Submission by:  Andy Gremett



Today’s businesses are continuing to adapt to a global marketplace that is both increasingly online and mobile. Increases in the amount of data combined with the use of virtualized infrastructure and cloud computing are putting tremendous demands on the network. Without flexible and adaptable networks, especially within the data center, businesses will not be able to compete or be profitable in a global marketplace.


Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the technology of Network Programmability within networks allow enterprises to build networks that can support the business applications they need both today and in the future. However, these new networks require not just the network engineers and architects but also the developers to write the applications that take advantage of the APIs that hardware vendors are making available. The ability of developers and network architects and engineers to collaborate and work together represents a huge opportunity for success within your IT department.


One of SDN’s big advantages is the separation of the control and data planes. This separation provides a simplification of networking, at least by some folks’ view. This separation provides direct hardware advantages like greater CPU cycles for control plane operations and more centralized control. In addition, this separation allows developers and network engineers to focus on what they know best. Each role can work within their “plane” of choice and expertise and then come together to discuss the overall network performance and how they can tune the network together.


This coming together to create something bigger than the whole is best symbolized for me in the coming together of peanut butter and jelly for a PB&J sandwich. For me, the sandwich combination is better than the individual parts. It is the combination that makes it special. The principle is the same for SDN and Network Programmability.  The best solution to IT problems with SDN doesn’t sit squarely with software developers or network engineers; the answer lies in how they come together to solve the business needs.

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                  Man eating a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich


For more traditional network engineers and architects, it is time to bring these new additions to the network world into the fold.  The time is ripe to spend some time with these new network professionals and determine what skills and experience they bring and solve our IT and business challenges faster and better. And for the more traditional software developers now getting interested in developing applications for the network, there are a lot of resources already developed, and being developed, to provide you with a quick overview of some basic network principles. Cisco’s DevNet is a great example of a new tool to help both network engineers and software developers work better together. In addition, don’t forget the network engineers and architects you work with; they can prove invaluable in explaining how things “really” work in the network.


As your IT department makes the transition to SDN and Network Programmability, lead the way in working with your “peanut butter” or “jelly.” The combination of both of your skills will allow you to develop the best solution for your business. More information is currently available on Cisco’s courses and exams on Network Programmability.