Category Archives: IT Pro

9 Things to Consider When Estimating Time

Often in my career I have to make an estimate about the so-called “level of effort” (LoE) to do a thing.

  • What’s the LoE for me to do a demo for this customer?
  • What’s the LoE for me to help respond to this RFP?
  • What’s the LoE for me to participate in this conference?

The critical metric by which I usually have to measure the LoE is time. People, equipment, venue, materials, and location are rarely ever a limiting factor. Time is always the limiting factor because no matter the circumstance, you can’t just go and get more of it. The other factors are often elastic and can be obtained.

And oh how I suck at estimating time.

As soon as the question comes up, “What’s the LoE for…”, I immediately start to think, ok, if I am doing the work, I can do this piece and that piece, I can read up on this thing and get it done with slightly more time invested, and then yada, yada, yada… it’s done!

What I don’t account for is the human element. The unexpected. The fact that we’re all different and team members will go about their work in their own way. In other words, the soft, non-technical aspects of doing the thing.

Along these lines, here are 9 things that I would be wise to consider when making time estimates in the future.

Continue reading 9 Things to Consider When Estimating Time

I Will Be Presenting For the First Time at CLUS 2017!

Well, it looks like another major item will get struck from my bucket list this year. I’ve been accepted to present at Cisco Live in Las Vegas this summer! 👊

This session is designed to walk through an enterprise network and look at how EIGRP can be engineered with purpose to best suit the needs of the different areas of the network. I will focus a lot on stability and scaling EIGRP and will show the audience how, where, and when to leverage common EIGRP features such as summarization, fast timers, BFD, and wide metrics. Before getting into the nuts and bolts, I will be doing a bit of a level-set on certain EIGRP features such as queries, going active, summarization, and support for flexible network hierarchies. I will round out the session by talking about how EIGRP has been optimized for use in Cisco’s Intelligent WAN (IWAN) solution and even touch on a not-so-commonly seen application of EIGRP: EIGRP Over-The-Top. The full session agenda looks like this:

I’m actually inheriting this session from a fellow CPOC engineer, Steve Moore who, un-coincidentally, is the same S. Moore whose name is on the EIGRP RFC. Steve will be presenting a sister session the following day: BRKRST-2331: Troubleshooting EIGRP Networks.

If you’re reading this and you’re coming to CLUS this year, be sure to register and come listen to one or both of these sessions and pick up some EIGRP knowledge!

  • BRKRST-2336 — EIGRP Deployment in Modern Networks: Tue June 27 1:30pm – 3:30pm
  • BRKRST-2331 — Troubleshooting EIGRP Networks: Wed June 28, 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Why I Enthusiastically Switched from Cacti to Zabbix for System Monitoring

Cacti is a “complete network graphing solution” according to their website. It has also been a thorn in my side for a long time.

See what I did there? Thorn… because it’s a cactus… never mind.

When Cacti is in a steady state–when I could get it to a steady state–it was good. Not great, because there was a lot of effort to get it into what I consider “steady state”, but good. The rest of the time… thorny.

There are five major things that have driven me up the wall. In no particular order: Continue reading Why I Enthusiastically Switched from Cacti to Zabbix for System Monitoring

OpenBSD on the Sixth Generation Intel NUC

Sixth Generation Intel NUC
Sixth Generation Intel NUC

I recently decided it would be fun to upgrade the hardware on my main OpenBSD machine at home (because, you know, geek). These Intel NUC machines are pretty interesting. They are pretty powerful, support a decent amount of RAM, certain models support internal storage, and they are very low power and low noise. Perfect for a machine that is a shell/email/development box.

Continue reading OpenBSD on the Sixth Generation Intel NUC

SSH Agent on OS X

There’s a lot of information on the intertoobs about getting ssh-agent “working” in OS X and even more articles about when and how the stock behavior of ssh-agent changed (mostly with respect to how ssh-agent interacted with the Keychain).

This article doesn’t cover or care about any of that.

This article is concerned with:

  • Enabling ssh-agent in such a way that I can “ssh-add” in one terminal window and that same agent (and the loaded keys) is available in all of my other terminal windows.
  • Enabling use of ssh-agent from MacPorts and/or Homebrew and not the older ssh-agent that OS X ships with in /usr/bin.
  • To avoid having to put my keys in the Keychain (just a matter of preference).

Continue reading SSH Agent on OS X