Ethan Banks

Author Archives: Ethan Banks

Heavy Networking 599: DriveNets Taps Disaggregation To Build Networks Like Cloud (Sponsored)

On today's sponsored Heavy Networking we talk with DriveNets about why it’s time to take the disaggregated model--where you buy whitebox hardware and put a network operating system of your choice on it--seriously. Along the way, we’re going to hit DriveNets network architectures and operating models, and get you thinking about why disaggregated networking might make sense for you.

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Heavy Networking 598: The Future Of Networking – Quantum Communications With Joshua Slater

Today's Heavy Networking gets entangled in a discussion about quantum communications or quantum networking. We discuss qubits, the challenges of moving them across a network, use cases such as key distribution, and more. Our guest is Dr. Joshua Slater.

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Day Two Cloud 115: Software-Defined Interconnects With Console Connect (Sponsored)

Today's Day Two Cloud sponsored episode dives into software-defined interconnects. The big idea is that you go up to a Web browser, click a few times, and now you've got a circuit stood up between your data center and AWS, or between you and a business partner, and so on. We'll get into the details about how it's done with Console Connect, a PCCW Global company.

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Day Two Cloud 113: Multi-Cloud Network Visibility And Automation With Aviatrix (Sponsored)

Today's Day Two Cloud episode dives into multi-cloud networking with sponsor Aviatrix. Aviatrix offers a cloud network platform with a common data plane and operational model that works across public clouds and supports visibility and automation. We dig into the product with Aviatrix guests and a customer.

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The Best Technologists First Try To Solve Their Own Problems

Every once in a while, I get questions from random internet folks who want me to do their homework for them. They want me to provide them with detailed technical information, solve their complex design problem, or curate content on a difficult topic so that they don’t have to do the sifting.

While I like to help folks out as much as anyone (and often do), I usually ignore these sorts of questions. Why? Partly, I don’t have enough time to fix the internet. Partly, I like to get paid for consulting. But more importantly, the best technologists first try to solve their own problems.

A Manager’s Perspective

When interviewing candidates for technical positions, one of my questions is, “If you run into a problem you’ve never faced before, how do you solve it?” There are two typical answers.

  1. “I’ll ask someone else for help. Probably you.”
  2. “I’ll search the internet, company wiki, and product documentation. I’ll set up a lab. If I’m still stuck, I’ll ask for help.”

I prefer to hire a person who first tries to figure things out. While I want neither a cowboy nor science experiments making their way into production, I Continue reading

How IT Pros Learn Online In 2021

I surveyed 53 IT professionals about online IT training in August 2021. Most of the folks I interact with are networking & cloud infrastructure professionals, and the answers reflect that. 53 responses isn’t enough to draw hard and fast conclusions from, but I still believe there are interesting trends & individual comments worth thinking about.

By the way, if you’d like to submit your own responses, I left the survey open. I told Google Forms to not collect email addresses, so your responses are anonymous.

1. Which online learning sites do you have a subscription to or have bought an IT course from?

  1. Udemy – 32
  2. Pluralsight – 24
  3. INE – 19
  4. A Cloud Guru – 16
  5. CBT Nuggets – 12
  6. Coursera – 9
  7. O’Reilly / Safari – 7
  8. ITProTV – 4
  9. LinkedIn Learning / Lynda – 3
  10. Juniper Learning Portal – 2
  11. Pearson – 2
  12. Skillshare – 2
  13. Adrian Cantrill – 1
  14. Cisco Learning Network – 1
  15. Global Knowledge – 1
  16. Ivan Pepelnjak – 1
  17. KBITS – 1
  18. Kirk Byers – 1
  19. Routehub – 1
  20. Skillsoft – 1
  21. TalkPython – 1
  22. Teachable – 1
  23. YouTube – 1

I believe Udemy is so popular because it’s a great platform to Continue reading

Heavy Networking 594: TLS 1.3 Down Deep With Ed Harmoush

Like anything in the world of IT, TLS has gone through various versions. TLS 1.1 and 1.2 are still commonly used, but TLS 1.3 is really where it’s at. Our guest is Ed Harmoush. Ed’s a professional instructor who’s researched TLS 1.3 and more as he’s prepped for his latest course offering, Practical TLS, which you can find at http://pracnet.net/tls. Use coupon PacketPushers100 to get $100 off this deep dive course from Ed.

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Heavy Networking 593: Network Observability With VMware vRealize Network Insight (Sponsored)

On today’s Heavy Networking, we drill into VMware’s vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) to learn how it provides end-to-end monitoring, how it uses flow records and other data sources, and its architecture. We’ll also discuss modeling/digital twin capabilities, and applying vRNI to security, troubleshooting, and other use cases. VMware is our sponsor.

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Day Two Cloud 110: Automation’s Unintended Consequences – The Bunny.net Outage Saga

Today's Day Two Cloud podcast walks through a massive outage that hit CDN provider Bunny.net. An automated update triggered cascading failures that essentially took the company offline for two frantic hours. The company shared a detailed postmortem of what happened, and we're joined by company founder Dejan Pelze to walk us through the issues and share lessons learned about infrastructure, automation, and dependencies.

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Heavy Networking 592: The VAR Perspective On Networking And Customer Trends

Today on Heavy Networking, we talk with Remington Loose, Solutions Architect at a mid-sized VAR, to get a sense of what technology is in demand; what problems customers are trying to solve; and how cloud, DIY, and other forces affect the competitive landscape. It's a #VARlife episode.

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Day Two Cloud 109: PacketFabric Wants To Make Networking As Easy As Cloud (Sponsored)

Today's sponsored Day Two Cloud episode talks WAN networking with PacketFabric. PacketFabric lets you provision point-to-point and hybrid cloud connectivity as a service. Built on a private fiber network, the company's goal is to let you set up networking as if it was software. Our guest is Anna Claiborne, Co-Founder, CTO and CPO.

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Heavy Networking 591: Want Network Automation? Start With Compliance And Validation (Sponsored)

On today's Heavy Networking podcast we discuss network compliance. The big idea is to rethink how you do compliance so that the process is automation friendly and accommodates all the network device types you have to manage. We're sponsored by Itential and our guest is Chris Wade, CTO.

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Heavy Networking 590: What It Takes To Build An ISP In 2021

There's a huge amount that goes into building an ISP, from getting access to poles to run fiber, operating a cable plant, setting up customer support and billing, getting network gear in place---not to mention developing a viable business model and funding the whole thing. On today's Heavy Networking podcast we talk with Jim Troutman of Tilson Technology Management about building a local ISP in New England.

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Heavy Networking 589: Cloud Networking’s Good, Bad, And Ugly: What CSPs Don’t Tell You (Sponsored)

Today's Heavy Networking examines how some of the unpleasant bits of cloud networking can be improved, particularly in the areas of troubleshooting, visibility, security, and automation. Our sponsor is Aviatrix, and they’ve sent us three architects to nerd out about cloud network design and how Aviatrix might fit into the picture. Our guests are Brad Hedlund and James Devine from Aviatrix, and customer Chris Oliver with NI.

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Heavy Networking 588: Exploring The Hidden Realms Of Subsea Cables With Telstra (Sponsored)

Subsea communications cables are an essential part of the global Internet. On today's Heavy Networking, sponsored by Telstra, we dive into the realms of undersea cables to learn how they are laid, signalling methods, POPs and landing stations, how they can be damaged (and repaired), and more. Our Telstra guests are Andy Lumsden, Head of Network Engineering and Operations; and Jeff McHardy, General Manager, Network Development and Commercial Management.

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Heavy Networking 587: When Your Side Project Gets Billions Of Hits – The ICanHazIP Saga

Today on Heavy Networking, the icanhazip story. On the surface, icanhazip.com is simple enough: You hit the URL, and get back your external, public IP address. There are no ads, no blinky lights, just an IP. This free, simple utility has become widely popular, with billions of requests per day. We talk with creator Major Hayden about why and how he built icanhazip, the time and money he's invested, and the insane amount of personal effort it's taken to keep it going.

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Day Two Cloud 105: How The Fly.io Cloud Brings Apps Closer To Users

Fly.io is a public cloud that can run your applications all over the world. The goal of Fly.io is to allow developers to self-service complicated infrastructure without an ops team, while making multi-region a default setting to get apps as close to the user as possible. Our guest is founder Kurt Mackey. This is not a sponsored show.

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What Makes A Senior IT Engineer “Senior”?

Ravi asks the following…

I’m trying to figure out what makes a network engineer truly a “senior” engineer. What skills, mostly non-technical, do they possess in order to bring value to the work place?

I’ll share my opinions based on my experience having held junior and senior IT engineering roles, as well as multiple managerial stints with engineers as direct reports. I’m mostly going to address IT engineering broadly rather than networking specifically, as my opinion is the same no matter which tech silo an engineer might hail from.

Technical Skills

As Ravi asked about “mostly non-technical” skills, I’ll be brief here. From a technical perspective, I believe a senior IT engineer is primarily differentiated from a junior in one word–experience. The senior engineer has installed more systems, planned more changes, fixed more problems, and survived more outages than a junior engineer in the same organization.

Ideally, that experience has led to wisdom about how technology can best serve the business needs of an organization. This wisdom will tend to eschew needlessly complex designs, nerd knobs, and “science experiments” conducted in production. This wisdom will also result in difficult problems being resolved more quickly. Experienced folks know somewhat instinctively Continue reading

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