Blog Archives

I got the job!

After a grueling 4 week interview process I finally received my offer. I was very happy to accept it and cannot wait to start! I’ll be working with a much larger networking team supporting 15 data centers across the world. The engineers seemed very knowledgeable, so I can’t wait to have the chance to pick their brains and learn as much as I can. However with every new job comes more responsibilities. My hours will become longer and my study schedule may not always be as organized as it is now. This is a positive though when  I think about, all this training I do everyday will now be reinforced constantly in the real world. I think this new work environment will also be a great starting point for my CCIE studies since I will be working with MPLS, Multicast, and QoS very often. These are topics that I do not know much about but I know are covered in depth on the CCIE exam.

I am slightly sad about leaving my current employer though. They have been nothing but good to me ever since  I started here. I have learned so much that I can’t even put it into words. Getting a chance to design and implement a full Nexus solution is something I never expected to have a chance to do at my age. However I know this move is for the best. I am sure it will be a huge learning curve but the experience I will gain on a day to day basis is sure to launch my career vertically.

I am very excited to start my SECOND networking job in the coming weeks. And as always I will post about my daily networking experiences.

Interview Process is Finally Over

and oh man was it a long one! Two phone interviews and a 4.5 hour on-site interview. Initially the first two phone screens were rather relaxed; I had a bunch of technical questions thrown at me but nothing too difficult. The real challenge came yesterday when it was time for me to go on site. It was actually a really convenient day for me to have my interview since I had off from my current job for Veterans Day. I woke up extra early so I could go over some things and also get my portfolio together. I always tend to leave really early as well because I am paranoid about hitting traffic. So as expected I arrived 45 minutes early so I just went to the closest Starbucks to gather my thoughts.

Eventually I made my way into their offices and met firstly with two HR people to go over some things. After that was completed three engineers came in and asked me a bunch of questions as well as diagram my current network. I feel like I made some stupid mistakes which I am beating myself up over now. I was drilled for a little over an hour by these three engineers until we said our goodbyes. Next two different engineers came in and gave me a scenario for a new building deployment and asked me to diagram it out to be fully redundant. Again I think I did well but I know I made some mistakes because of my nerves. Another hour goes by and the second part comes to an end.

At this point I am given a little break to use the restroom and get some water. I was honestly feeling dehydrated at this point because of how much I have talked. After about 10 minutes I meet with one of the network managers who seems really cool and down to earth. I tell him about my experiences as well as ask a bunch of questions about the position. All in all that portion was not as hard as the previous two. I talk to the manager for about an hour as well. Next comes in another supervisor/manager that I basically discuss the sames things with. At this point I am feeling overwhelmed since I am slightly forgetting which person I said what too. Meeting so many different people in such a short amount of time confused me at points. Finally I meet the last person, again another manager, who asks me some of the craziest puzzle/logic questions ever. My brain at this point of the interview is completely fried but he was impressed by my answers. He said that it is not about getting the answer correct but how you get to your conclusion.

All in all this whole interview process has been an experience I probably won’t have often in my career. I feel confident that I did well and I know that I gave it my best shot. It was definitely the hardest interview I have ever been through and most likely the hardest I will ever face in a long time. At the same time though I am glad I made it as far as I did. I should be getting a call/email in the next few days with their decision.

How long to stay at a job

I have been asking myself this question all week. “Have I been at my current job for too little time?”  One side of me says yes, I have learned so much at my current role, why would I want to leave already? The other side of me is saying that this new opportunity does not come around often. The past 7 months I have learned so many new and exciting things that I never thought I’d have the chance to work on so early in my career. There are downfalls in my current role though, I often am assigned tasks that should be easily handled by helpdesk/desktop support. However like any job there are both pluses and minuses, and in this case the pros definitely outweigh the cons. The people here have also been great but one thing is missing, a mentor.

A mentor is someone I can turn to at any moment to ask questions/discuss topics with. Currently I have no one like that. I usually have to rely on myself to learn new technologies, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being an independent engineer is a good skill to have, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to about networking topics. My new potential employer offers just that, a team of engineers that will guide me through my transitional period as well as beyond. The companies  network environment is very large and on a scale that I have never seen before so it will be a huge change for me. Having a team of like minded people will allow me to bounce ideas off others and also see another engineers perspective. Having multiple perspectives allows your mind to be opened to seeing things in a more logical manner. At least that is what I believe.

So my second technical interview will be on Monday. I am not as nervous as I was before because I have a lot of questions to ask about the role. I am hoping that things go well and that their environment is a good fit for me.

A New Opportunity on the Horizon

I never thought that I would consider leaving my first networking  job in just 7 months. Here is the back story.  There has been this company in my area that I have been following for a long time and constantly checking for openings there. This company is rated in top 50 best places to work in the country as well as a huge number in employee satisfaction. I am going to leave the name of this company anonymous.

So this past Monday I received an email from glassdoor.com with my daily “15 network engineer openings in your area” and to my surprise the company I have been following for almost a year had an opening for a Junior Network Engineer. I felt like my heart skipped a beat as I quickly opened up the job description. Reading through the job details I could tell this was perfect for me. They are looking for someone with some LAN/WAN network support experience as well as a degree. Most importantly they are looking for someone that has a passion for networking and learning. I quickly updated my resume and sent it on its way.

Withing two days I received an email from HR saying that they want to schedule an initial phone interview. Ecstatic as hell that my resume was even seen by them we set up a meeting for Thursday at noon. Which is today :). Last night I did my normal research of the company so I can show that I am serious about this opportunity. While doing research on the company I also came across a post that read “Hardest Companies to Interview For” and what do you know the company that I am interviewing with is on that list! My heart sank slightly as I read through tons of potential interview questions. I began to doubt myself feeling scared about this whole entire interview. Then a quote came to mind. A quote that is perfect for my very situation. A quote that sends chills down my spine whenever I read it.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may never exist. Fear is a choice.”

So today is the day, I sit here waiting for noon to arrive so I can take the phone call and hopefully impress the person on the other end. Working for a top company in the country is something that not many people have the opportunity to even interview for. I feel very fortunate to have even been given this chance. But I know that there is only one person that made this all happen, ME! I am the one that studies everyday! I am the one that loses countless hours of sleep! I am the one that refuses to give up and stop pushing myself to my limits! I deserve this chance and now it is once again all up to ME to make this happen!

I’m going to Cisco Live!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes! I was told yesterday by my supervisor and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! I never expected to be going to Cisco Live so early in my career. Just thinking about all the CCIEs that I will be in the presence of makes me slightly nervous. I feel this will be a great learning experience as well as a chance for me to meet a ton of new people. The best part about this is that I will be surrounded by individuals that all share the same passion for networking that I have. Cisco Live this year will be held in San Francisco. I have been to California once before and I loved it. It’s a beautiful state with amazing weather. I have hopes to maybe even work in the area one day :)

I plan to document my trip to Cisco Live on my blog as well as give a live feed at my twitter @NetworkingLink Obviously the day is still months away but I just wanted to share the good news!

Floor switch and blade center migration

For the past two weeks me and another engineer have been coming in an hour earlier everyday to move our access layer switches to the Nexus 5548s. It was quite the tedious process but at the same time it was a great experience. This move involved migrating the access switches to 10Gb as well as utilizing Etherchannels up to the 5548s. The 5548s also had to be configured with etherchannels/vPCs down to the access layer. We did 1-2 IDF closets a day so the process did take quite some time. However this morning we finished it all up :)

This past weekend we had a maintenance window from 1am to 7am. During this time frame we had to migrate 7 blade centers to the Nexus 7010. There were also a few other tasks that we needed to do such as moving over some management cables and a few “not so important” servers. Again etherchannels and vPCs needed to be used between the Nexus and Bladecenters. All in all it was a pretty smooth transition. The last thing we need to do now is remove some left over items that are still hanging off the 6509s. After that the Nexus migration project will come to an end :(

 

CCNP Switch Study Update – 10/7/13

Week 12  Video/Switch Simp. Lab Completed
Monday Lecture 40-42 X
Tuesday OFF
Wednesday Chapter 1, 2 X
Thursday Chapter 3 X
Friday OFF
Saturday Chapter 4 X
Sunday OFF
Week 13  Switch. Simp Lab Completed
Monday Chapter 5 2hr X
Tuesday Chapter 6 1.5hr X
Wednesday WORK LATE
Thursday Chapter 7 2hr X
Friday OFF
Saturday OFF
Sunday OFF

Phase 2 – Floor Switch Migration to 5548UPs

Phase 2 of the network migration involved moving all the floor switches, which are currently connected to the 6509s, onto our 5548 distribution layer switches.  One of our buildings is populated with 3750s and each IDF closet has two 1Gb uplinks up to the core. Our other building is populated with 2950s also with 1Gb uplinks to the core.  Currently no floor switches are using etherchannels. Which means that 1 port from each IDF is in an STP blocking state. Obviously this is not ideal. For this phase we will also be migrating all the 3750s to use 10Gb uplinks as well as utilizing port channels between 3750 stacks.  The 2950s unfortunately will have to stay on 1Gb uplinks however they will also utilize portchannels.

Before I go on I just wanted to let everyone know that this  phase was completed yesterday night. We ran into some problems with the configuration on the Nexus 5ks. One in particular was a vlan was missing from the vlan database. The strange part about this was that the vlan showed in the vlan allowed list on the trunk links. You would think that some sort of error would have showed on the log. Another issue that we had was that some vlans were missing on the peer-link vlan allowed list on the 5ks. Besides those two issues the night went rather smoothly.

To be honest though, the most difficult part about this whole night was making sure that the fiber cables were properly flipped. As you know fiber has a Tx and Rx so the run between the access switch and the 5k has to match up. This can get confusing though when you through fiber patch panels into the mix. We had one person at the 5ks and one person going to each floor switch to swap cables and verify configuration.

All in all it was a successful night. As of right now we will not be moving anything else for about 2 weeks. At that point we want to completely remove the 6509s from our network as well as moving the rest of the blade centers to the Nexus.

Phase 1 COMPLETED!

So after a long and at times stressful night, we finally finished all the tasks we had planned.  The second I stepped into the office at 10pm it was all work up until about 8am. I never experienced time fly by as fast as it did. It is almost surreal to think about.  So here is a breakdown of my night from start to finish.

Upon getting in I immediately had to start some preliminary work on the floor switches. Basically logging into each one and setting them to vtp transparent mode and saving the configs.  One of our older buildings was still using the vtp client/server model so we figured this would probably be the best time to change everything to transparent. After that task was completed I had to run one of our backup internet lines to a 3750 (which hung off the Nexus). At the time the backup line was attached to the 6509 so running the cable to the Nexus cabinet wasn’t much of an issue.  It’s about 12am at this point and this is where the fun begins!

So in Phase 1 we are still leaving the 6509s in our network, the only change we are making is that instead of the 6509s running layer 3 they will be made layer 2, and the layer 3 will go to the Nexus. So in order to introduce the Nexus to the network we needed to connect the Nexus to the 6509s. Basically we did this by creating an 8Gb port channel between the Nexus and the 6509. We also increased the connection between our two 6509s from 2Gb to 4Gb. After that it was smooth sailing. We shutdown vlans on the 6509s one at a time and brought them up on the Nexus.

Now that layer 3 has been moved completely to the Nexus it was time to migrate a blade server and a single floor switch. We have a a stack of 3750s in the Nexus rack that is dedicated for blade center aggregation. The blade center has 2 switch cards on the back of it with 4 ports each. So on the 3750s I created 2 port channels going to each switch module on the blade server. Super smooth and had no issues. Well there was one issue, a port on the switch module had gone into err-disabled. A quick shut no shut quickly fixed the port channel link. Next came the floor switch. The floor switch currently was running at 1Gb and we needed to migrate it to 10Gb. Here I changed the modules on the 3750 floor switch to be 10Gb capable and copied the trunk link configs to the 10Gb interfaces. I then created a port channel from both interfaces. Again no issues :)

So that is basically a breakdown of the entire night. I am going to spare you a lot of the boring details that happened throughout the night. Reason being is that I don’t want to relive them again lol. The next step in our network migration now is finish migrating the rest of our blade centers as well as moving the rest of our floor switches.

PHASE 1 – Moving layer 3 to Nexus

The time has finally come to implement the Nexus switches into our production network! I have mixed emotions of both excitement and nervousness because this is the first time I have ever done a change over of this magnitude.  However what excites me the most is the experience I am going to gain from doing such a large migration. To help the our team stay organized we have broken down the migration into three phases. I will only talk about phase 1 for now.

Phase 1 entails introducing the Nexus into our core network and moving layer 3 routing from our 6509′s to it.  Basically what will happen is we will shutdown all the vlan’s on the 6509′s and bring them up on the Nexus. Besides just moving layer 3 to the Nexus we also plan on moving a single floor switch to a 5548. Reason being is that we want to take this migration as slowly and methodically as possible. Also if the switch move goes smoothly we may even move over a couple more. One other task that we have planned for that night is moving a highly populated blade center to the Nexus. This will help take a load off the 6509′s and also allow us to begin on migrating the rest of our blade centers (if the move is successful of course) .

Oh and best of all? The maintenance window for these changes is 10pm to 7am!!! I have not pulled an all nighter like this in a long time but I am so ready for it. In the next couple days I am going to try and change around my sleeping pattern so that way when it comes Saturday I won’t be a zombie. I’m sure the Redbull and Starbucks will also help :) I will report back on either Monday or Tuesday on how the night went.

networking-link.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.