When you’ve read every article on Enterprise Networking Planet, where can you turn for interesting reads on networking? Our editors currently like these blogs and Twitter feeds because they are written by networking technologists and practitioners who share not only vision, but in-the-field insights. For the most part, these experts share unique points of view without the usual marketing spin.
We’ve updated our list of the Top 10 networking experts who are active bloggers and Twitter users and asked for their insight on a few topics. These individuals have varied backgrounds and professional experiences, from networking engineer to industry analyst. While a number of them have been, or are, employed by networking vendors, their blog posts and tweets are their own words and are not endorsed by any of their companies.
Without any further ado, here are Enterprise Networking Planet’s top 10 networking bloggers and their Twitter accounts to follow (listed in alphabetical order).
1. Brad Hedlund (@bradhedlund) brings 17 years of IT experience to his current engineering architect and virtual networking role at VMware. He focuses on data center fabrics, cloud networking, and converged infrastructure. When he's not tweeting or blogging, Brad disseminates information the old-fashioned way: speaking into a microphone. He was a speaker at VMworld2014, the Interop 2012 conference, and Cisco Live 2011.
2. Dennis Moore (@dbmoore) has over 20 years of experience in many roles within business. Some of these roles include VP, CEO, and board member roles for Oracle, SAP and more. He shares his analysis and take on news on his blog, Next Gen Enterprise.
3. Greg Ferro (@etherealmind) has spent over twenty-five years in IT and more than twelve years in networking. He currently freelances as a network architect and a senior engineer/designer. Ferro also co-hosts a podcast, Packet Pushers, that covers hardcore networking and allows bloggers to gather and share their work. Ferro feels network security is headed nowhere in 2015.
To ensure that enterprises have an infrastructure that is ready for next-gen networking technology, Ferro believes that they need to “hire more and invest in their people.” He goes on to mention that “the next generation of networking is disruptive and replaces existing hardware and software in a major way. Because of this, the next generation of data centre, WAN and network security will require more resources to move through the disruption and implement software orchestration systems.”
The networking protocol that Ferro sees as growing in importance in 2015 is “the focus is about automating change using APIs, and integration with cloud systems like OpenStack and VMware vRealize. The old network routing protocols have less significance in an SDN world, since self-configuration and uncontrolled change is not suitable for accurate and predictable programming.”
We asked Ferro what roles he thinks cloud and virtualization will play in the enterprise data center, and he told us that “cloud & virtualization seem likely to be replaced by 'Data Center Operating Systems' that deliver end-to-end architecture and operational capability from a converged hardware infrastructure.”
4. Ivan Pepelnjak (@ioshints) has been building networks since the early 1980s. Currently, he serves as the chief technology advisor at NIL Data Communications. How much of a networking expert is Ivan? Cisco Press has published two of his books. You'll always find an interesting networking technology discussion on Ivan's Twitter account. He regularly bounces ideas around with other networking pros on our list, like @etherealmind and @bradhedlund.
For enterprises to ensure that their infrastructure is ready for next-gen networking technologies, Pepelnjak thinks that they need to “make sure the gear you’re buying today supports extensive network automation using standard protocols like NETCONF or REST API.”
Pepelnjak told us that “distributing policy information from a central controller to network devices will be a crucial component of future networks.” He goes on to say that “whether we’ll use BGP (with extensions), OVSDB or OpFlex to achieve that is still an open question.”
Pepelnjak says that “many enterprises already heavily rely on virtualization to streamline their data center operations. The laggards will eventually start feeling the pressure of being left behind." He adds that “meanwhile, numerous private or public cloud adoption projects stall because the CIOs treat cloud (or any other technology) like a silver bullet, thinking it will solve the hard problems, which can only be solved by thorough reengineering of existing application development, deployment and operations processes and practices, and tighter integration of various IT teams. The companies that manage to use the cloud services correctly will be the winners of this round of technology competition.”
5. Jeremy Gaddis (@jlgaddis) has been involved in computing since he was just a child and has been learning ever since. Today, he has numerous industry certifications and has founded his own consulting company, Null Ventures LLC, which focuses on implementing open source solutions for a variety of clients. Gaddis isn't afraid to speak his mind, either. In a Twitter conversation, he said, "…Heh, I like BGP but I don't think 802.1Q is inherently evil. Guess that means I'm not ideal. =)”
6. Lars Trieloff (@trieloff) is the Director of Product Management for Blue Yonder GmbH. He is passionate about creating products to make work easier and companies run better. Before Blue Yonder, he worked at Adobe, where he was responsible for Adobe Marketing Cloud’s content management platform.
7. Matt Simmons (@standaloneSA) is a systems administrator who specializes in small infrastructures. Simmons is working on a series of books about Small Infrastructure Administration and writes regularly for a journal for SQL Server, .NET and SysAdmin professionals. Simmons tweets regularly about industry happenings.
8. Paul Mah (@paulmah) is a freelance technology writer and formerly an IT professional. His writing covers networking, storage, enterprise, wireless and more. Currently, he writes at CIO, FierceCIO:TechWatch and PC World.
9. Sean Tario (@seanptario) is the CEO and catalyst at Open Spectrum Inc. Tario was previously a national account executive at QTS. He specializes in data center infrastructure, private/ public hosting cloud services, network and more. He regularly tweets about industry-related articles.
10. Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) works as a network engineer for United Systems. He is also a Cisco partner engineer who loves taking tests. But even after achieving the Holy Grail of the CCIE, Hollingsworth shares that it's not all Nirvana for Cisco-certified internetworking experts: "Hey @LearningatCisco, what's the ETA for removing the silly need to remember my #CCIE written results to log in?"
Hollingsworth believes that the most important thing enterprises can do to ensure their infrastructure is ready for next-gen technologies is to “communicate with their vendor partners and find out the upgrade paths for that equipment to take on new software features.” He goes on to explain that “some vendors are only choosing to support new enhanced software functionality on the newest devices. The best way to ensure your existing assets will be capable of supporting these new features is to let the vendor know that someone out there wants those features on a particular platform. The more noise you make, the more likely you are to get those features.”
The networking protocol Hollingsworth thinks will grow is “multi-tenancy tunneling protocols like VXLAN.” He further explains that “with more and more enterprises adopting a zero-trust security model, the need for user and application isolation will be more important. While those tunneling protocols may not be readily apparent from the user interface of the security software, the underlying infrastructure will rely on them heavily.”
Hollingsworth says that within the next few years, “virtualization technology will continue to grow to the point where all workloads will exist on a hypervisor unless they have a good reason not to be there. That kind of hardware independence will drive companies to look at cloud providers as a way to offset costs related to increased capacity needs for short term projects. The long term viability of moving more than 75-80% of workloads to the public cloud hasn’t really be investigated at scale, so I think enterprises will still be a bit wary of going all-in with the cloud.”
Last reviewed and edited by Erin Lee.