I am going to go in a bit of a different direction with this post, however, I am hoping you will enjoy it to learn about some new, terrific tech bloggers and see some cool pictures if computer history.  Besides going to shows like Cisco Live or VMWorld, I don’t get much opportunity to travel somewhere to meet face to face with other network engineers.  I talk with many of your on the phone and we converse via thwack, however, I was given the opportunity to come and present to a great set of industry tech bloggers here in San Jose and talk to them about SolarWinds and networking in general.


The event is called Tech Field Day and consists of a bunch of companies like us coming to talk with these guys and gals and both educating them further on what you do, but also get their raw, open and honest feedback.  Some of the guys and gals you may already know from reading their blogs or subscribing to their twitter feed.


Ivan gives a great write up of his initial impressions of the event in general, but here is what he had to say about us:


Solarwinds did a great job adapting to our knowledge level (quote from their head geek: “It’s so nice to finally get such an audience”). It looks like they’re slowly evolving their element manager product into the right directions (configuration management and auditing, automated provisioning, large-scale deployments, distributed system ...).


You can also watch a video from our Head Geek Josh talking about the event and his thoughts here.


I had some terrific conversations with Terry and Ivan regarding virtual switches and the challenges these pose to network engineers.  It resides on an ESX server and is setup and installed automatically by the ESX install.  How does the network engineer gain visibility into this switch?  Whose problem is it now?


I was able to further validate some of our thoughts here at SolarWinds regarding some ideas we have, but also got some new ones. 


Plus I was able to be graced by greatness.  Without naming names, I met the guy who came up with up arrow key in Cisco IOS.  I think we all owe him a great deal of gratitude.  I am sure most know what this does, but just in case, by pressing the up arrow on your keyboard in your telnet/ssh session it will recall your last sets of commands so you don’t have to retype them again.  A true time saver!! 


At the end of the day we went to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and got to see some old school computer and networking history, including the Babbage Engine, which they even fired up and showed us how it worked.  For those not familiar with this awesome machine, you can read more here and see a picture of it below.


2010-09-16 19.04.16


It may be hard to see the vendor icon on this next picture, but for those who have seen the original Cisco logo, this is one of the first Cisco boxes, the AGS Router


 2010-09-16 20.00.47


Some of you folks who have been in the networking game for awhile may recognize this next picture.  This is an Ethernet cable with two Isolan transceivers.


2010-09-16 20.01.27


This picture may not look all that impressive at first glance, but look at my shadow in the platter to help give you a better indicator of the size of it.  There are actually two hard drive platters here to help give you an understanding of how far we have come.  The large one is 1974 10MB ILLIAC IV platter and in the middle is a 1GB IBM microdrive.  To give you a better mental visual of the difference from the two, the 1GB IBM microdrive is smaller by a factor of roughly 40,000.


  2010-09-16 20.02.13    


I wanted to share this experience with everyone cause pretty awesome to how far we have come technologically.  It is easy to forget about the origins of computing and networking and take for granted wireless networks and USB drives with gig’s of data etc.