About the Author

Author André Roberge

TopNetTricks

I’m Andre Roberge and I run this site from soup to nuts. Changing from the highly specialized area of network consulting to the generalized area of the blog-o-sphere is a real learning experience. Learning WordPress, CSS, PHP, and Linux is hard enough. But a successful web page needs much more than that: technical writing, market research, trend analysis, business plan development and artwork as well.

Consulting

I take on consulting jobs when time permits, feel free to contact me if you have a need. Although located in Toronto, much of the work can be done remotely. Typically, jobs are advisory. Clients bring me in to assess their network and put together plans to get it to an agreed end point. I work with their resources to get them to the point where they understand the plan, know what skills they need to train up on, and can execute each step along the way. I verify the quality of the at various checkpoints and the end product.

My Mission

Unlike most consultants, I am not there to rack up the hours. Instead, I work closely with the client’s team and provide them with vision, leadership, and mentoring that they may be lacking due to inexperience. While addressing the immediate issue I try to make the client self-sufficient. Assignments are considered successful when I have made the client self-reliant -not by their net cash value. I have found this the best way to get more work. If not from the same client, then through referrals.

Typical assignments

Clients usually bring me in for this kind of work:

  • Assessment: What state is our infrastructure in? Is all the redundancy that we purchased properly configured to activate when required? Can we make better use of the gear we have? Can we avoid additional capital expenditures on this project?
  • Changing business requirements: Are new partnerships or new security compliance regulations forcing you to make significant infrastructure changes. Is the client getting into new lines of business (web hosting)? Is the client restructuring due to Merger and acquisition activity forcing you into a major network redesign for integration.
  • Capacity augmentation. The company has grown, as well as many of the applications, but the infrastructure has been left behind and is now starting to fall apart.
  • Leveraging new technologies, where the client may want to make a plunge into cloud computing to reduce the size and cost of while focusing more on their core business.
  • troubleshooting, where the client has endured chronic infrastructure problems for some time, but these problems are now interfering with the client’s ability to do business and needs to be resolved immediately.
  • Get second opinion on vendor provided solutions.

Services

These are the services I offer them:
  • assessments: what shape is the network in? Identify all the hidden landmines and how to fix them. can more efficient use be made of existing equipment and thereby reduce capital costs?
  • vision: develop an architecture that will last them several years. While assignments may not include the fulfillment of that vision, the architecture provides a framework for the future. When the assignment is completed, the team has a framework to follow to resolve many of the hidden landmines in the current implementation.
  • roadmaps: are more detailed than visions: they specify the dependencies between the steps towards getting to the vision and may even provide a timescale.
  • mentoring: clients often have good resources inhouse that simply lack experience to assess, create a vision, and break it up into incremental changes. Resources may be perfectly capable of executing if they are presented with a series of smaller incremental changes. I will mentor the resources to understand the steps and leave it to them to execute.
  • verification: If resources execute infrastructure changes, I will verify that the changes were executed according to specification. I will confirm that the infrastructure is in the required state for the next change.

Connect with me on Google+ at +André Roberge

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