Go Back There is No Place for You Here in the Future

I was reminded of a scene from Field of Dreams the other day.  The scene I was reminded of occurs when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) meets Terrance Man (James Earl Jones) in his apartment.  I am thinking of the part when Terrance says “Oh my God, you’re from the sixties!” with a smile and excitement and Ray says “yes.”  Terrance picks up an insect sprayer, starts spraying and yelling at him to get and go back as there is no room for him here in the future.  He slams the door, but Ray stops it and says “you changed.”  

I am listening to a customer call the other day.  We are about an hour into the presentation on a network design, going through the physical layout, fault domains, packet flows, how many switches, etc.  All the gory details of building a network were being covered when the customer made a startling statement.  The customer said he got it, but did not see the value because spanning tree was going to block many of the links and then there will be the VLAN issues.  I caught myself looking around the room for inspect sprayer.  Spanning Tree!  Go back to the 1980s!  There is no place for you here in the future.  Go watch this presentation to relive the past.  The rest of use have moved on.  Of course, I would have expected this person to point at me and say “you’ve changed.”  My response would have been, yes I have.  

I finished reading The Phoenix Project and I have been immersing myself in the DevOps culture the last few months.  The scope and size of the endeavor was starkly illustrated for me about a month ago.  I was in a long strategy review.  During one part of the meeting, my colleague Derick Winkworth was describing his product development intentions.  He was very animated and filled a white board with diagrams of how IT development and operations teams interact through the workflow process.  What was interesting to me was he had a small circle called “Plexxi” on the white board, but the white board was full all the other IT systems, processes and sources of meta-data that interact in some manner with the network. 

The next day another colleague, Dan Backman, was showing me an architecture slide he was working on that illustrated how our switches, controllers, APIs and integrations interact.  The slide was intended to be used as a stand alone reference slide of our product set to provide a starting point for customers.  It occurred to me that Dan’s slide was the Plexxi circle from Derick’s whiteboard the previous day.  The contrast in scope made think about the network in an entirely different way.  Derick Winkworth is going to provide an early glimpse of a subset of what he has been working on in September. 



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