The future of the network is open source and programmability, says industry expert

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Network technology has changed considerably in the last 20 years, but most of the changes have been incremental – particularly as they relate the roles and responsibilities of network engineers and administrators.


Ethan Banks

Network Computing columnist Ethan Banks is one of many industry insiders who believe the network is changing at fundamental levels. There are plenty of trends to show just what the future of the network may hold – hybrid cloud, software-defined networking, disaggregation of software and operating systems from routers and switches, network as a service, different flavors of software-defined WAN and various types of infrastructure automation.

As Banks noted in a recent Network Computing column, not all trends being touted by vendors these days are going to be win, but Banks appears to be betting on two trends making waves and setting the industry up for significant changes.

Open source and programmability are two key networking trends that enterprises are investigating, and Banks makes the case that the most interesting elements are coming not from the incumbents, but from startups and, of course, open source communities.

Neither is really surprising. In some ways, the network is far behind where servers, storage and even personal computers were more than a decade ago. After all, PCs and servers, particularly, have been able to run administrators' operating systems of choice for years – decades, in fact.

The trick for engineers and administrators is keeping in tune with what's going on in such communities and seeing more than vendor hype. As Banks noted in his article, "Knowing what's now makes you look solid. Knowing what's next makes you look like a visionary."

For more:
- read Network Computing's article

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