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Simplicity Should Break Ties

by Andrew Lerner  |  February 13, 2016  |  1 Comment

I often talk to clients deciding between different vendor products or architectures. Any network engineer with operational experience knows that there are always multiple ways to solve networking problems. Further, it’s easy for network teams to get caught up in near-religious battles over vendor architectures or specific features. However, the reality is that multiple approaches can often solve the business challenge – albeit just in a different way.

Almost always, my recommendation is to opt for the simpler solution. In other words, network simplicity should break ties when multiple alternatives exist. It may not be the most architecturally pure product, or the shiniest new object, but if it meets the requirements and is easy to scale both operationally and technologically, then that’s your winner. A perfect example in the market today is all the hype around SDN.  SDN is over-marketed as the panacea to solve all the ills in networking (i.e., agility, cost, performance, scale, security). However many clients are struggling primarily with agility due to lack of automation. Instead of SDN, focus on the actual challenge and use the right tool – which in many cases means invest in automation tools/products (on a related note, don’t put up crown molding while the roof is leaking or mow the lawn with scissors).


In fact, automation is probably one of the best kept secrets in networking in terms of improving availability and reducing operational expense.  So, take a look at these published research notes on the topic, many from my colleague Vivek Bhalla.

Market Guide for Network Automation,

Summary: Infrastructure and operations leaders see today’s network domain as lagging in agility. Network automation tools enable network staff to gain process and configuration agility, while ensuring compliance, and this Market Guide can help you determine the correct network automation tool for your needs.

How to Improve Data Center Network Agility Without Getting Fired,

Summary: Networking leaders need to improve operational agility and support Mode 2 applications, while maintaining high availability in the data center. Despite the hype surrounding software-defined networking, there are multiple paths to this goal, including network automation and new procedural approaches.

Toolkit: Network Automation RFP Template,

Summary: Choosing a network automation tool is not a trivial exercise, and infrastructure and operations leaders can make expensive procurement mistakes in this area. I&O leaders should use this RFP template and tailor it to their requirements to minimize their procurement risks.

Minimize Outage Exposure and Risk With Network Automation Tools,

Summary: Infrastructure and operations leaders must invest in their networks to gain a competitive edge while ensuring steps are taken to reduce outages. Network automation tools enable network staff to minimize infrastructure failure and ensure compliance while gaining process and configuration agility.

Regards, Andrew

note: Image via


Tags: automation  sdn  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
3 years at Gartner
18 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking products, including SDN, SD-WAN, data center networking, campus networking, application delivery controllers and DDI. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Simplicity Should Break Ties

  1. Andrew

    Arguably the most important component of the ‘cloud’ IS the network. Simplicity is the key. While there are many market offers, most are simply point solutions, they solve one issue, and many are hw based replacements of traditional network offers. At Nuvem Networks we took an entirely different approach. We built a cloud SDN platform that enables secure, on demand, private native connectivity to cloud services from any device. No hw. No sw. No hassles. Delivered as a managed service, we eliminate, from the customers shoulders, the complexity, time, & effort required of implement while at the same time reducing their costs. Secure, private network connectivity that is on demand, agile, flexible should be available to any customers the same way AWS, and Google is. Our mantra, Nuvem Networks does for networking what Amazon has done for server/storage infrastructure.

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