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Confessions Of Network Admins

  • Network administrators have a strong connection with their networks -- in fact, they often consider the network as an extension of themselves. But network technology is changing dramatically, and the next couple of years will be wrought with growing pains brought on by the arrival of the Internet of Things, software-defined networking, mobility, and cloud computing.

    Increasing demands on the network will come in the form of user requests, different vendor solutions and security concerns, and without the guidance of wise IT pros, networks are bound to lose their way. To showcase the close bond between net admin and network, we asked our thwack community to write a heartfelt note to their networks with advice for the challenges that lie ahead. Our admins poured out their hearts with hopes, frustrations, apologies, and optimism about the future.

  • My dearest, most darling, precious Network,

    I write you out of concern for your recent and unchecked growth (for example the addition of unlimited wireless clients and allowance of personal streaming). Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? This can't be healthy; you need to control your urges.

    I know I'm hard on you, but know that I'm grateful for your improved uptime, resilience and throughput! Your future rewards will be more demand, more throughput, more critical infrastructure relying on you, and new ACI and ISE and NAC applications.

    We know you're up to it -- keep up the great work!

    Tough-Love IT Pro

  • Dear Network,

    I know you have enjoyed that peaceful feeling that comes from existing as one homogenous being, letting everyone co-mingle and communicate freely. It's not that we don't want everyone to get along and enjoy the freedom to explore you, Network, but all good things must come to an end.

    Please don't take it personally when we logically chop you up into zones and restrict users in one zone from interacting freely with users in another zone. We're not doing this to be mean or cause you strife, we love our Network and want you to grow and expand into places you have never been. We just want you to be safe and ensure all our packets come home to us (and no one else).

    With love,
    Network Chopper

  • Dear Network,

    I'm sorry for all the configuration changes I'm going to have to make in order to get us up to PCI compliance. I know it's going to be a big burden on both of us, and all of the tweaking and migrations will undoubtedly cause headaches for our end users. People will be very angry with you, they might even curse your name for making their lives hard and slowing them down, but please remember they are aiming it towards me. You also have a lot of secret files and information that people will try to exploit you for to hurt others, so be careful. At the end of the day, I want to protect you from any criticism and harm that could come your way in the next year.

    Always thinking about you,
    Over-Protective NetAdmin

  • Dear Network,

    You are going to make a lot of people unhappy -- even angry -- when you do not live up to their expectations. I have tried to plan for failures, but as this past World Cup has shown, when several end users are streaming video, you can only handle so much before you falter! Sometimes you can't please everyone, they don't understand bandwidth limits and that VoIP QoE/QoS is more important than YouTube and ESPN3. But truthfullyit wasn't your fault. I had to block World Cup traffic because it was messing up my Tour de France feed.

    Former Lance Armstrong Fan

  • Dear Network,

    I know you have worked hard for us this past year, and you've done an awesome job weathering storms, having devices arbitrarily unplugged by unknown entities, being moved from here to there and back again, never knowing the load your shoulders will have to bear, and bearing it all with a good sense of humor!

    I'm sure 2016 will bring more of the same challenges, but as is usually the case, we will expect more from you this year -- heavier loads, additional circuits and devices, higher uptime -- and all for the same low pay you currently receive. Please hang in there with us. Know that you are loved and appreciated by those of us who care for you.

    All my love,
    The Reality Checker

  • Dear Network --

    It's funny how no one mentions you for the 99.999% of the time you're flawless, huh? Talk about a thankless task. Don't worry; they may complain about how much you cost, but eventually they always realize this business would perish in two days without you. Next year, let's work to break the dependency on these "managed" MPLS and Internet services, we both know they aren't a good fit anymore. Also, I've been looking at Netflow charts -- you're so permissive with these people! Don't ever change, though. I'm on your side.

    Network's Biggest Fan

  • Dear Network,



    I'm sorry for yelling at you, Network. I know I need to work on my tone, but I just don't like you sometimes...okay, most times.

    Disgruntled in the Datacenter

  • Dear Network,

    We are sorry that you have been neglected all this time; next year we will change that. We will tidy you up and make you proud once again. The cabling situation will be rectified, we will manage you in a better way, and ensure you're backed up and performing the way something so critical should perform. No longer will you be an embarrassment!

    We will fix you and together we will go on in to the future. Years from now we will look back together at this period in our lives and laugh.

    We promise,
    Hopeful for Change

  • Dear Network,

    I'm really sorry about the last few months. I couldn't control our ISP from causing so many outages, and when I would plan ways to resolve the issues, I learned we didn't have budget for you.

    Oh, and that wireless bridge thing -- don't hate me, it wasn't my idea. I know it's been a total headache, and you've gotten a lot of scornful looks because of it (sort of like wearing a Halloween costume in July). I've got a permanent fix for that coming in 2016, and I think you're going to like it. And I hope you like the fresh new hardware I threw in. It's faster and sleeker, and there will be more to come. We'll fix you right up, and you'll be a lean, clean, packet-forwarding machine in no time!

    Makeover Pro