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A DevOps primer for network engineers

Using DevOps, you would know ahead of time that an existing plan for implementing ultra-high speed networks and availability on a building-by-building basis isn’t going to work. DevOps team members are in constant communication with one another, so rollouts are based on the shared knowledge that one building needs the capacity sooner than all the others. Network administrators can procure for certain buildings first. Where higher capacity is required, decisions are made around where to locate routers and switches. Should they be located in laboratories or should they be moved to closets?

Sometimes, developers deploy applications before finding out whether the infrastructure can support them. Networks are also negatively affected when a developer doesn’t know what the infrastructure can realistically support, according to Rowland. A DevOps framework prevents that from happening, she believes. Continue reading this article at TechTarget

Get Another Network Cert Or Learn More About DevOps?

Since this article will likely get read by mostly network engineers, here is just one example where the traditional network engineer is demanded, but knowledge of new skills are desirable too: “Seeking an experienced and highly innovative Enterprise Network Architect to join our team. The candidate should be well versed in Cisco based routing, switching and wireless technologies. The candidate should have experience in progressive technologies supporting SDN, OpenStack and Open Networking. Experience with automated configuration management leveraging Puppet or Chef is desirable to enable our Private and Hybrid Cloud implementations.

Generally speaking, if you add virtualization, Cloud, OpenStack, OpenFlow, programming, Linux, Python, Puppet, Ansible, Chef, etc. to your repertoire of networking skills, you’ll become more valuable. Is this really telling anyone something they didn’t already know though? Continue reading this article at Jason Edelman’s Blog

What is the difference between IT support and DevOps for Network Engineers who want to switch to DevOps, what would they have to do differently?

And then, the real expertise of network engineers is into the compute process that will analyse this rule and either automatically apply it if it fits with the security policy or reject it if it doesn’t. So on a tool perspective, a DevOps network engineer will be much more of a developer / an integrator who will transpose his expertise into automated tools. The ultimate goal is illustrated by AWS VPC service that lets every AWS user to define his own network topology inside AWS networks and datacenters. Read the entire thread at Quora


As SDN and network virtualization continue to emerge, they promise a highly orchestrated, mostly automated network infrastructure. Who will develop the shim layers that glue all the constituent elements together? A new breed of IT engineer: the DevOps person. This DevOps person will be more programmer than specialized engineer, being skilled in Ruby or Python or whatever language and capable of
developing the software connective tissue required to make good on all the promised OpEx savings.

I want to be clear about a couple of things here. First, the rise of DevOps is absolutely going to happen. When you try to connect individual components together, there is a need for an overarching architect who can see how these fit together. That skill set is non-trivial, and the software skills required to actually connect things goes well beyond the shell and Perl scripting that the vast majority of network engineers have in their toolboxes. Continue reading this article at Plexxi

Bored Network Engineer -> DevOps Engineer? How?

I’d like to share some insight on what exactly DevOps is because it takes some time to fully understand the abstraction of the concept. Its basically about breaking down the barriers between operations and development. You need to know a little sys admin and a little bit of coding since you normally have admins and developers working side by side.

They use terms like “Configuration management” which is intended to get all of your configs in line so that your environment is exactly the same across the infrastructure (my favorite is Ansible, but Puppet is by far the most deployed). If errors pop up with your company’s software, you can eliminate things very quickly; this makes systems administration much easier than it used to be. “Continuous integration” has to do with pushing new software features and patches out as fast as possible, while providing QA for them (Jenkins is the best use case for this and is a very powerful tool), while Git plays a role of a repository that keeps track of changes of your code. All of these technologies are built on Linux because its efficient and tuneable, while most of the time its deployed on AWS (public/private cloud and/or for BCP/DR) or OpenStack (private cloud). You’ll need to be flexible and understand how to read scripts as well as create them….most companies insist you can write BASH scripts and are able to understand Python, Perl or Ruby as well. Follow this thread at TechExams

Network Automation: DevOps vs NetOps and the right tools

Why Is Network Automation Different to Server Automation?

Networks and servers couldn’t be more different for a start. At a component level, some network devices are just servers under the skin, functionally however, the same disciplines cannot be applied. Ultimately it comes down to the way we deploy and interact with applications. Yes, white-box switching is based on some variant of network Linux and can be managed by Linux tools (Switch Light, Cumulus – blah), but that’s not really the point. More on that shortly.

As a second major point, DevOps tools such as Ansible and Puppet are for preparing servers for the software that the development team requires to be installed on specific systems. This software is wielded by the DevOps teams but for clarity, these tools do not concern themselves with granular configuration such as database schema or content. In a simpler sense, these tools execute logic such as “Install Apache version 2.2 and copy these files across”. Sure, the ops teams might configure configuration files, but the tools themselves do not cover end-to-end logic and validation. These are platform stack tools,
i.e. install Apache, MySQL, PHP and base configuration files across a thousand servers. Scale and speed as opposed to intricate interaction. Continue reading this article at

Bringing DevOps to Network Operations

Any team in the IT industry would benefit from these improvements, so really teams can’t afford to not adopt DevOps, as it will undoubtedly improve their business functions.

By implementing a DevOps initiative, it promotes repeatability, measurement, and automation. Implementing automation naturally improves the velocity of change and increased number of deployments a team can do in any given day and time to market. Automation of the deployment process allows teams to push fixes through to production quickly as well as allowing an organization to push new products and features to market.

A byproduct of automation is that the mean time to resolve will also become quicker for infrastructure issues. If infrastructure or network changes are automated, they can be applied much more efficiently than if they were carried out manually. Manual changes depend on the velocity of the engineer implementing the change rather than an automated script that can be measured more accurately.

Implementing DevOps also means measuring and monitoring efficiently too, so having effective monitoring is crucial on all parts of infrastructure and networking, as it means the pace in which root cause analysis can carried out improves. Having effective monitoring helps to facilitate the process of mean time to resolve, so when a production issue occurs, the source of the issue can be found quicker than numerous engineers logging onto consoles and servers trying to debug issues. Continue reading this article at Packt

The Changing Role Of The Network Engineer

Oswalt sees plenty of room in networking for developers and non-developers, and told the audience of network pros “no one is telling you to become a software developer. Writing a Python script to solve a problem doesn’t mean you are no longer a network engineer.”

He suggested writing a Python script to automate the most redundant part of a job, which allows a networking pro to take better control of the infrastructure.

Oswalt said there’s a perception that running Linux on a switch is just for big data centers at Google and that open source code is less stable than proprietary platforms, which he doesn’t understand. “We need to learn how to take advantage of open source, not be scared of open source. …It does require more testing. It takes work; you will have to invest time in this, but you will gain control.” Continue reading this article at Network Computing

Automation for Network Engineers

Reactive Network Changes

A common routine task is to take a network node offline gracefully. This is often done by making the device less preferable to routing, by increasing OSPF cost on its links, prepending AS_PATH in BGP or any other knob the network engineer chooses to use.

By leveraging DevOps tools, the network administrator can now automatically take network nodes offline. Imagine rsyslog is set up and notices a fan error on the spine2 switch. Ansible could automatically run a playbook to make changes to the routing metrics, gracefully remove the device from the fabric, update the administrator via text message, then have the switch swapped. The modern network can be self healing. Continue reading this article at Cumulus Networks

NetOps to DevOps: A foreseeable transformation

The networking industry is at a pivotal point with respect to the DevOps evolution today especially with organizations having overwhelming dependencies on their networks. From a network operator’s point-of-view, it is critical to have new services rolled out timely and deployed efficiently. In addition, it is very critical to provide suitable operational support to troubleshoot the network in order to meet established Service Level Agreements (SLA). Both items are extremely important to a network operator and therefore it is imperative to empower them with the right tools to pre-qualify changes being deployed and also to triage issues faster in case of an incident. Continue reading this article at NetBrain

How network admins can survive SDN

Network engineers with programming skills may be the best suited to make sure everything runs smoothly in the SDN/DevOps environment. The server admin and the application developer can define what the application or workload needs; but the network admin can make it work down to the device level, and ensure it stays up.

Salisbury recommends network admins become steeped in the software building blocks of SDN and DevOps: Linux; Puppet and Chef provisioning; Python scripting; and popular provisioning and orchestration projects such as Docker for containers and Openstack for virtual machines.

“Start hacking on some code and how to use, and I can all but guarantee if you begin contributing to open source infrastructure projects you will have job offers in a matter of months,” Salisbury says. “Even if you don’t push software patches, reporting bugs is incredibly useful and appreciated by the project maintainers.” Continue reading this article at Network World

A DevOps approach to network changes

Is DevOps just for the abstracted parts of the data center?

It’s relatively easy to come up with ideas for applying DevOps principles to things such as operating system builds, storage provisioning, and server blade provisioning. It’s common to see virtualized environments managed by tools such as Puppet and Chef. Continue reading this article at TechRepublic

How to get a job as a network engineer: What is a network engineer? Tips for kick-starting a career in network engineering

So what is the best way to kick-start a career as a network engineer?

The role can vary significantly. It can range from more day-to-day maintenance of small business networks, all the way up to helping architect the cutting-edge hyperscale data centres run by the internet giants such as Facebook or Google.

Most would agree it is a high pressure and at times stressful job, involving a fair bit of fire-fighting to resolve issues, preventing outages that could impact the wider business.

It is a fast-evolving role too. Advances in technology such as software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV), alongside new delivery approaches such as devops, means there are a range of new skills needed to succeed in a career as a network engineer. Continue reading this article at Computer World UK

Why Network Automation Won’t Kill Your Job

Look – I agree that the blast radius for networking tends to be larger than in the other disciplines. One important point that was brought up at the DevOps for Networks event was that network engineers are and will always be on the hook for ensuring uptime of the entire stack, and changing the tool they’ve come to know well (per-box CLI) makes them feel like they won’t be able to guarantee SLAs. It’s a real concern – especially when you consider that a lot of network engineers are just not interested in learning a new tool, or worse, their business isn’t giving them the time to even explore it. The latter is a very real problem, and it’s clear that efforts like this have to come from the top down.

The benefits of network automation are clear, but these concerns are very real. So what do we do? The first thing I would recommend is really good testing. These days, you can set up a pretty good test environment virtually, and testing configuration changes before ever touching a physical network. This wasn’t always possible, but now that it’s low-hanging fruit, consider revisiting this topic and using it to get used to some of the tools that emerge in this space. Continue reading this article at Keeping It Classless

DevOps for NetOps is about Scale

Data center networks are comprised of legacy and emerging technologies, often held together with MacGyver-like techniques that require bubble-gum and a fishing line. These networks must simultaneously support applications that have been in production for going on fifty years now (mainframes still exist) and emerging apps built on barely out of diapers technology (like containers). It must deliver all applications, and do so reliably and securely. Those standards cannot be ignored in favor of the speed and frequency required by newer, shinier applications.

But netops can achieve a balance that enables both to co-exist, if it can identify and subsequently automate the heck out of those tasks and service delivery options that are non-disruptive and considered checkbox tasks by change control and other approvers. Continue reading this article at F5

How SDN will affect your job as a network engineer

Companies move to the cloud and bet on virtualization to improve their roll-out of new services with DevOps. But the network is rapidly becoming a major bottleneck. With virtualisation, deployment and managing configurations moved to the cloud, resources can now be allocated on the fly. TCP /IP allows routing as needed to ensure delivery. But the way the virtualisation is implemented isn’t suited to support the needs of the network and how it is managed.

The main problem is the hierarchical order and the way switches combine the control and forwarding plane within one unit. Continue reading this article at Valbonne Consulting

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