This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Jasper Jans, Network Engineer at EspritXB. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.
As I have shared with you in my first blog post, the company I work for has recently decided to switch from Cisco to Juniper Networks as the main supplier of equipment for our network. As you might imagine this impacts us on several levels one of which I’d like to address today – knowledge.
In the most basic sense once you know one network vendor – or rather once you know networking – you know them all. Sure Cisco does things different from Juniper, as does Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, HP, you name them. Yet in the end they are all implementing the same things. They all allow you to either route or switch packets, and apart from the proprietary protocols they all do so in a well-documented and standard way. In the end each vendor needs to play nice with the next and products need to interoperate to build a network. So knowing how to operate an ISP network running OSPF, IS-IS, BGP, MPLS, as well as the customer services on top of that, but only knowing it the Cisco way, means that in order for us to get educated on the new equipment we just need to figure out how Juniper implemented the required protocols.
While talking to the people at Juniper – thanks again Zoe Sands and Cassie Chandler - about how to get the team trained and certified, we got invited to participate in a JNCIA-Junos boot camp organized by Juniper together with their education partner Cavell. This boot camp consists of three half-day web based seminars where an instructor covers the material found on Juniper’s fast track site. Afterwards there is plenty of time for questions by means of instructor lead chat sessions. Cavell tops off this boot camp by providing four two hour sessions along with practice material on their lab equipment. All in all this is a very well executed way of bringing people that already have a networking knowledge base up to speed with the Juniper way of doing things.
By now our team has completed this boot camp and everyone has been very positive about it. Being very familiar with Cisco’s course material, the JNCIA-Junos courseware was not what a lot of them expected it to be. The Juniper course material even on this basic level is both broader as well as narrower in what it covers. Broader in the sense that even at this basic level advanced techniques like CoS and routing policy are covered. Narrower because the material is built around an Ethernet portfolio – hence no serial, frame-relay, and the likes. This for us is spot on since we are operating an Ethernet network.
Does a JNCIA-Junos boot camp like this teach you everything you need to know about operating an ISP core network? No. It does however help in transferring already existing knowledge on how to run such a network but doing it the Juniper way. Does that mean we are done? Another no – there will be many more courses to come, but for now let’s see if we can start by nailing the JNCIA-Junos exam before the end of the year. After that we’ll start our way down the SP-track, which will be material for a future blog post. Watch this space for more updates. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has needed to roll out an education programme across their team and what your experiences were. Please post your comments below, thanks.