Lindsay Hill network control, visibility, management

Fixed-Price, or T&M?

Recently I posted about Rewarding Effort vs Results, how different contract structures can have different outcomes. This post covers Time & Materials vs Fixed-Price a little more, looking at pros & cons, and where each one is better suited.

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Andrisoft Wanguard: Cost-Effective Network Visibility

Andrisoft Wansight and Wanguard are tools for network traffic monitoring, visibility, anomaly detection and response. I’ve used them, and think that they do a good job, for a reasonable price.

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Non-Functional Requirements

I’m currently reading and enjoying “The Practice of Cloud System Administration.” It doesn’t go into great depth in any one area, but it covers a range of design patterns and implementation considerations for large-scale systems. It works for two audiences: A primer for junior engineers who need a broad overview, or as a reference for more experienced engineers. It doesn’t cover all the implementation specifics, nor should it: it would date very quickly if it tried.

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Keep an Open Mind

We all know that IT changes rapidly, but we still don’t always accept what that means. Companies and technologies change over time, and good engineers recognise this. Poor engineers cling to past beliefs, refusing to accept change. Try to keep an open mind, and periodically re-evaluate your opinions.

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Rewarding Effort vs Results

Sometimes we confuse effort with outcome. We think that hours spent are more important than outcomes achieved. Or we unintentionally create a system where effort is rewarded, rather than outcomes.

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APIs Alone Aren't Enough

Yes, we know: Your product has an API. Yawn. Sorry for not getting excited. That’s just table stakes now. What I’m interested in is the pre-written integrations and code you have that does useful things with that API.

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Increased MTTR is Good?

In Episode 167 of The Cloudcast - “Bringing Advanced Analytics to DevOps”, Dave Hayes brings up an interesting point about Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR). At about 8:30 in, he states:

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Using Firewalls for Policy Has Been a Disaster

Almost every SDN vendor today talks about policy, how they make it easy to express and enforce network policies. Cisco ACI, VMware NSX, Nuage Networks, OpenStack Congress, etc. This sounds fantastic. Who wouldn’t want a better, simpler way to get the network to apply the policies we want? But maybe it’s worth taking a look at how we manage policy today with firewalls, and why it doesn’t work.

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Root Cause Analysis - It's Not Perfect

Automated Root Cause Analysis promises a lot. High-end network monitoring systems promise that they can automatically isolate network problems, and only tell you about the thing that needs fixing. This sounds very enticing. Who wants a flood of alarms, when we could get just one alarm, telling us what we need to fix? But it’s not perfect, and you do need to pay attention to it.

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BYOD: Just another money-grab?

BYOD policies sound alluring. No more forced use of a crappy old corporate laptop - “hey look, we’ll let you choose whatever you want!” But I think it is a way to shift the cost burden over to employees. It will be done slowly, over several years, and we’ll welcome it. But it will lead to employees carrying more costs. I guess we should be careful with what we wish for.

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