I'll come out strong; I hate this excuse. It's a thinly-veiled attempt at propping up what is likely a failing status quo mindset around a challenging problem. Now, with that out of the way, let's examine why people say it.

I'm guilty of it myself. People fear what they don't understand, but in the tech industry, we conveniently label it "complex" or "risky". Long ago, even as a Computer Science degree holder, I was convinced that large-scale network automation would just melt down networks faster given the increased blast radius. While this does happen, there are a lot of brilliant countermeasures, like continuous integration (CI). If I'm being honest, I was worried about losing my job as a networking expert. I hated that my copy/paste Notepad skills would be obsoleted by an entry level programmer with basic CLI knowledge. About three years ago, I realized that we cannot just continue to memorize device commands if we collectively want to advance how our industry operates.

More recently, I teamed up with a sharp 22 year old on a network provisioning project. The goal was to take a system from zero to hero in about an hour, including software installation, hardening, configuration, licensing, and connectivity checking. Though the solution worked nicely and was successfully demonstrated many times, the dinosaurs from a previous era worked hard to marginalize it. They saw it as a threat to their existence. I loved their post hoc rationalization:

  1. It doesn't work (was observed working in real time).
  2. It required too many cables (only four short Ethernet jumpers).
  3. The syntax is too difficult.

Here's the syntax, modified to protect customer data. I'm confident any English-speaking person age 10 or older can read or edit it accordingly. Just populate the relevant fields with specific values, and type "make".

---
city_name: rochester
node_id: 1234
perform_check: yes

The battle rages on. Are you actually evaluating solutions based on their business value and merits, or callously rejecting what terrifies you?

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