None of this is news to network administrators, but it's shocking to the uninitiated. For some reason, many people think that configuring a 9-slot core switch or constructing an MPLS network works the same way as configuring their Netgear home router's Wi-Fi parameters. In some cases, I've even heard rumblings that network administrators "make it seem harder than it is" in order to ensure job security. While I'm sure it's happened from time to time, I can assure you the vast majority of network administrators working through enormous packet traces to determine why traffic on a WAN link is occasionally disappearing or why certain subnets aren't being properly routed through a mesh remote-site VPN configuration are not overstating the problem just to increase their status.
Even beyond the configuration interface and the complexity (yet necessity) of configuration elements like
same-security-traffic permit intra-interface is the fact that wielding these tools requires a thorough understanding of how they function, which results from a lifelong learning process. And unlike many other IT tasks, there's no undo button when you inadvertently cut off access to a remote site and can't get back into the remote device to fix the problem.
Yes, network administration is difficult. It's possibly the most challenging aspect in modern IT. That's just the way it has to be -- at least until someone develops network devices that can read minds.
This story, "Why network administration is so bleeping hard," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.