me feel better about what I currently see. However, knowing there are things just waiting out there that need to be done another time or that things are getting carried over from day-to-day is enough to give pause.

More and more, I’m finding that the key that I need to adhere to is to work the tasks as they come up and find ways to get things accomplished instead of putting them off. Task management is great because it allows you to prioritize. But it also means it’s easy to delay and reschedule too. You have to find a way to make the things you do important enough so that getting them accomplished lets you clear your plate.

If you keep rescheduling and reassigning tasks, you’re going to get buried. If you can’t keep your plate clear it’s going to fill up before you know it. You have to find the big rocks and deal with them so you’re free to deal with the little ones.


Tom’s Take

No system is perfect. Everything can be refined given time. But you also have to figure out how best to work within your own limitations. For me, that’s realizing that I can’t start forgetting to write things down. It’s also realizing that I need to focus on the important stuff on my list and keep checking things off so I don’t get overwhelmed. Time is the ally of burnout. Given enough time anyone can end up burned out from overwork or from too much to accomplish. They key is to keep working through your list and don’t let things pile up on you.

by networkingnerd at July 26, 2019 06:59 PM

Potaroo blog

Not So Private Thoughts at IETF 105

At IETF 105, held in Montreal at the end of July, the Technical Plenary part of the meeting had two speakers on the topic of privacy in today's Internet, Associate Professor Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University and Professor Stephen Bellovin of Colombia University. They were both quite disturbing talks in their distinct ways, and I'd like to share my impressions of these two presentations and then consider what privacy means for me in today's Internet.

July 26, 2019 06:00 PM

About Networks

New bookshelf page

I just created a new bookshelf page to list all the IT / networking / programming books that I have read or I am currently reading. Available here: My Network Engineer Bookshelf   Please, have a look and if you have questions about any of these books, feel free to post a comment. I will answer with pleasure.  

The post New bookshelf page appeared first on AboutNetworks.net.

by Jerome Tissieres at July 26, 2019 10:17 AM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Software Engineers and Network Automation

I was saying “you’ll get the best network automation (or SDN) results if you pair network engineers with software engineers” for ages, but there’s always someone else saying it more eloquently, in this case Jeremy Schulman in his recent blog post.

Jeremy will talk about ChatOps in Autumn 2019 Building Network Automation Solutions online course, but of course you’re more than welcome to ask him other questions as well.

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2019 04:29 AM

XKCD Comics

July 24, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 23, 2019

My Etherealmind

Dictionary: mehtopian

Enterprise IT is a mehtopian paradise

The post Dictionary: mehtopian appeared first on EtherealMind.

by Greg Ferro at July 23, 2019 12:11 PM

Network Design and Architecture

May CCDE Practical exam results have been announced. Student feedbacks in this post!

Hello, May 2019 CCDE Practical exam results announced few days ago. I am happy to help 4 people to have their CCDE number on May 2019 exam. Congrats to Matt , Fredrik , Dmytro and Schilling for passing CCDE Practical exam. They received their numbers! Let me help you to get it now ! Next …

The post May CCDE Practical exam results have been announced. Student feedbacks in this post! appeared first on Cisco Network Design and Architecture | CCDE Bootcamp | orhanergun.net.

by Orhan Ergun at July 23, 2019 09:54 AM

July 22, 2019

Routing Freak

Sudden Explosion of Data Centers in India

 

Something very interesting is happening in the Indian telecom space these days.

The Indian government is considering a new data localisation law that would require all data around Indian citizens to be stored locally, i.e., within Indian borders. It starts with the fintech companies first, and would then bring in the social media and other IOT companies storing data in its ambit. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cheerfully given a deadline to all fintech companies to ensure that the entire data operated by them, is stored in data centers only in India. Ouch.

RBI so far has refused to accept the representations made by the fintech companies to relax the norms. It’s ruled out the option of data mirroring while addressing the arguments of technological hurdles raised by the fintech companies. It’s instead suggested that companies opt for cloud services or private clouds in order to ensure data localization.

So, what’s data localisation? Data localisation is the process localising the citizen’s data to one’s home country for its processing, storage and collection before it goes through the process of being transferred to an international level. It’s done to ensure the country’s data protection and privacy laws. It is based on the concept of data sovereignty that was inspired by Snowden’s revelations that that the US was collecting vast swaths of data not only from American citizens, but from around the world.

This move by India is not unprecedented. Nigeria, Russia, Germany and China already have strict regulations around storing their citizens data locally.

Given the fintech and the digital currency boom in India (largely supported by the Indian government) we are looking at a prodigious amount of very sensitive financial data that would be generated and stored in India. Master card and other payment gateways have already started moving the data to the servers within Indian borders . WhatsApp Pay is unable to launch in India because it’s still not compliant with the Indian data localisation policies. Not surprisingly WhatsApp Pay has agreed, and it will take off as soon as they move all the Indian users data inside the Indian borders.

And to make things more lively, the Government of India is also working on a draft e-commerce law that requires firms to locally store “community data collected by Internet of Things devices in public space” and “data generated by users in India from various sources including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines, etc.”

The direct consequence of this is a frenzied interest in building massive data centers in India. The chairman of Adani Group in an interview with Bloomberg said that he would invest over $10 billion to set up data centres in India. Meanwhile in Mumbai, Hiranandani real estate group too has thrown its hat in the ring and has not very surprisingly, announced ambitious plans to build — guess what — data centres in India.

Group CEO Darshan Hiranandani sagely says that “It is like building a school or hospital”.

The only difference being that Hiranandani gets a bigger bang for its buck when it builds a data center vis-a-vis building, say, a school or a hospital. The real estate market in India has seen unprecedentedly low returns and many indian real estate developers are at risk of going belly-up as mounting stress in the nation’s credit market dries up funding even for those willing to pay decade-high rates. All reports seem to indicate a moribund growth rate in the housing market.

So, what does Hiranandani, one of India’s biggest real estate company do?

They decide to invest heavily in building data centers. All done under the brand name Yotta. Adani and Hiranandani want to set up Indian data centers in order to prevent what Mukesh Ambani in December last year said, “Data colonization is as bad as the previous forms of colonization. India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people — and not by corporates, especially global corporations.”

Dr Niranjan Hiranandani – Founder & Managing Director – Hiranandani Group says, “The Digital India program is one of the key pillars of Prime Minister’s vision of India becoming a 5-trillion Dollar economy by 2025. We envision a huge opportunity with data localization and protection act to be announced soon by the Government of India in order to regulate the data management business.  This will give a big impetus to the data storage business to grow domestically at an exponential pace bringing the paradigm shift to the Indian Economy”.

Somebody clearly has his priorities set right.

There’s a massive explosion in data being generated by connected internet users in India. According to a report by real estate and infrastructure consultancy Cushman and Wakefield, the size of the digital population in India presents a huge potential demand for data centre infrastructure.

 

Digital data in India was around 40,000 petabytes in 2010; it is likely to shoot up to 2.3 million petabytes by 2020 — twice as fast as the global rate. If India houses all this data, it will become the second-largest investor in the data centre market and the fifth-largest data centre market by 2050, the consultancy has forecast.

And its just not the fintech companies that are rushing to store Indian data locally, the other social media and IOT companies are following suit. China’s ByteDance has announced that they would be building data centers in India. All the data around Indian users was currently stored in third-party data centers in the US and Singapore. It will now be moved to India. It’s only a matter of time, and other social media companies will cave in, and open their data centers in India. The market size and business potential in India is too huge to be risked.

I came up with this partial list of planned and ongoing investments in data centers in India:

  • Microsoft continuing to manage and expand three Azure cloud service data centers in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai
  • IBM’s plans to set up its second data center in India in addition an existing one in Mumbai
  • Google Cloud Platform recently entered India
  • Alibaba Cloud launched in Mumbai in January 2018
  • Amazon Web Services has seen a 60% increase in customers across Mumbai since launch
  • CtrlS has launched a $73 million project in Bangalore and will be adding new centers in Hyderabad and Mumbai within three years
  • GPX Global Systems planning a 16 MW center in Mumbai to be finished Q1 2019
  • The state of Tamil Nadu has completed a $9 million center in Tiruchirappalli to back up government data
  • Netmagic Solutions is spending $175 million to complete centers in Mumbai and Bangalore by the end of April
  • ESDS Software & Nxt Gen Data Center & Cloud Technologies have announced funding & expansion plans in the near to medium term.
  • Ascendas-Singbridge is investing $1 billion on new construction in Chennai, Mumbai, and Hyderabad

So far, no definitive decision around the data localisation policy has been taken and a draft Personal Data Protection Bill has been submitted that recommends setting up a data protection authority and placing restrictions on cross-border data flows. The bill mandates storing one serving copy of all personal data within India. It empowers the central government to classify any sensitive personal data as critical personal data and mandates its storage and processing exclusively in India.

The bill is yet to be cleared by the cabinet but is listed to be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing budget session. Many people believe that the bill will claw through the opposition since there is a very strong lobby behind this.

Independent of what happens with the bill in this particular parliament session, we will, one way or the other, see a massive growth in data centers in India. The amount of data being generated in India is too valuable to be lost, and the Indian government will not want to lose that “oil”.

dt_c120622

Unlike the Dilbert strip above, one needn’t try too hard to make building data centers look like a good investment. Look around, and you’ll see the winds of changing blowing.

Smells like an opportunity to me.

And for anybody else who is in networking and the data center space.

by Manav Bhatia at July 22, 2019 07:32 AM

XKCD Comics

July 20, 2019

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Rant: Some Internet Service Providers Should Really Know Better...

I was listening to a nice podcast with Nick Buraglio discussing the recent BGP hijack SNAFU impacting Cloudflare (and their reaction) and while I usually totally agree with Nick, I think that he tried to be way too nice when saying (paraphrasing) “I think Cloudflare was a bit harsh - I would prefer a more community-oriented approach along the lines of how could we help you do your job better

Read more ...

by Ivan Pepelnjak (noreply@blogger.com) at July 20, 2019 01:27 PM

July 19, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 18, 2019

The Networking Nerd

I Was A 10x Engineer. And I’m Sorry.

You probably saw the big discussion this past weekend on Twitter about 10x Engineers. It all started with a tweet about how to recognize a 10x Engineer, followed by tons of responses about how useless they were and how people that had encountered them were happy to be rid of them. All that discussion made me think back to my old days as a Senior Network Rock Star. As I reminisced I realized that I was, in fact, a 10x Engineer. And I was miserable.

Pour Some Work On Me

I wasn’t always the epitome of engineering hatred. I used to be a wide-eyed technician with a hunger to learn things. I worked on a variety of systems all over the place. In fact, I was rising through the ranks of my company as a Novell Engineer in an environment with plenty of coverage. I was just learning the ropes and getting ready to take my place in a group of interchangeable people.

Then I started getting into networking. I spent more time learning about routers and switches and even firewalls. That meant that my skill set was changing from servers to appliances. It also meant that I was spending more and more time working on devices that no one else could work on. I had special knowledge that made me much more valuable to the organization. Soon, I found myself spending less and less time working on the Novell command line and more time working on the Cisco CLI.

That was the first extra “x” on my resume. Because I had special skills it meant that I was being relied upon more to do work that no one else could do. Suddenly I wasn’t just a replaceable cog in the machine. Instead, I was a critical part of the infrastructure that needed to be on-site for certain jobs and deployments. I knew that I needed to have someone else to help me out or I was going to quickly find myself overwhelmed with work. But networking wasn’t the thing that ended up pushing me all the way to 10x territory.

A Voice In The Wilderness

In order to truly become an insufferable 10x Engineering talent, I had to pivot into voice deployments. That’s because my skill set went from “important but we’re training others” to “so complicated no one else can understand this”. Thanks to my knowledge of networking, I was asked to pick up the voice banner and run with it. And I ran really, really far.

I was the only person in the office working on Cisco voice deployments. I had my own method of doing things. My own flow for deployments. My notes were contained in a OneNote file that only I had access to. You can probably see all the issues already. But I couldn’t. To me, this was my jam! I had all the tools and talent to make this happen. I could type MAC addresses faster than filling them into a BAT spreadsheet. I could configure crazy hacks to get around limitations thanks to all the extra research I was doing. I was invincible!

I was also gumming up the works. Voice deployments had to be constantly rescheduled if I was out of town. Vacations were a distant memory at best. I wasn’t just the most important cog in the machine – I was the machine. Nothing went forward unless I was doing it. And that’s not scalable at all. Even when my boss realized that I couldn’t scale any more he also knew that getting someone up to speed on my deployment methods and knowledge was a very daunting task at best.

This is the classic setup for a 10x Engineer. All the talent in the world and all of the hubris. Large portions of the line-of-business relying on their knowledge and process. No documentation. No way to get things done other than to go through me. If you’ve ever read The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim you realize that I was Brent through and through. In fact, when I finally did get around to reading it I self-identified with him before I’d even made it 100 pages in.

Pride Goeth Before

Ultimately, it wasn’t failure that caused my 10x Engineering career to come to an end. Instead, it was success. I left my old job six years ago to come to Tech Field Day. I knew I wouldn’t be fixing routers or voicemail systems any longer. I’d be in for an entirely new and different kind of work.

But I couldn’t see how my old job would be able to work without me. I secretly confided to some friends that I thought their business would fall apart without me. How could it survive? I was responsible for so much! I was the only one that knew all of these things! Even a lengthy two-week info dump wouldn’t be enough.

The pride and hubris I displayed is still shocking to me all these years later. To think that a company that had been in business for almost 20 years before I got there would go out of business months after I left because they couldn’t do what I was doing. They did stay in business. They changed, for sure. They moved away from my specialized knowledge and found new ways to utilize their talent. They were able to keep my systems up and running with my notes and when the time came to replace them they used new systems that didn’t need my help to manage and install. They survived because they realized that what I represented was special and couldn’t be replicated.

Me? I’m happy they did. I didn’t want my 10x Engineering efforts to be an anchor around either of our necks. I couldn’t go back to fixing my old systems with my new workload. And my old company couldn’t count on me being available to fix things when I was gone. They made the right choices to put themselves into a position to keep going. And just like most positive 10x Engineer stories they found a happy ending.


Tom’s Take

I’m not proud of my engineering roots when it comes to how bad I was at times. It wasn’t always intentional. It was a product of where I was and the work I was doing. But I totally couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I realize now that I should have taken more people under my wing and helped them understand what I was doing. I should have documented my work and used repeatable methods to build processes that could be done by anyone. My institutional knowledge should have been a resource, not a crutch. And I should have had the humility to understand that companies can live and grow past a single engineer. Knowing all that today makes me realize that I may have looked like a 10x Engineer but everyone is much better off now that I’m just a simple ex-engineer.

by networkingnerd at July 18, 2019 03:44 PM

July 17, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 15, 2019

XKCD Comics

July 12, 2019

Ethan Banks on Technology

Opting Out Of Toxic Culture

In a culture of Internet toxicity, a question all productivity-minded people should ponder is why they are participating in social platforms. For example, Twitter has become a predominantly negative cesspool. Even the pun-loving techies I monitor from a distance seem to lean increasingly toward darkness and anger.

Few rainbows are to be found on Twitter these days. Maybe it’s just the dark mode UI talking, but I don’t go there to laugh anymore. I don’t go there to connect with friends. Instead, I put on my virtual armor, and read through comments and responses directed at me or my company. To be sure, much of what I see is fine. However, many comments are meant to start fires, even when couched in smiling niceties.

That’s the Internet for you. We’ve always had flame wars, trolls, and haters, all the way back to my dial-up days on Delphi forums and AOL. I know how to block and mute people, and of course that helps. Even so, I find that there’s something different in the tone these days. Folks are on crusades to bring others down. To shame. To burn in digital effigy.

To destroy.

When toxicity spills over into my timeline despite my best filtering efforts, my head goes to a bad place. I lose focus on work, finding myself instead brooding on the dark proclamations of the vocal bitter who wield hashtags as cudgels.

Why am I on this platform? Why am I participating in social media’s culture of toxicity, even passively?

I’ve had answers for this in years past–the “good outweighing the bad” argument winning me back repeatedly. Lately? I’m not sure that holds up. Social media is largely a destructive force, designed to deliver advertisements, arguments, and addiction. Considering those selling points, no one would purchase the product.

What, exactly, is the point then? Others have asked themselves this question and have opted out. Some I know personally. Some I’ve read about. The common theme among these folks? None have reported regret for having walked out of the toxic mire that can depress the mind and rob productivity.

Yes, I still have a Twitter account, but I can no longer explain why, at least not in a way that stands up to intellectual rigor. The issue is becoming harder to ignore.

by Ethan Banks at July 12, 2019 02:16 PM