SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Wizards are also for, well, wizards

I always enjoy reading the IPspace blog and as Ivan has stated about our blog, I don’t always agree with his opinion, but they are informative and cover just about everything networking. So this may come as a surprise, but in response to his “Do we have too many knobs” post from about a week ago I have one simple response: “Amen”.

Networking is unnecessarily complicated. We have written several blogs on this topic and related items. I used to run the sustaining organization for all data products at my previous company and when you do the analysis of the customer reported issues that come in to the support organization, you find that a very large percentage stem from configuration mistakes.

Many of those mistakes are not typos. We like to refer to fat fingered configurations often as a reason to move to a more automated configuration and provisioning environment, but most of the configuration mistakes that are made are simply because we have made it so difficult to configure these devices. Type something in the wrong order and it may not work right or behave slightly differently. Simple checks across configurations that could avoid many problems are not provided. If my goal is to have spanning tree or some loop detection mechanism enabled for all access side ports on a switch, why would that same switch not tell me if I missed a port?

Ivan raises the questions of wizards. And I know what the reaction of hardcore network engineers is. Wizards? We don’t need no stinking wizards. But we do. We all do.

Wizards are the most visible examples of automation. A specific sequence of configuration steps is automated, and instead of configuration data retrieved from some other system, it simply asks the user for input. The wizard is the most commonly used form of automation. We typically use wizards to configure something new, but I am sure we have also all use the “my wifi on my windows machine is not working, please tell me why” wizard. You can question if it covers all the failure scenarios, if it can diagnose all the things that are wrong with your wireless. But even if it covers 80% of them, that’s 80% less frustrated users and potential outages or calls into support centers.

Wizards are also excellent answers to do configuration checks. Check for easy mistakes and inconsistencies. Many companies in the past have attempted to create root cause analysis and correlation engines. And they are not easy to build. They require tons of knowledge to be taught to them and we are extremely sensitive to false positives. But just because it is hard should not mean we should not continue to build on this. We have to get to network wide configuration and automation, network devices are not independent and have not been for a long time. There is a reason why many portions of configuration of a Plexxi network are done at a complete fabric level.

Let’s start and try and tackle the 80% of common configurations. If getting a switch setup in its basic configuration would be nothing less than a few wizards we would make such a leap forward. The step from wizards to automated configuration is not a large one. The really big cloud companies have created their own wizards and template machines. They roll out so many switches that are all almost identical. Those configurations are template driven and wizard-like final automation to relay what makes them different.

You do not have to be a wizard to create or use some wizards. But to be a true networking wizard, you understand you need automation, you need wizards. It will improve your efficiency, reduce mistakes and resulting weird network behavior, and ultimately give you back time for exciting new things. Like reading our blog.

 

We at Plexxi wish everyone that celebrates Thanksgiving a safe and enjoyable day with your family and friends. And for those that do not, we wish you a very productive working day without email from your US based colleagues.

The post Wizards are also for, well, wizards appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

Latest Stories
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Chicago, Nexum® takes a comprehensive approach to security. Nexum approaches business with one simple statement: “Do what’s right for the customer and success will follow.” Nexum helps you mitigate risks, protect your data, increase business continuity and meet your unique business objectives by: Detecting and preventing network threats, intrusions and disruptions Equipping you with the information, tools, training and resources you need to effectively m...
The vast majority of businesses now use cloud services, yet many still struggle with realizing the full potential of their IT investments. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack the internal IT staff and expertise to fully move to and manage workloads in public cloud environments. Speaker Todd Schwartz will help session attendees better navigate the complex cloud market and maximize their technical investments. The SkyKick co-founder and co-CEO will share the biggest challe...
All in Mobile is a mobile app agency that helps enterprise companies and next generation startups build the future of digital. We offer mobile development and design for smartphones, tablets and wearables. Our projects cover the latest and most innovative technologies - voice assistants, AI, AR/VR and more. We excel at solutions for sports, fintech and retail industries.
Despite being the market leader, we recognized the need to transform and reinvent our business at Dynatrace, before someone else disrupted the market. Over the course of three years, we changed everything - our technology, our culture and our brand image. In this session we'll discuss how we navigated through our own innovator's dilemma, and share takeaways from our experience that you can apply to your own organization.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small busines...
Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine ...
"DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at @DevOpsSUMMIT and CloudEXPO tell the world how they can leverage this emerging disruptive trend."
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Nutanix has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO New York, which will take place November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Nutanix makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualization and networking into a resilient, softwar...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve fu...
Wasabi is the hot cloud storage company delivering low-cost, fast, and reliable cloud storage. Wasabi is 80% cheaper and 6x faster than Amazon S3, with 100% data immutability protection and no data egress fees. Created by Carbonite co-founders and cloud storage pioneers David Friend and Jeff Flowers, Wasabi is on a mission to commoditize the storage industry. Wasabi is a privately held company based in Boston, MA. Follow and connect with Wasabi on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the Wasabi blog...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO Silicon Valley 2019 will cover all of these tools, with the most comprehensive program and with 222 rockstar speakers throughout our industry presenting 22 Keynotes and General Sessions, 250 Breakout Sessions along 10 Tracks, as well as our signature Power Panels. Our Expo Floor will bring together the leading global 200 companies throughout the world of Cloud Computing, DevOps, IoT, Smart Cities, FinTech, Digital Transformation, and all they entail. As ...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes. We are offering early bird savings...