Automation Ultimatum...

IT – a job for life?

Possibly… just finished a meeting with an old IT mate, Mike Silvey of Moogsoft, and we were talking about how all the recent networking reinvention bollox has basically forced companies into investing in new technology, not least network management in its broadest sense, simply in order to make sense of the new PARADIGM -)

The reality is, regardless of whether the world needed Cloud, SDN, SD-WAN, FinTech, IoT etc, they’ve been landed with it, so someone/something has to manage it. Had a variation on said topic with Joel Dolisy of SolarWinds recently in London. We spoke about how everything and nothing changes simultaneously, from virtualisation to outsourcing and to, more critically, automation. Ah, the golden nugget – freeing up staff from fire-fighting to actually be pro-active in making their company better, whether it makes biscuits or sells petroleum. Way back in the 90s I was involved in network management automation projects and so it goes on in 2016. The question is, would true automation really lead to staff being freed up to be more productive, or would they simply be made redundant – in every sense? Well, what doesn’t make sense is individuals spending hours a day on mundane admin, so automation has to happen and then we see the fallout… It is therefore important for the likes of SolarWinds to continue to pursue the automation quest – one day Rodney…

On the SolarWinds front (weather gag?) an interesting move from the guys is device specific dashboards for the likes of F5, Cisco and others, with an SDK also coming out. This might seem overkill, but it does make sense as, after all, network management software vendors are better at doing network management than the hardware vendors!

Back to the talk of reducing manual admin time, one new product I’m working with currently that takes networking back to its hexadecimal basics and then gives it a two-digits wave goodbye is from a company called CapStar Forensics. The idea here is to take the “Wireshark” PCAP world into the 21st century for real – i.e. digging deep and dirty is still fundamental to many IT engineers, but why spend days and weeks doing manual searches to find what you’re looking for – tiny needles in Giant Haystacks is not an issue we should be wresting with (!) in 2016. So, CapStar adds a DPI engine and a huge library of search profiles into the equation. Early testing suggests that days can indeed be taken down to seconds, based on some cybersecurity related forensics. 

Definitely a “watch this space” moment…