February 24, 2021

How Network Engineers are Reclaiming Their Time

by Brandon Heller

Speak with networking ops and engineering leads anywhere, and you’ll hear what I frequently hear: 

“The way my team actually spends their time is the opposite of
how they feel they could best spend it.”

The passion they have for their team and the network they keep running is clearly at odds with a frustrating feeling that they can’t get ahead. Sometimes, the reality even smacks you in the face: I’ve been on Zoom calls to deploy new ways to prevent outages, which get canceled in the first minute, when a P0 network outage appears (!) and requires their immediate attention.

When teams get stuck in the everyday action items — trying to resolve those unclear “is it the network?” tickets, deploying changes and ensuring they worked, or doing required audits across the network – it leaves little time to proactively make the network better. With no time to track down a root cause, automate a common task, or spread knowledge, it’s impossible to get caught up, let alone get ahead.  

Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to firefighters who jump from one hot spot to another, trying to protect life and property but too busy to spend their time deploying sprinklers, adding firebreaks, and training their teams.  

If everyone knows this isn’t the best way to spend time, why is it still happening?  Because networks are unavoidably complex, especially for large enterprises whose devices measure in the tens of thousands and are driven by billions (yes billions with a “B”) of lines of config. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that networks are constantly evolving. We work with organizations that make hundreds of network changes a week, where packets pass-through devices from multiple vendors with multiple configurations that change all the time – and that’s not even taking public cloud into account.

This unfortunate reality means that the talents of the networking operations engineers are often squandered by labor-intensive tasks like manual path tracking, which are required to get to the critical insight that enables operators and engineers to get a job done.

So we decided to fix that, by putting the fun back in network operations.  

Our software creates a Digital Twin – a complete, searchable, replica of the network – which can change the way a team operates, helping them react faster and reclaim time so they can get ahead.

Nobody goes back to directories after using Google, and nobody goes back to paper maps after using a GPS.  For network teams, a Digital Twin is equally transformative.

If this sounds relevant, join us for Networking Field Day 24 on Thursday, February 25, where our field will share live product demos and their experiences taking Fortune 500 companies through “Week1” with the Forward Networks Digital Twin. You’ll see first-hand how operations teams can glean actionable insights that make their networks more agile, predictable, and secure … and we might just debut a new feature (hint, hint).

The best part of Networking Field Day is the interaction, the questions, the challenges — none of which are possible unless you join.  So be part of the fun 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. PST Thursday, February 25, 2020, and if you can’t make it, look for the recording.  

My team will do our best to make this an effective use of your time, where the bar (ranked #3 of thousands last time by the TFD crew) is pretty high.  See you then!

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