Book Release: Tips on Using Visio To Make Network Diagrams

I’ve unearthed and updated a guide to creating network diagrams in Visio. I wrote the first versions in 2010 using a custom software and finally worked out how to export the data. If you ever wanted to


Network Diagrams: Choosing Better and Free Fonts

Making diagrams aesthetically appealing with visual impact is better documentation. Choosing the correct fonts on network diagrams will improve your network diagrams significantly. Here is some work on how to choose a good font and some recommendations on the best free fonts for your machine.

Arse First eBook Cover V1.1-300-388

◎ Announcing The Arse First Method of Technical Blogging eBook

I’ve been quiet for some time because I’ve been working on a couple of eBooks. Today, I pleased to publicly announce my first ever eBook called “The Arse First Method of Technical Blogging”.. I wrote this book to answer the question that I get asked a lot – “How do you write so many blog posts?”. So I started to write a blog post until I realised it would take too long. A year later I have taken it far enough to release an eBook.


Poster: Manager, Engineer, Architect, ITIL Consultant

Because ITIL sucks the enjoyment out of working in technology by making pointless administrative work.

Tired of Being Blamed, It’s not the Network, It’s the Operating System

Many people blame networking for not being able to support dynamic server movement in virtualised environment while conveniently forgetting that server operating systems haven’t changed their networking software in twenty plus years. I think that a lot of the blame should be apportioned to operating system vendors.


Software Defined Networking & OpenFlow – So Far and So Future

Over the weekend I published the latest Packet Pushers show about Software Defined Networking in the Priority Queue feed which focussed on Cisco and how you can implement SDN in an EXISTING network with some of key people from Cisco.

As I was editing the show I realised that the first time we discussed OpenFlow was in May 2011 on Show 40 – Openflow – Upending the Network Industry – a show where we identified that the future of networking was going to change. I can remember clearly during the discussion with Matt Davey from Indiana University being struck by how obvious the idea was. It was obvious to me that once you grasped the technical concepts behind OpenFlow , any decent engineer can perceive the impact on networking. While OpenFlow makes sense, it took another six months before Software Defined Networking became a thing.

Strap yourself in, SDN is just starting and it’s going to be a fun ride.

Towel Head with Phone

Getting Less Interruptions and More Time By Not Answering the Phone

I have a problem with interruptions as distractions. I spend a lot of time concentrating on writing and researching and concentration breaks are the worst thing for me. I rarely recover when it happens.

My primary source of interruptions was phone calls. I used to have many many phone calls asking for assistance, advice and input until I realised I wasn’t doing real work. In fact, I spent most of my time doing someone elses work. Then I would spend more of my time doing my work. That’s wasn’t fair to me or my family.

My solution to this problem was simple but it took sometime to work it out. It’s really simple and anyone can do it but it takes learning a new skill.

Cisco Value in vCider is All Programmable Networking

Cisco recently bought vCider. vCider gives Cisco tools for cloud bursting and a proven network driver to deliver overlay networks. It’s a significant boost to their Programmable Networks strategy and definitely an SDN play.

The vCider technology was architecturally similar to Nicira by building tunnels overlays in a network and, in my view, many people are incorrectly misinterpreting this as the core value on the acquisition.

I would posit that there are two aspects to vCider that Cisco is likely to extract value from. 1 – Network driver in Linux. 2 – Cloud burst networking


Prepping for Network Field Day Four

Pulling off the wrap of Network Field Day Four – I always look forward to attending #NFD because it’s all kinds of awesome.


Response: Distributed? Centralized? Both? – Cisco Blog on OnePK and SDN

In this blog post, Frank Brockners ( part of the Get Your Build On team) gives a detailed and interesting look into Cisco’s SDN strategy and, specifically, how Cisco see OnePK as fitting into the market. At the moment, the future of SDN in the market is unclear. There are obviously point solutions in the data centre as Nicira showed recently but in terms of the overall network market outside of that market SDN is very unclear. I review this article and attempt to summarise Cisco’s SDN position.


Top 20 Practical Cabling Tips for Network Engineers – Part One

Most engineers think that cable is simply plug and play. And mostly, that true. In recent years, Ethernet standards and manufacturing Here are 20 things that Network Engineers have forgotten or don’t know about network cabling in a two part series on things I have learned in twenty years of looking after networks.

Busy Businessman

The open and shut failure of BYOD. As a Narrative

Manager: “Hello IT Department, this is the self important manager from the Inner Tanzanian sales team”

Helldesk: ” Hello again, sir”


Response:Noise to Signal Ratio. Bending Cat6 cable does causes problems

This is only partially true and the user is mostly correct. The author is mostly wrong. When you bend a Cat6 cable, there is a high percentage (>70%?) chance of the damage to the internal copper core.

Sponsored: Brocade Virtual Symposium – Storage Convergence

Continuing the series from the Brocade Virtual Symposium. In a special video session that was sponsored by Brocade, we got Chip Copper in the room with Stephen Foskett to talk about storage convergence.

Over the last few years, I’ve been very critical of Ethernet storage protocols like [FCoE]( and the fact that storage protocols are unlikely to work well. There are few times here where Chip was able to give me answers and a different viewpoint that gave me a different take on the solutions.

Poster: Cloud Price Negotiation

Poster: Cloud Price Negotiations

Some time ago, I was asked to work with a Cloud Provider to establish a budget for a potential project. I was unable to set a project budget because there was no way of capping the cost and meeting a budget. This is how the conversations with the sales representative went when discussing “How much […]

Brocade HyperEdge and “Effortless Network”

Today, Brocade has announced “Effortless Network” strategy[^1] which is their first solid move into the campus networking and replacing the tired FastIron products with the Brocade ICX64x0 switches. It’s a good start even if the strategy won’t really get going until next year.


Ethernet Fabrics – Picking apart the threads at the Data Centre Fabric Symposium

“Ethernet Fabrics” or a “Data Centre Fabrics” have been much discussed and presented in the last couple of years. A Fabric is a good term for wide range  of design methods, technologies and vendors technologies that build a new type of Ethernet network for the Data Centre – and they all compete for customer attention. This […]


Defining Flow Forwarding instead of Switch or Routing

Wherein I make the case OpenFlow like technologies are neither switching or routing. It’s Flow Forwarding, or just Forwarding.

Predicting What Will Not Be Big in 2012

I’ve been working on making some predictions about 2012 and networking. I like to do this in the year of 2012 (not 2011 like everyone else) and I like to go further than anyone else and predict what WILL NOT be big in 2012.

ipspace openflow webinar 20111118

Updated: Webinar on SDN and OpenFlow on Feb 7th – now with more “space”

The original Webex session for this event was booked out within two weeks and we closed the event. We have increased the webinar ‘seats’ and have re-opened the bookings. This post is a repeat of the earlier so that you can sign up to the event if you missed out. I’m pleased to announce that […]

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