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 cycles of
Activity and Modeling. In figure 1, I have depicted 4 cycles. From
smallest timescale to largest, these are called: 1. Referential Traversal,
2. Interactive, 3. Design, and 4. Architecture. The crest of each of these
cycles is “Activity” and the trough is “Modeling.” Modeling on... (more)
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 (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 so... (more)
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” means a vendor (possibly a third party vendor) has
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.
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)