NetBrain Technologies, provider of the industry’s leading adaptive network automation platform, today announced the results of its first annual survey on the state of the network engineer. The survey focused on uncovering key trends and challenges faced by network teams when managing their day-to-day IT workflows—documentation, troubleshooting, change management, and security and defense. Conducted in April 2017, the study surveyed more than 200 network engineering professionals in large enterprises nationwide, across both private and public sector industries. The survey results are summarized in a downloadable report entitled: 2017 State of the Network Engineer: Toward an Automated Future.
The survey revealed the following trends and pain points impacting today’s network teams:
- Increasing network size and complexity is demanding new skill sets and technologies
- Maintaining accurate network documentation remains elusive
- Current troubleshooting techniques are contributing to longer network downtime
- “Tribal” knowledge and collaboration gaps are barriers in most enterprises
- Network security is a top priority, but continuously securing the network is difficult
“As enterprise networks grow and organizations invest in areas like network security and software-defined networking, the job of today’s network engineering and security teams becomes more difficult,” said Grant Ho, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing at NetBrain Technologies. “Our survey revealed that manual processes like command-line interface are not adapting to the new realities of this complexity, while tribal knowledge and information-sharing gaps continue to slow teams down when resolving problems. By automating network tasks and ensuring a platform for collaboration—across network, security, and application teams—IT will be in a much better position to see what’s in their hybrid networks, rapidly diagnose issues, and mitigate threats as they arise.”
Key survey findings include the following:
- 83 percent of respondents stated that the size of their enterprise networks (e.g., switches, routers, firewalls, etc.) have increased within the past year. With this growth, 30 percent stated that they are investing in network automation capabilities within the next 12 to 24 months.
- Network documentation continues to be an overwhelmingly manual process for most network engineers. 49 percent of respondents stated that it takes too long to create network diagrams as a key challenge, while 44 percent indicated that it has been more than one month since they last updated their network diagrams.
- 71 percent of respondents stated that they use command-line interface (CLI) as their primary tool to troubleshoot networking problems. 43 percent stated that troubleshooting takes too much time using CLI, while 40 percent said it would take more than four hours to troubleshoot and resolve a typical network issue.
- 45 percent of respondents cited the lack of collaboration and coordination across network teams as a key pain point for effective troubleshooting. In addition, many organizations continue to rely solely on “tribal experts” to resolve a network issue, with 33 percent of respondents stating that this over-reliance was a key obstacle.
- When it comes to network security, 57 percent of respondents stated that they were unable to isolate the area of the network where an attack is happening. 50 percent also said that the inability to continuously monitor and diagnose attacks without human intervention is a problem.
The research was conducted in April 2017 via an online poll of more than 200 IT professionals with day-to-day oversight and management of enterprise networks within organizations of more than 1,000 employees. Typical respondents had titles such as Network Engineer, Network Security Engineer, Network Architect, Director/Manager of Network Operations, and Director/Manager of IT.
Download the report: 2017 State of the Network Engineer: Toward an Automated Future to read NetBrain’s full findings.