Switchmas v2.0

AdamS
Meraki Employee

Switchmas v2.0

Merry Switchmas cloud networking boys and girls.  It’s that most wonderful time of the year again and Switchmas is upon us.  You may remember from 2017’s Gnome Network Topology diagram

AdamS_0-1576621174579.pngAdamS_1-1576621174498.jpeg

and 2018’s Switchmas bush.  I know I called it a Switchmas tree but let’s be honest it was a little bit stubby.  It may have been appropriate for a San Francisco sized apartment but it really wasn’t becoming of the grandness of Meraki HQ. So this year I put my engineer thinking cap on and came up with a bigger, better, more Switchmatastical plan. 

As I thought about what I wanted to accomplish I needed a single goal to strive towards.   How tall should it be the tree be this year? Last year I dreamed of an 8Ft tree. Then it struck me.  This year the Switchmas tree must be TTT. Taller than Todd. That’s Todd Nightingale our GM who is about six foot four inches.  Now that seemed like a lofty goal compared to the four and a half foot entry from the last year. If I was going to reach these heights I would need to upgrade my planning tools first to previsualize the feasibility of the structure.  

Last year I went too wide and the design used up far too many switches to reach the 4.5 Ft height.  I also needed to plan for the subtle Christmas tree slope necessary for it to really look like a tree.  I realized to get a more accurate idea on the height I’d need to go 3D. So a rendered a rough model of what the tree would look like starting with our deeper MS350 models of switches in alternating pentagons at the bottom about 14 switches high and then moving up to layers of 4 MS225 which we would need to slowly taper in to get the tree shape just right. 

AdamS_2-1576621174491.png

We were lucky this year that we performed a major upgrade to our training lab environment this year and I was able to reserve the stock of replaced switches for my holiday project as well which meant I was pretty sure I could achieve the TTT height requirement. 
 

Another tough decision that I needed to make was power.  Would we attempt to power each switch and firewall and connect them to the network as we did last year?  As amazingly cool as it was to be able to blink all the lights and configure a rediculous topology in Dashboard for the tree last year our facilities department was rightly concerned that the increased scope of the tree this year would be a monumental fire hazard since we would need to cram an estimated 33 power strips in the trunk cavity of the tree along with the heat of all the switch blowing directly onto them.  It would also be obnoxiously loud as well. So we made the tough decision to go with fashion before function and forgo power and connectivity to the tree. I also had a personal goal of only building the tree once instead of three separate times as we did last year to save time and my back.

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The base build went well in only 2 hours including load-in we had a solid start, no thanks to CJ’s dog Dixie just laying around and not helping. We played around with rotation angles and the slow tapering to produce a pleasant tree angle and in another 2 hours of switch sculpting, we had a pretty solid Switchmas tree.  

AdamS_4-1576621174666.jpeg

Next came the lights.  We had a couple of strings of green lights from last year but it was clear that our tree was would need a light upgrade as well.

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So I ordered up two new strands of LED green/white fairy lights and found another string of white Christmas lights in a storage closet that I adapted.  I also thought it might be nice to a sign with a little Switchmas cheer on it as well so I ordered that up as well.

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After that, it was time to decorate and make sure we represented all our product lines, MR, MX, MS, SM, MV, MI, and MG.  I even snuck an MC in there. We must honor our past as we look towards the future. And when it was all said and done we had a gorgeous, glorious, holiday spectacular of a Switchmas tree.  

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The whole office really fell in love with our Switchmas tree and it started trending on LinkedIn.  My final task was to make sure I had succeeded with my Taller than Todd goal and we were lucky enough to have him stop by to check out the Switchmas tree and take a photo with us, thanks, Todd.  

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So I’m sure you are thinking what are the stats on that tree?  What would it take for me to replace my run of the mill Christmas tree at home with one of these cloud-managed beauties?  

Model

QTY

MS220-8

20

MS22

3

MS220-24

2

MS225-24P

63

MS350-24P

13

MS350-48

43

MS410

3

MS420

1

MX84

25

MX65

15

Z1

7

Z3

5

MV21

1

MV12W

5

MV22

4

MV32

1

Eyepatch

1

MR26

1

MR42

1

MR53

5

MR30H

5

MR84

2

MG21E

1

Total

227

 

So yeah, that quite a bit of gear.  With one year of Meraki licensing the MSRP on this Switchmas tree is just over $1,000,000 USD.  So I’m not saying it’s cheap but neither is this quality of Switchmas cheer. You’ll also need a pretty strong floor since this sucker weighs in at 1700 Lbs or 771 KG.   

So just like last year, we turn to think about what we can improve next year.  We didn’t get quite to 8Ft/2.5m as we pondered last year but we sure got close.  We are also thinking of adding a small fireplace to hang some stockings that we can fill with excellent stocking stuffer Meraki accessories and maybe some other new products.  Let us know what you think we should add to the Switchmas tree for next year in the comments section.  

A very special thanks go out to CJ Ramsey who helped me assemble the tree, Mau Hernandez Vargas for stashing all the switches for a whole year, and Matt Heim for letting me indulge my holiday madness. 

Merry Switchmas to all and to all happy holidays from Meraki to you and your family. 

  • Adam Slater & the Training & Evangelism team 
Adam Slater
Content Engineering Manager
Training & Evangelism Team
8 REPLIES 8
Nash
Kind of a big deal

I am forced to defend Dixie's honor and note that it's hard work to hang around companionably while the humans are weird. I will not stand for this slander against somepuppy whose ears are that soft.

AdamS
Meraki Employee

I shall officially retract my besmirching of Dixie.  I'm sure she was just exhausted from providing joy to the entire office. 

Adam Slater
Content Engineering Manager
Training & Evangelism Team
BrechtSchamp
Kind of a big deal

Wow, just wow. A tad bit disappointed that it's offline, but I understand...

 

That MSRP though 😲

CJ_Ramsey
Meraki Employee

Big thanks to Father Switchmas himself, Mr. Adam Slater!

LasseBang
Getting noticed

Great work Adam! 😉

Wazz
Here to help

Next year's strategy...(read: Challenge) Stack them with power, with some patching so all the little LED's starting flickering?

AdamS
Meraki Employee

I think we can do it we'll just need to open up the raised floor and install some exhaust fans to deal with the heat and route the power safely.  We have APIs to blink all the lights already which is awesome.

Adam Slater
Content Engineering Manager
Training & Evangelism Team
BrechtSchamp
Kind of a big deal


@AdamS wrote:

I think we can do it we'll just need to open up the raised floor and install some exhaust fans to deal with the heat and route the power safely.  We have APIs to blink all the lights already which is awesome.


AAAAH! I love it. Let the countdown begin:

https://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/christmas?iso=20201225T00&p0=224&font=cursive

 

You could also just put a few pallets at the bottom, that way you don't have to mess with the floor. Pallets can hold that weight, and they also have holes in them through which you could route the cabling. The PDU's could be in the open space between the top and the bottom of the pallet.

 

Seems like with the way the tree is setup, the sides of the switches already get airflow.

 

Love @Wazz 's idea for stackpower, that can save you some outlets.

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