New Year Resolutions for Network Engineers

picture-22Yes, yes, I know, this post is coming a bit late. Ahem, didn't we just celebrate a chinese new year? Better late than never, right?

In order to put together this resolution list for our favorite people - Network Engineers, I dug around the Internet for inspiration. This is when I stumbled across the Network Geek's Amazing New Year's Resolution Generator! But "I will start to date people on the Internet again" isn't exactly what I was looking for.

So here's my own list:

  • I will be more proactive about network management Network management has been around as long as computer networks -- a pretty long time! Despite this, it's often still incredibly reactive; problem diagnosis and resolution is often more like poking around with a sniffer and playing blame-roulette than using a repeatable process. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a common phrase uttered by those satisfied with the status quo. Well, I'm going to say that it's broken, and it has been for a long time. 2009 is a good time for us to work together to make proactive network management a reality.

  • I will invest more in capacity planning Directly related to the daily fires mentioned above, capacity planning tends to get the short end of the stick in IT. A big part of the problem is figuring out what "capacity" is. Is it the point at which the application starts failing? When customers start complaining? How about when the infrastructure all but catches fire and keels over under load and you start getting those oh-so-helpful pages telling you that there is a problem somewhere in your network. (There is a reason the alerting system at a company I used to work for was named "CAPTAIN-OBVIOUS".) Lab simulations don't work the same way real-world traffic does, so having access to production metrics is extremely valuable when coming up with a plan.

  • I will come up with a plan/strategy to deal with the management impact of virtualization Virtualization is great. It's a silver bullet for everything. It promotes world peace.
    If you doubt the veracity of the last 3 sentences, please read them again... and again. There we go. Not convinced? Well, how about we just roll it out all over the organization and you can take it up with the CIO later (when you have the spare time to do so, after you go ahead and track down the 18 new unpatched webservers that just sprouted up in that VLAN, making the "network slow".) This is not a ding on virtualization: it's an incredibly useful and cost-effective technology; however we are seeing new classes of problems introduced that manifest themselves on networks in obscure and hard-to-track ways. And bandwidth charts just don't cut it any more.

What about you, what have you resolved to do differently in 2009? Let us know via your comments!

  • Raja

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