Networking

05:20 PM
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty
Commentary
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How To Survive In Networking

Jeremy Schulman shares his secrets for navigating the transition in network operations by leveraging lessons learned from DevOps.

Networking professionals are on the cusp of a significant change, but one that lurks behind the scenes of flashy trends like SDN and IoT. "Fundamentally, I believe there is a convergence in IT that is going to happen -- or that is happening -- right now," said Jeremy Schulman.

That's why he launched his new company, Schprokits, this summer. "We are on a long journey that will require a cultural shift in the way we approach managing networks." He cited the parallels between the maturation of DevOps tools in the server community and the burgeoning need for similar tools in networking. "The first step on that journey is to become better at modeling problems and applying tools at the right time."

Jeremy Schulman

In a special Interop Preview edition of Network Computing Radio, Schulman will join us on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at noon EDT (9:00 a.m. PDT) to discuss this issue and his upcoming session on network automation at Interop New York.

He told us the idea that DevOps and network operations inherently conflict with one another is a misperception. "It is not DevOps versus NetOps. It is just ops in the end game, as converged IT automation. We need both of them to behave and operate in a similar cultural way to achieve the requirements of businesses."

Schulman is uniquely qualified to speak about this topic, having spent the past three years "on a mission" to understand the culture and tools of DevOps and how they could affect networks. In his capacity as the director of automation concept engineering at Juniper Networks, he worked with some very large enterprises to design complex automation workflows. He was also directly responsible for Ruby and Python libraries now used by the IT frameworks Puppet, Chef, and Ansible.

In his role, he interacted with many DevOps thought leaders, explaining to them the challenges faced by the networking industry. The DevOps leaders recognized the story, because it was so similar to what they began experiencing five years ago in servers. Their advice: "We know the plot line, we know the characters, and we know how it ends. All we have to do is take the same script, and -- as they do in Hollywood, tweak it a little -- and apply it to networking."

Schprokits is dedicated to building DevOps-inspired network automation tools. That's because Schulman firmly believes that the secret to surviving this major change unscathed is learning to use the right tools.

He said that when it comes to code, everybody should learn to think like a programmer. "When you go back and watch the movie of DevOps, the successful practitioners were not formal language programmers. They were people who could use sophisticated framework tools like Puppet and Chef. You have to think like a programmer, but you're not writing hardcore code."

Susan Fogarty has almost two decades of experience writing and developing content for IT professionals, especially those deeply involved in enterprise network infrastructure. She previously worked at TechTarget, where she spent 11 years, six as the Editorial Director of its ... View Full Bio
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Sherly Mendoza
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Sherly Mendoza,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 11:50:31 PM
Re: application centric
Such is the reality of working in the IT space, since tech moves so fast in time some of the workforce may not be able to catchup. And even with the training, it would be very hard to place that many personnel. As an employee , one really has to be very quick in adapting to new standards and in immediately reacting to the direction that your company wishes to take.
Amit Agrawal,
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Amit Agrawal,,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/4/2014 | 3:53:50 AM
Re: application centric
Thanks for the clarifications Susan.

I would love to see a blog on SDN which would primarily talk about a brief comparison between overlay and openflow modes of SDN deployments.
Jerome Amon
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Jerome Amon,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 11:56:46 AM
Re: LIVE TODAY!
Hello everyone,

I hope we will have an article about this radio show where we will continue to discuss with community members. But now, let's go for our radio show !!!

 
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 10:34:44 AM
LIVE TODAY!
Don't forget our Radio Show today at 12 EDT (9 PDT). We'll talk to Jeremy Schulman in a special Interop preview episode about how to adapt to the changes taking place in the networking industry.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 9:44:39 AM
Re: application centric
Hi Amit, sorry for the confusion. What I meant was that rather than discussing SDN itself, which is  shiny new technology the vendors love to talk about, we are going to cover how a migration to SDN affect the people who support the network and how they do their everyday jobs. When you are working with automation and the concepts it requires, that's pretty different than manually configuring hardware devices, so we'll explore how you make that adjustment.
Amit Agrawal,
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Amit Agrawal,,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/3/2014 | 7:08:34 AM
Re: application centric
I didn't quite understand this "one that lurks behind the scenes of flashy trends like SDN and IoT"

One way we are talking SDN to automate our networks and reduce provisionign times, are we talking something different than SDN here?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/2/2014 | 3:32:33 PM
Re: application centric
Excellent question @Susan "If you're a hardware guy, what does that mean for you?" if we assume that some of the 6,000 job cuts that Cisco announced are due to SDN, and not because SDN by definition requires a smaller labor force, but only because SDN requires a different skillset. Then, I guess one portion of the labor force will develop greater diversity in their skillset and compliment their hardware skills with software skills. And, another portion of the labor force will develop greater specialization by developing their hardware skills to become part of the workforce that enables devices to come online as the technical experts of the IoT environment.
Jeff Jerome
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Jeff Jerome,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/2/2014 | 12:47:44 PM
Re: application centric
Susan - I think that I will need to give that more thought but here is my initial point of view.  Hardware is important and not to trivialize it but is basically a storage or transport mechanism with a human interface.  The software, and now with SDN, becomes malleable and can adapt to various environments.  When we factor in virtualization then this is another layer of flexibility but also complexity.  From a delivery stand point getting the hardware and software to work fully interchangeably is a challenge based on dot rev versions of firmware and the ability for applications to feature interoperability.  And at the end of the day that is really a software/firmware implementation.  And making products that feature interoperability and scalability is a challenge.  There are other protocols like SIP that hopefully someday with help with interoperability but standards are subject to interpretation.  In addition they are not always viewed in the same light.  But hardware needs great software so we need to make sure that we are aligned with great programmers to deliver our products; as my high school chemistry teacher used to say "clear as mud"?
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2014 | 11:54:19 AM
Re: application centric
Jeff, don't worry, no one is suggesting that you should change your personality in any way at all! You comment brings up the very ideas we want to discuss. Networking has always been really hardware-oriented. But there has been a shift to focus more on the applications, and now SDN is trying to introduce automation through software. If you're a hardware guy, what does that mean for you?
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2014 | 9:18:24 PM
Re: application centric
I think the statement "think like a programmer" is an excellent statement that reflects the changing environment of the market. Markets are big and complicated and it can be difficult to keep an eye on all the changing dynamics of a market but, it is the intermediate changes that a business must keep in view that have a direct impact to the business.

What is it like to "think like a programmer"? I think, this would be an open question. One answer for which could be, someone that is programming (or changing the way their program) to meet the needs of the business. This would result in a type of hybrid IT/business professional.

Definitely, this is going to be an extremely interesting radio talk.
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