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In Pictures: 15 more useful Cisco sites

Another lineup in our continuing search for the most useful sites on the Web for Cisco users and practitioners.

  • Another lineup in our continuing search for the most useful sites on the Web for Cisco users and practitioners.

  • Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds is a thinking geek’s site for musing on topics like SDN, data center networking, big vendor strategies and maneuverings – including those of Cisco -- and the ever evolving landscape of IT. It is authored by Brad Casemore, a 23-year veteran of the IT industry including work in hardware, software, services, security, and network infrastructure “up and down the OSI stack,” as he explains on his site.

  • SIWDT is authored by W.R. Koss, a vice president at data center start-up Plexxi – Koss’ fifth startup. Prior stops include four public companies, including Ciena and Nortel, and four years in investment management. He was also employee #14 at CrossComm, a mid-1990s router maker in central Massachusetts. Koss’ opinions on SIWDT are insightful and thought provoking as he ponders new networking architectures and trends, like SDNs, virtualization, cloud and low latency switching… many markets Cisco is looking to lead.

  • SDNCentral is all things software-defined networking, a technology that many believe is transforming the networking industry and one that Cisco wants to get out ahead of – or head off. SDNCentral keeps a revolving chronicle of the SDN events of each week, compiling its own coverage with coverage it aggregates from other sources. For Cisco users interested in SDN, network virtualization or programmable networking – like that proposed by Cisco ONE – SDNCentral is a must-read.

  • PacketLife.net was recommended by a couple of readers when our previous slideshow ran last year. We can see why: the site not only includes a blog but a Wiki section for reader contributions on packet routing/switching topics, a community lab funded in part by the site’s maintainer, Jeremy Stretch, and lots of other practical information and tools for hands-on network operators. Stretch is a networking engineer who runs a free network training lab out of his basement for fun.

  • GigaOm is the quintessential Valley tattler. Full of twists on the tech news of the week, Om Malik’s baby is influential with industry captains, entrepreneurs and capitalists. It aims to cover the intersection of business and technology – its drivers, its movers, its shakers and its disrupters. In that mission, its coverage of emerging technologies and the startups developing them is definitive.

  • Network Static is authored by Brent Salisbury, CCIE#11972 and a network architect at the University of Kentucky. The site is rich in content on network virtualization, SDNs, OpenFlow and OpenStack. Indeed, in the “In The Lab” subsection of Network Static there are entries chronicling implementations of the virtualization techniques, tips and tricks, gotchas and tutorials. Salisbury also includes links to sites offering study guides on the different routing and switching implementations of Cisco and Juniper, for example, and software installation tools. A hands-on site for hands-on networkers.

  • If GigaOm is the intersection of tehnology and business, Silicon Valley Watcher chronicles the business of technology and media. And Silicon Valley culture. Authored by former Financial Times reporter Tom Foremski, SVW is a diary of an industry in transition – media – and the region and businesses and capitalists most accountable for its disruption. Readers get a sense of the Internet’s upheaval of traditional print and TV journalism with blogging, YouTube, Twitter and other networked social media outlets co-opting the mission. They may also come away with a tinge of cynical irony as Foremski, a longtime practitioner of traditional newspapering, insinuates the resulting decline in quality and accountability associated with the new outlets from his view in one of those outlets.

  • On a more aggressive track is TechCrunch, which looks to break technology news, profile start-ups, review Internet products and websites, and offer opinions and analysis of major technology events. The sites also maintains its CrunchBase database, which logs information on start-up companies, people and investors, and serves as a statistical resource for technology companies and transactions. With 150 acquisitions under its belt, Cisco may have perused CrunchBase once or twice…

  • Techmeme touts itself as the foremost source for tracking technology industry changes that happen in as fast as five years or less. It does this by aggregating stories from around the Web filed by reporters, columnists and other writers across the industry to offer a comprehensive view and spare readers the task of scanning multiple news sites, tweets, status updates and other stimuli. Techmeme also boils it all down with a summary of the day's essential reports and single page analysis.

  • Another “business of technology” site is the “Bits” blog in the New York Times. It literally hits all the hot buttons at the top of the page – Facebook, Apple, Google, social, mobile, Internet, start-ups, security, devices… It’s heavily tailored toward consumer technology and devices businesspeople might use or invest in. And given Cisco’s influence in the industry, economy and stock market, “Bits” delves pretty deeply into Cisco business maneuverings as well.

  • The Times’ business news competitor, The Wall Street Journal, has a tech blog of its own: “Digits.” Like the Times’ “Bits,” “Digits” also aids the Journal’s comprehensive coverage of the business of technology, providing a daily chronicle of all that’s hot in tech – as in, where the money’s going rather than the bits and bytes. The three hottest topics are usually listed near the top of the blog, and “Digits” also has an embedded TV talk show-type format to review new products and events.

  • The Packet University is devoted to the challenges of networking technology down to the level of the wire. The site is operated by CCIE Security and Cisco instructor Paul Stewart, who is also a network and security specialist performing root cause analysis with protocol analyzers. PacketU is full of tip and techniques for CCNA Security certifications, setting privilege levels and security policies, dealing with handheld devices, password nuances… Wire-level security education.

  • Hacking Cisco: The title alone is enough to draw practitioners and casual observers into the site. Hacking Cisco is authored by Jarek Rek, a Cisco “trainer/researcher” in the telecommunications industry based in Dublin. The site is loaded with sample problems and solutions on OSPF neighboring, IPv6 topologies, BGP conditional route injections, RIPv2 broadcast updates, EIGRP filtering with extended ACLs, multicast PIM RPF failures, and establishing MPLS VPNs with a variety of routing protocols. So despite its title, Hacking Cisco might be more helpful than harmful to the network operator.

  • LoveMyTool touts itself as the open community for network management and monitoring – perhaps the most important role in operating a network after configuring it for optimal performance. Topics cover a range of management and monitoring disciplines, including application performance, CALEA, deep packet inspection, NetFlow and sFlow analysis, forensics, deep packet capture, etc. LMT is edited by independent consultant Tim O’Neill and former Gigamon CEO Denny K Miu. It strives to provide an open forum to allow “industrial experts and battle-scarred veterans” to share first hand experiences with open source and commercial networking technology.

  • Networking doesn’t have to be staid, sober and stuffy. That’s why there are sites like The Networking Nerd. It’s networking with a side of snark. The snarky nerd is Tom Hollingsworth, CCIE #29213 and a Cisco partner network engineer in Oklahoma. In addition to diving into voice, routing, switching, security, virtualization, surveillance and video, he gets his material from video games, comic books, sci-fi movies and Star Trek. Grin and link it.

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