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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Learning from Cisco

Cisco wanted to develop internetworking equipment and also to be the market leader to stay competitive.

I have been attending CCNA courses for the past 8 days and realized something.

First of all, CCNA course is good for networking fundamentals, despite the fact that it is biased towards Cisco. However, as much as it may, it actually reeducate me a lot about the following fundamentals:

1. IP, Network mask and subnetting (Very important)
2. Routing
3. Switching

Mind you that other brands such as 3COm and DLink would based their product on these fundamental too. Therefore, I have reason to believe that having attended CCNA would mean many things to 3COm and DLink, as much as it is to Cisco. Besides that, to become networking security expert, fundamentals are important to people like Checkpoint and etc.

Nevertheless, the best part about sitting in the course full-time is having the opportunity to get insights into internetworking. So having insights is good, having insights is good.

However, I do notice that, we spent a lot of times doing configurations and 99% of it are done on console or using hyper-terminal. As much as I like to brag about it, I do notice that there might be some element of redundancy for doing Cisco equipment configuration.

First of all, since Cisco are so damn great, they could possibly create Artificial Intelligence modules which can automate many things to the max. Secondly, most difficult part of configuring Cisco equipments is to parse through all text feedbacks from the equipments itself and thus if they have a way to cater for graphical illustration, things would be much more easier.
For instance, it would be better to have a graphical illustration of "sh cdp neighbors" or "sh ip route" than going through the text-based feedbacks such as the following: is variably subnetted, 2 subnets, 2 masks
C is directly connected, Serial1
C is directly connected, Serial0
R [120/1] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
R [120/1] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
R [120/1] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
R [120/2] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
R [120/2] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
R [120/4] via, 00:00:13, Serial0 --> THis is the entry.
R [120/1] via, 00:00:12, Serial1
R [120/3] via, 00:00:13, Serial0
S* [1/0] via

From here, we can derive a few conclusions:
1. Survival problem - No one, even Microsoft could possibly develop a so wonderful software where after certain period of development, everybody can virtually sit-down and wait for the sales to happen without requirement for support because the software had been done so well.

Thus, for Cisco to create state-of-the-art automated embedded software for its equipments, it will come in a matter of time. Thus to promote their product as prestige as possible, they would need professional-technical people to use their equipment with challenging interfaces.

They will promote the idea with the highest regards that it is feasible to become a technie sitting behind a console doing configurations like nobody business.

2. Business Model and Economical - Perhaps, which I can't be sure of, that the current model of "Equipments + technical-certified-people" will more likely going to make more money to them than other models; which are not proven otherwise. I am sure that this current model really got many fired up, especially those innocent to technical stuff.

What do you guys think ?