Building network automation solutions

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Category: training

Thank You for All the Great Work Miha

Almost exactly a year ago Miha Markočič joined the ipSpace.net team. He was fresh out of university, fluent in Python, but with no networking or automation background… so I decided to try my traditional method of getting new team members up to speed: throw them into the deep water, observe how quickly they learn to swim, and give them a few tips if it seems like they might be drowning.

It worked out amazingly well. Miha quickly mastered the intricacies of AWS and Azure, and created full-stack automation solutions in Ansible, Terraform, CloudFormation and Azure Resource Manager to support the AWS and Azure webinars, and the public cloud networking online course.

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Webinars in 2021

After deciding to take a slightly longer coffee break I went through the list of outstanding projects trying to figure out which ones I could complete in first half of 2021, which ones I’ll get to “eventually” and what’s a lost cause.

Guest Speakers

Irena is telling me that I should stop inviting guest speakers – our calendar is full until June 2021. Here’s what we have planned and what we got done at the time of the last update (March 3, 2021).

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Planning the Next Extended Coffee Break

Long story short: ipSpace.net is going on an extended coffee break on June 24th 2021. You can stop reading; the rest of the blog post is full of details you probably don’t care about.

What exactly does that mean? Honestly, we don’t know yet… but we felt that it’s only fair to let engineers considering our subscriptions know months in advance what might happen. As the ideas are crystalizing, we’re updating this blog post and an overview of changes.

Anyway, after investing two lifetimes into this project, and a few planned changes coming just before our regular summer hiatus (see below) it’s time for a longer break. ipSpace.net might be back to business-as-usual after a few months (unlikely), or it could be Ivan working on some interesting stuff (most likely) or ipSpace.net slowly disappearing into the sunset (not impossible).

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We're Done for This Year

As always, it’s time to shut down our virtual office and disappear until early January… unless of course you have an urgent support problem. Any paperwork ideas your purchasing department might have will have to wait until 2021.

I hope you’ll be able to disconnect from the crazy pace of networking world, forget all the unicorns and rainbows (and broccoli forest of despair), and focus on your loved ones – they need you more than the dusty router sitting in a remote office. We would also like to wish you all the best in 2021!

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Growing Beyond Networking Skills

One of my subscribers trying to figure out how to improve his career choices sent me this question:

I am Sr. Network Engineer with 12+ Years’ experience. I was quit happy with my networking skills but will all the recent changes I’m confused. I am not able to understand what are the key skills I should learn as a network engineer to keep myself demandable.

Before reading the rest of this blog post, please read Cloud and the Three IT Geographies by Massimo Re Ferre.

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Worth Reading: Do Your Homework

Tom Hollingsworth wrote another must-read blog post in which he explained what one should do before asking for help:

If someone comes to me and says, “I tried this and it failed and I got this message. I looked it up and the response didn’t make sense. Can you tell me why that is?” I rejoice. That person has done the legwork and narrowed the question down to the key piece they need to know.

In other words (again his), do your homework first and then ask relevant questions.

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Feedback: VMware NSX Deep Dive

The mission of ipSpace.net is very simple: explain new networking technologies and products in a no-nonsense marketing-free and hopefully understandable way.

Sometimes we’re probably way off the mark, but every now and then we get it just right as evidenced by this feedback from one of our subscribers:


I was given short notice to present a board-level overview of VMWare NSX-T for an urgent virtualization platform change from Microsoft. Tech execs needed to understand NSX-T’s position in the market, in its product lifecycle, feature advantages, possible feature deficits, and an idea of the level of effort for implementation.

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Webinars in June 2020

Here’s the final push before we hit the summer break at the end of June (and recover a bit from the relentless production of new content we had throughout the first half of 2020):

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Feedback: Data Center for Networking Engineers

When I started designing Data Center Infrastructure for Networking Engineers webinar I wanted to create something that would allow someone fluent in networking but not in adjacent fields like servers or storage to grasp the fundamentals of data center technologies, from server virtualization and containers to data center fabrics and storage protocols.

Here’s what a network architect said about the webinar:

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Webinars in May 2020

Being stuck at home like most everyone else we’re continuing the increased pace of content production in May 2020:

  • I’ll continue the Introduction to Containers and Docker update. We got through the basics the last time and will cover Linux namespaces and how Docker uses them on May 5th.
  • We finally found an independent guest speaker familiar with Cisco ACI. Mario Rosi will start the Cisco ACI series with an introductory webinar on May 12th.
  • Dinesh Dutt will continue his Network Automation Tools update on May 19th.
  • Hoping to get through Introduction to Docker on May 5th, I plan to do a deep dive into Docker Networking on May 26.
  • Finally, I’m positive I won’t cover all the bridging and routing material I created in today’s webinar, so we’ll continue with routing protocol basics on May 28th.
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Free ipSpace.net Content

Most of us are in some sort of lockdown (or quarantine or shelter-in-place or whatever it’s called) at the moment. Some have their hands full balancing work and homeschooling their kids (hang in there!), others are getting bored and looking for networking-related content (or you wouldn’t be reading this blog).

If you’re in the latter category you might want to browse some of the free ipSpace.net content: almost 3500 blog posts, dozens of articles, over a hundred podcast episodes, over 20 free webinars, and another 30+ webinars with sample videos that you can access with free subscription.

Need more? Standard subscription includes 260 hours of video content and if you go for Expert subscription and select the network automation course as part of the subscription, you’ll get another 60 hours of content plus hands-on exercises, support, access to Slack team… hopefully enough to last you way past the peak of the current pandemic.

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Webinars in April 2020

With webinars being the only way to deliver training content these days, we’ll run one every week in April 2020:

  • Starting on April 2nd I’ll talk about one of my favorite topics: switching, bridging and routing, covering almost everything ever invented from virtual circuits and source route bridging to so-called routing at layer-2 and IP forwarding based on host routes;

  • I was planning to update the Introduction to Containers and Docker material for ages… but then had to move the December 2019 workshop to March 2020, only to cancel it a week before the coronavirus exploded for real in Switzerland. I hope I’ll manage to deliver the online version on April 9th ;)

  • Dinesh Dutt is back on April 16th with an update of Network Automation Tools webinar, in which he’ll cover (among other things) the new network automation tools launched since we did the original webinar in 2016.

  • On April 23rd Pete Lumbis plans to dive as deep into the intricacies of switching ASICs as he can without violating an NDA ;)

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Upcoming Events and Webinars (February 2020)

If you’re an ipSpace.net subscriber, you might have noticed how busy the last month has been (more about that later). February won’t be much better:

Finally, I’ll run a day-long workshop in Zurich on March 10th describing containers and Docker.

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