|By Lori MacVittie||
|May 14, 2009 09:00 AM EDT||
My brother (yes, it does run in the family) has a degree in computer science which, by most definitions, makes him a developer. That’s the focus of most computer science focused degree programs, much to the chagrin of the myriad other IT-focused specialties like networking, security, and operations.
Interestingly enough, he worked his way through college as a sysadmin and his first job out of college was as a sysadmin. And now he’s doing a little of both. That’s not unlike my own experience in which I often did “dual duty” as both sysadmin and developer, depending on where I was and what the organization needed.
Listening to my brother and drawing on my own experience, it sure seems There are a lot of similarities between the two seemingly disparate roles of administrator and developer; perhaps a lot more than we are usually willing to admit. After all, if you’re a developer then they just don’t understand what you do. If you’re an administrator, then they don’t understand you or the complexity involved in just getting through the day. Organizational silos cause a lot more “us”and “them” than is actually found in reality.
But let’s take a closer look at the definition of a "developer.” Notice it concerns itself primarily around the creation of programs:
A person or organization that designs software and writes the programs. Software development includes the design of the user interface and the program architecture as well as programming the source code.
But anyone who has been a network or system administrator for more than 0.5 minutes knows that this definition applies just as easily to folks who would not traditionally be considered a “developer.”
SCRIPT, SCRIPT, SCRIPT TO MY LOU
There have always been scripting languages. There is Ruby and PHP and ASP and JSP. Command-line focused scripting languages, too, abound from bash to PowerShell to TCL to PERL and Python. The biggest difference between most scripting languages and other development languages like C/C++ and Java is that there is rarely an explicit “entry point” into a script. There’s no “main” function that kicks things off because the entry point is implicit; it starts at the top of the script (excluding functions, of course) and starts executing.
But there are many similarities, too. Whether it’s the ability to define functions or the use of conditional statements (if…then, for, while) or handling of variables (pass by reference? pass by value) the similarities between the scripting languages utilized on a daily basis by system administrators and those used by developers far outweigh the number of differences. Scripting, no matter what the language, like programming in compiled languages requires an understanding of syntax, functions, variables, structure, and order of operations. The skills needed are very similar and the result is, if you ignore the focus on operational versus business, very much the same.
And network and system administrators make extensive use of scripting languages to automate tasks, perform specific functions “on-demand”, and even create reports with eye-candy for management on a daily or weekly basis. The difference between the development done by a network or system administrator and that done by an application developer is truthfully only distinguished by the intended end-user and the focus. The network and system administrator’s goal is to create an application that codifies an operational task, the application developer focuses on creating an application that codifies some business process.
They both must design the solution and write the “program”, e.g. script. They design a user-interface – even though it is almost always command line – and they “program the source code”. Network and system administrators do just about everything an application developer does. The admin is just lucky enough to be both end-user and developer; they don’t generally have to deal with business analysts or actual customers.
And while application developers may need to understand and be able to manipulate system configurations in order to develop and test their applications, they generally don’t deal with the network or myriad systems that make up a production infrastructure. They leave that chore to the administrators. But the introduction of Infrastructure 2.0 with its requirement for collaboration not just between infrastructure systems but with applications, too, may blur the line between developer and admin even further.
THE EFFECT OF NETWORK as a SERVICE ON THE DIVIDE BETWEEN OPS AND DEVELOPMENT
The net effect of the “network as a service” has been and will continue to be the evolution of the developer side of the system and network administrator. The availability of service-enabled APIs and script-enabled APIs through which network and application network infrastructure can be controlled, configured, and managed is pushing system and network administrators into increasingly application-oriented, business process type scripting (applications).
It does not seem such a leap to assume that administrators, used to scripting complex tasks in a variety of languages and environments, could be expected to implement more integrated, collaborative “applications”. Nor does it seem a leap to assume that developers will need to better understand and collaborate with the network and systems required to deliver their applications in a dynamic infrastructure. The feedback from applications are critical to the success of a dynamic infrastructure (a.k.a. an internal cloud architecture) as is the intricate dance required of network and application network infrastructure to keep those applications available and performing as expected by the business. To achieve that may require administrators to fire up an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and take up the tools of traditional “developers” in order to leverage Infrastructure 2.0 enabled systems. The ever extensible and flexible Eclipse environment has been used for programming languages, management consoles, graphing environments – you name it and it’s probably been implemented as an Eclipse plug-in. And admins have probably used it; probably have it installed on their desktops. That means it’s easy enough for them to adapt to the environment when it’s used for development tasks.
While those tasks could, ostensibly, be handed over to the application developers, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to place yet another task on their plate when network and system administrators are likely as capable and already have a firm grasp of “programming” and how the infrastructure needs to collaborate in order to provide the kind of dynamism necessary to achieve a more efficient, flexible data center.
Administrators already are developers in their own right, they just aren’t necessarily application developers. Infrastructure 2.0 and the drive toward internal cloud architectures will almost certainly bring this heretofore secret skills of admins to the fore and take them one step closer to being recognized as the developers they already are.
system,sysadmin,architecture,cloud,infrastructure 2.0,dynamic infrastructure,
Related blogs & articles:
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Aug. 29, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 911
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Aug. 29, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 797
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
Aug. 29, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,827
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Aug. 29, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,187
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Aug. 29, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,020
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Aug. 29, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,902
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Aug. 28, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,068
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Aug. 28, 2016 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,642
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Aug. 28, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,955
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 28, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,705
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Aug. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,458
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 28, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,999
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Aug. 28, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 751
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Aug. 28, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,166
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Aug. 27, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,419
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Aug. 27, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,395
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Aug. 27, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,079
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
Aug. 25, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 908
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Aug. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,720
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Aug. 25, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,238