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March 2014 Vol.5 / No.2

Network engineer job description will evolve, not evaporate, with SDN

There used to be one question Randal Echterling could ask himself every day and know whether he was doing his job correctly: How's my network doing? But that started to change a few years ago as more advanced applications crept into an increasingly virtualized data center. Echterling, a network architect at WellSpan Health -- a regional healthcare system based in York, Pa., that spans 120 patient facilities and has almost 12,000 employees -- has become responsible for ensuring the performance and security of a growing number of network-connected medical devices. Network health is now almost a secondary, perfunctory concern for a networking team that finds itself increasingly focused on application performance. The team has become involved in application troubleshooting and worries about application design. One of WellSpan's network analysts is now writing Perl scripts and .NET code so he can better work with the application team. Now, like many network engineers, Echterling is evaluating software-defined networking (SDN) and ...

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