Category: worth reading
If you ever get a feeling the grass is greener on the other (startup) side, read My Secret Startup Past by Amy Hoy, and if you think about starting your business, read all the other stuff she wrote. I wish I knew of her when I was starting ipSpace.net a decade ago.
During my interview with David Bombal I made a recommendation I find crucial for anyone serious about blogging:
Make sure you own your content.
There’s a simple reason for that rule: if you want to write quality content, you’ll have to invest a lot of time into it.
I know the title sounds like a buzzword-bingo-winning clickbait, but it’s true. Adrian Giacometti decided to merge the topics of two ipSpace.net online courses and automated deployment of AWS security rules using Terraform within GitLab CI pipeline, with Slack messages serving as manual checks and approvals.
Not only did he do a great job mastering- and gluing together so many diverse bits and pieces, he also documented the solution and published the source code:
- Part 1: Cloud & Network automation challenge: Deploy Security Rules in a DevOps/GitOps world with AWS, Terraform, GitLab CI, Slack, and Python (special guest FastAPI)
- Part 2: AWS, Terraform and FastAPI
- Part 3: GitLab CI, Slack, and Python
- Source code: aegiacometti/devops_cloud_challenge · GitLab
Want to build something similar? Join our Network Automation and/or Public Cloud course and get started. Need something similar in your environment? Adrian is an independent consultant and ready to work on your projects.
Scott Berkun wrote another great article that’s equally applicable to the traditional notion of design (his specialty) and the network design. Read it, replace design with network design, and use its lessons. Here’s just a sample:
- Convincing people is a social process
- Aim for small wins, not conversions of belief systems
- Allies matter more than ideas
- Design maturity grows one step at a time.
Who would have thought that you could get better at what you do by figuring out how things you use really work. I probably made that argument (about networking fundamentals) too many times; Julia Evans claims the same approach applies to programming.
I thought I was snarky and somewhat rude (and toned down some of my blog posts on second thought), but I’m a total amateur compared to Corey Quinn. His last masterpiece – Machine Learning is a Marvelously Executed Scam – is another MUST READ.
Here’s an interesting fact: cloud-based stuff often refuses to die; it might become insufferably slow, but would still respond to the health checks. The usual fast failover approach used in traditional high-availability clusters is thus of little use.
For more details, read the Fail-Fast is Failing… Fast ACM Queue article.
A junior networking engineer asked me for a list of recommended entry-level networking blogs. I have no idea (I haven’t been in that position for ages); the best I can do is to share my list of networking-related RSS feeds and the process I’m using to collect interesting blogs:
- RSS is your friend. Find a decent RSS reader. I’m using Feedly – natively in a web browser and with various front-ends on my tablet and phone (note to Google: we haven’t forgotten you killed Reader because you weren’t making enough money with it).
- If a blog doesn’t have an RSS feed I’m not interested.
We’re in an unfortunate industry where you can’t learn everything there’s to know in 3 years and keep doing the same stuff for the next 30 years… but how do you keep learning? Andrew Owen documented what works for him in Learning without Burnout.
If you want to grow beyond being a CLI (or Python) jockey, it’s worth trying to understand things work… not only how frames get from one end of the world to another, but also how applications work, and why they’re structured they way they are.
The one and only Avery Pennarun (of the world in which IPv6 was a good design fame) is back with another absolutely-must-read article explaining how various archetypes apply to real-world challenges, including:
- Hierarchies and decentralization (and why decentralization is a myth)
- Chicken-and-egg problem (and why some good things fail)
- Second-system effect (or why it’s better to refactor than to rewrite)
- Innovator’s dilemma (or why large corporations become obsolete)
If you think none of these applies to networking, you’re probably wrong… but of course please write a comment if you still feel that way after reading Avery’s article.
David Bombal invited me for another short chat – this time on what I recommend young networking engineers just starting their career. As I did a bit of a research I stumbled upon some great recommendations on Quora:
- How to identify a good electrical engineer
- What advice would you give young engineers early in their career?
- What are the most important things of working as an engineer that nobody mentioned in college?
I couldn’t save the pages to Internet Archive (looks like it’s not friendly with Quora), so I can only hope they won’t disappear ;)
The next time you’re about to whimper how you can’t do anything to get rid of stretched VLANs (or some other stupidity) because whatever, take a few minutes and read How To Put Faith in UX Design by Scott Berkun, mentally replacing UX Design with Network Design. Here’s the part I loved most:
[… ]there are only three reasonable choices:
- Move into a role where you make the important decisions.
- Become better at influencing decision makers.
- Find a place to work that has higher standards (or start your own).
Unfortunately the most common choice might be #4: complain and/or do nothing.
I love the recent Internet of Trash article by Geoff Huston, in particular this bit:
“Move fast and break things” is not a tenable paradigm for this industry today, if it ever was. In the light of our experience with the outcomes of an industry that became fixated on pumping out minimally viable product, it’s a paradigm that heads towards what we would conventionally label as criminal negligence.
Of course it’s not just the Internet-of-Trash. Whole IT is filled with examples of startups and “venerable” companies doing the same thing and boasting about their disruptiveness. Now go and read the whole article ;)
Just in case you were recently promoted to be a team leader or a manager: read these somewhat-tongue-in-cheek advices:
- How do I feel worthwhile as a manager when my people are doing all the implementing? by Charity Majors
- The Non-psychopath’s Guide to Managing an Open-source Project by Kode Vicious.