back to article Industry execs: Network admins an endangered species

If you are a network administrator, be aware that there are a lot of industry movers and shakers who want to put you out of a job. Mike Banic, marketing VP for HP's networking division, exemplified that goal when speaking on a panel at the Ethernet Innovation Summit, held this week in Mountain View, California, to celebrate …


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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good

      you seem to be confusing a network administrator whose main focus in life it to help IT actually work (with the first imperative to be that the network remains safe and stable!) with some Operator (eg BOFH) or senior IT director.

      A network admin lives in layer 1 - layer 4 most of the time. we dont CARE what email app you choose to run or email platform you use, or groupware. we DO care that it follows specifications and that theres clear documentation about what protocols/ports/etc it needs to run as we need to ensure that things like firewalls and ACLs are sorted out. we care that its not a pile of crock like microsofts load balancing sh*t. I embrace things like BYOD (and have done for much longer than the recent industry hype about it!) - but someone else writes policies on data retention/control etc.

      ..and anyway...who're you going to blame when things take time or go wrong if its all just some automagic HP software stack (and based on their (and ciscos) historic and current coding and software delivery it IS going to go wrong)

  1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How is automation going to get the network cables out of the cupboard, untie the knots they've got themselves into, plug them into the correct ports, thread the correctly to their destination?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Haven't you heard? it's all part of the new software defined network. You just get anyone off the street to knock up the racking, bung in the servers, switches etc. and stick all the plugs into all the sockets until there are no holes left.

      The system is so clever it can work out where they all go (even the ones that come out of one port and go back into another port of the same switch) and optimise all the connections.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I remember some dweeb from HP saying the same thing about SysAdmins a few years back. I seem to recall the pitch was about HPSIM. It would auto-discover new servers, pick up faults, alert HP automatically when any fault cropped up.... apparently it would reduce the number of sysadmins required, and the ones left could spend more time in the pub!

    But when you look at it its based on SNMP, and when SNMP isn't working it defaults to 'all OK' even when the server is riddled with faults. Coupled with a crap database design and alerting system on the backend its basically unusable.

    I have no doubt any networking software they produce will look and behave the same.....

  3. Mpeler

    The HP Way We Were

    "SNMP isn't working it defaults to 'all OK' " Sometimes I misread it as "SMNP" (need new visual hardware, I suspect)... Simple-Minded Network Protocol .... probably what they use/need here...

    HP has been vacillating between hardware and software focus for at least 30 years..too bad they've given up so many times....once upon a time they had some good OSs and some good applications software, but never seemed to commit to the idea they could do anything other than hardware (or the limited software to support it)...Now most of their hardware is just off-the-shelf crud with nothing to distinguish it from all the other white boxes out there....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " HP is working on automated virtual application networks" So they're playing catch-up with AWS?

  5. Networkstatic

    Comical from Hardware Vendors

    These "industry execs" need to quite drinking their own koolaid. Coming from vendors that innovate with 2-year HW lifecycles. Policy application and management will improve but how the evolution will look is most likely similar to the x86 virtualization. Juniper and HP should probably be focusing on real solutions rather then pondering about 10-30 year future of network ops.

    I would put money on those companies being completely irrelevant in 10 years before I would bet on network engineers to be irrelevant. They should probably go have a field trip on how the Internet works today and how at risk their hardware portfolios are today.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SDN isn't kryptonite for the network engineer

  7. ElNumbre

    Error Checking

    The reason it might take two weeks to deploy an Exchange server in an organisation is the administrative overhead of getting approvals to do the work, not actually doing the work!

    When business process demands that requests get routed through a variety of little Hitlers who can derail the process at any moment, you can end up spending a lot of time crafting a request with an appropriate amount of grease to allow it to slip through unimpeded.

    Error checking, quality control and dealing with political fallout are all tools left to human beans, unless we're eliminating them at the same time?

  8. heenow

    Bring on the Veggies

    The comments have generated enough meat for the crock pot, so bring on the rest.

    Or just dump the whole thing down the disposal, including the IT types. We don't need them, want them, nor will we continue to tolerate them impeding business.

    They just don't get it...they really, really don't. Business and productivity are not in their lexicon. Paycheck is, and that's about to change.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see it now...

    How many network admins does it take to change a light bulb? None if its part of the unified pool of resources. Otherwise an expensive call out to a reducing pool of people with the skills.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @AC 08:12 (was: Re: I see it now...)

      "How many network admins does it take to change a light bulb?"

      Answer1: None. We can code in the dark.

      Answer2: None. That's a hardware issue.

      Answer3: WTF? There is no way that my code could have killed an AC lightbulb.

      Answer4: None. Simply call facilities.

      Answer5: None. I have a Sun on/under my desk.

      Answer6: Light bulb? That reminds me, I just had an idea ...

      Answer7: OH FUCKING CRAP, some asshole just ::snipped:: the building neutral at the fuse panel, thus tying L1 and L2 together ...

      I got a million of 'em ...

  10. mbushong

    "Endangered species" is too strong

    I do think that we will see more devops type roles. But I don't know that it spells doom for all network engineers. I think of this shift a lot like the ERP shift. Sure, you have people who architect across silos, but you still require people with specific systems expertise, particularly when things go wrong. The higher-level architectural type tasks will elevate above specialists, but at the end of the day, you still need someone who knows how this stuff works.

    If people essentially let go of all of their specialists, they run the risk of not having them when they need them. You don't need someone who knows how your carburetor works... until you do. If you can afford to take your network to the mechanic shop and wait, then that's fine. If not, then you need to have someone who can cover deeply technical issues as needed.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Global Control of Systems, Play the Great Game with a Greater Games App

    He who builds the entity which "builds" the automated virtual application network that treats all networks as a unified pool of personal and exclusive resources, rather than as an agglomeration of individual devices for global domination and zeroday vulnerability exploitation of Cyber Command and Control and SCADA Systems with other sociopathic mentality players, will be the smartest guy in the room, and in the known universe of global operating devices spinning planetary phorms which creates Future Reality Programs and Projects with AIdDefinite Vision.

    And the entity will be able to destroy anything it desires and all that might eventually learn to think to oppose or compete against its network allies and/or affiliate virtual applications. Imagine, and it's true, and it and IT be for Real whenever Virtual in Play …. and that be AI@ITsWork for triumphs online in Live Operational Virtual Environments/Immaculate Reality Applications

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blog Responses To This

  13. JV11509

    When it comes to the fate of network architects and engineers, I respectfully disagree with my industry colleagues and actually see the move to network virtualization and SDN as an opportunity for the networking team. I’ve shared my thinking about this on the Embrane blog and welcome the continued discussion.

    John Vincenzo



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