SDN will boom; prepare to win big
It’s important to have training and experience in Software-Defined Networking (SDN, also known as virtualized networking) because it is going to be everywhere soon.
“Even for companies that are not trying to solve immediate problems with it, every large organization is working out its SDN strategy and virtualized networking strategy today,” says Jae Lee, Director of Cloud Product Management, Silver Peak, a Software-Defined WAN technology company.
Discover what you need to learn and the training and experience you must have to win big as the SDN/Virtualized Networking job market explodes.
Concepts include networking layers, overlay versus underlay networks, gateways, network controllers, network function virtualization, and SDN network traffic flow.
“Once they understand SDN, they should learn about the management tools the industry uses to deploy and operate virtual networks,” Perriman says.
Today, most SDN vendors use one of three protocols together with their corresponding management tools. The IT professional who becomes familiar with multiple protocols and tools will be a very attractive SDN job candidate. “We see many enterprises running multiple hypervisors, management solutions, and protocols,” says Perriman.
Though management tools will eventually span the protocols, advanced SDN users will still need to know about how the specific protocols work, says Perriman.
SDN requires a range of skills. To train to work with SDN, the job candidate cannot simply train for a single specialization. “At the forefront of working with SDN is this major shift where an IT person can do all aspects of the work from server administration and configuring security policies to converting scripts in order to automate workflow,” says Lee.
There is also free training. For free Microsoft training, explore this SDN JumpStart at the Microsoft Virtual Academy and search the labs at the TechNet Virtual Labs site.
Cisco offers affordable SDN training at the Cisco Learning Network, including the Introducing Network Programmability Fundamentals on demand e-learning course. Look for SDN training from vendors such as HP www.hp.com, Dell, Citrix, RedHat, and Intel as well.
Experience goes hand in hand with training. “Whenever you have new technologies, you must figure out what they are going to look like as you go along,” Lee says. Your experience must include a live, on-the-job component. You need to work with SDN wherever you find it, building on the technologies and knowledge you have.
“It’s about moving forward, not starting over,” says Lee. Some people with skills in web development or network operations are seeing their existing knowledge bleed into SDN. Some IT pros are using traditional tools such as Python and Perl in different contexts.
People with one set of skills are already strengthening areas where they are not as strong. Do likewise.
This article was written by David Geer, technology writer and journalist.
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