ACI...Oh SH*#!!!

mr.comfortablymr.comfortably Member Posts: 83 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hello fellow CLI friends,

We face a grim, yet opportunistic future. Within my current infrastructure we recently installed the new Cisco ACI Fabric. We can now script our processes, and write our network changes with applications...The questions become;
Is CLI, CCNP still profitable to study, or is the new trend to write @ L7 and push it to controllers to process the changes...


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Whether you’re using the CLI or some GUI the stuff that happens underneath is the same. Learn the technologies not the specific implementations.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • IsmaeljrpIsmaeljrp Member Posts: 480 ■■■□□□□□□□
    According to job descriptions having the CCNP is still valuable. The knowledge learned in the process is definitely valuable.
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Unregistered / Not Logged In Posts: 0 ■□□□□□□□□□
    ^ This, I agree the CCNP is still widely looked for. Having that and ACI experience will put you ahead of the curve.
  • ccie14023ccie14023 Member Posts: 183
    The short answer is yes, it is still profitable. As the previous poster said, you actually have to know what you are managing.

    I often use an analogy when I discuss this subject with nervous CLI-jockeys. Think about a modern airplane cockpit. It looks totally different from what was there in the 70's, 80's, and even into the 90's. Dials and switches have been replaced by LCD panel displays. But the pilot who flies a modern "glass cockpit" still needs to understand aerodynamics, engine systems, weather, navigation, etc. What's changed is how that pilot is interacting with the machine.

    Whether we look at programmable interfaces (such as NETCONF/YANG) or full blown "controllers" (ACI, DNAC), at the end of the day the network still runs on TCP/IP, probably with some sort of tunneling layer (VXLAN, for example), and we still need people who understand how these protocols operate. And when things go wrong, as they tend to do, we need people who understand who to troubleshoot them.

    Even leaving all that aside, just looking at Cisco, only a small percentage of our customers are using the controllers and while we expect that to increase, there will still be legacy networks to deal with for a long time.

    Some customers don't want to use a proprietary controller, and particularly in those cases, if they move to NETCONF/YANG (or RESTCONF or gRPC or whatever) they will need very strong knowledge of what they are automating.

    So by all means expand your knowledge to include programmable interfaces, controllers, scripting, etc. But keep your knowledge of the fundamentals too. Cisco (at least) does like to keep certifications up-to-date and so expect to see some of this stuff show up there, as it already has in the evolving technologies blueprint for CCIE.
  • mr.comfortablymr.comfortably Member Posts: 83 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Inspiring answer. Thank you.
    I am planning to test for my CCNP Route next month. I am also now hosting a javascript workstudy group at the company I work for :)
    Learning it on both fronts as you suggest.
    Thank you all for your advise.
  • dontstopdontstop Member Posts: 579 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Deep troubleshooting will still require CLI access, you will still need to understand all of the basics of forwarding and routing. All of that software ontop will now also need not only networking knowledge but not when the GUI breaks you're going to need to troubleshoot the UI/Web Service/Overlay protocols/North & Southbound protocols (or TAC for that matter). Also you're now going to have domain specialists who understand policy and programming. Job roles will shift in focus but you will always need to understand the basics. I still think the CLI will always be there even if it only becomes a learning tool so people appreciate what occurs under the hood.

    One thing I have noticed in our industry is that we never seem to reduce the number of people we need. Remember everyone freaking out about how virtualization would kill off jobs? Now every shop now needs a sysadmin/VMware guy? We ended up with more people, or the shops who couldn't afford the headcount just dumped those roles on the same staff.
  • Node ManNode Man Member Posts: 668 ■■■□□□□□□□
    ACI is not the end of CLI. Nothing is the end of a CLI.

    I'll rephrase icon_smile.gif
    IMO - The skills enshrined within CCNP will be valuable for a very long time.
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