ACE Program Perspective – Transcript

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John Furrier of theCube talks with Aviatrix Certified Engineers (ACE) to get their perspectives on the value of multi-cloud network certifications in the cloud era.

>> Announcer: From Santa Clara, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s theCube ,covering Altitude 2020, brought to you by Aviatrix. (upbeat music)

>> The next panel is the AVH certified engineers, also known as ACEs. This is the folks that are certified, they’re engineering, they’re building these new solutions. Please welcome Toby Foss from Informatica, Stacey Lanier from Teradata, and Jennifer Reed with Viqtor Davis to the stage. (upbeat music) (audience cheering) (panelists exchanging pleasantries)

>> You got to show up. Where’s your jacket Toby? (laughing) You get it done. I was just going to rib you guys and say, where’s your jackets, and Jen’s got the jacket on. Okay, good.

>> Love the Aviatrix, ACEs Pilot gear there above the Clouds. Going to new heights.

>> That’s right.

>> So guys Aviatrix aces, I love the name, think it’s great, certified. This is all about getting things engineered. So there’s a level of certification, I want to get into that. But first take us through the day in the life of an ACE, and just to point out, Stacy is a squad leader. So he’s, he’s like a–

>> Squadron Leader. >> Squadron Leader.

>> Yeah.

>> Squadron Leader, so he’s got a bunch of ACEs underneath him, but share your perspective a day in the Life. Jennifer, we’ll start with you.

>> Sure, so I have actually a whole team that works for me both in the North America, both in the US and in Mexico. So I’m eagerly working to get them certified as well, so I can become a squad leader myself. But it’s important because one of the critical gaps that we’ve found is people having the networking background because you graduate from college, and you have a lot of computer science background, you can program you’ve got Python, but networking in packets they just don’t get. So, just taking them through all the processes that it’s really necessary to understand when you’re troubleshooting is really critical. Because you’re going to get an issue where you need to figure out where exactly is that happening on the network, Is my issue just in the VPCs?

Is it on the instance side is a security group, or is it going on prem? This is something actually embedded within Amazon itself? I mean, I troubleshot an issue for about six months going back and forth with Amazon, and it was the VGW VPN. Because they were auto scaling on two sides, and we ended up having to pull out the Cisco’s, and put in Aviatrix so I could just say, ” okay, it’s fixed,” and actually helped the application teams get to that and get it solved. But I’m taking a lot of junior people and getting them through that certification process, so they can understand and see the network, the way I see the network. I mean, look, I’ve been doing this for 25 years when I got out. When I went in the Marine Corps, that’s what I did, and coming out, the network is still the network. But people don’t get the same training they got in the 90s.

>> Was just so easy, just write some software, and they were, takes care of itself.
I know, it’s pixie dust.

>> I’ll come back to that, I want to come back to that, the problem solved with Amazon, but Toby.

>> I think the only thing I have to add to that is that it’s always the network’s fault. As long as I’ve been in networking, it’s always been the network’s fault. I’m even to this day, it’s still the network’s fault, and part of being a network guy is that you need to prove when it is and when it’s not your fault. That means you need to know a little bit about 100 different things, to make that work.

>> Now you got a full stack DevOps, you got to know a lot more times another hundred.

>> Toby: And the times are changing, yeah.

>> This year the Squadron Leader and get that right. What is the Squadron Leader firstly? Describe what it is.

>> I think is probably just leading on the network components of it. But I think, from my perspective, when to think about what you asked them was, it’s about no issues and no escalations. So of my day is like that, I’m happy to be a squadron leader.

>> That is a good outcome, that’s a good day.

>> Yeah, sure, it is.

>> Is there good days? You said you had a good day with Amazon? Jennifer, you mentioned the Amazon, and this brings up a good point, when you have these new waves come in, you have a lot of new things, new use cases. A lot of the finger pointing it’s that guy’s problem , that girl’s problems, so how do you solve that, and how do you get the Young Guns up to speed? Is there training, is it this where the certification comes in?

>> This is where the certifications really going to come in. I know when we got together at Reinvent, one of the questions that we had with Steve and the team was, what should our certification look like? Should we just be teaching about what AVH troubleshooting brings to bear, but what should that be like? I think Toby and I were like, No, no, no, no. That’s going a little too high, we need to get really low because the better someone can get at actually understanding what’s actually happening in the network, and where to actually troubleshoot the problem, how to step back each of those processes. Because without that, it’s just a big black box, and they don’t know. Because everything is abstracted, in Amazon and in Azure and in Google, is abstracted, and they have these virtual gateways, they have VPNs, that you just don’t have the logs on, is you just don’t know.

So then what tools can you put in front of them of where they can look? Because there are full logs. Well, as long as they turned on the flow logs when they built it, and there’s like, each one of those little things that well, if they’d had decided to do that, when they built it, it’s there. But if you can come in later to really supplement that with training to actual troubleshoot, and do a packet capture here, as it’s going through, then teaching them how to read that even.

>> Yeah, Toby, we were talking before we came on up on stage about your career, you’ve been networking all your time, and then, you’re now mentoring a lot of younger people. How is that going? Because the people who come in fresh they don’t have all the old war stories, like they don’t talk about it, There’s never for, I walk in bare feet in the snow when I was your age, I mean, it’s so easy now, right, they say. What’s your take on how you train the young People.

>> So I’ve noticed two things. One is that they are up to speed a lot faster in generalities of networking. They can tell you what a network is in high school level now, where I didn’t learn that til midway through my career, and they’re learning it faster, but they don’t necessarily understand why it’s that way here. Everybody thinks that it’s always slash 24 for a subnet, and they don’t understand why you can break it down smaller, why it’s really necessary. So the ramp up speed is much faster for these guys that are coming in. But they don’t understand why and they need some of that background knowledge to see where it’s coming from, and why is it important, and that’s old guys, that’s where we thrive.

>> Jennifer, you mentioned you got in from the Marines, it helps, but when you got into networking, what was it like then and compare it now? Because most like we heard earlier static versus dynamic Don’t be static is like that. You just set the network, you got a perimeter.

>> Yeah, no, there was no such thing. So back in the day, I mean, we had Banyan vines for email, and we had token ring, and I had to set up token ring networks and figure out why that didn’t work. Because how many of things were actually sharing it. But then actually just cutting fiber and running fiber cables and dropping them over shelters to plug them in and all crap, they swung it too hard and shattered it and now I got to figure eight Polish this thing and actually should like to see if it works. I mean, that was the network , current cat five cables to run an Ethernet, and then from that I just said, network switches, dumb switches, like those were the most common ones you had. Then actually configuring routers and logging into a Cisco router and actually knowing how to configure that.

It was funny because I had gone all the way up, I was the software product manager for a while. So I’ve gone all the way up the stack, and then two and a half, three years ago, I came across to work with Entity group that became Viqtor Davis. But we went to help one of our customers Avis, and it was like, okay, so we need to fix the network. Okay, I haven’t done this in 20 years, but all right, let’s get to it. Because it really fundamentally does not change. It’s still the network. I mean, I’ve had people tell me, Well, when we go to containers, we will not have to worry about the network. And I’m like, yeah, you don’t I do.

>> And that’s within programmability is a really interesting, so I think this brings up the certification. What are some of the new things that people should be aware of that come in with the Aviatrix A certification? What are some of the highlights? Can you guys share some of the highlights around the certifications?

>> I think some of the importance is that it doesn’t need to be vendor specific for network generality or basic networking knowledge, and instead of learning how Cisco does something, or how Palo Alto does something, We need to understand how and why it works as a basic model, and then understand how each vendor has gone about that problem and solved it in a general. That’s true in multi-cloud as well. You can’t learn how Cloud networking works without understanding how AWS and Azure and GCP are all slightly the same but slightly different, and some things work and some things don’t. I think that’s probably the number one take.

>> I think having a certification across Clouds is really valuable because we heard the global s eyes as you have a business issues. What does it mean to do that? Is it code, is it networking? Is it configurations of the Aviatrix? what is, he says,the certification but, what is it about the multiCloud that makes it multi networking and multi vendor?

>> The easy answer is yes,

>> Yes is all of us. >> All of us. So you got to be in general what’s good your hands and all You have to be. Right, it takes experience. Because every Cloud vendor has their own certification. Whether that’s SOPs and advanced networking and event security, or whatever it might be, yeah, they can take the test, but they have no idea how to figure out what’s wrong with that system. The same thing with any certification, but it’s really getting your hands in there, and actually having to troubleshoot the problems, actually work the problem, and calm down. It’s going to be okay. I mean, because I don’t know how many calls I’ve been on or even had aviators join me on. It’s like, okay, so everyone calm down, let’s figure out what’s happening. It’s like, we’ve looked at that screen three times, looking at it again is not going to solve that problem, right. But at the same time, remaining calm but knowing that it really is, I’m getting a packet from here to go over here, it’s not working, so what could be the problem? Actually stepping them through those scenarios, but that’s like, you only get that by having to do it, and seeing it, and going through it, and then you get it.

>> I have a question, so, I just see it. We started this program maybe six months ago, we’re seeing a huge amount of interest. I mean, we’re oversubscribed on all the training sessions. We’ve got people flying from around the country, even with Coronavirus, flying to go to Seattle to go to these events where we’re subscribed, is that–

>> A good emerging leader would put there.

>> Yeah. So, is that something that you see in your organizations? Are you recommending that to people? Do you see, I mean, I’m just, I guess I’m surprised or not surprised. But I’m really surprised by the demand if you would, of this MultiCloud network certification because there really isn’t anything like that. Is that something you guys can comment on? Or do you see the same things in your organization?

>> I see from my side, because we operate in a multiCloud environments that really helps and some beneficial for us.

>> Yeah, true. I think I would add that networking guys have always needed to use certifications to prove that they know what they know.

>> Right.

>> It’s not good enough to say, Yeah, I know IP addresses or I know how a network works. A couple little check marks or a little letters body
writing helps give you validity. So even in our team, we can say, Hey, we’re using these certifications to know that you know enough of the basics and enough of the understandings, that you have the tools necessary, right.

>> I guess my final question for you guys is, why an ACE certification is relevant, and then second part is share with the live stream folks who aren’t yet ACE certified or might want to jump in to be aviatrix certified engineers. Why is it important, so why is it relevant and why should someone want to be a certified aviatrix certified engineer?

>> I think my views a little different. I think certification comes from proving that you have the knowledge, not proving that you get a certification to get an army there backwards. So when you’ve got the training and the understanding and you use that to prove and you can, like, grow your certification list with it, versus studying for a test to get a certification and have no understanding of it.

>> Okay, so that who is the right person that look at this and say, I’m qualified, is it a network engineer, is it a DevOps person? What’s your view, a little certain.

>> I think Cloud is really the answer. It’s the, as we talked like the edges getting eroded, so is the network definition getting eroded? We’re getting more and more of some network, some DevOps, some security, lots and lots of security, because network is so involved in so many of them. That’s just the next progression.

>> Do you want to add something there?

>> I would say expand that to more automation engineers, because we have those now, so I probably extend it beyond this one.

>> Jennifer you want to?

>> Well, I think the training classes themselves are helpful, especially the entry level ones for people who may be “Cloud architects” but have never done anything in networking for them to understand why we need those things to really work, whether or not they go through to eventually get a certification is something different. But I really think fundamentally understanding how these things work, it makes them a better architect, makes them better application developer. But even more so as you deploy more of your applications into the Cloud, really getting an understanding, even from people who have traditionally done Onprem networking, they can understand how that’s going to work in Cloud.

>> Well, I know we’ve got just under 30 seconds left. I want to get one more question then just one more, for the folks watching that are maybe younger than, that don’t have that networking training. From your experiences each of you can answer why should they know about networking, what’s the benefit? What’s in it for them? Motivate them, share some insights of why they should go a little bit deeper in networking. Stacy, we’ll start with you, we’ll go then.

>> I’ll say it’s probably fundamental, right? If you want to deliver solutions, networking is the very top.

>> I would say if you, fundamental of an operating system running on a machine, how those machines start together is a fundamental changes, something that start from the base and work your way up.

>> Jennifer?

>> Right, well, I think it’s a challenge. Because you’ve come from top down, now you’re going to start looking from bottom up, and you want those different systems to cross-communicate, and say you’ve built something, and you’re overlapping IP space, note that that doesn’t happen. But how can I actually make that still operate without having to re IP re platform. Just like those challenges, like those younger developers or assistant engineers can really start to get their hands around and understand those complexities and bring that forward in their career.

>> They get to know then how the pipes are working, and they’re got to know it–it’s the plumbing.

>> That’s right,

>> They got to know how it works, and how to code it.

>> That’s right.

>> Awesome, thank you guys for great insights, ACE Certified Engineers, also known as ACEs, give them a round of applause. (audience clapping) (upbeat music)

>> Thank you, okay. All right, that concludes my portion. Thank you, Steve Thanks for having me.

>> John, thank you very much, that was fantastic. Everybody round of applause for John Furrier.

(audience applauding)

Yeah, so great event, great event. I’m not going to take long, we got lunch outside for the people here, just a couple of things. Just to call the action, right? So we saw the ACEs, for those of you out of the stream here, become a certified, right, it’s great for your career, it’s great for not knowledge, is fantastic. It’s not just an aviator’s thing, it’s going to teach you about Cloud networking, MultiCloud networking, with a little bit of aviatrix, exactly like the Cisco CCIE program was for IP network, that type of the thing, that’s number one. Second thing is learning, right? So there’s a link up there to join the community. Again like I started this, this is a community, this is the kickoff to this community, and it’s a movement.

So go to, starting a community of multi-cloud. So get get trained, learn. I’d say the next thing is we’re doing over 100 seminars across the United States and also starting into Europe soon, we will come out and we’ll actually spend a couple hours and talk about architecture, and talk about those beginning things. For those of you on the livestream in here as well, we’re coming to a city near you, go to one of those events, it’s a great way to network with other people that are in the industry, as well as to start alone and get on that MultiCloud journey. Then I’d say the last thing is, we haven’t talked a lot about what Aviatrix does here, and that’s intentional. We want you leaving with wanting to know more, and schedule, get with us and schedule a multi hour architecture workshop session.

So we sit down with customers, and we talk about where they’re at in that journey, and more importantly, where they’re going, and define that end state architecture from networking, computer, storage, everything. Everything you’ve heard today, everybody panel kept talking about architecture, talking about operations. Those are the types of things that we solve, we help you define that canonical architecture, that system architecture, that’s yours. So many of our customers, they have three by five, plotted lucid charts, architecture drawings, and it’s the customer name slash Aviatrix, network architecture, and they put it on their whiteboard. That’s the most valuable thing they get from us.

So this becomes their 20 year network architecture drawing that they don’t do anything without talking to us and look at that architecture.
That’s what we do in these multi hour workshop sessions with customers, and that’s super, super powerful. So if you’re interested, definitely call us, and let’s schedule that with our team. So anyway, I just want to thank everybody on the livestream. Thank everybody here. Hopefully it was it was very useful. I think it was, and Join the movement, and for those of you here, join us for lunch, and thank you very much.

(audience applauding) (upbeat music)