UCS Performance Manager

Based on and in partnership with ZenOSS – Cisco are releasing a new product called UCS Performance Manager.  There’s a tech talk on Cisco’s website which, if you can get past the waffling at the beginning and get onto the screen demo, looks pretty good.  Sure, it’s a cobbled ZenOSS, but the idea is good – it brings together a complete visual of the utilisation of UCS, something I haven’t see anywhere else.  It can include not only UCS infrastructure (Fabs, interface utilisation, blade usage etc) but also probe external switching infrastructure as well as the virtualisation layer (currently vSphere or Hyper-V).

Cisco Network Lab Emulators

I’ve been looking for a good training lab solution that doesn’t involved having a small office humming with old ISRs and Catalyst switches.. Having worked at Cisco, I was aware of the various internal options (IOU, Titanium) as well as the more widely available ones (GNS3). But now, Cisco have finally realised that not everyone can afford to build labs full of kit and are releasing a few products to support individuals and companies who want to test configurations and network designs.  This isn’t new news (we’d heard rumours for over a year of a product called VIRL, Virtual Internet Routing Lab) – but I’m not sure everyone’s found all the pieces yet.

Cisco Modelling Labs – is intended to be a corporate solution to support designing and planning of routed networks and their configurations.  It’s a fully supported product that needs some serious hardware to run on, but allows you to build a routed network in a simulated environment, configure all the components up and see how they behave.  Currently they’re supporting IOSv (a virtualised version of IOS), IOS-XRv and the CSR 1000v – which pretty much covers your main routing OSes.

onePK – is a development kit designed around Cisco’s onePK.  The ‘all-in-one’ VM is configured to provide three routers running IOSv, all interconnected and ready for playing with onePK Python and Java interfaces.  You can however, reconfigure it to provide additional IOSv instances, as demonstrated here.

There is also a Beta programme for a /dev/inovate lab – however I can’t see what the cost implications of this are.  It looks ideal for those intending to do some hard-core software/API development against Cisco’s gear.

Back to Payroll

I left Cisco back in 2011 to go contracting, and I promised myself “to do a few years” and see how I got on. The experience has been eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve had some up’s and downs, both professionally and personally during this time and I think it’s hardened me up a little for the better.

I’ve seen how some businesses are well integrated, have great processes and work hard to keep business continuity. I’ve also seen total calamities. In the process I’ve been exposed to other Vendors’ kit (and some of it’s pretty darn good!) as well as the Cisco-Customer relationship that, at times, can be fretful in places.

In all, I’ve enjoyed the last few years of being outside the Cisco bubble.  I’ve made great use of my skills, learnt plenty new ones, and met some great engineers and designers.  But now it’s time to work on the next phase of my career progression – I’ve always wanted to become a “Solutions Architect”.  Yes, I’ll admit it’s a bit of a fluffy title, but it’s the one I’m after.  I’m going to be joining a VAR (Value added reseller) next week and developing a role where I can work on both the high level and the low-level of building end-to-end network solutions.