Allan Leinwand at GigaOM has an interesting post about Web 2.0 & Death of the Network Engineer.
I was recently meeting with a Web 2.0 company discussing their network infrastructure plans. As I started asking questions about their racks of servers, their storage area network (SAN), their plans for routing, load-balancing and network security, the CTO of the company stopped me and made a bold statement.
He said, “The Internet is like electricity. We plug into it and all of the things that you mention are already there for us. We don’t spend any time at all on network or server infrastructure plans.”
To this CTO, knowing the details of his network and server infrastructure was like knowing the details of the local utility electricity grid – not required. Is this a bad thing, or proof that networking technologies have succeeded?
I think for Web 2.0 startups the network infrastructure and the internet is really like electricity in the beginning, but once you start to grow and need to scale, you can’t afford the black box approach. Then you’ll need to have a very detailed understanding of everything.