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Derick Winkworth

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Top Stories by Derick Winkworth

We’ve spent some cycles talking about user experience and workflow in previous articles. So in this post, we’re going to explore how these things relate to one another in the context of networking. We’ll talk a little about each separately, then we’ll bring it together in the end. User Experience User Experience (UX), in networking is a tricky thing. It’s not just about the direct user interaction of a particular feature or of a particular product. Over at Packet Pushers, we see many blog entries reviewing network products.  Time and time again, they show us that UX encompasses something much broader:  It’s the experience of how well the vendor delivers the product, not just the product itself. Vendors must consider the user’s experience from the first interactions with the company, to the unboxing of the product, the ease of finding and consuming relevant documentat... (more)

Visualization Tools for Network Engineers

Networking is a visual field.  In fact, we can generalize and say all of IT is.  Come to think of it, is there a technical field that isn’t?  In this post, I’ll cover a handful of visualization tools that have recently helped me think through and communicate difficult Network Engineering stuff. Graphics Tablet Earlier this year I acquired Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid tablet.  It has an array of features designed for artists that also happen to be quite useful in other applications such as vector graphics drawing tools.  For instance, it has extra buttons on the front panel that ... (more)

Types of Network Automation

In networking, workflows are awfully complicated.  There are many workflows, and the exact nature of each depends on a number of variables.  What task comes next is often dependent on the outcome of the previous task, and there is a large amount of data to navigate sometimes to complete a workflow.  Nevertheless, there plenty of opportunity to identify and automate common tasks and segments of workflows.  Once we’ve identified these, we need to ask ourselves, how exactly should we automate them? Encapsulation “Encapsulation” means a vendor (possibly a third party vendor) has wri... (more)

What a Network Engineer Does

In a previous article, we talked about “Short T’s.”  We talked about how, in network engineering, the “T” is very long:  Configuring a network to achieve business goals requires considerable skill and knowledge.  While we set up a conceptual model in that post to talk about what “T” means in general terms, we did not discuss in detail how to articulate “T” more specifically for network engineering.  In this post, we’ll explore this in a little more detail. The NetEng Cycle Figure 1: The Network Engineering Cycle Network Engineering workflow can be characterized by overlapping cy... (more)