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How IT Leaders Can Embrace the Change that Comes with Network Programmability

- May 14, 2014 - 1 Comment

The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs. This blog series examines how infrastructure programmability is providing a faster time to competitive advantage and highlights the differences between programmable infrastructure and traditional infrastructure, and what programmability means for your entire IT infrastructure.

To read the first post in this series that defines infrastructure programmability, click here.

To read the second post in this series that discusses benefits of network programmability, click here.

According to a recent Network Computing article, changes in network virtualization (overlaying virtual networks over a physical infrastructure) and network programmability (provisioning and controlling its behavior) are causing some to wonder what’s in store for the networking profession.

These changes mean that our skill sets will evolve and our jobs will get more interesting. As the need to build more agility into IT systems becomes more urgent, we are looking for ways to reduce complexity, drive simplification and reduce costs to invest in new initiatives that are critical to the business. We must free up resources so that IT can build new capabilities and provide faster time to new business competitiveness. How can we do this? A new model for IT – one that is simple, smart and secure.

 The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs.  View Executive Perspectives.

The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs. View Executive Perspectives.

Embrace change: New opportunities

As IT people, we want to move from a box offering model (here is your server) to a service catalog model (here is how you can order your multi-tier application). So virtualizing our infrastructure won’t address our needs unless we are able to define application policies and automate the tasks associated with configuration, management and troubleshooting.

Obviously, this requires new skillsets to be acquired by network, server, storage and security professionals to allow us to apply consistent policy management across all domains. The unique knowledge of applications, servers, routers, firewalls, switches, WAN, wireless, and storage arrays needs to be augmented with scripting, programming and integration expertise. We will become designers and architects in our own rights as we learn how to create blueprints instead of implementing them. The ultimate goal is to treat our infrastructure as an IT Fabric as opposed to isolated domains so that we can address these new challenges.

This is not unlike other transitions we have seen where Cisco played a leading role. For example, the evolution to Voice over IP created new challenges that could only be addressed by combining the skillsets of previously unrelated functions. And the value to organizations far exceeded the savings associated with converging two networks by creating new services, capabilities and opportunities to better serve employees and customers. This is not only a challenge but also an opportunity for IT professionals to become more strategic to their organizations.

How will you embrace infrastructure programmability?

Let us know in the comment section below or join the conversation, #FutureOfIT.

Visit Cisco Executive Perspectives to learn more.


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  1. thanks very good post