I was reading the latest posts of the IOS Hints blog http://ow.ly/1uR4r2 on disaster recovery and it got me thinking about the word hero and about the “heroes” in the networking industry today.
One of the things that stuck out was “watch for early signs” and it got me thinking on how many customers miss this basic rule in disaster recovery. Too often in the networking world I talk to customers about the value of network management and there is inevitably a CLI jockey in the room who spouts some variation of the comment “a GUIs not going to help me when everything is burning around me! I need the cli”.
Now I don’t actually disagree with him in principal. Often when you are in the nuclear heat that is the center of a network meltdown, it is only a calm zen-inspired focus and mad CLI skills that are going to get you through the situation with no more that some singed hair. But it really struck me that it actually appeared that he WANTED the network to burn so he could ride in on his white horse and save the day. I’m not sure if it’s a general need for attention, disdain for the business he works for, or just the adrenaline rush he gets from fighting a core meltdown. Even worse than that, it REALLY struck me as odd that his manager usually supports him!
I grew up in a cisco world like most of the current generation of network administrators with a severe lack of good network management tools. But somewhere along the line I decided that I would rather avoid the fire and spend time with my family and friends. I would like to think the CCIE still means that i’m capable of debugging with the cool kids when the need arises, but to be honest I don’t need the attention.
I would much rather let my management station receive the trap, send me an e-mail letting me know one of the power supplies on my core switch is going to fail, call support and get the replacement part ordered, received, and replaced before there is any service impacting outage.
The value of a structured process driven approach to running your network, combined with strict operational discipline, and the right tools can make all the difference. Do you want to be the hero? or are you would you rather be the “3 o clock and alll is wellll” guy?
Now please don’t misunderstand me; i’m with everyone else who applauds the skills of the the hero who is able to jump in the burning building and perform a daring rescue, but I’m sure we can all agree we would much rather the fire was never allowed to get out of control in the first place.
These days the only fires I want are the ones involving my two sons and a bag of marshmallows.