Fame at last


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The other day I was reading Arista Warrior, which is another in the stupidly-named but otherwise rather good “warrior” series, this time focused on the networking products provided by my employer (opinions are mine and not theirs, etc. etc.) I found it very useful for two reasons: firstly, it’s good to hear what people outside the company have to say about Arista, particularly people who are old hands with Cisco kit. More surprisingly perhaps, I actually find it quite a good way of getting a broader knowledge of the products we produce. As a software engineer I tend to end up focused on one small part of the feature set, and there are a whole bunch of features I’ve never even switched on.

So three cheers to Gary Donahue for a good book, but that’s not actually why I’m writing about this. What I did feel like mildly boasting about is a sentence that caught my eye in the section about extending the UI of the switch by writing your own Python plugins:

Sure it’s a useless modification, but what if your company demanded something like “Property of GAD Technology – Unauthorized use is prohibited” at the end of every command’s output? You could do that with EOS. What if you wanted to display bytes per second instead of bits per second on some command output? (EOS is actually so cool that it converts the displayed values between bps, Kbps, Mbps, and Gbps, on the fly in show interface commands.) ….

The bit about displaying values scaled into Kbps, Mbps etc. is what drew my attention. This was actually a feature I implemented, way back when I originally joined the company. In fact, it was my first mentored project with the company, which is something we do to get every engineer quickly through the steps of adding a real feature to the product, but on an easy task without too many dependencies. Little did I know that my work would eventually be immortalised with a couple of lines in an O’Reilly book.

So, join Arista and you too could get a passing mention in a book. Actually, there’s a serious point behind this: right from the beginning, the work you do is visible and adds value to our customers. To be sure, not everything is quite so immediate as making the interface more usable, but everything we do is focused on adding value for the people who use the products. This is one of my favourite things about the company.

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