I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Seattle for some ASM TMOS version 10.1 training hosted by f5 Networks.  I can summarize this entire post simply by saying, the training is awesome.  I felt it was the perfect mix of instruction and hands-on material.  I have been to many different kinds of training classes and I hate walking away from a training session feeling like I didn’t learn a thing.  That is definitely not the case here.  I learned a ton.

Before I came to the class I could build a security policy and assign it to a website and do some minor tweaking.  Now I can say with confidence that I can build a web application security policy that is PCI compliant and has a solid foundation.

One of the main ingredients for a successful training session/class is you really need an excellent instructor.  If the instructor doesn’t know his stuff or doesn’t really enjoy the subject matter it can have a negative and direct impact on the course.  The class I took was lead by a gentlemen named Keith Bowers who has worked for f5 Networks for 10+ years.  Granted, I could be wrong about number of years, but I think I am close.  I can say for certain thought that Mr. Bowers knows the material and he seemed to really enjoy teaching the class.

This wasn’t the kind of class where you go and read along with the teacher word by word out of the book.  Keith gave very concise and well thought out lectures regarding each subject that we touched on.  I say concise because he said everything that he needed to in order for you to comprehend the material and to be able to apply in a real world situation.  Then he would provide guidelines for the hands-on portion of the lab for that section and turn us loose on the BIG-IP box that each student gets to all to his or her self.  When a student had trouble getting through a lab he would sit beside them, provide information on things to look for and provide clarification on things until the student got through the lab.  He was really good about teaching you to fish rather than just giving you an answer out of the teachers edition of the manual :)

So what kind of goodness can one expect to learn at an ASM 10.x course?  Here is a brief list of the things that we covered:

Installation
Web Application Concepts
Web Application Vulnerabilities (with instructions on how to perform a few basic hacks)
ASM Application Configuration
Security Policy Building
Creating Custom Attack Signatures
Reporting
Traffic Learning
Protecting XML and Web Services
And more…

On the second day that I was there I also had the chance to meet up with a few members of the DevCentral Core Team!  I was able to bounce out of class a little early so Joe met me outside the training room and proceeded to give me a tour of the place.  At one point I tried to slip a VIPRION into my cowboy hat and almost made off with it but the 30+ blue ethernet cables sticking out from underneath my hat gave me away.  Alas, I had to put it back.  <Sigh>  Seeing that I was upset though Colin, Jeff and Joe provided me sneak peak of their latest TOP SECRET project to get my spirits up.  After the tour that I was given, my spirits were definitely lifted!  I wish I could tell, I wish I could tell…. but I can’t.  It was awesome though.

We then proceeded down to Buckley’s Pub for some lunch and along the way we went over a little bit of history, talked about things that a tourist like me should do when visiting Seattle, etc…  Jeff kindly wrote up a blog article about it and even included a picture that he took of Colin, Joe and I at the pub.  You can check it out here:

http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/JeffB/archive/2010/04/01/1088132.aspx

I can’t provide all the details of what we talked about, I was having to good of a time to remember them all.  I know we talked about Bear Grylls (Man vs. Wild), Mac keyboard shortcuts and the MVP Summit… How those are all interconnected I will leave up to you to ponder… Hehehehe… seriously, thanks for a great time fellas.  And also thanks for what you do every day.

Well, if you have made it this far into my blog post you deserve a treat!  Below is a snippet of some videos that I took on April 1st during the training class, some footage from the TOP SECRET stuff they showed me and some footage from the pub!  I had to try out my f5 Networks MVP branded FlipMINO after all!  Sorry if it is a little choppy in a place or two, I had to compress it before I uploaded it to YouTube.

Camera In Cowboy Hat Video

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3 comments so far

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  1. Your video which seems to be hosted on VEVO cannot be played in the UK as apparently there are some copyright issues.

    I’d love to see it though.

  2. Further research shows that VEVO is not available in any country apart from the US:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vevo

  3. Do you still have this video on youtube ? i cant seem to view it – would love to see it ,thanks