Survey Finds Network Engineers Need to Learn How to Code

IT Operations and Engineering are embracing automation to increase business agility

SAN FRANCISCOFebruary 6th, 2018 – Indeni, provider of the crowd-sourced network automation platform, in partnership with GNS3, the world’s largest open source networking community and a subsidiary of SolarWinds, today announced the findings of its 2018 Network Security Automation Report. The survey aimed to quantify the adoption of automation across network and security devices, as well as specific improvement areas to increase adoption.

Based on a survey of nearly 700 engineering and operations individuals globally, the report reveals a programming knowledge gap that is having an impact on the productivity of businesses surveyed, putting network availability at risk. Individuals surveyed identify creating, parsing, and analyzing scripts as the biggest gaps in their knowledge for managing network and security efforts. Due to a lack of programming experience, individuals surveyed spend over 60% of their time on repetitive support and troubleshooting activities and less time contributing to strategic initiatives.

To counter these productivity challenges, an emerging percentage of organizations surveyed (27%) are adopting runbooks, or dynamic documentation, and finding increased effectiveness (82%). Runbooks serve as a living database of best practices for everything from performing routine maintenance tasks and demonstrating compliance to reducing attack surfaces and ensuring that vendor-documented best practices are in place. The top two barriers to runbook adoption indicated by survey respondents are that employees do not follow steps or knowledge is not documented in the first place. As a result, organizations are looking for ways to automate creation and improve consumption of these best practices to reduce human error, improve performance, and lower cost.

Amongst The Key Findings

Automation Is a Necessity to Keep the Business Running

Senior leaders, IT operations, and network engineers agree automation is a priority to keep the lights on as 68% of automation projects are commissioned to maintain network availability:

  • 71% of organizations are implementing automation to increase productivity, 68% to reduce cost
  • 68% of IT projects leading to automation implementation are focused on Network Availability
  • Talent for automation initiatives (57%) and existing network management responsibilities (50%) are preventing implementation of automation

Programming Knowledge Needed

NetOps and SecOps are uniquely challenged as the devices they manage —firewalls, routers, and switches—have various operating systems and lack standardized programming interfaces. As a result, IT professionals are forced to use CLI commands to find answers to troubleshooting issues, as opposed to the programmatic methods by used their server operations counterparts. Manual tasks reduce not only the amount of time available to proactively validate the network infrastructure is operating as intended, but also the time needed for training to advance the skill sets of those in charge of the network.
Three largest knowledge gaps reported by IT operations include:

  • How to create scripts/what commands to use to extract data
  • How to parse data returned from scripts
  • How to process and analyze device data
  • Only 27% of organizations surveyed use runbooks; 82% of those that use runbooks find them effective.
  • Top two barriers to runbook / best practice adoption are lack of knowledge recorded and lack of consumption by employees.
  • 75% of individuals surveyed plan on completing a network certification in 2018.

“Lack of knowledge around scripting and automation is one of the biggest threats to business agility today, as humans cannot keep up with the pace of technology change on the network,” said Yoni Leitersdorf, founder and CEO, Indeni. “In order to improve productivity, lower cost, and support major business initiatives such as data center expansions, we’re seeing our customers increasingly invest in and benefit from a crowdsourced approach to automation. Combining the expertise of their internal team, and the certified IT professionals in Indeni Crowd, IT can overcome technology nuances and verify best practices are in place. By working as a virtual team in an open-development process, organizations are able to respond to changes with greater speed and ensure their network is available and operating as intended.”

“To create a highly productive IT team, you need a culture that rewards learning and skills development,” said Mark Blackwell, Community Manager of GNS3. “Through our GNS3 Academy, we are seeing increasing interest among network and security professionals in earning IT certifications as well as mastering programming languages such as Python and Indeni Knowledge Language. By giving employees the ability to take courses and improve their skill sets, IT organizations will be able to grow those individuals into the next-generation of automation leaders while moving the business forward.”

The complete 2018 Network Security Automation Report can be downloaded here.

About Indeni

Indeni is the crowd-sourced automation platform for network and security infrastructure. With Indeni Crowd, Indeni Insight and Indeni Knowledge, organizations gain access to a living repository of automation scripts across maintenance, high availability, network visibility, security, compliance, and vendor best practices. Teach your team co-development processes alongside the largest community of certified IT professionals and reduce total cost of ownership with prescriptive steps to resolve issues across firewalls, routers and switches.

About GNS3

GNS3 allows you to visualize, plan, test and troubleshoot network environments across any vendor platform at scale – without the need to directly interact with the network hardware. With the intuitive graphical interface, users can seamlessly connect all types of virtual interfaces to compose a real representation of networks. GNS3 runs on traditional PC hardware and may be used on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and MacOS X. Learn more by visiting

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