In Packet Pushers Weekly Show #259 (two hundred and fifty nine, really?), Greg Ferro and Ethan Banks have a wide-ranging discussion about several things that have been on their minds. Perhaps the biggest idea in this discussion is “Don’t forget the basics.”
What Does It Mean To Remember The Basics?
When it comes to technology, the root cause of most issues is something simple. Even so, engineers who understand their systems intimately often leap to esoteric conclusions before ever checking those basics. We’re engineers, so obviously the root cause of an issue couldn’t be something simple! How boring. Clearly, the problem is that the API provider changed a method, and therefore…um…
Usually, not so much. The root cause of most broken technology issues are of the “cable disconnected” variety. Boring? You bet. But that’s the reality we all have to remember to keep track of. Case in point, read these tweets that came across Ethan’s feed the week this show was recorded.
- Tweet from @thedataplumber “0.5 hour troubleshooting IS-IS adj issue. Found intermediate switch MTU was too small. A useful reminder to start with the basics. Argh.”
- Tweet from @network_phil “Awesome! I just snaked 15 feet of copper through ridiculous cable management to the wrong patch panel! Is it beer o’clock yet?”
And then, there’s my own little troubleshooting adventure. I was working with a Google apps distribution list that wasn’t distributing anything. My engineer brain said, “The sender was sending from AWS, and AWS was having problems today.” Or maybe, “It’s Sand People.” Engineer Brain also suggested, “It’s a Google spam filter trapping the message I’m looking for.”
Reality? The distribution list was misconfigured such that it didn’t allow inbound messages from the Internet. Yeah. Simple stuff matters, like power, cabling, and basic configuration.
Other Stuff We Chat About
- CloudRouter 2.0.
- A few of the VMworld US announcements
- Intel OmniPath Architecture
- The speed at which enterprises are moving to the cloud. Really moving, that is — not at the magical speed of marketing
- Big companies as supermarkets. This is an analogy Greg has been working on to help explain some of the market dynamics we see at companies such as Cisco that are getting into all sorts of product offerings we don’t normally associate with the brand
- The difficulty of changing networking when sales relationships are personal. Hard to displace an incumbent vendor selling the same old thing when your kids go to school together
- A couple of helpful little tools — the Hack font and the Annotate tool