Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Cloud .... System Administrator vs. Network Administrator –Who Wins?

Excellent Article From Jack Bezalel at Professional Mastermind ..... "The Cloud: System Administrator vs. Network Administrator – who wins?"

One of my friends told me once, he uses a small little secret to tell whether a person he is talking to, is a network administrator or a system administrator.

He would ask them to tell him the details of most important computer in their network. If the answer was something like “oxygen.mycomp.com” he would know this is a system administrator and if the answer looked like “150.144.100.100″ then a network administrator.

Well, why would it be important to know this?

It seems each one belongs to a different technological and emotional world.

Network Administrators deal with cabling, ISP pricing, physical limitations of the equipment as well as the nature of geography. They live in the world of small bits that serve a massive operation.

System Administrators deal with users, applications, operating systems, databases.

Sure, both System Administrators and Network Administrators care about all of those components, but their daily activity and focus is different.

Maybe one analogy could be describing the computing environment as if it is a car. We could then claim the System Administrator would be driving the car which the Network Administrator has built.

And this difference in the world view, can cause friction.

I have seen many cases in the past 27 years where the network administrator team was almost at war against the system administrator team and vice versa.

Publicly the arguments were about uncontrolled bandwidth usage (said the network administrator) vs. user needs and computing power that require the proportional network capacity.

Of course there were other topics on board, but we’ll summarize it by saying, many times the user would feel like the abandoned kid of a couple that are going through divorce – as in the movie “Kramer vs. Kramer”.

The Cloud presents a huge need for computer systems as well as networks.

Looking at the cloud implementation I am involved in, one of the main subjects is how to provide seamless and quick access to the data and applications on systems running in many different locations.

One very prominent need is for additional Network Capacity. The whole Server Consolidation game actually means that users will need to go through the Wide Area Network to get the same service they were getting locally.

So the system administrator would be asking for additional network bandwidth while the network administrator would be asking for process optimization, pointing to the considerable cost of the WAN and the physical and geographic limitations while trying to push more data via the WAN.

Who do you think will or should win this battle?

What are your major networking challenges?

How can both system administrators and network administrators find the path to the solutions for server consolidation the challenges of the cloud?

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