Why study for a Cloud networking certification?

So, why study for a Cloud Networking certification? So, that was a wake-up call! Just taken my first attempt at the AWS Networking Specialty exam and it was an experience! I've been saying to my team for some time that in order to really understand the networking within cloud environments, and to get the optimum experience for customers in those environments, you need to really appreciate how applications are deployed, and the elements in AWS and Azure you need to make those applications reliable and scalable, And if ever I needed confirmation of that, I got it this morning.  The exam has 60 questions for which you're given 3 hours to complete them.  You shouldn't need that, but my goodness, it's tough and just illustrates how the paradigm shift to Cloud highlights what we have known for years - DC (and thus Cloud) networking is all about enabling application flows. If you're planning on looking into this (and as a networker you should - whether you believe

The CCIE is Dead? Long Live the CCIE!! And CCNA! And CCNP!

So ... on 10th June 2019, Chuck Robbins in his keynote at Cisco Live US announced the biggest shake-up of the Cisco Certifications programme ever.  What had gone before was swept away under a tidal wave of SDN and programmability.  Or was it?  Let's take a bit of a look under the hood of those announcements and see what they mean for the engineers and developers on the street. Disclosure: as a member of the CCIE Advisory Council , I have been lucky enough to have had some insight into these changes as they have been developed over the last two or so years.  The Council is a group of 30 or so invited long-time CCIEs who are there to represent the voices of the Network Engineer and Network Architect in the development of the CCNA/CCNP/CCIE programme.  We have been closely involved with Learning@Cisco in developing the structure of the updated programme, and our feedback has helped shape the policy around it. The keynote serves as the announcement that Cisco are serving notice on

DevNet certifications

So - Chuck Robbins in his keynote speech at CLUS 2019 presented a whole new track of examinations for a new perspective. Over recent years, the DevNet programme has blazed a trail with bringing development abilities to the next generation of network engineers, promoting programming and automation with all Cisco products.  Social media has been abuzz with incredible training and insights from the DevNet evangelists as we move into a new programmable networked world. So, we say "welcome" to the new DevNet certification programme - designed for the developer who wants to build tooling and applications that need to interact with the network.  Built along the same lines as the new versions of the traditional engineering certifications, Cisco are introducing Associate, Specialist, Professional and (to follow) Expert level certs ... Who are they for? If 80% of what you do or want to do is around development methodologies, programming, APIs, then the DevNet certification pr

Five Design Principles for the Network Architect - The Sixth Principle!

(#7 of 7) Throughout this series , I have tried to set out a set of simple design principles I believe all network architects should adhere to in order to ensure the success of their projects.  These have covered properties of the network and their operation which, given the appropriate level of attention, can make the difference between a successful and useful foundation for a customer's IT and one that fails to provide the right kind of underpinning for the services and systems that the customer needs to be successful. An availabl e network ensures that clients can access the applications and services they need to when they need to; a scalable network can grow or shrink to meet demands placed on it by the customer; a secure network ensures that a customer can support their customers with integrity and privacy; a supportable network infrastructure is one which is measurable and transparent, and has the right tooling around it to ease operations; a simple network is


Yep, I know.  Already a month in and only now am I blogging about what this year is going to bring!  Well, there's a reason for that.  I spent a good couple of weeks over the Christmas period contemplating my navel - complete down time from the tech and away from the devil they call work!  (As did many of my friends and contemporaries this year interestingly)  And what big conclusions did I draw?  What grand resolutions did I make? Well, none to be honest.  But I did resolve to spend more time putting myself out there in the community, trying to help the less experienced along and pass on the benefit of my painfully-learned wisdom (if only I had some!)  I started a really fun project with my good friend  Malcolm Booden before Christmas, the Network Freestylers  - where we are making videos where we describe topics and technologies using the medium of whiteboarding!  Using our experience and practical skills we use every day in a work context to give a little back hopefully ... 

Network Shokunin is a Finalist in the IT Blog Awards 2018!

I'm gobsmacked but this little blog has been selected as a finalist in the Educational category of the  IT Blog Awards for 2018 (hosted by Cisco).  I'd really appreciate it if you'd take a moment to vote for me and for all our friends who take time and energy to share their thoughts and words with the network community at large.  It's all about recounting and sharing experiences with those who haven't had them yet to help guide them through the maze! To this end, watch out for more content, both here and on  - my new venture with Malcolm Booden - which launches soon! I'm so grateful for your views, your supports and your comments.  And thanks for taking the time to vote !  Voting is open til 4th January, winners announced in January!!

Five Design Principles for the Network Architect - Simplicity

(#6 of 7) So, across the articles in  this series , we have covered most of the basic tenets of network design to ensure we have an available, supportable, secure network to implement for our customer.  Inevitably though, in any network there is a need to implement a wide range of capabilities - in order to interoperate between different vendors' kit perhaps; or maybe with a specific network operator for WAN connectivity; and of course we are highly unlikely to have an entirely green field operation, so the chances are we need to interact with an existing environment. Simplicity vs Complexity All of these bring a degree of complexity to  the network design, but also to the implementation and ongoing support of the network.  But when we say "complexity", what do we really mean?  Well, better minds than mine have considered this at length, and while there is no absolute consensus, a widely accepted definition might be where the network has a large number of interact