What is keeping you up?

It is 4am on a cold Friday at the tail end of May here in Brisbane, Australia. I am undecided whether if I should start working out, either to go out the street and do my run or jump into my elliptical or rowing machine to get that blood pumping.

Instead I am right in front of my laptop, typing away a blog. I was reflecting what specifically made me rise this early today despite sleep a little later than a usual. Leaving the office later due to a task that needs sorting within the evening.

I realized this is what some would say having a vision waking you up before your alarm clock. Yes most definitely I would get some blood pumping in a bit but I need to provide more time to get closer to an immediate goal.

That immediate goal is to reach that next level at work. Next level where its time to create and I get to create once I am familiar with the rules of the game.

I remember being on training and there was a team game where a team member would have to guess a hidden word. Where you are given a single clue and you guess the word. Everything to make a guess, your team mates would either respond with Yes, No, Maybe. The rules were simple.

Since I am familiar with the rules, I can be creative by saying “Is the first letter…A? B?” Spelling out each letter of the word until I had enough letters to complete the word.

Pretty much in work at the moment, a totally new environment. Where I am learning everyday and waiting for that point of familiarity, leading me to the next phase which is creativity.

And that’s what is keeping me up. Working hard will eventually lead me to working smarter…..

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Delan v2.0

I randomly decided to open my blog site and totally forgot I made a post from last month about designed for greatness. Writing reflections on certain things can truly be life changing and a good reminder of things.

I am now on my 3rd month in the new role. Still learning my way around and days were I tell myself it sucked. But that is completely ok as I have been in this situation so many times in the past. It always suck in the beginning, mistakes will be made, but that’s fine. It is just a sign there’s progress. The moment things becomes “as usual”, for me, I noticed I endanger myself of getting bored and starting to look for something else or challenging.

I just received an email from Janet, Narbik’s wife, informing me that there will be a Microniks bootcamp happening in Brisbane in October 2019. That is just unbelievable! I never thought that wouldn’t happened. Though I was hoping to do a bootcamp in 2020 while I give myself enough time to learn the ropes in the Collaboration space particularly Alcatel Lucent Enterprise. I am praying about it as the opportunity just presented itself in my own turf/city.

We are approaching mid-year and I could say it has been a year of sharpening for me. New role, company, salary cap, learning. Outside work I have intentionally allotted time to play music, heck, I am even contemplating to get some classes.

Speaking of classes, i just enrolled in my first martial arts class. I am taking up Battojutsu. It is amazing to be a student.

Designed for Greatness

Its Sunday and my typical morning would be to go for a quick walk/run, look after the garden and go to Church. Be home by lunch, the rest of the day would either be back to the garden if nothing out of the normal is happening and prepare whatever needs preparation for the beginning of the week.

One might argue, why would I be thinking of work on a Sunday? Which reminds me of another question I received another day about being content with my previous job whom I have left just have eight months of being employed and jumped into a Solutions Architect role.

Here’s my simple answer, my goal is I need to be a better version of myself 365 days after. I believe that if I want to live life to the fullest, to be happy and successful, I need to improve on my health, relationship, skills, finances etc. As good as what life seem to be now, in a year’s time it would all be obsolete. Pretty much like technology.

What has this got to do with preparing for the week ahead? By preparing ahead of time of the things I can do ahead of time, I am setting up myself for success. I decrease the chance of being reactive and be more pro-active with work and life. Like what I’ve previously learnt in cooking school, its all about the prep. Ideally the preparation for cooking a great dish takes longer than the execution of actually cooking it during service time.

Going back to the question of contentment. We should know by now, we are not designed to be content. I may not know your journey but I have an idea where I want to take mine. I have this urge to put myself in stretch moments and when opportunities arise to have them I go for it. I could be a Network Engineer until I retire or be happy managing a group of Network Engineer but I know I am not just designed that way.

We are all designed for greatness, to what extent is what I am trying to find out for myself every single day.

ALE AQPS Passed

Well this exam is not really something to brag about but its still a win. It is for the Alcatel-Lucent Qualified Presales, as you can tell it just say Qualified which is a pre-requisite to getting the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Presales Certfied (ACPS). Think of it as taking a CCNA exam where this is equivalent to ICND1.

As I am fairly new to the Alcatel-Lucent world though I’ve had some experience working with some PBX solutions from Cisco and delved into Asterisk (I have my own asterisk setup at phone with sip phones etc) but each vendor what their own proprietary technology. There’s a learning curve for me learning legacy technology.

So to pass the exam, you’d have to go through the ALE business portal and access the knowledge hub. From there access the online training material which on a good day, you can finish within a few hours. For me I had to go through it twice and within the web tutorials, it would give you a link to download more reading materials.

From the same portal, it will give you the link to take the test. Yes, this is not a PearsonVue controlled exam. It is roughly 40mins from memory. The exam itself reminded me of the Vmware VCA exam. Sure it can be open book but the questions, most of them weren’t covered in the online course itself. In saying that, it was probably covered in one of the documents you are asked to download and read.

I barely passed the exam, if it weren’t for some fundamentals that I’ve learned from Cisco I don’t think I would pass this exam.

Oh well on to the next exam and most likely would take my time reading through the downloadable printed materials.

Failing a Cert (ALE ACFE LAN)

This week I was in Sydney Australia for a week particularly at the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise headquarters. I was there to attend a course on their switch, wireless and management platform.

I have gone through training courses from the past from other vendors where what would usually be a 3-day course is compressed into a days course. Like this one, the switching course originally was a 5 day course compressed into a day while the wireless and management course a 3-day course jammed packed into one. Well in my case, the wireless course only for 4 hours as I had to fly back to Brisbane that afternoon and to duct traffic had to leave shortly after lunch and by-passed most of the labs.

The week course also included a certification exam which is the Alcatel-Lucent Field Engineer LAN (ACFE) which is their equivalent of Cisco’s CCNA RS. So imagine, for 3.5 days had to cram all these information about a certain vendor including their wireless technology and taking an exam after it.

I told myself, sure how hard can it be. I relied on my experience and fundamentals thinking that it would carry me through to another vendor certification under my belt. Well, in summary it was like the BCNE experience. I failed! Not miserably in comparible to the Brocade exam but I still failed. Passing score was 75% and I got 63%. Exam was 45mins and can be done from home. Yes it was open book, google all you want and what did I do? I winged it and hit the ground face first with a shameful story to write as a blog post.

I have emailed Alcatel in the hopes that I would be granted another attempt and this time would have to go through all 900+ pages of the material to make sure I don’t do it again. Definitely the guys at work would be asking me about it come Monday and dredding to tell all about it. Oh well…

Cloud your phone

I will admit I am not a collaboration technology person, I could probably know a few bits and pieces of CUCM or asterisk. In fact I have an Asterisk setup at home running on a Fedora server with 9 sip phones not to mention soft phones.

Let us just say that what forced me to learn these technology is through work and working for an MSP, in a way you are required to atleast know something about this technology.

I was just in a conversation with a client who runs a legacy Avaya setup. They have four sites, one of which is overseas all communicating via a VPN link back to their main office. Recently they have been plagued with so many issues namely, call drops, voice calls, you name it. From the network perspective we’ve done all test and everything looks fine to the point, there were other engineers to verify my findings.

A temporary solution is a reboot of the server hosting the PBX and it will get resolves and would be a matter of days before the issue would reoccur. I have suggested to the client to get in touch with their PBX provider to run packet captures on the PBX to further investigate but the provider slammed them with the “not part of contract”clause and insisted that since they have a legacy system to just opt for buying a new kit.

I asked if they have ever considered a cloud solution. To my surprise, the client even haven’t heard that a technology does exist. It is no different from having your servers from onprem to a cloud provider like Microsoft Azure or AWS. All the capabilities and feature you’d expect from an on-prem PBX and more.

Personally, what I really love about the cloud solution is the fact that all you need is an internet connection. I once worked for an ISP and I can bring my physical phone anywhere around the world and as long as I can power it up and provide an internet access. I can receive and accept calls as if I am in Australia. It truly is amazing.

It provides the flexibility as you could either use your existing handsets provided they support sip or maybe you can rent them out. No need to think about on-prem hardware or software upgrades as everything is done by the cloud provider. All you have to worry about is secure a decent internet connection and make sure that voice traffic is prioritised on your network.

To the cloud! AZ 100-101

If you are new to my website of randomness then welcome. Earlier this year I just passed the CCNP Tshoot exam renewing all my professional level certs for another three years while I prep again to what I call “season 2” of my pursuit of the CCIE number.

I have already taken the written, became a candidate, did a lab attempt and did not make it. Life happened just like what happens to most people aka “an excuse”, the remaining time has passed and I ran out of time. Hence, here we are again trekking the long climb from base camp.

Anyway, there’s this new shinny object that is catching my attention. It’s Microsoft’s Azure Associate Certification. It is a combination of 2 exams (AZ 100 & 101). Lately I have been working at work around Azure deployment so might as well go for a cert.

Here are my study materials:

CBT Nuggets Microsoft Azure – Implementing Infrastructure Solution (70-533)
Udemy Azure Administrator Infrastructure & Deployment (AZ 100) by Scott Duffy
Udemy Azure Integration & Security (AZ 101) by Scott Duffy
Microsoft Azure tenant account, here in Australia you get a $250AUD for 30days
Microsoft Self paced labs, I find labs here are way better compared to Cisco’s dCloud

In saying that, here we go…to the Cloud!