Business virtualisation

The complex weave of the modern IT world

Cisco certificationsCisco, as you may know, has introduced a new set of professional technical certifications based around the data centre. This is a natural move. Cisco already has Voice, Security, Routing and Switching and Design certification streams and the Data Centre is a big part of its future.

At Timico we use a Cisco data centre fabric with UCS blades running on top of EMC storage. On that infrastructure we run VMware. We also run Microsoft applications, use Cisco at the Edge of the network and Juniper in the core. Most of our ISP server estate is Linux based.

That’s an exciting technology mix. It’s also a lot of areas of specialisation and not only are our engineers often doing training courses but we are always on the lookout for specific talent, especially in the virtualisation world.

Where is this conversation leading. I guess I’m concluding that it will be increasingly the case that our customers will not have the right mix of skills in these technology areas to be able to effectively develop solutions for their own business. The role of an IT department, apart from servicing their own stakeholders, will be more and more strategic focusing on the selection management of their supplier partners.

Cloud Engineer engineering

Meet Stuart Clark CCNA CCNA (security) CCNP CCIP (service provider) JNCIA #Timico

Stuart Clark - Timico 3rd line engineer gets first Juniper certification

Meet Stuart Clark CCNA, CCNA (security), CCNP, CCIP (service provider), JNCIA and Timico 3rd line engineer extraordinaire. Stuart is one of the tough guys that gets going when the going gets tough 🙂 He is clearly camera struck in the photo but don’t let that put you off – not everybody is a media hussy 🙂

Stuart is into continuous self improvement – as you can see from the list of engineering qualifications he has started to amass. The entry level Juniper cert is his latest examination success and  just a starter for ten in the Junos world. His Cisco certs will have made it relatively easy – more a question of adjusting to how Juniper does things versus Cisco rather than a whole new world to pick up.

Congrats to Stuart for his latest exam pass and actually for being a general good bloke who shows an interest.

Question for you. Stuart didn’t start life as an engineer. His first career was totally different. A fine bottle of La Grille, Sauvignon Blanc 2010 by Franck Chatelain1 goes to the first person who can guess what that first career was – sorry no Timico staff or family members allowed to enter this one 🙂

1 happened to have one in my desk drawer – as you do.

Engineer engineering

How can you make exams exciting?!

I never thought I would get excited by the prospect of an exam. I am at the moment though but I have to confess it is not me taking the exams. When my 16 year old took his GCSEs last summer I think I was more nervous than he was.

This time my nerves are rock steady as 12 Timico engineers are lining up to sit their Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNAs) exams. It is exciting because I can see the guys’ knowledge and skillset  improving almost daily as they put in the effort to prepare for the exams.

At the end of it all I’m hoping that we will end up with 12 more members of staff with their foot on the first rung of the professional engineering career ladder. I’m determined to be able to take regular afternoons off to play golf and this is all part of the process of getting  me there. I don’t expect these engineers to have time to play any golf though.

PS congratulations to Mark Chennell of Timico subsidiary KeConnect who passed his CCNA last week. He is a good guy.

PPS good luck to the others.

Engineer engineering

CCNA Bootcamp

A good way to finish the week. I discussed the importance of training last week. Well this week the lucky members of the team did the CCNA Bootcamp training provided by Global Knowledge. I have to say the quality of the training was top notch and we couldn’t have asked for a better tutor in Brad Bradeepan. 

It wasn’t an easy ride. We are talking 8.30 am to around 7pm most days with studying to do back in their rooms afterwards and only 30 minutes break for lunch. Today, Friday they finished at 4pm. I’m a generous boss 🙂 .

I was impressed with the amount of information that they had to cover in the week. There was also a lot of subnet theory that had to be worked out manually. In the real world nowadays this is done by machines but it is a good discipline to have to properly understand the basics of networking. The Cisco CCNA, although it is the first step on the Cisco networking ladder, is not intended to be an easy qualification to achieve.

The exams now have to be taken before 14th February and there will be a lot of revision, and indeed hands on practice, to be done between now and then. We have a lab set up in each Timico Group location to help with this.

Photo below is the team with trainer Brad in the middle and me to his right.


This next photo shows them hard at work.


Business engineering

Train your way out of a recession

I forget whether the UK is officially in an economic recession yet. There is so much talk in the news that it is difficult to see the wood from the trees. What is true is that recession or not the market in which we operate is fast moving and whilst we are currently getting bombarded with hard luck stories this must be looked upon as a real opportunity.

This is why next week one third of Timico’s engineering resource will be going on training courses. A dozen of them will be at it for five full days on a Cisco bootcamp held at Timico’s HQ in Newark. Others will be attending SMB specialisation courses. 

This is a serious investment which we are making early in the year to get the biggest bang for our bucks in 2009. Moreover it is a statement of intent.

It tells our staff that we believe in them enough to invest in their future. It tells our technology partners that we are a business worth investing their time into and finally, it sends out a signal to our customers and potential customers that our workforce is prepared in the best way possible to serve their needs.

I can’t forecast what is going to happen in 2009 but I can say that we are planning to succeed.