Archive for June, 2012

Twittertools is dead

 | 14 Jun 2012 16:12

Long live Social http://alexking.org/blog/2012/05/22/social-2-5

Testing automatic posting to Twitter and Facebook from my blog, sorry if you consider this spam.

To CCIE or not to CCIE?

 | 15:30

This one has been coming for a while… Last time I went for my CCIE was Q3 2007 and it’s been pretty quiet here since.

In the mean time I’ve moved country, changed jobs and moved again, though not as far. So how is my CCIE doing? Well to be honest, it’s not. You see, I came from a sponsored certification track -which incidentally I forged with my employer at the time- and thus had to sort out a transfer sum from my new employer. No problem for the Dutch employment market, at least at the time. But here in the UK I had no such luck, suffice to say that financially it was not a good idea to move country. My new employer expressed that they would be happy to support attaining CCIE status. Little did I know that we had completely different concepts of ‘support’.

Loving a new challenge I quickly settled into my new position, only to find two years had gone before the question of attaining CCIE popped up again. No wonder really when you have a 100% billable target and there’s plenty of over time involved in the projects at hand. Then when things settled down and I moved to another customer I only found myself further and further away from (CCIE related) technology.

Yes, I still design and do have a consulting role but I’m in no way challenged and kept on my toes protocol wise. It took a few technical interviews to fully realise the impact of this. Which brought me to this point: Either, I work and retrain myself towards CCIE in my own time, hope my employer will pay for the lab and favour me with a mere week off for full-time study. Or do I let go of the desire to attain CCIE and trust that there will be employers out there who are smart enough not to be blind sided by the highly praised numbers of my peers.

My choice has been to no longer pursue CCIE. I can’t ask my family for a long and hefty sacrifice once again, we’ve been there done that. I’m now one kid and two cancers (promisestoday.com /@maizymoo tweet) further and value my own time more than my career, if this means UK employers don’t like me any more than so be it. I know what I’m capable of, just wish I was better at convincing prospective employers…

[Above edited, below added - Jan 27th 2014]

Sad thing is that the CCIE we find ourselves hiring. often do not have the consultancy skills needed to satisfy our customer’s needs. To the HR managers out there: Hiring a CCIE does not mean, you get good communication skills, customer facing skills or even basic networking experience for that matter. Trust me I know, I’ve had to replace a number of (single, dual and a quad) CCIEs on various projects where things had gone so bad we were about to lose all future business.

Don’t get me wrong, I value certifications and see them as a good means for career progression. I do have issue though with the UK market putting so much pressure on individuals to develop themselves, alienating them completely from a corporate drive to improve through a shared responsibility. UK employer – employee relationships have become too one sided… For more on this see a recent article of mine.

Alcatel 7210 port mirroring

 | 12:52

Recently I’ve been doing more on Alcatel as I’m working in O2′s test-bed down in Slough, slaving away at testing aspects of their new LLU broadband core and new BT 21CN wholesale connectivity. Although I’ve not been able to write a lot in recent years due working for an integrator rather than an ISP; I’m mostly not allowed or it’s unwise for me to divulge what I’m working on…

However, it’s common knowledge that many providers use Alcatel and they seem to do pretty well in the ‘booming’ broadband market. Hence I thought I’d share a little snippet of an annoyance I recently encountered.

When using an Alcatel 7210 to sniff traffic and interconnect different media; 1Gbps copper and 10Gbps fibre. I found that sniffing is counter intuitive to people only trained on Cisco. A few pointers:

  1. Port mirror destinations are defined in configuration
  2. Port mirror sources are set through debug commands
  3. When mirroring VPLS ports (I needed an e-pipe/Layer-2 tunnel) I found that egress sources did not work, only ingress did and only one ingress port can be set per mirror session. It did not matter if I use the port or the SAP as source.

I was left to sniff in two places to capture both up- & down-stream traffic. YMMV as a 7750 will be different, but I don’t have one available to me to test on…

Commands used:

#--------------------------------------------------
echo "Mirror Configuration"
#--------------------------------------------------
  mirror
    mirror-dest 4 create
      sap 1/1/4 create
      exit
      no shutdown
    exit
    mirror-dest 11 create
      sap 1/1/11 create
      exit
      no shutdown
    exit
  exit

And the debug command:

*A:<hostname># debug mirror-source 4 port ?
- no port ...
- port <port-id> egress ingress
- port <port-id> egress
- port <port-id> ingress
- port lag ...

*A:<hostname># debug mirror-source 4 sap ?
- no sap <sap-id> [ingress]
- sap <sap-id> {[ingress] }

As can be seen above capturing by SAP is only supported at ingress. Using port and SAP yielded the same result, only ingress packets were ever sent to the destination port. Despite show mirror stating both Egr & Ing.

*A:<hostname># show mirror mirror-dest 11
===============================================================================
Mirror Service
===============================================================================
Service Id       : 11                   Type          : Ether
Description      : (Not Specified)
Admin State      : Up                   Oper State    : Up
Forwarding Class : be                   Remote Sources: No
Slice            : 0
Destination SAP  : 1/1/11               Egr QoS Policy: 1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Local Sources
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Admin State      : Up
-Port                                   1/1/26                          Egr Ing
===============================================================================
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