Building network automation solutions

9 module online course

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Category: training

Bringing New Engineers into Networking on Software Gone Wild

As I started Software Gone Wild podcast in June 2014, I wanted to help networking engineers grow beyond the traditional networking technologies. It’s only fitting to conclude this project almost seven years and 116 episodes later with a similar theme Avi Freedman proposed when we started discussing podcast topics in late 2020: how do we make networking attractive to young engineers.

Elisa Jasinska and Roopa Prabhu joined Avi and me, and we had a lively discussion that I hope you’ll find interesting.

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Free Exercise: Build Network Automation Lab

A while ago, someone made a remark on my suggestions that networking engineers should focus on getting fluent with cloud networking and automation:

The running thing is, we can all learn this stuff, but not without having an opportunity.

I tend to forcefully disagree with that assertion. What opportunity do you need to test open-source tools or create a free cloud account? My response was thus correspondingly gruff:

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Planning the Extended Coffee Break: Three Months Later

It’s almost exactly three months since I announced ipSpace.net going on an extended coffee break. We had some ideas of what we plan to do at that time, but there were still many gray areas, and thanks to tons of discussions I had with many of my friends, subscribers, and readers, they mostly crystallized into this:

You’re trusting me to deliver. We added a “you might want to read this first” warning to the checkout process, and there was no noticeable drop in revenue. Thanks a million for your vote of confidence!

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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 will revert back to Ivan working on some interesting stuff.

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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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