On Infrastructure 2.0

January 5th, 2009 by · 4 Comments

A new blog started up before Christmas, Infrastructure 2.0 by the folks from Infoblox. Their premise is fairly simple yet compelling. IP Networks of all scopes are becoming too large for the manual labor that administers them, the old way of doing things doesn’t scale to meet the next problems. Of course, network automation is what Infoblox is all about, so to an extent they are calling for the use of their own product – but that is a common thing these days in the blogosphere. After all, the people most interested in a subject and most qualified to ramble on about it are often those who hope to make a business out of it. The articles are insightful and well written, and I have added them to my blogroll.

I generally shy away from the “2.0” suffix, it’s like a giant neon sign “poorly defined buzzword alert” flashing overhead. It’s like a giant umbrella under which every new startup can claim to fit underneath and every established company will claim to be a part of. Remember Web 2.0? If you had a comment form on your website or just used the word ‘social’ in your blurbs you were Web 2.0, it didn’t take much. But I wonder if perhaps this time there is some meaning in there, maybe there always is at first. The complexity of enterprise IP networks does seem to be approaching a critical point where how fast you can push bits is perhaps less important than how fast you can reconfigure to meet new challenges. It’s somewhat similar to the way the raw processing speed of computers has become less important than what you can do with it over the past few years.

On the other hand, it seems like automation of networks has always been steadily improving over time. Is there really a paradigm shift in the wings here or are we just putting one foot in front of the other and calling it a new name?

What do you think? Is ‘Infrastructure 2.0’ a real trend that will move in parallel with cloud computing? Or just another attempt at self-buzzification?

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4 Comments So Far

  • iSiS says:

    1. The blog layout sucks. I can’t even read it the font is so small.
    2. I hate when folks drive an agenda/product that they aren’t completely up-front about. It causes de-valuation and suspicion of their opinions no matter what the topic. Its not clear on their blog that they are pumping their own products.
    3. Anybody who has Microsoft and F5 as 2/3 of their “Infrastructure 2.0” pie gets a D on my exam, regardless of the motivation (I’m only being a little sarcastic here).
    4. “Appliances” are almost just as archaic as manual change-management, DNS and IP management, and other traditional IT legacies that this blog derides. Have they heard of software/infrastructure as a service? I mean … another appliance that an IT person has to be trained for and support? Really?

    I’ve never heard of this blog or the Infoblox products until your post Rob, but my first impression is that I’m very unimpressed, and this is anything but “Infrastructure 2.0.” To be fair, I will dig around a bit on the Infoblox site and check with some independent folk who may be familiar and post some follow up thoughts.

  • John Furrier says:

    I have no problem with the 2.0 buzzword because it encapsulates the “next step” in the evolution in Infrastructure. Sure it sounds a bit buzzy but I think you said it best..it’s “one foot in front of the other” – to me that is the meaning of 2.0.

    More importantly 2.0 supports a debate a conversation because for sure not many people will agree on its’ definition.

    iSiS if you ever configure DNS for a large enterprise you know first hand DNS is a hassle to deal with and automation is a welcome relief.

    • iSiS says:

      John – I’ve configured DNS for several large organizations, as well as managed IP’s, security monitoring, etc etc. Sure, some things are a hassle and repetitive, but its just not that hard if you know what you’re doing and can whip up a few scripts.

      My anti-appliance stance is twofold: 1) I’ve used appliances for years, and I’ve yet to come across one which is straightforward, works out of the box as it should, and actually saves time. Some are better than others at accomplishing an objective, but they still take time and need TLC from techies.

      2) I’d rather have a solid Linux guy who can brew his own, *think* and reason in order to solve problems, and actually understand the technology behind the curtain – as opposed to a microsoft admin who only knows how to point and click.

      You could pay the bright, Linux guy $120K as opposed to $100 for the admin, and by the time you figure in the cost of the appliance, maintenance, and the other intangibles that you’re losing with the “admin”, its a no-brainer for me.

      • John Furrier says:

        I hear what you’re saying iSiS but dealing with dangling addressing issues can cause a shit load of problems. Appliances can be a pain in the butt to deal with but my feeling is that if a solution can focus a team of linux guys (and gals) to develop and scale new networks verses administer them then that is a better use of resources. Most guys are gun shy for adopting anything that automates out of fear of becoming obsolete.. network architects want to move away from busy work to developing.

        I’ll check out other automation solutions but the infoblox guys are all linux types and build a solid solution. I don’t know what the other solutions are. I tend to hear loud and clear that the microsoft stuff is very weak.

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