Like many people, I scour the Internet using Google Alerts that focus on keywords pertinent to my employer's business. Just this morning a digest from Google searching for the term "application delivery" landed in my inbox with an interesting job title: Application Delivery Support Analyst.

My first thought was "Hey, that's cool!" I haven't seen such a title before and I got a little excited thinking that perhaps application delivery was finally coming into its own. Then I read the requirements and job description.

Technical Skill sets
Experience using SQL/ PL-SQL, SQLServer and Oracle to identify and resolve data quality issues
Understand database objects/structures and operations
build queries to retrieve data; understand how to write efficient/good queries
2 to 3 years of Application Software development experience(using programming language(s) & database(s))

Unix/NT Experience
Maneuver through Unix and NT file systems
Locate and review data files, reports and logs
Understand and use/write/execute basic commands & scripts
Shell scripting
Run SQL jobs from these environments

Well, the job certainly has the application piece of the equation covered nicely. But nowhere do I see anything about the delivery aspects of application delivery. Applications today are almost unilaterally delivered via a network, and yet there's nothing in this job description requiring even the most basic of networking skills. While it's certainly true that application development today requires - or at least should require - a basic understanding of networking, it still appears that application administrators and developers are not required to have a deeper knowledge regarding networking in terms of how networking - and networking protocols - affect the delivery of applications.

TCP connection management, transport and application protocol optimizations, session management, SSL, caching, routing, and the implications on application reliability and performance do not seem to be a requirement to be an application delivery analyst. Given the impact - positive and negative - that a network and its architecture can have on the delivery of applications it would seem that knowledge and skill sets involving these concepts would be a necessity for such a position. A well performing network can improve the delivery of applications and thus improve the end-user experience. A poorly performing network, conversely, can destroy the delivery of applications and render them nearly impossible - or at least painful - to use.

The concept of application delivery has been well established for many years now and has always encompassed the network and the applications it delivers. One would assume, then, that an application delivery analyst role would have evolved to require skills that cross both realms. After all, the application delivery controller evolved from less application aware technologies and now includes both application and networking expertise that better enables the secure, fast, and reliable delivery of applications.

One can only hope that in time application delivery analysts will also evolve into a role that marries both application and networking skills.

Imbibing: Mountain Dew