IT silos (network, servers, storage, and so on) emerge from logical segmentations of job duties and responsibilities. But interactions among silos, when they occur, are often marked by misunderstanding and frustration: Is it really that hard to turn up a switch port? Did the server team just request a layer-2 VLAN between two data centers?
Chris Wahl and Ethan Banks bust silos by walking through a service request at a fictional corporation. They outline the steps required from network and server silos, providing context to help each domain expert understand what the other is trying to accomplish.
As they move through the process, they realize they share common concerns, including ensuring there’s sufficient capacity for the workload, and enough resilience built into the design.
They also share many of the same challenges, especially around lifecycle management and the difficulty of tracking network and compute consumption for services that may no longer be needed.
Most importantly, they both come away with a better idea of the technical complexities involved in each domain, and why clear communication about goals—what you’re trying to achieve with a request—is essential.
The Human Element
Chris and Ethan also discuss the human elements that make inter-silo communication difficult. When a service request is denied, for whatever reason, it creates an emotional reaction. Technical people don’t like to admit when they don’t know something. And managers can create toxic cultures that pit silos against each other.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. As Ethan states in the podcast: “The point is to make silos stop looking like black boxes and help understand how it all works together. The smarter we are about each others’ worlds, the more effective we are at doing our jobs.”
This Datanauts episode is a must-listen if you need to build better relationships with domain experts at your job.