Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Blog Feed Post

Are Admins Developers Too?

If they aren’t now then Infrastructure 2.0 may force them in that direction - and vice versa

AdministratorMy 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.

Follow me on Twitter View Lori's profile on SlideShare AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

Related blogs & articles:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
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, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.