In a previous blog I talked about “T-skilling” being a major requirement for the VCDX. Below are some of the things that you need to be knowledgeable about in the Networking stack.
Wherever you work, there will be the “Network guy”; if you do not already know him, break out of your operational silo and talk to him, he can help you with the list below. Remember, you are not expected to be an expert on every component of networking, but you are required to be minimally competent in this area. You need to be able to translate customer requirements into a logical and physical network design and then communicate/discuss/collaborate effectively with the Networking “Subject Matter Experts” to make your design a reality.
Start thinking like a VCDX Panelist, use it to accelerate your learning curve. When you learn something new, consider “If I was defending, how would I respond if the Panel asked about this?” What are the “gotchas”, the pros/cons and risks of using this? How do I test and troubleshoot this stuff? How do I migrate this gear?
Here is the list (in no particular order, I typed them as they occurred to me):
- 7 Layer OSI Model, 4 layer DoD Model (TCP/IP), Interactive Layering Model
- Fundamentals of Networking: RARP/ARP, DHCP, DNS, NTP, SNMP, SysLog, TCP/IP, Switching, Routing, Load Balancing
- Routing protocols: BGP, ISIS, OSPF, EIGRP, Distance Vector, Link State, Hybrid
- Problems/Limitations of Classical Ethernet
- Subnet Design and Calculations
- Trunking and VLANs
- Spanning Tree, PortChannel, EtherChannel, LAG/LACP, vPC, vPC+
- TRILL/SPB/Cisco FabricPath
- Routing/Switching Throughput
- Jumbo Frames
- IP & FCoE Storage in the Network
- Network Architectures: Clos Type, Leaf and Spine, Benes Type, Fat-Tree, Core-Distribution-Aggregate-Access
- IETF RFCs/IEEE/ETSI/ITU-T/ANSI Standards
- Building blocks of Metro Clusters and Multi-Site Data Centers
- Connection options to ISPs/DSPs
- ISP/DSP/SDH/SONET/DWDM/PDH/Metro Ethernet/MPLS/X.25/Frame Relay/Submarine Cable Network
- Virtual Switches – VSS, VDS, Cisco Nexus 1000V
- ESXi Network Stack
- Guest OS Networking
- VDI access methods
- VMware NSX and vCNS – what is the all the fuss about?
- SDN – what is it?
- Traffic Types: East/West, North/South, Latency Sensitive, I/O Intensive
- Vendors in the Service Provider and Enterprise spaces
Resources you may want to consider:
- Brad Hedlund for NSX, Cisco UCS and Cisco/Dell Networking in general
- Ivan Pepelnjack has a lot of content as well
- Cisco CCNA/CCNP Training Courses (Instructor-led and DIY with an ebook)
- Packet Pushers Podcast
- Networking for vSphere Administrators, by Christopher Wahl & Steven Pantol
- Networking Field Day
- TeleGeography Submarine Cable Map
- “The Art of Network Architecture: Business Driven Design” by Russ White
Validate these scenarios:
- I have a customer requirement for a stretched metro cluster that is 500KM apart. I want to use ADSL to run 2-way synchronous storage replication. Will it work?
- My customer is an SMB with a single site server room. I am recommending that they implement a six node Leaf and Spine switch architecture. Have I right sized this requirement?
- My customer has a traditional network architecture that is 8 years old. I am recommending that they disable Spanning Tree to improve network throughput for NAS storage. Will the customer’s network team laugh me out of the building?