I don’t think that anyone can deny that being in the IT industry at this time is exciting and interesting. It’s also exhausting. There is a ton of hyperbole floating about on Twitter and the Blogosphere concerning the need for network engineers to become programmers, and that ‘whatever’ technology du jour is only minutes away from capturing the market and being the de-facto standard. Oh by the way, all networking gear will be white box gear too — didn’t you hear? I’ve tried to NOT write a post that I fear will be read and dismissed as mere rhetoric, but here I am anyway.
As of late, I’ve had the awesome opportunity to work with some very cool customers who are trying to take all of this hyperbole and spin it into a functional next generation network. Not surprisingly, one of the primary drivers is the desire for mobility and flexibility baked into and supported by the network. These customers want flexibility not just in their compute workloads, but also in the rest of their network. This same network needs to adapt to those compute workloads — to allow for security and load balancing policies to ‘follow’ the workloads wherever they may end up. Furthermore, the network must be able to support seamless migration of public facing services such as e-commerce, streaming, or simple web-mail to and from fluffy white clouds; all while maintaining said network policies.
These are fascinating problems to address in a static environment, but to further complicate things, none of these environments are static — it must all be ‘automagical.’ Everything must be automated and dynamically adapting to the business requirements without much, or ideally any, human intervention.
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