Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NX-OS Configuration Fundamentals LiveLesson

After a long wait, months of work countless hours of trial and error I am happy to say that the video for the CiscoPress NX-OS Configuration Fundamentals LiveLessons has been published!  Dave, Matt and I as well as the many people at CiscoPress/Pearson worked dilligently to make this happen.

We recorded it in Sept and some of you may recall the pictures and Tweets from the session. It was incredible to get to work in a profession recording studio.  We had green screens, a soundproof booth and studio quality cameras.  Here are some pictures.

Big green screen room. Matt recorded the most in here and both he and Dave did a whiteboard session.  We also recorded the opening intro here.

 Conference room turned studio. It was unusual for them to have 3 people for a title so some improvisation was needed.  Both Dave and I recorded some video in here.

We were "On the air" when in the big green screen room!
Sound booth - this was small and somewhat claustrophobic.  I recorded two of my lessons in here.

View of the interior of the sound booth. It's like the TARDIS in that it is bigger on the inside, but spend 2 days in here and get back to me on the spacial aspects. 

As for the content, a question I am sure will get asked is "Why buy this if I have the book?"  Great question and we made it a point to cover current topics that were not available when the book was published.  We discuss new OTV features, SPAN and ERSPAN enhancements, L2 MPLS VPNs, FabricPath in depth and a lot more.  We also made it a point to not just read the book to you, but add real world value from our experiences.  We also focused on key point in each topic so we don't bore you to tears with some of the topics we cover in more detail in the book (QoS comes to mind).

All in all, we really tried to make this a valuable companion to the book and hope you enjoy it as much as we had fun making it for you!

Finally, a link to buy the videos.

First 48 hours with a Surface Pro 3

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, I've been asking about feedback on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Most feedback has been exactly what I expected from the perspective of "Get a MBp/Air/iPad/other Apple device" to "It has Windows so expect the usual issues" and one "Love it."   I'm not much of a follower and sort of do my own thing most of the time but it's always good to get a pulse and make sure the thing isn't a total POS before I buy it.  As I read reviews I felt pretty comfortable that it'd be a sound investment.  I thought I'd share my first 48 hours with the Surface Pro 3.

There are many models of Surface Pro 3 and I chose the middle of the road model with an i5 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD drive.  I'm planning to use this mostly for email, social media, general tinkering around and maybe some video recording if it's up to the task.

My first impression when I opened the box was that the tablet was bigger than I expected and a bit heavier, too.  I think The hype around it being a tablet that can replace your PC had me in a tablet weight/size mindset. After using it for a short time, it seems like I'll use, carry and treat it more like a laptop - meaning it'll be on a desk with the nice built-in kickstand or on my lap.  I don't see many gyro based games like Temple Run in my future with this.  :)

I also bought the keyboard which sticks to the tablet via magnets amazingly well and was a key decision point for me.  The docking station is nice too, though initial docking was a bit kludgier than I expected until I learned it slides apart to seat the tablet.  Probably was in the book that I promptly discarded.

Docking capability was key for me to get access to multiple displays. I like having Tweetdeck and maybe some SSH sessions on one screen and my work area on another. I'm waiting for my mini-displayport to DVI and HDMI adapters to ship I wasn't going to pay full retail for them.

I've spent the usual amount of time downloading apps, updating stuff as expected. One thing that caught me out a bit was the mix in finding apps in the Windows App store vs just downloading binaries from the app vendor. Again with the tablet/PC duality I guess. I will say after using the Apple app store, Google Play and now the Windows App store - the Windows one is by and far the weakest.

I read some reviews about the the fan being noisier than expected and I have to echo that sentiment though seriously wonder if I'd have noticed if I hadn't read about it.  I've had the Surface docked most of the time and as expected it's usage driven. I was streaming SyFy's Ascension and it seemed to be on most of the time but wasn't something I could hear unless I paused and listened. The reason I bring it up is that I plan to do some recording of video and audio using a USB headset (another plus for the Surface Pro 3 - USB ports!) so wonder if it'll be picked up during those.  We'll see.

Window 8 takes some getting used to and while I'm sure the folks at Microsoft think it's important to have all of their apps pinned to start menu, I disagree. :)  Luckily the customization is easy and I'm sure my experience will evolve over time as I use it more and more.

Overall impressions - I'm happy with what I bought and think it'll be a great option to a larger, clunkier laptop.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Turn the Page

They say life is a book comprised of multiple chapters and in my case, it’s time to close a very long chapter in my book with my career at Cisco drawing to a close. As I look back on my career every move I’ve made has always been a step forward and this next one, no less so than the others I’ve taken. I am nervous, excited and anxious to get started in my new role and as I look back, it’s been a great ride.

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in all roles of the networking ecosystem from partner, to customer and finally to vendor. Each job provided different perspectives and lessons learned. Some were from the school of hard knocks (DLSw and SNAsw come to mind) and many were “once in a lifetime” opportunities.  I’m proud of the job I’ve, done, the solutions I’ve helped customers with and teams I’ve been honored to be a part of.

I started as a SE focusing on a large Enterprise customer in Columbus before moving into a Consulting SE and finally being honored to become one of the first Data Center Technology Solutions Architects (TSA) in the company. The DC TSA was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had – being a Philmont Ranger for the summer of ’91 was the best. The team I was part of kicked ass and took names wherever we went and many of them are still great friends.

My most recent role as a Technical Marketing Engineer (TME) for the Nexus 7000 product has been incredible. I’ve traveled the world, visiting 5 continents only missing Africa and Antarctica, presented to audiences in Australia, Europe and the US at our largest customer events, Cisco Live and even earned Distinguished Speaker twice!  Once in Australia and once in the US – I came close in Europe but couldn’t crack the code to get the audience to earn it.

I’ve flown over 400,000 miles, almost all in Economy, mind you - :) - to meet customers, partners and the Cisco field teams. 

I also, with the help of my co-authors, updated the 2nd edition of the CiscoPress NX-OS book and recorded a video LiveLesson series which will be available in late December of 2014. I started and maintained the @CiscoNexus7000 Twitter account and helped spread the NX-OS gospel there as well. That journey alone allowed me to make some incredible friends and acquaintances and I’ll miss the TweetUps at CiscoLive.  I had a great time recoding podcasts with the @PacketPushers team and presented at Network Field Day.

I’ve interacted with hundreds of customers, thousands of SEs, answered bajillions of questions via email, phone call, Twitter, FAQs and documents. I’ve forged so many great relationships and sad to know that my chances of meeting some of them again face to face is very slim. I’ve enjoyed working with each and every one of you and hope the feeling is mutual.

For those of you who like to speculate on conspiracy theories as to why I am leaving Cisco, it’s quite simple.  I’ve climbed this mountain and it’s time for the next. I like expanding my horizons and I’m not leaving Cisco because I hate them or being forced out (I was just promoted as a reminder).  This has been a tough decision but I’m confident that I’m making the right one for me and my family. I love Cisco and appreciate all they have done for me.I can look back on my time with Cisco and feel satisfied and not feel I am leaving work unfinished.  Thank you to all of the great people I worked with and the friends I’ve made. I’m sure many of our paths will cross again because as Disney likes to say “It’s a Small World.”

As the song implies, it’s time to turn the page. (For those wondering, I’m a big fan of the Metallica version).  This next chapter promises to be exciting as my new employer, VMware, is bringing a compelling set of capabilities to the data center and I am going to be joining a team with tons of potential and the opportunity to help customers move into the future. It’ll be a wild ride I ‘m sure as I shift from my CLI history to a new way of doing things.  I have a lot to learn and I’m happy I’ll be joining a team that already is setting into motion a training path to help me be successful.  I’ll be starting in a role I know well, as a Systems Engineer in the Networking & Security Business Unit (NSBU) as a field resource.

Now, it’s time to enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s holiday with my family and re-charge my batteries to hit the ground running in January.