Cisco Live 2013 – My (late) wrap up.

This past month I attended Cisco Live in Orlando, FL with 20,000(?) of my fellow Network/Collaboration/Service Provider/Data Center engineers from all around the world. This was my first time attending, and I had a blast! There are a few themes I won't talk much about in this post that were big topics at Cisco Live one of which is the Internet of Everything (IoE) as that is well covered, and well is really just Market-ecture-tastic. New gear like the Catalyst 6800 or Nexus 7700 and new ASICs all of which are neat, powerful, and that will enable a lot of the future technologies, but Better, Faster, Stronger hardware comes all the time. In the end SDN/Network Virtualization for me was the most discussed topic in through all of the Network-centric sessions and "hallway" conversations throughout the entire week.

CLUS 2013 Schedule I was able to attended many great sessions, but even with a packed schedule I still wanted to be in two places at once most of the time. There were a few standout sessions including "BRKRST-3114 The Art of Network Architecture" and "BRKRST-3045 LISP - A Next Generation Networking Architecture". "The Art of Network Architecture" was a very business forward discussion of network architecture, and I believe attempted to change the discussion around designing a network. Wheras "LISP - A Next Generation Networking Architecture" got me excited about LISP in a way that I had not been before. All the previous information I had read about LISP left me wanting for a tangible use case. This presentation at CLUS started to describe some good use cases for LISP, I am still left wanting for more wide spread production implementations.

CLUS Tweetup

Another great event I attended was the Tweetup organized by Tom Hollingsworth. I met a lot of people I follow on Twitter there, and it was nice to put a face with a Twitter handle and have some good conversations about networking and well just about anything else.


When listening to the discussions and presentations a few trends and themes struck me. First, there is a trend towards the flat network; when I look at the fabric technologies or the affinity networking coming out of Plexxi or potentially Insieme, this all puts a large exclamation point at the end of the need to move to IPv6 or at least implement dual stack sooner rather than later. It will be key in the success of these technologies in the data center. Next there was a constant argument going on about the death of the CLI and that the GUI will reign supreme. I believe both the CLI users and the GUI user can be accommodated, both types of interfaces can be used to manipulate some back end software and logic. An example of this is tail-f NCS which has both, while not "SDN" by some definitions, but an example of the 2 UIs co-existing. The real augment that needs to be had concerns the designs of the system needed to support the applications.

This one is more a rant and less of a theme, but I still think Cisco is missing the mark with the ASA 1000v. I think virtualized physical appliances are a transitional technology, but a needed one. Creating the ASA 1000v and not giving it the full set of features of it's physical counterpart without a roadmap as far as I can tell to add them, along with the insane licensing scheme of a per-socket protected model does not make sense to me. This is all short changing the IaaS provider market and IMHO it should be licensed and operated similar to the CSR 1000v, full features and per appliance licensing.

Overall, I was left with two general questions from the week. First, I'm curious how the balance of systemic complexity vs configuration complexity vs structure complexity will fall as the overlay, "underlay" and the SDN glue that holds it all together sets into place. Each new technology that is introduced seems to address one of these complexity problems but not all three in one fell swoop, but this is a larger topic for another post. Second is a reoccurring theme in technology: everything old is new again; I look at the data center technologies, and some of the new IP routing technologies (LISP), and they look a lot like old telephony switching technologies, in the same way VDI looks like mainframe dumb terminals. This is not a critique, just an observation on how it's important to know your past because it will come back Better, Faster, Stronger, or maybe just the same with a new box around it.


Cheap Dinosaurs Play Goblin Photos


This show is from last year, i'm just finally getting the images edited and posted

Cheap Dinosaurs play Goblin
Friday, October 12th, 2012
7:00pm at PhilaMOCA - All Ages!

Cheap Dinosaurs (PHL)

Tom Guycot (PHL)
The Joint Chiefs of Math (PHL)

Full set of images:

The Joint Chiefs of Math
The Joint Chiefs of Math
Tom Guycot
Tom Guycot
Cheap Dinosaurs
Cheap Dinosaurs

How I started and learned (Hello World!)

I think it makes sense to kick off this blog with a how did I get to where I'm at today. This post covers about 16 or so years (as of posting) of working in IT and Computers and well many years before them as a well....hobbyist.

My first introduction to communications, I guess you could say networking, was calling BBSs and eventually installing and playing with BBS software. I learned a lot about modems and dialup communications. Towards the end of this era (to learn more about this time in technology I highly recommend watching the BBS Documentary that was released by Jason Scott in 2005.) I leaned about 2600 Magazine and went to a 2600 Meeting in my area and starting to get interested in the Phone System and how the Phone Switching Systems work.

Then came along the internet, and I started to learn about programing in some classes in High School and on my own, eventually learning C Sockets and coding some basic Client/Server programs and showing me how applications worked across a network. At this time I didn't know anything about the 7 layer model or another really about networking theory, but I do know now this knowledge has shaped how I have always approached troubleshooting.

Eventually I decided it was time to get a job working on computers and  I found a job working for an outsourced call center for a major home computer manufacturer. This was a very valuable job in my career, here I learned one of the toughest skills to learn, customer service. There were many difficult customers, for example, "where the Start Button?", Sorry your hard drive is clicking and your data is gone, 'Yes, click the mouse button in the right" are just some examples. I learned to handle and lead non-expert users, and resolve there issues to the best of my ability. Doing it all with a smile in my voice no matter how frustrating they were.

Eventually that job ended (ahem laid off) and I moved into a job and small computer integration company (see Thoughts on Working as a Consultant for a VAR and THE VAR-Y GOOD UPSIDES TO BEING A CONSULTANT! both are true in a lot of ways about a 13+ years ago as they are today). On my first day I walked to a stack of Novell NetWare books. So I learned NetWare, then Windows NT, Windows 2000, the desktop OS of the month, how to run cable (badly), and just about anything you could imagine in a small company would use at that time. This made me a  very well-rounded technician but not too deep any topic. I did always have a feeling I had an interest in the networking, so I made every opportunity I could to learn how to program routers and learn networks.

After enough time I studied and got my CCNA at the same time as my boss/owner of the company at the time. This is when I fell off the deep end and started to become a specialist in networking and connectivity, learning about T1s, factional T1s, 56k circuits  working with phone companies, still running cabling, routers, switches and still doing all the server work when needed. Then the craze of IP Telephony hit and we started to install Cisco CallManager and Unity. Learning more about PBXs, call routing, dial plans, and auto attendants then I'd ever cared too. Some where in this time period I'd say i could be calling a Network Engineer and moved up form just being a Technician.

After long enough I decided it was time to get my CCIE, then I procrastinated a while and then I actually did my Written exam and then Lab exam. It was a lot of work but I got it done with a stack of Cisco 2600s, and a lot of late nights. Not long after this my work role changed a lot moving into a role as an IT Director, where I still did my fair share of engineering, but also dived into security and operational policy for internal IT along with our virtual co-location data center (what we would call IaaS now) that we built from the ground up which was very fun. This more or less leads me to today where after more role changes I now focus on Network Architecture for on site customer networks as a Managed Service Provider and the network for our Cloud Service we provide. Working more in diagrams, word, excel and documenting now then working in actual commands lines.

Not to wax poetic too much but it was been a long winding road, and all the change along the way has kept me on my toes and kept it interesting.

8static 2F – November 2012 Photos

8static 2F
November 10th, 2012
at PhilaMOCA

Full Set a Flickr:

Animal Style (PHL)
exileFaker (NYC)
Dream Fox (STL)

noteNdo (NYC)

SKGB - No-Input Mixing and Creative Use of Distortion

Dream Fox



Animal Style

8static 2E – October 2012

8static 2E
October 13th, 2012
4th Anniversary Show!!

My full Flickr Set:

Bit Shifter (NYC)
Radlib (CT)
an0va (PHL)
Nikola Whallon (DET)

Chromacle (PHL)
Animal Style (PHL)

8static Alumni Showcase

One hour of music by 12 veteran 8static performers plus surprises!!
animal style – cheap dinosaurs
AdamGetsAwesome – kris keyser
bubblyfish – ro-bear
br1ght pr1mate – chipocrite
alex mauer – inverse phase
saint – exilefaker
void vision – decktonic

Nikola Whallon




Bit Shifter



8static 2D – September 2012

8static 2D
September 22nd, 2012

Danimal Cannon (BUF)
Trey Frey (WV)
Oven Rake (SEA)

Animal Style (PHL)

The real-time rendering of game engines opens up possibilities for audiovisual performance. Game art duo Foci + Loci will present an examination of their work process in Little Big Planet 2 providing an opportunity for participants to collectively build and perform in a simulated environment.

Flickr Set:

Oven Rake
Trey Frey
Danimal Cannon

8static 2C – August 2012

8static 2C
August 4th, 2012 

Chipocrite (PHL)
Bright Primate (BOS)



Rhythm & Groove with LSDJ – Daniel Davis (an0va)

Flickr Set:

500px Set:


8static 2B @ PhilaMOCA

8static 2B July 14th, 2012

@ PhilaMOCA
Bubblyfish (NYC)
Dain Saint (PHL)
Watabou (MI)

Invaderbacca (NY)

Pre Show
Intro to Deflemask with The Dutchess

Flickr Set:

500px set:

Dain Saint



ERASERHOOD FOREVER: A David Lynch-themed celebration

ERASERHOOD FOREVER: A David Lynch-themed celebration @ philaMOCA

I went out to see a David Lynch inspired art event at PhilaMOCA, it was a packed out and missed some of the earlier events but got to see the performances of Void Vision and Full Blown Cherry. Along with this a Mural by Evan Cairo was painted on the side of PhilaMOCA!

flickr Set:

500px Set:

ERASERHOOD Mural by Evan Cairo
ERASERHOOD Mural by Evan Cairo
Full Blown Cherry
Void Vision
Void Vision


Full Blown Cherry
Full Blown Cherry