Don't worry about SDN putting pressure on your network; be concerned about BYOA and VDI, says SolarWinds head geek
As networks and the endpoints connected to them continue to drive complexity, there is significant pressure being put not only on the network, but on the engineers and administrators who build and manage them.
Some hot topics in networking, though, are some time away from becoming pressure points. According to Leon Adato, the network management head geek at SolarWinds, two of the most important trends impacting the network right now are bring your own device (or, as Adato prefers to call it, bring your own anything) and virtual desktop infrastructure.
"Networks lately have gotten this pressure of virtual desktop infrastructure and BYOA," Adato said in an interview with FierceEnterpriseCommunications. "I don't worry so much about SDN or Internet of things just yet because from a general rank and file corporate standpoint, these aren't yet pressures."
Instead, over the last 18 months, BYOA/BYOD and VDI have factored into changing network infrastructure. That presents administrators with the challenge of managing dozens, hundreds or thousands of network devices.
Adato noted that many people are worried about how to manage their networks today.
"And the answer is just like you managed them yesterday. You just have to do it," Adato said.
It's a cheeky way to put it, but it's true. The complexity comes from the fact that in the 1990s, it was possible for a network administrators to either memorize all of the devices or track them in a tidy spreadsheet.
With potentially thousands of devices, that "internal system memory" no longer works, Adato said. In the end, though, how to manage the network is the same as ever – configuration management, device monitoring and automation.
"I put those very consciously in that order because it's not the usual order people put them in," Adato said.
One common problem is people aren't proactive. They're installing fire alarms when half the building has burnt down.
Come back next issue for more from Adato on best practices for network device management.