Simple Complicated Complexity

In this episode Jordan shares his thoughts on some of the nuanced differences between simple, complicated, and complex network designs. These are terms and descriptions that get thrown around a lot in our industry but do you really understand what they are or how they should impact your design?

Jordan Martin

Outro Music:
Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License



  1. August 28, 2019


    Completely agree we need to simplify our network underlays while simultaneously abstracting way the network underlay.

    Simply complex 👍🏽💯

  2. Mario
    August 28, 2019

    Great subject, I totally agree with your assertions on complexity. I would just like to add that sometimes, or most of the time, we have no control on steering away from inherent complex designs. Take for example a financial institution where auditors push pci dss requirements in order to maintain compliancy. You can take a “one checkbox” requirement stating that data loss prevention must be in place to ensure classified or customer sensitive pii cannot be accidentally or intentionally sent out or extracted in large quantities. This in itself can be very costly, time consuming and complex to implement. There are so many challenges at every level, adding to the fact that there is no longer a hard rule as to where the edge of the network may be. We would need visibility on premises or choke points, on the cloud, on the individual devices etc. Personally I try my best to maintain simplicity, but just like in any msp environment, it’s so easy to get out of scope during a project (scope creep).

    Anyhow, I just wanted to comment on how much I (and I’m sure many others) appreciate your time and effort in sharing your wealth of knowledge with the community. I personally find many technical podcasts, including yours to offer important insight and best practices which books or computer based training just don’t offer.. or lack.

    Thanks again!

    • Network Collective
      August 28, 2019


      That is a great point that complication and complexity is often something we can’t move away from due to regulations and other requirements. Complicated problems and all that… Thanks for commenting and for the kind words.


  3. Mark Wance
    November 13, 2019

    Many times a simple network architecture starts out as simple. Over time, customer requirements change, new systems and new ventures add to this architecture. What was simple becomes complex. Add to the mix of additional IP space since the old design only accounted for /23. and now you have an unfinished IP transition to a /20. we now have entered complicated. It takes you 15 minutes to figure out if the issue is on the older design or the new upcoming design.

    I agree with your point of not being afraid of complex or complicated. It comes down to the planning aspect and what is known as the requirements. On the flip side, the customer has to understand that a redo on the infrastructure often times requires a redo on the architecture. Too often they want the “just make it work cheap” option.

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