By stretch | Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:40 a.m. UTC
It was four years ago today when I published my first blog article here on packetlife.net. Now, 433 posts later, I have to say it's been a remarkable experience thus far. Throughout that time, I've changed jobs twice, moved twice, and gotten married (once). When the site debuted, the global IPv4 routing table was only around 260K routes; it broke 400K earlier this year. Where has the time gone?
This blog started out as little more than a journal for my CCNP studies while I was bored out of my mind working as a DoD contractor in Iraq. Given the ample free time I had after returning stateside, the site grew into something much larger than I had originally intended. It saw the addition of a packet captures library, a discussion forum, a wiki, and of course the ever-popular community training lab, thanks to its many sponsors and donors. Today, Packet Life has over 12,000 registered members and sees around 80,000 unique visitors per month.
I've met some truly awesome people through the site, and have had people in "real life" recognize my name (or bald head) from the blog. I've even gotten to meet blogging greats like Ivan Pepelnjak and Greg Ferro in person. Most recently, I was humbled to be plugged by Jeremy Cioara in one of his CBT Nuggets videos. But the most sincere sense of accomplishment I get is from the comments and emails from readers thanking me for helping them understand some concept or shaving a few hours off their day with a particular blog article. Those have been keeping me going these last four years.
Of course, some of you will be quick to remind me that I slacked off for a bit at the end of 2011, and the frequency of posts isn't as great as it used to be. That's the price of a very engaging full-time career, I suppose. A real networking job does provide much more access to interesting topics, though; over the next few months you can expect to see a number of articles covering Cisco's Nexus switches and datacenter design practices, which correspond with some professional projects.
Where do I go from here? Several people have suggested writing a book; an interweaving of topics from the blog in a more structured form. I have always wanted to write a sort of networkers' handbook, something which encompasses all those aspects of networking newbies don't get exposure to studying for the CCNA exam. But it seems presumptuous of me to attempt a work of any real authority given my relatively limited experience at 26 years old.
I've also toyed with the notion of founding a non-profit corporation focused on aiding networkers at various stages of their careers, particularly those new to the field and in emerging economies. Of course, such an undertaking would require far more time and effort than a weekly blog posting, which I already barely manage. For the foreseeable future, I suppose I'll just keep on blogging.
Thanks for reading!
About the Author
Jeremy Stretch is a network engineer living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. He is known for his blog and cheat sheets here at Packet Life. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.
Posted in Announcements
March 23, 2012 at 3:30 a.m. UTC
Wow, that means it's been about 3 yrs since I discovered your blog.
I wanted to post a big THANK YOU from a corporate networker. This site was a huge help when I migrated our WAN to a clean MPLS/BGP mesh 2 yrs ago, and I come here all the time for info...kind of like a personal KB when Cisco TAC articles don't cut it.
Your posts, cheat sheets, and lab have been invaluable. You SHOULD write a networker's handbook, seriously. A book should be in your future to write, based on your approach and writing style it could be really good. I would buy it anyway. I'm sure others would to.
Anyway, thanks again for four great years and here's to many more!
March 23, 2012 at 6:09 a.m. UTC
As well Jeremy, thank you for this awesome resource, and happy B.!!
All the Networking engineers thanks you ;)
March 23, 2012 at 9:07 a.m. UTC
Great work Stretch. I have been following this blog since its inception and the material here is just what every Network Engineer asks for: precise and free of marketing. I'm from the emerging economies, same age as you, and i would like to hear more about the non profit idea. Believe me it's so hard working due to many reasons.
March 23, 2012 at 10:10 a.m. UTC
Since I discovered your blog more than 3 years ago, I've worked on 3 continents with many employers. I've yet to sit at a desk that doesn't have at least one of your brilliant cheat-sheets posted on the wall. Thanks for taking the time, I look forward to more!
Keep up the good work,
March 23, 2012 at 1:32 p.m. UTC
Thank you for everything!
Every time I need to look up for some Networking Informations, to be honest I start every time with your blog and after that go to Google or Cisco.com!
March 23, 2012 at 1:38 p.m. UTC
It's great to have this unique, relevant, concise portal which contains great high-level summaries, a great tool list, and other networking gems in one simple, tidy, uncluttered site - thanks for this vision and the clean format, and high quality content!! Keep her lit as they say : )
March 23, 2012 at 1:54 p.m. UTC
Im excited to hear you are keeping the blog going. I saw this post and up until the last few paragraphs thought this was your farewell post.
Im very excited to hear about the DC and Nexus post coming as they are a very hot topic now!
keep up the great work
March 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Write a book, even though you are young (and gifted), you saw the technologies and explained in the way that I never thought of even I am in my 40s and got over 15years experience. I learned something new reading your blogs every time!! You are like Neo in the Matrix. Thanks!!!
March 23, 2012 at 2:09 p.m. UTC
Thank you very much for this informative blog Jeremy!
I have been lurking around and reading for a few months now and have decided to make the jump after 10 years of Server work into the world of networking. Part of this decision has come from reading this blog pretty much all the way through and really getting spurred on to know that this is what I want to do.
I wish you and your family well, keep up the good work and lets hope there is indeed a book in the making from you. I for one would certainly be an early purchaser of the book!
March 23, 2012 at 2:45 p.m. UTC
Nice long plug there by Cioara, good deal!
I've definitely checked-in here over the years when I can and always enjoyed your posts!
One thing you might consider with your new job is seeing if they'd be willing to pay you to be a full- or part-time tech blogger? Naturally they could sponsor you and it might be a worthwhile for of advertizing for them.
PS- Congratulations on four years! Definitely keep it coming :)
March 25, 2012 at 8:08 a.m. UTC
Hi Jeremy Stretch,
Good Job Seriously!!!!
yesterday only got to know about this site from my friend's blog and browsed the pages, to be honest ( It's simply Mind boggling) seriously!!!.So i too joined and be a one of your (80,000 unique visitors per month) :)
Continue your Blogging,
And mine first request here, Where exactly ICMP operates @ each layer
Thanks & Regards
March 26, 2012 at 12:51 p.m. UTC
Congratulations on your success!!!!!
I would expect a book from you, because the way you explain the concepts is awesome!! and it helps a lot to newbies.
Thanks a lot for your effort, thanks also to the sponsors and donors.
March 26, 2012 at 5:58 p.m. UTC
Stretch thank you tons for the effort of this blog and the guidance you provide. Also, a big thanks for addressing the Cisco Nexus area. It's a quickly emerging technology that needs a lot of attention. I've struggled at times to find documentation on it.
March 26, 2012 at 8:06 p.m. UTC
Thanks for the many years of free information.
What CBT nugget is your plug in, seems like a CCIP BGP video? Would love to know which one it is seems interesting!
March 28, 2012 at 3:10 p.m. UTC
Wait - you're 26?
March 29, 2012 at 3:38 a.m. UTC
Even though I am a TAC CSE, I am always checking you blog just before I check our internal DataBase (I know I will find a lot of answers here, besides it is clear and straight to the point) and I have also used your Cheat Sheets for internal trainings and CCNA classes.
Way to go!!!
March 29, 2012 at 7:15 a.m. UTC
Congratulations! This is one of my favourite networking blogs. Keep posting!
April 1, 2012 at 2:11 p.m. UTC
Thanks for your efforts.Hope you continue to write more.Cheers.
April 6, 2012 at 11:10 p.m. UTC
Wow you're doing great things at only 26 years old!
April 23, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Forget about your age. If you really want to step forward with the book, go for it, i'll be one of the first to get it.
April 28, 2012 at 6:58 p.m. UTC
Keep up the great work you been doing. I was introduced to your site from a friend while I was in the Army that knew you. Currently I'm studying for my CCNP and I always refer back to your site when searching for additional info. Keep it coming.
April 29, 2012 at 1:16 a.m. UTC
I just discovered your blog today. I thank you for sharing your thoughts and it does help others along the way. I myself am pretty new to the field of networking so I know I still have a ways to go but I am glad to add your blog as a resource.
May 5, 2012 at 3:53 p.m. UTC
I'm new to this, graduating this month with an AS degree in Networking and Network Security, now looking for a job. Your site has been invaluable to me and my classmates since we discovered it. Thanks for your much-appreciated work!
August 2, 2012 at 6:59 a.m. UTC
I found your blog yesterday and I felt it's Christmas and my Birthday at the same time. I am a trainee at one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Bulgaria and I think your posts and all other good stuff will help me a lot.