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Category Archives for "Russ White"

Thoughts on Impostor Syndrome

How many times, on reading my blog, a book, or watching some video of mine over these many years (the first article I remember writing that was publicly available, many years ago, was the EIGRP white paper on Cisco Online, somewhere in 1997), have you thought—here is an engineer who has it all together, who knows technology in depth and breadth, and who symbolizes everything I think an engineer should be? And yet, how many times have you faced that feeling of self-doubt we call impostor synddome?

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I’m an impostor, too. After all these years, I still feel like I am going to be speaking in front of a crowd, explaining something at a meeting, I am going to hit publish on something, and the entire world is going to “see through the charade,” and realize I’m not all that good of an engineer. That I am an ordinary person, just doing ordinary things.

While I often think about these things, what has led me down the path of thinking about them this week is some reading I’ve been doing for a PhD seminar about human nature, work Continue reading

Reaction: Some Sayings that Sum Up Networking

Over at the CIMI blog, Tom Nolle has a mixed bag of sayings and thoughts about the computer networking world, in particular how it relates to the media. Some of these were interesting enough that they seemed worth highlighting and writing a bit more on.

“News” means “novelty”, not “truth”. In much of the computer networking world, news is what sells products, rather than business need. In turn, Novelty is what drives the news. The “straight line” connection, then is from novelty to news to product, and product manufacturers know this. This is not just a vendor driven problem, however; this is also driven by recruitment, and padding resumes, and many other facets of the networking nerd culture.

On the other hand, novelty is never a good starting place for network design. Rather, network design needs to start with problems that need to be solved, proceeds by considering how those problems can be solved with technologies, then builds requirements based on the problems and technologies, and finally considers which products can be used to implement all of this at the lowest long term cost. This is not to say novelty is not useful, or is not justified, but rather that Continue reading

Recent BGP Peering Enhancements

BGP is one of the foundational protocols that make the Internet “go;” as such, it is a complex intertwined system of different kinds of functionality bundled into a single set of TLVs, attributes, and other functionality. Because it is so widely used, however, BGP tends to gain new capabilities on a regular basis, making the Interdomain Routing (IDR) working group in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) one of the consistently busiest, and hence one of the hardest to keep up with. In this post, I’m going to spend a little time talking about one area in which a lot of work has been taking place, the building and maintenance of peering relationships between BGP speakers.

The first draft to consider is Mitigating the Negative Impact of Maintenance through BGP Session Culling, which is a draft in an operations working group, rather than the IDR working group, and does not make any changes to the operation of BGP. Rather, this draft considers how BGP sessions should be torn down so traffic is properly drained, and the peering shutdown has the minimal effect possible. The normal way of shutting down a link for maintenance would be to for administrators to shut Continue reading

Complexity Sells

According to Roman philosophers, simplicity is the hallmark of truth. And yet, networks have become ever more complex over time. Why is this? Because complexity sells. In this short take, I talk about why complexity sells, and some of the mental habits you can use to overcome our natural tendency to prefer the complex.

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