Teaching Network Service Orchestration to Battle Hardened Professionals

The last couple of years have seen the networking industry go through an unprecedented shift away from a fairly narrow focus on dataplane technologies towards operational aspects of networking at scale dressed in terms like SDN and NFV.

Tail-f has focused on solving the operational challenges since we started in 2005, first by helping equipment providers build better software on board their products, and since 2010 by helping network operations teams automate and orchestrate their network services and prepare for virtualization of networking assets.

During the first couple of years we had to look really hard to find people with an interest (or even passion for) network management and operations. They were definitely not appreciated at that point, but were rather seen as the proverbial red-headed step children of the real heroes, the data plane programmers and routing protocol experts.

It is safe to say that the valuations have shifted since then. A significant number of the large networks have largely turned their main focus away from lowering capex (the cost of the equipment) towards lowering opex (the cost of keeping networks alive and delivering).

The people who spent their professional life in the shadow of the line card and the constantly reinvented packet labeling technologies are finally getting most of the attention. The realization is that providing robust solutions for the north-south traffic of service provisioning is commonly more challenging (and eventually valuable) than the commodity east-west customer traffic.

It is in this frame of reference that we were very proud to host the inaugural NCS training for system integrators last week at our HQ in Stockholm, Sweden. The 20+ people in the room for the three days of deep dive into NCS architecture and practices have enough experience and deep expertise between them to instill respect and fear in any presenter. There is literally nothing that excites us like having an energetic discussion around our product and it’s applications with people that have been working in this space and in very large networks for a long time. It keeps us on our toes to put it mildly. But we believe we held our ground well and even managed to impress these battle hardened professionals.

So it was with a “thank you for your attention” and “more power to all of you” that we concluded this year’s session and we’re looking forward to deep collaborations with all attendees in the formidable task of bringing automation and network serve orchestration to the networks of the world.

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