Hello my friend,
This year, besides Cisco championship started for me with an opportunity to speak at UKNOF event in London. UKNOF stands for United Kingdom’s Network Operators’ Forum, and per their webpage acts as an open forum for operational, technical and engineering information exchange related to networking technologies and practices. And here is my experience.
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How do I get there?
Some time ago I was presenting at NetLdn event in a nice pub in London, and apparently there were some people from the UKNOF board (hey, Chris Russel).
I have an interesting discussion with NetLdn organizers some time ago, you can watch it on our YouTube channel.
They advised me to submit my talk to UKNOF, and if the committee voted for it, I’d have an opportunity to speak in front of quite a big audience at UKNOF 45 in London. I was positively surprised and took that opportunity to apply for a talk. After a month of waiting I finally got an invitation to talk at the 45th UKNOF meeting, which took place in London.
Despite I have an almost ready slide deck, I need to rework it a bit to comply with the event’s format and some other requirement. This triggered me to think further about the topic I was going to present, what positively impact my project in general.
Another good point, which I want to highlight is the support of the committee (especially, Keith Mitchell) before the event, as they have provided the necessary support with the preparation of the talk, submission of the materials and other important questions.
Finally, I had some last-minute changes in the schedule for my talk as I had to have a customer meeting at my job. Therefore, I looked for to change the time slot for my talk. It was very good that other presenters offered their support, and I was able to change the time. Thanks to Posco for that.
What was my initial feeling?
When I came to the venue, where the UKNOF took place, there were not that many people yet, so I was able to have a decent chat with several chaps, including the organizers of the NetLdn James Bensley and Richard Patterson. Actually, both of them were presenting at the UKNOF as well.
The event took place at the etc.venues in London, and main room for presentation was quite a big one. Out of curiosity, I counted 5 big screens, where the presentations were shown later.
Closer to the beginning of the first talk, there were already plenty of the participants. The list of the participant companies was pretty interesting, as it included players from multiple parts of the networking industry: besides network operators themselves (such as BT or Sky), there were also colleagues from tier-1 web companies (such as Google) and vendors (such as Mellanox, Cumulus, FlexOptics and some others).
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to do some networking in the morning, as I was focusing on the final revision of my slides and preparation to my talk.
The official opening of the event started with the introduction by the Keith Mitchell, the managing director of the UKNOF event.
And of the main point was that we should make fun of the presentation. That’s the advice is definitely worth to follow, so I tried to do that.
What I was talking about?
If you follow my blog, you might know that the major topic I’m writing for two years at least is the network automation in multivendor scenarios in data centers or service providers. Recently I also did some researches and projects about closed-loop automation. And exactly this project I presented at the UKNOF45.
In a nutshell, closed-loop automation is a framework how to merge any real-time analytics of the network information (such as telemetry, syslog, SNMP and so on) with the responsive actions to change the configuration of the network elements or management system.
If you are interested in the details, you can watch the video at the YouTube channel of the UKNOF
To be honest, I was a bit worried in the beginning how the audience will accept the pitch. However, that is not visible at the video 🙂 At the end of my talk I was asked some questions, which I consider as a good sign. Another good sign is that I’ve received some questions via mail after the UKNOF event, so I was really please to present there.
What is my final impression?
It was really outstanding experience. First of all, UKNOF is for people and about the people. After my talk was over, I had an opportunity to relax a bit and talk to the colleagues from the industry. For me, these discussions are the most important part of the UKNOF, as you have possibility to learn something new from other business, how the things can be done in other way and just have a fun talking to others about the technology trends or even non-job-related matters.
Speaking in front of professional audience is another valuable thing for me. I don’t do that very often due to my job, however I like that a lot. The only possibility to grow in this area is to speak at the events. I’m very grateful for the committee for having me there.
Spend a lot of time in preparation. Even if you think you know your material good, it is better to revise it and try to speak in front of somebody beforehand. It gives you valuable insights on how logical your presentation’s flow is. Also, you might find that some information is missing (or excessive), so you might want to do some modification to your presentation.
I had some urgent tasks at my job just at the eve of the presentation, so I was not able to do the proper verification at the last minute. Therefore, I was worried before speaking… Which is alright, as it gave me cool experience and feeling after my presentation was done.
If you are interested in various network technologies and in networking with the people from the industry, I definitely recommend you take part into the UKNOF. The registration for the next UKNOF event in Manchester is already open. Take care and good bye!
If you have further questions or you need help with your networks, I’m happy to assist you, just send me message. Also don’t forget to share the article on your social media, if you like it.