I was inspired to create this blog post by one I came across whilst researching SSL Acceleration in a Clustered environment. I will return to that subject later. That blog post postulated a coming Talent Crisis because it is no longer going to be adequate to simply know about the web server, application server, etc.
I agree with the thrust of that article but I actually see it more as a Knowledge Crisis. I think those who can adequately create well written and thought out code can also fairly easily understand routing tables, or efficient database indexing, or figure out TCP/IP packet operability and needs and so on.
As data passing through infrastructure devices (Clustering, Switch, Firewalls) is no longer treated like water in a plumbing system (as a dumb material) I believe we will all need to become more aware of everything affecting web applications, or risk losing our usefulness and marketability. We are seeing definite trends where infrastructure devices are becoming “Content Aware”. For instance Clustering Devices and WAN Accelerators can parse http. Security devices are not just monitoring access via access control lists or looking for text or string matches.
In short applications will probably need to be coded to be infrastructure-effects aware and adaptable, hence my reference to considering the possible use of Clustering devices when architecting and developing applications. As I mentioned and In my opinion, this is not a issue relating to Talent but one relating to Knowledge. Those individuals and organizations that can meet the impending needs effectively will, in my opinion, prosper very well in the evolving application-infrastructure melding that is very much around the corner.