Doctor Bill Miller is a CCIE (Number 23009) with fifteen years Consultancy experience ranging from Project Engineer to Network Architect and Technical Project Manager. He has worked in a wide variety of networking arenas both within the United Kingdom and internationally including Telecommunication Operators (Telcos), Mobile Operators, Power Companies, Pharmaceutical and Banks. He has a Doctorate and MSc Degree in Telecommunications and Information Systems Engineering and has published work in the United Kingdom and the United States of America (IEEE). He is presently specializing in Network and Network Security Architecture.
I remember reading a poll result in Tech Republic from the year 2000, reference http://www.techrepublic.com/article/polling-place-is-the-use-of-freeware-an-acceptable-option-in-the-corporate-environment/1058388, regarding the acceptability of freeware in a corporate environment where 88.54% of respondents said no, against such use, and 11.46% said yes, for such use.
I wonder, in today’s current economic environment, if the same poll were held, what the results would be.
I personally used to be against the use of freeware in a corporate, though not a personal, environment, for lack of support reasons mainly. However for many of us our personal and corporate lives have now turned into one big virtual data center. The lines between corporate IT and personal IT use have become more and more blurred – think of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and other policies now being developed in corporate IT environments. Each of us is likely to have our own set of laptops and mobile phones that are at, one time or another, and for reasons of expediency, attached to the corporate IT network.
What is the relevance to freeware and CCIEs? More and more I find on network projects I am being asked to use, maintain and support, network and network security devices running freeware.
These are just some examples and the thing I note is that the use of freeware has become much more prevalent in the corporate environment and much less of a hassle recently. Now this may, as previously said, be a reflection on current economic conditions where corporations and businesses have to use freeware as a cost effective alternative to more costly Cisco and Juniper and other provider’s appliances. But I think alternatively it’s a skills issue. Many current network engineers, including many CCIEs, have grown up in “freeware” environments and many have cut their teeth on its use in the networking and other arenas, and have no problem with its use or supporting it.
And as “networking” CCIEs we have to be able to adapt to the current and perceived IT Business and corporate environments, for that’s where we make our money in the end (I am excluding government employed CCIEs).
The lucky thing for most of us is that many commercial appliances are now actually using such freeware packages as their underlying basis anyway and we should already have the foundation skills to support them.
However the underlying trend seems to be that the use of freeware is now reaching into many of corporate network IT structures where it didn’t before and as CCIEs we need to be able to have the skills to support it.
Dr Bill Miller QGM C.Eng CITP CCIE