How Network Engineer Admins Can Survive SDN?

With the advent of SDN, much speculation has spread about the future of network administrators.


With the advent of SDN, much speculation has spread about the future of network administrators.

Some doomsday anticipates that network engineering virtualization will be obsolete because it becomes the responsibility of the server or system administrator who is already in charge of server virtualization. Or, an application developer can assume the role of network administrator, assuming more network intelligence to program the network resources required by the SDN application.

Then they can't.

Network staff can take advantage of SDN / DevOps opportunities to make them more valuable to IT organizations. They can anticipate this new wave and showcase new IT tools and capabilities available to manage and control networks.


Network administrators can also play a leadership role in integrating new SDN / DevOps environments with existing networks. While SDN is expected to replace traditional networks, there will be years of coexistence with SDN, hybrid networks, legacy networks, and the applications and services they support.

"Accountability evolves and specific tasks disappear, but infrastructure and operations organizations still need a network administrator," said Andre Kindness, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Even if your business has a 100% SDN infrastructure, you still need someone to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot your network infrastructure, which is a combination of SDN solutions, software, hardware, WAN services, and adjacent technologies. I will. "

"Did server virtualization kill system administrators? No, but it has brought some evolutions in provisioning, management and automation. The network startup DevOps  makes sense to expect similar changes in network professionals over the next decade."

Network administrators must make that change to stay relevant in the software-centric world of SDN and DevOps. New managers need to learn new skill sets and new tools.

Do they need to learn software programming? It depends on how deeply you are established and related in this new world.

What if that application and service has the ability to finally declare what they need from the network and those requirements are automatically implemented in the SDN that "owns" that functionality, what about that interaction? Some bet on the system administrator or server that owns the process. This is what network administrators have to deal with or respond to.

"Software development teams working on network solutions should actively recruit network engineers who have embraced DevOps and software development. This reduces the risk for developers of creating complex solutions to non-existent problems or solutions that lack a realistic migration path where recruitment cannot be found."

Due to the convergence of application development and network virtualization provided by DevOps and SDN, these two areas, such as application developers and server administrators, may be under a single domain of control. As more network configuration and service level information is incorporated into the application under the SDN model, you may be the server administrator or the application developer.

However, these possible changes in liability depend on the underlying network being functional. Furthermore, everything that is implemented in the SDN / DevOps process must coexist with legacy technology and use it as a base for many years.

And the manager of that basic network is the network administrator.


"The entire SDN network doesn't happen overnight.This will be a 20-year process for many people to change their IT and network mindsets. At a minimum, companies need network administrators to keep the section legacy."

Server and application administrators will learn more about SDN and DevOps and how to link them to all virtual machines and applications, but they don't have time to learn what network administrators already know about their existing infrastructure. And it's important to know when the goal is to link the behavior of network elements at the individual element level to application-specific requirements.

More about the world of the network: about software-defined networks

A deep understanding of existing networks is also necessary if you have problems with the software that defines how your network behaves. And problems arise, especially as networks become more policy-based and security-dependent.

Network administrators must actively monitor and troubleshoot network issues to ensure that application-based policies interact seamlessly and do not interfere with network operations. And when this application-driven policy migration is successful, network security becomes paramount. To ensure that application policies do not confuse security policies, you need someone with a deep understanding of both your network infrastructure and security architecture. There may be a model.

Of course, all this is obvious to those who say that the software that defines the network means that a server or an application expert can run the network. These are the same people who say that CCIE and other certified specialists are not required to configure and operate SDN, just like server virtualization.

They point out that common automation tools, such as Puppet and Chef, allow server administrators to provision network resources. Additionally, application developers can use the SDN Orchestrator to document what they need from the network, as well as storage arrays, server trays, hypervisors, firewalls and compliance, and more.

But again, making sure that individual network elements behave as indicated by application policies or SDN drivers can affect people who are more familiar with physical networks. In theory, it would be great to allow server administrators to define, apply, and deliver QoS or service level agreements from the SDN controller. But if something happens on the go and happens at the network device level, who would you call?

The days of someone losing email provisioning in their inbox, the hassle of ticketing with token closings, and managing weekly or monthly change is a waste of the organization's productivity and revenue.. But if these services stop working, it's safe to say that network rookies.