Over 20 years ago, I got into this IT stuff…I started out as a Computer Tech building desktop computers and the like, then became a Network Admin (Network OS side [I was a Netware guy if any of you remember that stuff]), and started scripting stuff because I have a little bit of OCD when it comes to efficiencies and I don’t like doing the same task twice the “hard way”, so I figure if there’s a better (aka repeatable) way, then I will try to find it. Now, keep in mind that a “better way” doesn’t mean the “best way”, because as just about anyone will tell you, it takes time to refine a process and come up with the “best” way to do something. As long as the new way is more efficient than the old way, then it is better. That’s what I strive for…to create BETTER ways of doing things. So, I started scripting some tasks when I was a Netware admin; adding users, moving home directories, and the like. So, keep in mind I’ve been doing scripting for about 20+ years. When I was in college, I took numerous programming classes – COBOL, Pascal, C++, and even one of those new-fangled JAVA classes (which is really nothing like the JAVA of today). Aside from doing a lot of DOS batch programming, some AWK and PERL stuff (mostly focused around text manipulation), I have learned several other languages as well (Javascript, Python, basic Unix shell scripting, and a few others). BTW, I really dig the guys over at Command Line Kung-Fu to really show ways to cross-pollinate useful things from Unix to Windows.

All that being said, along the way, I moved into security, which led me into the world of Firewalls, IDS’s, and VPNs (oh my!).  Once I started getting good at setting up perimeter and host security, it wasn’t long before I was living the life of a penetration tester beating up that same security I had just become proficient at setting up.  That taught me a lot about security and ways to find the gaps in the armor.  Being a pen-tester, it naturally leads you to find better way of doing repetitive tasks, so I was happy to use some of my scripting background to build my own tools and techniques. Once I got into building and breaking the perimeter, I naturally started looking at the LAN side of things…and that led me to getting into advanced networking.

Having a background with connecting and protecting hosts really helped me understand the basics of networking, but I certainly was no expert. I longed to learn more. I used my network-based security expertise to move towards operational type roles that led me to learn more and more about general (and advanced) networking, but without a security focus.  Quite a paradigm shift for me, as routers and firewalls are at odds with each other: The goal of a router is to promiscuously pass traffic as fast as possible, whereas a firewall is supposed to inspect (and potentially block) traffic as fast as possible. While my networking career was in full growth, I was exposed to something in 2005 that would change my career up to this very day.  What was it you ask? I was introduced to JUNOS – quite simply the best router Operating System available. I was forever changed! JUNOS rocks!

In 2007, I became a Juniper trainer focusing on ScreenOS (since I had been using Netscreen devices since 2001) and still learning JUNOS. In 2008, I hit JUNOS full force and started work as implementation engineer focusing on Juniper offerings. I already had quite a bit of experience with ScreenOS, and with the Secure Access products (from back when it was Neoteris), so I just needed to add in JUNOS experience and I was rounding out the experience with the entire portfolio.

In 2008, I started teaching JUNOS classes and while I consider myself very good with JUNOS, I still find myself forever as a student when it comes to the cool knobs that exist and keep getting added to the OS. I’m still a Juniper instructor focusing on JUNOS courses along all three major JUNOS tracks: Enterprise Routing & Switching, Service Provider Routing & Switching, and Security Platforms.

So that brings me to my current love…mixing the two things I love the most: JUNOS and automation.  I do a lot of automation around network related activities that are not JUNOS releated, but I’m getting into SLAX scripting to perform both on-box and off-box automation with JUNOS, and I must say, you can accomplish some pretty AMAZING things!  At this site, I hope to evangelize some of the cool things you can do with non-JUNOS centric scripting and also some of the cool things you can do with JUNOS-centric automation.

Hope you guys are ready for the ride…I think we’ll have the time of our lives!

(or NetworkSecurityGuy for long)

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