Rant: Lazy Documentation, NX-OS and Asking for Feedback

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I loathe being asked to complete customer surveys and providing feedback because it happens so often. It must be fashionable among the MBA and marketing types because it never bloody stops. It sure feels like every vendor interaction these days involves taking a survey. I don’t think it will be long before a survey will need included in the PO acceptance process by some vendors & resellers.

Rant: Our Vendor Partners Dont Have an SDN Vision

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There is an old saying “A man with his eyes fixed on Heaven doesn’t see where he is going”. It’s an almost perfect description of how the major vendors are bringing Software Defined Networking to the market.

The consistent message from all the vendors and especially the Cisco, Juniper and Brocade is that there are “no use cases for SDN”. In the last three months, this has been a constantly repeated statement both publicly and privately. This beggars belief that vendors can’t see immediate needs that deliver long term gains.

I suspect that the root of this problem is the big companies want to solve big problems. And by solving big problems they figure that they can make big revenue. Alright, I get that. It’s understandable that large organisations need a constant revenue stream to feed the insatiable maws of their shareholders. However, the vendors re also missing the most real and immediate problem of networking today. Simply, Networking is too hard.

Vendors haven’t developed tools that keep the complexity of networking under control. Complexity can be reduced to this: “I don’t have big problems, I have lots of small problems.” You can have debates about addressing complexity and how to attack it, but it nearly always boils down to this: start small.

Rant: Platforms All The Way Down

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I’ve just been forced to sit through a vendor presentation that had a lot of talk about their “platform” and how successful it’s been, and how valuable it is. When I pointed out that it was dependent on at least three other platforms, there was pause. Silence. The sales team, clearly, hadn’t realised this and it wasn’t part of the vendor briefing. I told them, it’s “Platforms All The Way Down”.

Rant: I’m Not Dumb – Expanding Acronyms and Third Person Nouns

It is part of my professional life to write documents and whitepapers. I do this both for my $DayJob as a Network Engineer/Architect, and for my $NightJob writing whitepapers and articles for vendors and analyst firms. Over time of submissions, I’ve had my content reworked in ways that I don’t agree with. I think it’s time to recognise that the English language changes over time.

Rant: Screen Reading – Comparing Windows and MAC

In the last couple of years, I find that I rarely use physical books to read something new. I recently started a new role that requires me to use a Windows 7 laptop and I’m finding it unreadable. Either there is something wrong with Windows or Apple have done something exceptional with screen displays.

Cisco, Culture of Buggy Code and the Failure of the TAC

In recent months I seem to have hit a lot of bugs in Cisco software. Across the board on the main software releases of IOS, NX-OS or IOS-SX I seem to be hitting a wide range of bugs, and some of them are pretty stupid. And I’ve realised that, in recent years, it has become so commonplace, so accepted that we actually plan our projects with time to test, locate and check for bugs. And that’s become an expensive and time-consuming problem.

Why do we put up with this ?

Rant: Who is Cisco’s Customer ? Me or the reseller ?

I resent the fact that Cisco partners get more information than Customers on Cisco’s website. Shows you who Cisco thinks the Customer really is.

What special powers do resellers have that makes them more effective ?

How does withholding information from Customers give a better outcome ?

Me ? Many resellers are not competent enough to be business and need a headstart to be useful to customers. Without some sort of “special needs” assistance, they wouldn’t be in the race.

Too harsh ? IBM and HP don’t rely on resellers to win business. Why does Cisco ?