Network Jobs Are Evolving And Engineers Need To Catch Up

Network Jobs Are Evolving And Engineers Need To Catch Up

With all the technology that is currently impacting on networks and networking, making it easier to set up and manage, the question which comes to mind is if network engineers still needed in the corporate environment? For most of the people who are looking at the tasks, the answer is yes, they are still needed.

However, the roles have changed, and along with the roles are the job requirements. Nowadays, network engineers usually do more work in the office doing virtualization, SDN, cloud computing tasks, and others. They are doing less and less of the traditional jobs that network engineers were hired for. There are less planning and design from backbone, to network backplane, cable crimping, connectivity of routers and switches, and so on.

There may be more hardware to configure in the network and server room, but a lot more of the configuration can be done remotely. In fact, there are now tasks which are better done by setting switches on the cloud and ordering a service.

While it is true that the network engineer still exists for those tasks which require a specialist with a deep understanding of network fundamentals, it is also true that a lot of the trivial tasks can now be done by generalists. Or to put it in another way, the role of the network engineer now requires more programming, automation, and a wider understanding of the job at hand, Tech Target explains.

Network-Jobs-Are-Evolving-And-Engineers-Need-To- Catch Up

It is no longer just about getting bits and bytes from point A to point B by going through different platforms and network appliances. It is also about making sure that these tasks can be replicated easily via automating tasks.

Twenty years ago, you had to go through loops to connect machines together with cables. The network engineer had to choose which technology to use for the backplane, and for the type of cables to connect machines, as well as choosing which machines to monitor the performance. He also had to know how to crimp a cross-cable. Nowadays, most machines don’t even care if it’s a cross cable or a straight cable. Even fiber cables are getting to be connected to a terminator inside the home. Testing all these equipment is also done remotely without any need to check any boxes or cabinets.

Today’s network engineer has to know how to program to automate processes, as well as setup connectivity for virtual machines as well as software-as-a-service (Saas) boxes, also called cloud computing. The roles may expand but the underlying fundamental knowledge is still required.

Network Engineers vs. IT Specialists

Network engineer vs IT specialist

With all the technology that is currently impacting on networks and networking, making it easier to set up and manage, the question which comes to mind is if network engineers still needed in the corporate environment? For most of the people who are looking at the tasks, the answer is yes, they are still needed.

However, the roles have changed, and along with the roles are the job requirements. Nowadays, network engineers usually do more work in the office doing virtualization, SDN, cloud computing tasks, and others. They are doing less and less of the traditional jobs that network engineers were hired for. There are less planning and design from backbone, to network backplane, cable crimping, connectivity of routers and switches, and so on.

There may be more hardware to configure in the network and server room, but a lot more of the configuration can be done remotely. In fact, there are now tasks which are better done by setting switches on the cloud and ordering a service.

While it is true that the network engineer still exists for those tasks which require a specialist with a deep understanding of network fundamentals, it is also true that a lot of the trivial tasks can now be done by generalists. Or to put it in another way, the role of the network engineer now requires more programming, automation, and a wider understanding of the job at hand, Tech Target explains.

It is no longer just about getting bits and bytes from point A to point B by going through different platforms and network appliances. It is also about making sure that these tasks can be replicated easily via automating tasks.

Network-Engineers-VS-IT-Specialists

Twenty years ago, you had to go through loops to connect machines together with cables. The network engineer had to choose which technology to use for the backplane, and for the type of cables to connect machines, as well as choosing which machines to monitor the performance. He also had to know how to crimp a cross-cable. Nowadays, most machines don’t even care if it’s a cross cable or a straight cable. Even fiber cables are getting to be connected to a terminator inside the home. Testing all these equipment is also done remotely without any need to check any boxes or cabinets.

Today’s network engineer has to know how to program to automate processes, as well as set up connectivity for virtual machines as well as software-as-a-service (Saas) boxes, also called cloud computing. The roles may expand but the underlying fundamental knowledge is still required.

Transitioning from a self-managed IPVPN network to an SD-WAN cloud-based IPVPN

self-managed-ipvpn-to-sd-wan
A Wide Area Network (WAN) forms the backbone of a modern business enterprise. It connects the enterprise’s headquarters, branches and data centers together despite being geographically apart. This leads to improved productivity and effective operations of the enterprise. Over the years, the WAN has undergone numerous developments steered by the evolution of enterprises and changing communication dynamics. The need for better control, connectivity, visibility, security, and agility continue to beckon. Enterprises are consuming more WAN bandwidth and desire to shift towards cloud data centers, IoT and SaaS applications hence the desire for better network architecture.

Why transition to SD-WAN could-based IPVPN?

Self-managed IPVPN has the legacy WAN connectivity constituted by MPLS and the Internet. MPLS can provide both availability and latency SLAs. However, this commitment comes at a high cost according to the bandwidth. The Internet, on the other hand, is cheaper and quick to deploy but providers won’t commit to high availability and low latency. Actually, the Internet is prone to increased latency and packet loss when a packet of data hops through numerous carriers. This could lead to unpredictable application behavior. Both MPLS and the Internet require appliances such as routers and firewalls. This makes deployment and management expensive, tedious and time-consuming.

SD-WAN cloud-based IPVPN represents changes in network design. It brings the cloud into the network planning process by utilizing cloud-based technologies to move functions previously locked up in hardware appliances and runs them as a service. SD-WAN has numerous advantages:

self-managed-ipvpn-to-sd-wan
  • It promotes connectivity - SD-WAN is transport agnostic and so able to accommodate MPLS, 4G or broadband(Internet). It presents these connectivity technologies to both applications and user direct to the Internet or site connection.
  • It is intelligent - It allows users to supplement or replace MPLS with the Internet with little sacrifice on bandwidth availability, latency control, security, and reliability. It detects and mitigates packet loss, low latency, and jitter by switching automatically to the best available path as detected from persistent, real-time latency, and packet loss measurements.
  • Reduces dependency on physical equipment - Just like routers, cost effective forwarders (server based appliances) handle routing and security.
  • It is centrally managed and monitored - SD-WAN controllers enable full control over the WAN to network administrators. They are able to monitor and manage the network and remote devices from a single interface, typically a web based portal. The controller also incorporates notifications which provide real-time insight into the health of the WAN.
  • Cloud connectivity - With the ease of path selection, SD-WAN is able to more successfully incorporate broadband as part of an enterprise’s WAN. The path selection assures performance and availability for demanding real-time applications. Using the features of SD-WAN, terminating VPNs to aggregation points in the cloud are enabling direct access to cloud based applications such as those that might be hosted in AWS or Azure.

This results in high performance, reliability and flexibility. This makes accessing remotely stored data and applications faster and more efficient hence efficient cloud computing experience.

Transitioning to SD-WAN cloud-based IPVPN

  • Remote sites and SD-WAN devices – If a remote site has an existing firewall, the SD-WAN device should be located in front of the firewall’s public interface. This way, it will be able to terminate the WAN connectivity and present aggregate bandwidth to the location’s firewall. The site can maintain the firewall and the existing security policies but now with access to more bandwidth.
  • Connecting new SD-WAN sites to data centers – Replacement of the existing WAN’s headend is not necessary.  SD-WAN should support the already widely used standard IPSec. It should provide a footprint in the cloud that terminates connectivity from SD-WAN devices meaning only one IPsec is required from the SD-WAN cloud into enterprise VPN headend.
  • MPLS routers with SD-WAN offload – The network is able to offload certain traffic to the SD-WAN without changing any configurations in the existing infrastructure. The SD-WAN device should be capable of attracting traffic it wants to send via the SD-WAN overlay. Routing protocols like OSPF enables the devices to advertise the subnet to process its traffic. Once the traffic arrives on the device, SD-WAN policy decides whether or not to allow the traffic through the SD-WAN overlay.

SD-WAN cloud-based IPVPN improves connectivity, cuts operational cost and reduces management hassles. If your organization wishes to adopt, Saas, IaaS ,Paas and IoT, then it should consider embracing this network architecture to reliable performance and connectivity.

Network Assessments: Why Every Business Needs To Do These Regularly

network-assessment
The success of every enterprise closely surrounds two factors, information and communication. Modern businesses increasingly invest in sophisticated networks in order to facilitate better communication and information transfer, as well as better connectivity between systems. Given how integral an organization’s network is to its operations, its security and efficiency directly affect the enterprise’s well-being. This makes network assessment vital as a maintenance and repair tool to optimize the performance of an organization’s computer network.

What is a network assessment?

A network assessment is the review of an existing computer network with the aim of identifying any underlying problems and areas that need improvement. Components of focus during the review include the infrastructure, performance, security, and management. The network assessment process can be broken down into several steps which include:

  • Network Audit - This offers an insight into the network infrastructure, the software it’s running and how the network is connected.
  • Network Performance - It provides a detailed understanding of the network’s loading and traffic profiles. It reveals any underlying problems and their causes.
  • Network Security - It offers a review of the existing firewall hardware and software and insight into their performance potentially revealing security issues.
  • Network Adaptability - With changing technology, it’s important that a network is designed so that future updates are easier to make. A network assessment identifies the adjustments necessary to ensure that the network is easier to update, as well as reviewing the current architecture to ensure it supports 12-18 month company projections.
  • Network Conformity - The existing network is assessed against the industry’s best practices.
  • Human Intelligence - Interaction with company IT, end users and business leaders to understand how the network is supposed to work, the perception of the actual performance, and the company roadmap for the next 12-18 months or more.

The tools and methodologies of carrying out these processes vary from one technology practitioner to another. The findings from the assessment are documented and used to develop recommendations focusing on solving any existing problems, synchronizing business requirements with the network and preparing the network for future growth.

Why is it important?

Network-Assessment
  • Addressing security vulnerabilities – Privacy and confidentiality are paramount to businesses. The consequences of security breaches are sometimes irreconcilable, disruptive to service and can cause irreparable brand damage. Network assessments identify security holes and offer detailed recommendations on how to fix these lapses in security helping to minimize any compromise of critical business information.
  • Helping resource allocation – A network assessment identifies the network needs of each department of the organization. Allocation of network resources can, therefore, be done according to these needs reducing cases of under or over utilization of resources.
  • Addressing bandwidth congestion – Bandwidth congestion is often caused by downloading large files, streaming videos or even running software that demands more bandwidth than is available. Increasing the bandwidth is not always the solution. Network assessments may offer alternative solutions that will fully address this problem leading to improved network performance and efficiency.
  • Patch management - Network assessments help in identifying exactly which systems ( routers, switches , firewalls, etc.) require patching.
  • Ensuring a smooth transition to cloud services - There has been a recent massive migration by business enterprises to cloud-based technology. The technology is reputable for offering better security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. However, if the organization's network is marred by hitches, the enterprise may not enjoy the benefits resulting from cloud services. Network assessments identify the improvements required before the migration can be effected. This way, the transition will not only be smooth, but the business will also enjoy all the benefits of cloud technology.
  • Offers and insight into the advantages and disadvantages of new technology - In the event that a business is planning to introduce a new technology to its network, it needs to understand how it will fit into the existing infrastructure. A network assessment provides valuable insight into the current state of a network and shed light on how new technology can be better incorporated, while maintaining performance, flexibility, scalability and security. By considering these factors, the business will be able to plan its technological growth appropriately.

For ample flow of information, smooth communication, and perfect connectivity between systems, there is a need to carry out network assessments as part of an IT department’s set of regular checks. The more frequent they are, the better it is for the enterprise's operations and safety. To be able to identify and address network performance challenges and risks, every enterprise needs to consult a reliable network services provider to help them develop a network assessment regime that fits their network and business needs.

Get in Touch!

Telephone: (919) 439-5000
Email: info@mercuryz.com
www.mercuryz.com
1150 SE Maynard Rd
Cary, NC 27511

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