EtherealMind: Please welcome Ziyad Basheer to his first post on EtherealMind.
Is the Network Administrator Role Going Away?
Network automation tools are nothing new, but vendors are starting to implement deployment simplifying tools such as Cisco’s AutoQoS and AutoSecure. These tools for reducing repetitive deployments’ costs and assist configuration are a mark of a trend. Dynamic deployment tools will only get more popular and eventually gain mainstream deployment within the multiple facets of the network.†
What does this mean for network professionals? Marginal network administrator roles are the ones in question here, as automation tools do not alleviate the need for enterprise and service provider network architects. Despite the fact that the more recent tools include dynamic application discovery and automatic network configuration, the network still needs to be designed.†
Who will be affected and who won’t.
* Pre-sales engineers – won’t feel any†repercussions as products will still need to be sold
* Post-sales consultants – interoperation with pre-existing gear will still be required.
The main category in which this will have an immediate impact is in the mid-size network category, or at least that’s what it looks like at this point. The duties of mid-size network administrators (200-500+ users) will lessen, causing the businesses to outsource the network inside of having it maintained in-house. This is already happening in small businesses which usually outsource the network to focus on their core business. Medium sized businesses however occasionally have in-house network administrators.
Automation won’t have an immediate noticeable impact. It’s merely an emerging trend at this point, one that we need to be well aware of as this is how the future of the industry is manifesting itself. Vendors are integrating these configuration tools onto the products diminishing the need for third parties to configure them; part of selling an ìend-to-end solutionî.
While this might not be prevalent in today’s networks, that day is coming. Eventually most of the network configuration tasks will be automated. As a network professional, how do you see yourself preparing for this shift, and will you have adjusted for the shift by then?