Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Network Disruption

Network Disruption. This sounds like a bad thing. We hear network disruption and we think service outage. At Cisco Live, I learned that disruption is a good thing! 

My two favorite sessions were: 

1. Network Transformation and Essential Skills for Next Generation Network Engineers [BRKSPG-1000], presented by Zahoor Khan and Imran Shahid, CCIE #11894 and #11893. (Yes they are just one number apart!) 

The speakers told us that everything about the network is changing -- its connectivity, service delivery, business model, architecture, etc. The speakers gently told senior-level engineers that they need to get off their bottoms and learn a huge amount of new stuff. (They said it much more eloquently.) This appealed to the Technical Instructor in me. 

2. Disrupt Yourself: Driving Corporate Innovation Through Personal Disruption [DEVNET-1219], presented by Whitney Johnson, @johnsonwhitney

One of the best parts of this presentation was that Whitney quoted Leo Tolstoy. She had a slide that included the quote above. This appealed to the English major in me.

The networking field is in the middle of a disruption that even Tolstoy would recognize for its revolutionary magnitude. Transformations include:

  • A change from Command Line Interface (CLI) to Application Programming Interface (API) 
  • Waterfall to agile methods
  • Purpose-built network devices to Network Function Virtualization
  • Closed systems to open systems
  • Manual to automated service chaining

Network engineers need to understand Software-Defined Networking and virtualization. They need to learn some programming and be fluent in Linux. They can no longer limit their skill set to one vendor's products. The speakers in BRKSPG-1000 gave us a laundry list of new technologies to learn that included these topics and many more. We should learn about OpenFlow, NETCONF, YANG, REST, Git, GitHub, DDPK, containers, Docker, Jenkins, Ansible, Puppet, etc., etc., etc. 

The speakers did a good job of making the learning sound exciting and not scary, at least not too scary. Learning is fun, they said. Also, they provided good advice on segmenting your learning and keeping your end goals in mind. 

Whitney Johnson's presentation was a perfect complement to the BRKSPG-1000 presentation about all the new technologies we need to learn. She recommended taking risks, but taking the right risks for you. She said to play to your distinctive strengths and to think about what makes you feel strong. Think about what skills have helped you survive in the past. Battle entitlement and step back to grow. 

Those of us who have been in the networking field a long time need to step back and learn an enormous amount of new information. We can't sit back and let the revolution wash over us. The disruption must come from within, as Tolstoy said. 

1 comment:

  1. Insightful post! This is additional thoughts over subject that helped a lot to me for working. reflective vest
    reflective fabric