Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Random Ramblings - November 2011

I want to get some thoughts out 'into the world', but I haven't found time to write up individual blog posts. This is my attempt at getting back into blogging on a regular basis.

Quick Personal Update

I'm taking an interest in programming again, after a 15 year hiatus. Much has changed in the field, but it hasn't been too difficult to get caught up. I am taking a pair of Stanford online courses, which have been very interesting. This first is Intro to Databases, and the second is Machine Learning. Machine Learning has been especially eye-opening.

I have also been reading a lot lately. If you read Moneyball, you should check out Michael Lewis's December Vanity Fair article. In some ways it is a prequel to the book, as it attempts to explain how people fool themselves into making irrational decisions. A great book (short, only 20,000 words!) is Race Against the Machine. It relates our technological progress to current unemployment in the US, plus it gives some predictions on the future effects of computational gains in computers. If you read this blog, you're probably well-positioned, but it was interesting none-the-less.

One last link is from Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. This is a habit I've had since high school, and I've been trying very hard to break it. For now, each of my sentences ends with three key strokes... two spaces, following by a backspace. :(


I'm beginning to like Cisco's ASDM firewall GUI (Gasp!). I recently helped a company turn up a few ASA-based VPNs and I found the VPN wizard to be quite intuitive. If it wasn't for a Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) mismatch, the activations would have gone very smoothly. Alas, one of the VPN devices was an old Pix, and the version of ASDM I was running didn't support the device.

I am becoming a Mac guy. I've used a Macbook Pro for about a year now, and I've pretty much become a convert. I cannot say it makes life any easier, but the laptop is much more stable than my old Windows machines. The lack of MS Visio is the only major issue I've faced. I tried OmniGraffle, but I was not impressed.

Amazon Web Services might be taking over the world. It may not make a ton of sense for established companies to migrate to AWS (unless they want to blow up their infrastructure teams), but if I worked with a startup, there is no way I would build my own data centers. AWS, or cloud computing in general, might end up as a key differentiator between older companies and newer ones. The ability to scale quickly (both up and down) is bigger than I originally imagined. The most difficult part of AWS seems to come when you attempt to integrate legacy systems and AWS-based ones. That's the major advantage a startup would have.


That's all I have to say today. Let me know what you think of this format, either in the comments section or via email. I occasionally feel guilty about not writing more content on this blog, but professional and personal commitments make it difficult to find the time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LISP-VM Mobility white paper now available

I was just alerted to the posting of the LISP-VM Mobility White Paper on I haven't had an opportunity to read through it, but I fully intend to soon. I'm in the midst of a project to deploy VMotion between data centers, and this technology could be a great benefit.

The direct link to the paper is:

You can also reach it by going to the LISP page at

If you read it before I do, please let me know what you think!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

September CCDE Practice Exams

September CCDE Practice Exams

The next CCDE testing date is set for October 21st, 2011. The number of testing centers has more than doubled. Details can be found on the Cisco Learning Network. Registration is open until October 7th, but it can close early if a testing center reaches its capacity.

As I mentioned previously, I am offering my CCDE practice exam sessions twice during this exam cycle. The details for the second offering are as follows:

The Enterprise-focused practice exam review session is scheduled for Saturday, September 17th at 1pm ET. The Service Provider-focused session will be on September 24th at 1pm ET. Links to the registration pages for each session, and for the combination of the two can be found below:

Enterprise Registration Page

Service Provider Registration Page

Combo (both exams at a discounted price)

If you have any questions, please email me at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Professional Update and July CCDE Practice Exams

I'm back! What do I mean by this? After several months at a new job in the financial industry, my family and I decided that relocating to the New York metropolitan area wasn't for us. I regret not having figured that out before taking the new job, but I believe this was one of those decisions that couldn't have been made until it became real. Sincere "Thank You's" go out to everyone at my former employer. What an incredible group of people.

"I'm back" means that I intend to post here considerably more often than I have so far this year. I won't be telling stories of my time in finance due to the sensitivity of that industry, but I'm sure I can find interesting things to say. "I'm back" also means I will again be offering my CCDE Practice Exams (details below). It also means that I am returning to my previous employer. They were gracious to invite me back to work, and I am excited to return.

July CCDE Practice Exams

I have been asked by several CCDE candidates to offer my practice exams earlier in the testing cycle. It was my expectation that most candidates would like to use this offering as a refresher at the end of their study plan. It turns out many would like to begin their studies with an exam to determine where they stand in relation to the test. I hadn't thought of this, but it makes perfect sense to me. Therefore, I am offering my CCDE Practice Exam sessions in July, three months prior to the October 21st testing date. I am considering offering the sessions again in September/October for procrastinators as well :) This will also make the training available to candidates who are attending Cisco Live the week of July 10th.

The Enterprise-focused practice exam review session is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13th at 5pm ET. The Service Provider-focused session will be on Saturday, July 16th at 12pm ET (noon). Links to the registration pages for each session, and for the combination of the two can be found below:

Enterprise Registration Page

Service Provider Registration Page

Combo (both exams at a discounted price)

If you have any questions, please email me at I look forward to your participation, and I'm excited to be returning to blogging!


Monday, March 14, 2011

April CCDE Practice Exams

My CCDE practice exam offering has been quite successful. Participant feedback has been extremely positive, and I greatly appreciate the constructive suggestions that have been provided. I've made several updates to the materials, and I look forward to delivering these exams again in April.

Upcoming CCDE Practice Exams

Registration is now open for these practice exams in April 2011. The Enterprise exam will be delivered to participants on Wednesday, April 6th 2011. The review session is scheduled for Saturday, April 9th @ 12pm (noon) EDT. The Service Provider exam will be delivered to participants on Wednesday,April 13th and the review will take place on Saturday, April 16th @ 12pm (noon) EDT. If you are interested in the offering, but the dates listed above do not work for you, let me know. We can work to find an alternate date/time to complete the review session.

The Registration pages for this offering can be found at:

Enterprise Exam

Service Provider Exam

Combo (Both exams at a discounted cost)

Please email me with any questions you may have ( As before, the first hour of the review session will include my presentation and an open discussion on the CCDE Practice Exam (format, testing experience, future developments). The CCDE program is constantly being updated, and I do my best to keep this information up to date. Former CCDE Practice Exam participants are invited to join this session to receive updated information.

Other News

I'm sorry I haven't been posting to this blog regularly. My new job has been a bit like drinking from a fire hose. There is a ton of new information to process. In addition I've been working to contribute as much as possible to my new company's projects. Once things settle down a bit I intend to resume writing.