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Three years ago, we compiled our initial list of 20 useful sites for Cisco practitioners, partisans and pundits. Now we're adding to that list with 15 more sites we found useful for the Cisco masses. The sites cover a range of Cisco topics – from studying and preparing for certification, to operating a Cisco network in an enterprise or service provider environment, to keeping up with security tips and techniques, to just being entertained by the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the Cisco world. These sites are stocked with content written by your peers inside and outside of Cisco...and here at Network World. We've included a reminder of the resources and blogs of Cisco Subnet and our own bloggers at the end of our list.
Etherealmind is the brainchild of Greg Ferro, Cisco CCIE #6920, who describes himself as the "Human Infrastructure for Cisco and Data
Networking." Ferro works as a freelance network architect and senior engineer and designer mostly in the UK. His site features
an array of opinions, outbursts, insight and experience. He has over 20 years in IT, more than 12 in networking and has spent
time at large and small financial institutions, service providers, resellers and dot-coms. His current areas of focus are
data center, security and application networking technologies.
Cisco customers, engineers, marketers and enthusiasts can never get enough security information. Risky.biz first "aired" in February 2007. Since then, the site has published over 170 episodes and developed a following among high-level security professionals. In addition to the weekly podcast, the site has recorded security presentations, podcast interviews and job listings. There are also forums for discussion with security peers on the most recent security-related topics, issues and challenges.
Tekcert, authored by Jeremy Cioara, CCIE, Trainer and "really cool guy," according to the blog's Facebook page, used to be Cioara's "Cisco Blog: the world of all things Cisco". Tekcert has broadened beyond that to become a site that blogs about technology, business and certifications. The site, thanks to Cioara, still has considerable amounts of content on networking and Cisco. But more broadly, Tekcert focuses on "helping people further their knowledge and education about technology."
News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters. That's the Slashdot tagline and for most readers, it's accurate. Slashdot has a mix of news, technology, oddities, irreverence and just plain off-the-wall stuff that appeals to the tech savvy. A quick search on Cisco yields submissions and comments on Cisco's recent introduction of its SocialMiner "stalking" software; to the introduction of the 322Tbps CRS-3 router. The submissions might have a specific take on a Cisco, or any other, announcement; and then the comments increase the entertainment quotient of the submission, if not the insight into it. So Slashdot has the potential to inform, educate and entertain those with an interest in technology in general, as well as Cisco.
Cisco's own blogs on Cisco.com provide the company with the opportunity to expand on an announcement, strategy, product line or deployment scenario for customers looking to harness the latest, or legacy, Cisco technology. Strategic imperatives for the company, like video, collaboration and data center/virtualization, are highlighted in topic-specific blogs; and then there are more general Cisco interest sites, like The Platform, Social Media, Web Experience, etc. Perhaps the most infotaining is Cisco Interaction Network, which includes TechWise TV, a site we highlighted in the "20 useful" list two years ago that features folk hero Jimmy Ray Purser and his unique insights into Cisco products, deployments and strategies.
Cisco-nsp is an e-mail reflector for users of Cisco gear mostly in enterprises, but with some service provider contributions as well. Topics are very technical and participants usually offer up a deployment challenge or issue for review, followed by tips, tricks, sympathies and snarky comments on how to rectify it or deal with it. This is a site for true practitioners of Cisco networking, and can be very valuable to those with new or decades-old Cisco implementations.
Like Cisco-nsp, the NANOG e-mail reflector serves the same purpose, but for service providers. Have a site that's unreachable? You might find the symptoms and cause here first. Have a problem with route flapping or BGP update suppression? Find workarounds here. Want a review of a new router or switch, or the best to implement for 10G? Find it here. It's a not a Cisco-specific site by any means but a useful running commentary of issues service providers and network operators grapple with every day, whether they're using Cisco routers and switches or not.
CertGuard performs a search and verification of certification "braindump" sites – those that offer quick and easy, and cheap, certification exams and aids, such as those for Cisco CCIE and CCNA, that may lack authenticity. These sites can put the user's certification at risk. CertGuard assesses these sites and offers suggestion on how to get the best bang for your buck without risking your certification. CertGuard says it has over 1,900 brain dump websites and roughly 500 File Sharing websites listed in its database which are freely distributing copyrighted materials without the written permission of the owners of the material. The site also tracks connections or similarities between certification related websites which have previously been undiscovered, and has flagged them for future reference. With this data, CertGuard is focused on assisting candidates in making the correct choice in certification sites, and to stop proxy test takers and unethical brain dump websites.
Like social media and Web 2.0, consumer electronics is also a key new growth endeavor for Cisco. Nowhere is that more evident than the company's $550 million purchase of Pure Digital and its pocket-sized Flip videocam – which followed earlier acquisitions of wireless SoHo router maker Linksys and cable set-top box pusher Scientific-Atlanta. Engadget usually has the scoop on some new models of Flip coming down the pike, as well as some of the first coverage of other Cisco and top name consumer gear hitting the market. Engadget also comments on cool and missing features from consumer gear, and forecasts user trends and buying behaviors based on what's currently hot and not.
As the title implies, Jaluri aggregates blogs on Cisco and network issues in general to provide a one-stop shop for Cisco- and network-related topics, opinions and technical guidance. In Jaluri's own opinion, it's aggregating "some of the best" network and Cisco blogs, some of which already appear in this list and in the one we did three years ago. Several appear to be targeted at CCIE candidates and undoubtedly many more are authored by CCIEs. There's even one on Juniper…
Burning With The Bush
Speaking of which, who at Cisco would not want to keep up on its archrival in routing? Burning With The Bush blogs on All Things Juniper, from core and edge routing to its moves into new markets, such as data center/cloud computing, mobile Internet and wireless LANs. BWTB also provides tip and tricks on configuring and operating Juniper routers and other JUNOS-based platforms. Burning With The Bush collects info from various sources and many authors, crawling through the Web looking for and linking to relevant Juniper and JUNOS-related posts. The site also has authors that write original content. Its founder, Chris Grundemann, is a certified JUNOS engineer -- JNCIE #449 – author of a book on IPv6, founding chair of the Colorado chapter of the Internet Society, and participates in Internet governing institutions. And BWTB is independent – the blog is not affiliated with nor endorsed by Juniper.
Qsolved provides quick answers to Cisco technical support questions. The site describes itself as a "community powered, pay to play marketplace" where experts field and respond to questions from Cisco users. Yes, some of Qsolved's services may require payment of fees, according to the site's terms and conditions. But in return you get to download or copy the content from these experts, and other items displayed on the site, provided they are for personal use only and do not infringe on the site's copyright protection. But a perusal of the Qsolved blog shows there's some serious stuff going on in there so it might be worth a look.
Looking for unbiased reviews on Cisco Linksys routers, Aironet access points or Unified Computing System blade servers? Tom's Hardware has been published by Bestofmedia Group since 1996. Bestofmedia claims it was one of the first sites to review computer components. The site is intended to provide independent, unbiased technology news, articles, reviews and reports to IT professionals, purchasers, tech enthusiasts and influencers. It includes comparison charts and benchmark testing on topics such as high-performance PCs, building your own PC, security, business computing and storage.
This is the site for social media news, reviews, opinion and views. Mashable covers the whole Web 2.0 wave, a phenomenon close to Cisco's, and its customer's, heart. For Cisco enthusiasts, Mashable covers significant Cisco announcements – like the recent unveiling of the Cius tablet, and the Videoscape Internet TV platform – and offers opinions and commentary on those relevant to social media and Web 2.0. Mashable, which was founded in 2005, is also a model for profitable and influential blogging – the site has more than 30 million monthly page views from an audience that includes early social media adopters, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, corporations, journalists, bloggers, and advertising and marketing firms. Mashable claims to have also harnessed Twitter and Facebook as conduits into its site, helping to drive traffic and page view metrics.
Friday Traffic Report
Another site for tips and tricks on profiting from social media and Web 2.0 technologies – blogs, wikis and the like – is Friday Traffic Report. Cisco is a huge proponent of businesses adopting social media and Web 2.0 technologies to help market and make money on their product or service. The Friday Traffic Report is a blog dedicated to assist in blog marketing and money making. The site is authored by Jack Humphrey, who's been at this online thing since 1991. Humphrey claims to have generated billions of site visitors for himself and his online marketing clients over the past decade. He's also into big hair bands, drums, wilderness survival (including cyberwilderness, no doubt), disarming wit and Vegas. Be prepared to be entertained while you learn online marketing tips and tricks. There are also job listings for bloggers, social media practitioners and other techies, including 1,064 at Cisco when we last checked…
Our own Cisco Subnet brings a wealth of knowledge, opinion and event coverage under one blog umbrella. Here's a sampling of what you'll find there:
News: Our editors scour the Web every day for Cisco and networking-related news. You can subscribe to our daily news blog, Network World Cisco Alert, here.
Security Watch: We report on Cisco security advisories and security responses as soon as they're issued.
Bloggers: We have a stable of bloggers who are experts in their fields:
Wendell Odom's Cisco Cert Zone: Wendell Odom, CCIE No, 1624, splits time between writing books for Cisco Press and teaching classes for Skyline ATS. His books include titles on QoS, CCIE R/S, as well as several titles related to CCNA certification, including his newest book Official Exam Certification Library (CCNA Exam 640-802).
Michael Morris: From the field: Morris is a Technical Team Lead and Network Architect at a $3 billion high-tech company. His background is in enterprise WANs working with telcos, and developing large-scale routing designs.
Jeff Doyle on IP Routing: Jeff is president of Jeff Doyle and Associates, an IP networking consultancy, and author of Routing TCP/IP, Volumes I and II. Read the transcript of our live online text chat with Jeff entitled "IPv6: Will matter to the enterprise in five years."
Jamey Heary: Cisco security expert: Jamey Heary, CCIE No. 7680, is a security consulting systems engineer at Cisco. Jamey is the author of Cisco NAC Appliance: Enforcing Host Security with Clean Access.
Larry Chaffin: Putting realism into your network: Larry Chaffin, Ph.D, is the CEO/chairman and founder of Pluto Networks a consulting company specializing in VoIP, WLAN and security. He is also author of a number of books including Managing Cisco Secure Networks, Skype Me, Practical VOIP Security, and Configuring Check Point NGX VPN-1/Firewall-1.
John Oltsik: Network Nuggets and Security Snippets: Jon Oltsik is a principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group responsible for the networking and security services at ESG. Jon previously served as VP of Marketing & Strategy at GiantLoop Network where he managed all marketing activities and defined the company's strategic vision, and a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research where he covered a wide range of infrastructure and IT topics.
Chris Jackson: Net Defense: Chris Jackson, CCIE (Security, Routing, Switching), CISA, CISSP, ITIL, SANS, Technical Solutions Architect in the Cisco Architectures and Verticals Partner Organization, has focused for the past six years on developing security practices with the Cisco partner community. During a 15-year career in internetworking, he has built secure networks that map to strong security policies for organizations, including UPS, GE, and Sprint.
Mike Sheldon: Network Resolutions: Mike is CEO of Network Hardware Resale, one of the largest secondary market resellers of Cisco equipment. Mike joined NHR in sales in 2001 and was named CEO in 2005, and in that time NHR has grown from $25 million to over $200 million in revenue.
Erik Parker: No Strings Attached: Erik is a wireless network engineer for a Fortune 500 e-commerce company based in the United States, and was previously a wireless engineer at Toyota and consulting network engineer for International Network Services (Now BT-INS). His primary focus is on wireless infrastructure, 802.11 protocol analysis, RF, and mobility, and he has maintained his CISSP designation since 2002.
Jimmy Ray Purser: Networking Geek to Geek: Jimmy Ray is the technical co-host for Cisco's TechWise and BizWise TV, and also conducts advanced training for engineers across North America and Europe. He is an active member in the IEEE and the Ethernet Alliance and has designed, installed and tested numerous networks for Fortune 500 companies, the United States military and other institutions worldwide. He holds three U.S. patents for Ethernet security algorithms with two others pending.
Scott Hogg: Core Networking and Security: Scott is the Director of Advanced Technology Services for Global Technology Resources, Inc. (GTRI), a network engineering, consulting and training firm. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Colorado State University, a M.S. in Telecommunications from the University of Colorado, along with his CCIE (#5133) and CISSP (#4610). Scott is the author of the Cisco Press book IPv6 Security and is currently the chair of the Rocky Mountain IPv6 Task Force.
Douglas Gourlay: Default Gateway: Doug is vice president of marketing at data center switch vendor Arista Networks. Prior to joining Arista in 2009, Doug was the vice president of Cisco's Data Center Solutions Group, where he was responsible for Cisco's global marketing strategy for data center, virtualization, and cloud computing. Doug has filed or holds more than 20 patents in networking technologies and directed product management for Cisco's Nexus and Catalyst 6500 switching lines.
Avner Izhar: Cisco Knowledge Share with Avner Izhar: Avner is a Consulting System Engineer for World Wide Technology and has 14 years in the networking industry. He holds a CCIE in Voice (#15999), CCSI (#31623), CCVP and others. He is also the author of two CCIE voice training related books: CCIE Voice Technology Workbook and CCIE Voice written study guide.
Jim Duffy: The Cisco Connection: Yours truly has been covering Cisco for 17 years and has 25 years of experience in covering the computer networking industry as a journalist – 20 of which have been at Network World. I started blogging about two years ago on matters pertaining to Cisco -- its products, markets, competitors, strategies, etc. My content comes from several sources: Cisco, its partners, its competitors, my own coverage, analyst reports, other blogs and the like. I hope you find it informative and useful!