The life of a rock star can be extremely exciting, but it can also get pretty tiresome. Luckily for us, our today’s guest has so much positive energy radiating off of him, that he’ll literally make your day brighter. Without further ado, let’s give it up to Roman Emelianov from OCS Distribution – a true Extreme Hero!
First of all, huge congrats on the Black Belt certification! Was it very hard to obtain? What does it feel to be an official Extreme Ninja? 😊
Well, thanks! It was not very-very hard, although you certainly need to fully concentrate and immerse yourself in the topics. You need to know all the little details to be able to get through. But it was worth it and I feel super excited about the Black Belt. After all, the process of acquiring it took me the whole year. But if I’m working with Extreme equipment – I need to make sure that I know everything, at all times!
And regarding the Extreme Ninja stuff… I really fell in love with SummitX series. I’ve known it very well for quite some time. So right after I heard about the whole Ninja idea, our Partner Account Manager called me and asked if I want to become the first one. 😁 So here I am, the Campus XOS Ninja. Now I can solve any issue or task. Not simply because I think so, but because I can – officially!
You’re a Presales Network Engineer at OCS Distribution, a leading Russian broadline technology distributor dealing in a vast array of equipment, including computers, servers, storages, and consumer electronics, among others. But did you always know you wanted to work in the networking industry?
In 2013 I went to Moscow Aviation Institute, a National Research University, to acquire my bachelor's degree. It was during the course of my studies that I took interest in networking technologies. Our curriculum didn’t cover that area very much, so I began to study it on my own. And as it turned out, soon I got hooked on it.
All of this allowed me to get a first full-time job in a very big system integrator company. During that time I managed to solve some really tough technical cases, we were building large campus networks, data centers and so on. I was configuring these complex networks, even got to design some of them, while working with many well-known manufacturers of networking equipment. I have experience with complex modern technologies from Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, Ruckus, Fortinet, HPE, and Extreme, of course.
Do you recall your first experience with Extreme technology? What pushed you in this direction particularly?
It was back when I worked with Extreme SummitX switches in several projects. And I got to admit, they ran like a charm, hands down, no questions asked. Everything was just as described in the documentation. And I just fell in love with them. But not only for the documentation, mind you. These devices are simple and very convenient in configuration, yet they offer great functionality. And they come in purple, which is awesome!
It was not long before I began to attend various Extreme events, even at my own expense. Last year I went to Athens to join other Heroes and tech aficionados at TechTalks 3.0. Today I work at OCS Distribution as part of the Extreme Networks team where I hold the position of Presales Network Engineer. So, my job is to do whatever helps people learn what Extreme is and, most importantly, how awesome it is!
Speaking of events… Extreme Connect Virtual 2020 is already behind us. What were you most excited about? What were you surprised to learn? Share your thoughts with us!
It was such a huge event. Extreme Connect actually *connected* thousands of people. That’s amazing. I was really almost OMG-kind-of-excited about the Universal Hardware. That’s so awesome. You can buy one switch and THEN choose what you are running. Campus XOS? Fabric VOSS? Data-Center SLX-OS? Everything you wish in one hardware. That is the feature of the Extreme’s world. We have different operation systems for different tasks, but now we have only one device and an ability to choose. Just… WOW!
I was also really eager to hear about Extreme Management Center because of the ZTP+ update to work with SummitX Stacks. Now you don’t need to spend the bulk of your time to create stacks. It had already been much easier than with other vendors’ solutions, but from now on you only need to do the cabling and then our XMC will create the stack for you.
Ah, and the workflows, too. When I heard about them for the first time I was quite surprised. An amazing feature that allows you to make an algorithm that will do some things automatically. To give you a vivid example: your cleaning lady turned off the Core switch by accident. XMC recognizes the fault and… puts on some cartoons in the CEO’s office. Just kidding, of course. 😄 But it very well may bring up an alert, make some backups on virtual servers, force our secondary data center to become the main one for the time being and so on. Workflows are awesome and we’re happy to see Extreme evolving this technology.
‘Effortless networking experience’ seems to be the real buzzword right now. What does this phrase mean to you?
There was a lot of discussion about cloud during the event. ExtremeCloud IQ is awesome, brings us a lot more opportunities and possibilities to create our own network. But we still need to remember that we have a lot of projects that cannot be connect to the cloud – be it for internal security reasons, certain mindsets and preferences of the decision makers or simply because certain projects have no access to the Internet. I’m talking about the EMEA region in general here.
Luckily, we can use the best hardware with the most reliable software in the way that we need. Wish to move to the cloud? OK, we can do anything you want via cloud. You want do it on-site without Internet access? Sure, we can do that in the best possible way with super-modern technologies. For now, as I mentioned before, we can use one hardware and then choose the software we want to use. This is effortless networking experience for me, but not only that. It also means Extreme doing all the right things – all of your ideas can be brought to life using Extreme solutions. There’s a sea of opportunities for us to do right by the customer, with great reliability and easy maintenance cycle. Effortless networking experience, that’s it.
We asked Vera Lebedeva, your colleague from OCS and a fellow Extreme Hero, whether she preferred projects with specific up-front needs and requirements or situations in which you can help client decide what is the best solution for their problem. How do you feel about that?
I think I’d go with the latter. When our End Customer knows what he needs, we can help him meet those requirements in the best possible way. But when you have a problem or any need, we are here to help people find the right solution and get the best experience so that they won't run into a lot of problems, waste tons of time troubleshooting, and get frustrated with the solution. I saw such cases in my previous job, back when I was working with several different vendors, not only with Extreme. It's sad when people try to fix hardware problems (not Extreme in this case) but I don’t see it as their fault. For example, it is a software bug. Sure, we get bugs too, but we have the best customer support in the world at our disposal. I can't imagine getting the problem solved in 10 months like it was in my case in the previous job. So I completely agree with what Gartner says. By the way, cheers to our Moscow GTAC team! 😊 So to answer your question shortly: I work to make life easier for people and I really love my job, colleagues and partners.
But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Extreme Connect was a great opportunity to discuss the latest in networking world, but more importantly it brought us all together in a time where many may feel sad, lost, or confused. What do you do to wind down?
I could say I’m a little bit of a tinkerer, built a whole rack of equipment for myself. I have a cluster of three servers, storage, and a 10 GB network for all this. Some of my friends call it weird, asking ‘why keep it at home?’. But we have our own media server, monitoring, a cloud for storing files, various websites, seamless Wi-Fi with roaming, so I’m not complaining. 😁
"I could say I’m a little bit of a tinkerer"
We know that you love music – not only listening, but creating it too!
That’s correct. In my youth I played some piano, but all in all it wasn’t for me. Later, during my studies at the Institute, I came back to music, started learning guitar. And it clicked. Today I still feel very passionate about it, love to play some guitar in my off-time. I even have my own acoustic band which consists of two people. Its name: Hormig of The Boreal Valley. You can check us on Spotify, there’s one song available, working on the second one at the moment.
I also play bass in a band. We’re called None Available and we try to mix some British rock, hard-rock, indie-rock, and post-rock into our sound. So far we have released three singles, you can find us on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes etc. Heeey, come to think of it, it’s free advertising by Extreme! :) But jokes aside, we’re not really focused on the “marketing” side, getting subscribers or anything like that at this point. We just hope to release an album and do the concert in Moscow in the nearest future. But I think the most important thing right now is that we all are doing our best in the sessions. And we really like what we do. Hope you like it too!
At some point I also took an interest in recording and sound engineering. Even got myself a small recording studio at home. Today I’m inviting all of my friends who love singing to come to my studio to record and have a blast. I’ll do some post-production and we will make such a nice thing to share. 😊
Roman's recording studio.
Rock on! And if you had an opportunity to jam on bass with any rock star in the world, who would it be and why?
Such a fun question. It would be Leo Moracchioli. He’s not writing his own songs at all, instead he’s doing metal covers of the popular songs, even pop ones. I went to his concert in Moscow, he’s super energetic man and his band knows how to put on a show. It was almost two years ago, but I still carry the energy from that concert. Awesome guy, I’m a huge fan. 🤟
And if you had to compare modern networking technology vendors to famous rock bands, which one would you pick for Extreme? And why?
Disturbed. I know it’s more like a metal band rather than a rock band, but in any case they’re *Extremely* cool! You may know them for their “The Sound Of Silence” cover. They are signing about the world’s problems, encouraging people to stop for a moment, take thought. And Extreme are solving the networking world’s problems, so that we won’t have to face them anymore. I have met many Extreme employees, all of whom are very driven and passionate about their work. Just like this band. Both Disturbed and Extreme have trust in what they’re doing and what they’re doing is simply amazing.
Roman - our true rock star!
Do you feel like a hero sometimes? 🙂
I’d say I do when I hear people say things like “Wow, it works so cool” or “we’re really not spending so much time to solve our tasks”. I’m winning precious time and peace of mind for other people – does that make me a hero? 😉
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all Extreme customers, partners, employees, and friends to do things that you are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to sing, dance or configure Extreme – even if you are in doubt. Because if you put your heart in it, you will achieve the success! And no one said it better that Stephen King:
"Yes, I've made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it... I have written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side--I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for the joy, you can do it forever."