My story of making a network technology training menu for my project at GNS3(Introduction Level)

The other day, I wrote the story of passing AWS SAA in English, and I felt some peace of mind. In the meantime, I have been been verifying and releasing the training menu for my project as titled. I’m going to write the story this time. I have taken exams of AWS and got interested in virtual container technology, but actually my main field is Network technology.

Will Cover

  • Why prepared training menu
  • Why choose GNS3
  • The current situation
  • Preparation period
  • What I prepared
  • Point of making the menu
  • Future Goals

Will Not Cover

  • Actual configuration and equipment of my project
  • How to install GNS3 and how to prepare the environment
  • Other virtual Network tool than GNS3

Why prepared training menu

The three main reasons are as follows.

There are restrictions on the operation on the actual machine and there is no verification environment that can be used freely

The actual machine here refers to the equipment on which the service is placed. It is not possible to manipulate a node or interface down / up as it may or may affect the service.

I was transferred from the operation team of the same project to the building and designing team in July, and that I wanted to make a clear technological step-up path for the operation team

I was requested to prepare and get a skill to handle and respond to the needs of the project. Basically, the flow is clearly decided, and updated if necessary, so if you continue to solve problems, you will be able to work better. However, whether or not the actual problem occurs is “good or bad”, and those who have not experienced the problem are given a simulation. Since the simulation is given by those who have not solved the problems, it is good to be checked with a stricter eye than the actual production, but as mentioned above, actual machine operation cannot be performed in actual production, because it may affect our services. Because there is a difference in the experience value of the problems regardless of the motivation of the person, I wanted to create an environment where we can deepen their understanding of the technology and fill the difference.

As a part of my personal goal achievement / evaluation system

As I mentioned in my self-introduction and the previous AWS passing experience, I was originally inexperienced in the IT industry when I participated in the project and I could not work solo. As a result of memorizing on-site work over the course of the year and moving in various ways, I was able to evaluate that I can work by myself. As a next step, there is a requirement that “I can educate members” regardless of job type. In order to achieve this in an easy-to-understand manner, I started making the training menu together with the above reasons.

* Because it is related to the company’s own evaluation system, the exact wording is not to be used and it is purposely ambiguous

Why choose GNS3

There are two main reasons.

My predecessor mainly used GNS3 last year and created / performed the training menu

I have a better understanding of network technology, more than other operation team members joined in my project at the same period, while repeating through trial and error and solved the problems. Including things that I didn’t work out well and experts thought it would be fun to solve problems and questions while learning.

We have GNS3 images that are necessary for verification, and no additional resource purchase / construction is required.

The project has GNS3 images of multiple vendor devices, and conditions can be set flexibly to some extent.

The current situation

The current situation is as following:

  • Members of operational business experience vary. Some people have no engineering experience like me, others are older than me and have gained experience than other operators.
  • Out project handles various configurations and cases. It is unrealistic to do all the simulation from end to end.
  • We decide the priority of simulations we perform mainly by Urgency, Importance, the Extent of the Impact , Frequency, and so on.

Preparation period

・July 2019:

1.Moved to building and designing team

2.Tried to find a way of representing my idea into GNS3 menu in our project

・August 2019:

1.Created a level 1 (introduction ed.) GNS3,release.

2.Started to create Level 2.0 (Leader level promotion)

・First half of September 2019:

1.Since Level 2.0 take time to create / verify, there are many elements that can be deepened, and divided into two portions(Level 1.5 added).

・Second half of September 2019:

1.Level 1.5 (Network Building ed.) was verified and released.

2.Level 2.0 was planned to be released in the first half of October. (Actually it’s not released yet. Because Nobody cleared Level 1.5 yet, I prioritize their support)

What I prepared

  • Confirmation with my boss about the Contents and the Schedule
  • Created practice problems and built the Environment to execute them
  • Pre-released to team leaders and got feedback from them
  • Pre-announcement to team members

Content of the practice problem (Only major names; individual issues, fine details omitted)

<Level 1.0>

  • 1.Cisco router-host name setting
  • 2.Each Routers’ interface IP address setting for, interface enable / disable, and linking practice problem to actual cases
  • 3.Ping communication check (size / number / fragment option settings, etc.)
  • 4. Confirmation of Interface description setting / Interface state
  • 5. Various show commands collection (for software)
  • 6. Various show commands collection (for hardware)
  • 7 .Loopback address setting and ping communication confirmation

Level 1.0 image

<Level 1.5>

  • 1. ACL settings(Per IP / Port unit control for the access and ping confirmation)
  • 2.FHRP (First Hop Resolution settings (VRRP/ HSRP)
  • 3.eBGP settings (Timer settings, etc.)
  • 4.iBGP settings (With OSPF / redelivery / option settings, etc.)
  • 5.BGP policy analysis and setting

Level 1.5 image

<Level 2.0> Curriculum

  • 1.LAG settings
  • 2.Redistribution setting (For aggregated address)
  • 3.Routing information Analysis
  • 4.Various Routing Table Analysis
  • 5.VRF configuration

Point of making the menu

Concentration for useful things in practice

I didn’t want to prepare the practice problems for only using it in the qualification and special cases, so I narrowed down the themes and questions to “Technologies used in actual projects” and “Technologies that can be used universally / studied as of 2019”.

Not for making questions, just ask to select or solve

I made a part for asking questions to confirm the understanding of the operation team members for the problems / questions that have been solved by themselves and the background technology. I check general understanding level of our team members and provide feedback on points that I want our team members to understand deeply.

Not to make it compulsory

As a premise, it was not forced participation last year. However, there was a need for declarations and reasons for doing / not doing for our team members. This time, it was designed to be carried out by those who have the need / willingness by making it a “level-up condition”. If you get a feeling of being engulfed, it’s good if you just don’t do it. There is a tendency to come out. I think this is a particularly important part. We will keep an eye on future operations.

Future Goals

Level 2.0 creation / verification

Level 2.0 issues have not yet been well tested, so I am defining the problem requirements. Once the requirements are defined, we will conduct our own verification and release it after checking with my superior.

Questions in a multi-vendor environment

This time, we gave priority to being able to start easily and I set the environment only for Cisco equipment. However, we are planning to make other vendor equipment available or make a main configuration with them.

Creation of simulation menus based on operation in a virtual environment

Operation team simulation is interface omitted because operations such as BGP shutdown are not possible on actual machines, but they can be tested without problems in virtual environments, so development of such menus I want to be easily steam-lined.

Nurture Contributors and Maintainers

I am planning and executing regular menu creation based on last year’s measures as a hint, but this is also not personal and I want to be part of business improvement activities, I think.

We want to develop people who create menus and perform verification / check and put them into the workflow. I would like to take workflow improvement activities one step further, with a view to future automation.

I think that the details of the menu can be disclosed if there is a need, but I thought that it was necessary to confirm / adjust it separately, so I refrained from doing so this time.

See you.

Bye now !!

Yoshiki Fujiwara



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Yoshiki Fujiwara

・Cloud Solutions Architect - AWS@NetApp in Tokyo, Japan. #AWS Certified Solution Architect&DevOps Professional, #Kubernetes, ・Opinions are my own.