I feel a bit of guilt for letting this blog languish for a while. I can see from the response to my articles explaining confusing Juniper features that my work had some benefit outside my own edification, and so I hate to leave articles unfinished which might have been helpful. In addition, WordPress is not easy to maintain and I keep losing notifications of comments, which means that when I am not logging in, I miss the opportunity to respond to kind words and questions.
As it is, my work explaining Juniper to the masses will have to be put on hold, as I have left Juniper after six years and returned to my old employer Cisco! I worked at Juniper longer than I had anywhere else, and it’s amazing to consider that I just closed the door on half a decade. But, I even after attaining my JNCIE I always felt like a Cisco guy at heart, and so here I am again. A few random thoughts then:
1. I interviewed for a number of jobs, and now that I am hired I can say that I really hate interviewing. My interviews at Cisco were very fair and reasonable. Just for the heck of it I did a phone screen with Google and completely bombed it. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’m not supposed to reveal their questions, and I won’t, but they were mostly basic questions about TCP functionality, and MAC/ARP stuff, and it’s amazing how you forget some of the basics over the years. I wasn’t really interested in working there so I did no preparation, and in fact the recruiter warned me to brush up on basics. I just figured my work and blog show that I am at least somewhat technical. I plan to write some posts on the art of technical interviewing, but I was certainly underwhelmed by Google’s screening process, as I’m sure they were by my performance. I really wanted the Cisco job, and what a difference attitude makes! (Oh, and I completely munged an MPLS FRR/Node & Link protection question, less than a year after passing the JNCIE-SP. Uh, whoops.)
2. I bear Juniper no ill will. It was an interesting six years. When I came on board, during the Kevin Johnson years, it was all rah-rah pep talks about how we were going to be the next $10 billion company (errr, no…) followed by a plethora of product disasters. Killing off Netscreen gave the firewall market to Palo Alto, Fortinet, and amazingly resuscitated Checkpoint. Junos Space was a disaster, and Pulse slightly less so. QFabric was not a bad idea, but was far too complex. You needed to buy a professional services contract with the product, because it was too complex to install by itself. And yet it supposedly simplified the data center? There was a fiasco with our load balancer product. And then came the activist investors with their Integrated Operating Plan. I will permanently loathe activist investors. Juniper was hurting and they just magnified the hurt. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of generic business-types who wouldn’t know a router if they saw one trying to tell a router company how to do its business. They thought they could apply the same formula you learn in B-school to any company no matter what it manufactures or does. Then we had the CEO revolving door.
Despite all of this, as I said, I like Juniper. I did ok there, and there are a lot of people I respect working there. Rami Rahim is a good choice for CEO. I left for personal reasons. They still have some good products and good ideas, and I think competition is always good for the marketplace. For the sake of my friends there, I hope Juniper does well.
3. If you read my bio, you will see that I was THE network architect for Juniper IT, meaning I covered everything. This included (in theory at least) campus LAN, WAN, data center, wireless, network security, etc. I did something in all of these spaces. It was a broad level of knowledge, but not deep. That’s why I did my JNCIE-SP–I was hungering to go deep on something. My new job at Cisco is principal technical strategy engineer for data center. This is an opportunity to go deep but not as broad, and I’m happy to be doing that. The data center space is where it’s at these days, and I can’t wait to get deeper into it.
4. Coming back to Cisco after an eight year hiatus was bizarre. It was cool to pull up all my old bugs and postings to internal aliases to see what I was doing back then. Heck, I actually sounded like I knew a thing or two. I was thrilled to find out I am on the same team as Tim Stevenson, whose work as a Cat 6K TME I admired when I worked in TAC. Just for fun I walked though my old building and floor (K, floor 2) and nearly fell over when I saw that it looked identical. I mean, not only the cubes, but there were these giant signs for the different teams (e.g. “HTTS AT&T TEAM”) which were still hanging there as though the intervening eight years had never happened.
Unfortunately, I have to leave a few in progress articles in the dustbin. First, I shouldn’t really be promoting Juniper now that I am working for Cisco. And second, I’ve lost access to VMM, the internal Juniper tool I used to spin up VM versions of Juniper routers. However, I hope to start posting on Cisco topics now that I have access to that gear. Cisco’s products are generally better documented than Juniper’s, but I promise to fill any gaps I might find. And I will leave my previous articles up in hopes that they will benefit future engineers who struggle with Junos.