The New NOC

I should add that these triage teams are typically ad-hoc, they do not have documented processes, and while a number claim executive sponsorship, in most real-world cases this equates to some level of executive awareness and tacit support—typically at the director or sometimes VP level. I would be curious to find out how many of you are aware of this phenomenon (feel free to let me know at [email protected]) but I suspect it’s a minority. What’s interesting to me is these efforts are very ITIL-like in spirit, supporting cross-domain collaboration in support of service delivery. But they are not at all out of the ITIL cannon. They are grassroots efforts almost invariably. In my opinion they should be nurtured and brought into more mainline processes.

But not everything is rosy in Network-land. There is at least one clear example of “cognitive dissonance”, the term for believing two contradictory things at once. While about 70% of our respondents said they used the same solutions proactively to support triage across domain, an almost equal number (one percentage point difference) said that they would not be comfortable sharing performance information outside of the networking group with others in IT. Of course, one question was specific and proactive, the other more general and point blank. The dominant reason for nay-saying—“we’ve never done it before”—was followed by concerns about tool relevance and the very honest, “we don’t want anyone looking over our shoulders.”

We also found out that networking overall feels that CMDB systems are as valuable to the networking organization as to the rest of IT, although there remained some fairly prevalent concerns about the viability of current offerings to support network ops personnel.

So, what does it mean when you add it all up? I would say that you have a clear case of a troubling-but-promising cultural revolution in the making. There are leaders and trends to be nurtured, and traditional ways of working and thinking that need to evolve beyond their castle walls. One executive I know just fired seven network engineers because they wouldn’t come round to a more process-centric approach. But I believe that there are far more gracious and ultimately more productive ways to move networking into a more central and valued role within your organization.

Dennis Drogseth is vice president of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates (, an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can reached at [email protected]