A Critique of Network Coding and Automation

Automation and “network as code” have become more than just buzzwords, they’re the life blood of modern enterprise networking. Pete Welcher is onboard for this, and is enthusiastic about how automation and code can help increase efficiency and make life a little easier.

But in the rush to praise these two, there’s often a dearth of critical conversation around drawbacks and limitations. That’s what makes Pete’s recent piece so interesting. This isn’t someone being a curmudgeon, complaining about something new. Instead it’s an advocate who is nonetheless critical of the often unspoken issues in network automation.

The big issue that struck me was the dearth of quality API documentation. I’ll admit to have not really worked with APIs in any meaningful way. I guess I assumed they had the equivalent of man pages, with fully explicit lists of modifiers, outputs, etc. Instead, in Pete’s experience, it’s very hit or miss, depending on the approach of the author.



Pete Welcher comments:

I have yet to encounter what I’d call good API documentation, i.e. that doesn’t require reading the mind of the person who wrote it. Maybe that says something about me, or the vendor API’s I’ve been exploring.

Read more at: The Modern Tower of Babel in Network Coding and Automation

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.