Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Don’t be a networking Lizard

September 4, 2014

Colin Lynch, one of our UK & Ireland Cisco Champions, gives us an insight into Networking environments and the need for innovation:

Who’s more intelligent a rocket scientist or a lizard?

Well it’s a matter of perspective I’ll grant you that a lizard is less likely to design a spaceship capable of inter stellar flight, but if you put that same rocket scientist in the desert, I know who my money would be on to survive the longest, the point being that the lizard has exactly the right level of skills and knowledge that it requires for its particular environment.

Similarly “Networking Lizards” are very adapt in their own very specific environment, we’ve all met them, they know their network inside and out as well as every quirky feature that was introduced as a temporary workaround years back which is still in place.

The Networking Lizard likely inherited the network from a predecessor and has just continued configuring things the way they were shown. And when asked “why do you do it like that” they reply with that phrase “Oh we’ve always done it that way”

And whenever I hear that phrase, I always recount the old story of my wife’s Christmas Turkey. Which to give you the abridged version goes something like this.

Every Christmas my Wife always cooks a great Turkey, but has always insisted cutting off the front and rear ends, when asked why? She has always answered, that it made for a much juicer Turkey and that this tip was handed down to her from her mother.

Not being one to accept things on face value, one day I asked my Mother-in-Law about this and she confirmed that she also had been handed down this tip from her mother. Well before my wife’s dear Gran sadly passed away, I had to ask her, Nanna why would cutting the ends of the Turkey make for a juicer bird?

To which she answered, I don’t think it would, but in those days I only had a 12 inch oven.

The moral being just because something was “always done that way”, doesn’t always make it right for all situations.

Take the Networking Lizard out of his own environment and chances are he will fail to adapt, at the risk of really mixing my metaphors, the Lizard will be a Fish out of water, not a great situation to be in particularly if they ever need to find another job.

In this age of Application Centric Infrastructure, Software Defined Networking and Network virtualisation and as general technology evolves, it is imperative to keep an open mind, evaluate and question new technologies, and always be asking “Is there a better way of doing something”

Be open to new ideas, don’t be a networking Lizard.

Have a nice weekend.


Leave a comment


  1. Great analogy. I’ve always said that about networks and all IT related work. Most of the times companies did not want to spend the money to “change” things and in the end paid dearly for “patching” things instead of recreating the network (for instance) from scratch with newer technology and methods.

  2. Very nice analogy, even those permanent fixes don’t stay permanent for long as the technology around them changes and transforms.