“Sometimes the networking team gets left out because other teams think they know everything there is to know about networking,” says Josh Stevens, CTO of BackBox, a network automation company. multicloud.
The unique perspective of a network specialist
IT, cloud, cybersecurity, and networking professionals involved in multicloud decision-making have different perspectives and capabilities. Dan Dulac, vice president of solution strategy at network infrastructure provider Extreme Networks, said, “The IT team has a deep understanding of all of the company’s technology. “The cloud team has expertise in cloud-based technology solutions and the cybersecurity team has expertise in cloud security risks,” he said. “Combining that with expert networking knowledge is the best way to make informed multicloud decisions,” he said.
Bernie Hawker, senior partner in enterprise cloud transformation at ISG, noted that excluding network experts from cloud decision-making is not an act of malice or revenge on the part of IT teams or managers. other teams. “The cloud team and the network team are inherently separate. They use different tools and processes and typically report to different organizations. It also has its own ecosystem with different partners and goals.
It should also be noted that networking technology has reached a point that many business leaders take for granted. “When the network goes down, ‘is the system down? Restart! is becoming an increasingly common response. This simplistic attitude gives the false impression that the network has matured to the point where it can automatically add new clouds and technologies without compromising performance.
Multicloud networks require network expertise
As cloud and IT professionals begin to manage network hardware, it’s easy for businesses to overlook the importance of network professionals. According to Robert Osho, global head of cloud operations at Deloitte Consulting, “network professionals are the only ones capable of handling the complex and essential tasks of a multicloud environment.”
While business leaders manage network operations, they often overlook the hidden responsibilities that network professionals have (for example, network design, routing, traffic flow management, high availability, and scheduling). disaster recovery, etc.). “As multicloud strategies become more prevalent, the skills and expertise of network professionals become more important,” Osho said. Businesses should know that network experts are critical to the success of a multicloud infrastructure, and that network experts should be fully integrated into the decision-making process.
Davies McCarthy, principal security researcher at Valtix, a multicloud network security platform vendor, said the principles of the network remain the same, but how those principles are applied has changed.
Excluding network experts increases the risk of failure
Dulac warned that excluding network experts from designing and building multicloud networks could have negative consequences. “If network experts aren’t involved in decision-making, the result can be a multicloud implementation that doesn’t adequately meet business needs and isn’t optimized for changing needs.”
Excluding networking experts can be a blind spot for C-suite executives who view networking as a legacy tool. Hawker said network leaders need to broaden their knowledge to demonstrate their value. “Network professionals need to update their skills with the latest cloud architectures and capabilities. Robust and modern network architecture and capabilities bring security and reliability to cloud environments.
As networking technology moves away from fixed assets such as routers and switches to self-scaling and self-healing software-defined networks, networking professionals must also evolve. “In this sense, it is important not only to educate knowledge and skills, but also to move to a cloud-native mindset when it comes to networks,” said Schenck Ozdimere, Head of Cloud and Digital at PwC.
Network, IT and cloud experts need to work together
Hawker noted that network leaders can strengthen their position by partnering with peers in IT and cloud, as well as establishing a governance/management model. This benefits all parties, not just multicloud environments, he explains. “The quality of a cloud environment depends on the quality of the network on which it resides,” he added.
To stay involved in the decision-making process, advises Dulac, network teams must develop core network technology expertise, such as security and mobility, and maximize their ability to collect real-time data and insights. This will reaffirm the importance of network experts in the multicloud decision-making process and help companies achieve their technology goals.
The network team needs to integrate with the cloud team, says Ozdimere. “Multicloud is very complex. “The network team must lead, or at least play a significant role, in multicloud planning and operations. The network is important because it touches and sees everything, and it must be involved from the start in planning and operations.
Stevens said network professionals need to be more involved in leadership activities. The answer lies in automation. It doesn’t mean writing more scripts. It’s just a different kind of work, so there’s no need to schedule time for leadership activities.”
NetOps can help free up time for leadership activities. When properly deployed and managed, NetOps and the infrastructure automation, orchestration, and observability that comes with it can accelerate application delivery and provide reliable, dependable performance. Given the speed at which technology is advancing, Hawker recommends that NetOps is essential to modernizing the networks needed to support multicloud environments.
Additionally, NetOps provides the tools and processes needed to effectively manage multicloud networks. “Cloud application performance is highly dependent on secure network transmission over LANs and WANs,” Dulac said. “If the application experience is slow, the network is usually to blame.” With NetOps, we can automate repetitive tasks such as moves, adds, and changes, and provide real-time visibility into device performance. wired and wireless networking and application experience, enabling networking professionals to demonstrate the value they bring to the business.”
Security, network virtualization and automation are essential skills
Dulac noted that NetOps training provides network professionals with the knowledge they need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in cloud networking and security, and to effectively participate in and contribute to discussions and decision-making. multicloud decision. Additionally, network professionals need to learn essential cloud skills, including network virtualization, multicloud connectivity and automation, Dulac said. “Good cloud talent has three key characteristics: domain expertise, effective communication, and trust,” he added.
WAN-focused training is another important way to understand an evolving cloud strategy, Hawker said. “Additionally, network professionals must be able to talk and negotiate with carriers and CSPs.”
Additionally, network professionals should learn the native cloud networking implemented by major cloud providers. “Having a working knowledge of native network configurations for large cloud platforms will allow you to understand all cloud network components, service provider features, multicloud architecture design patterns, and even how to apply them”, says Ozdimeer.
In addition, network leaders also need to hone their management and business skills. “Network professionals should be spending less time sitting in front of keyboards and more standing in front of whiteboards,” Stevens said. “Instead of configuring systems or writing scripts, you need to get deeply involved with the business and help them understand how better networks lead to better business results.”
Network experts will continue to play an important role in the journey to the cloud with their expertise in network architecture, performance, and topology. “The network specialist’s role as a key team member in mitigating the complexity of the cloud environment will continue to evolve,” Ozdimeer.do said, he advised.