THE CURRENT STATE OF NETWORKING
Even as underlying technologies have evolved, network management has remained largely the same for decades. Networks are typically built, operated, and maintained manually. Network operators (NetOps) log in to routers, switches, load balancers, and firewalls, change configurations by hand, then log out. These procedures are largely directed at implementing and maintaining the network policies defined by business processes.
Despite enormous advances in software-defined datacenter technology and new development techniques, this routine has not changed for a number of reasons:
- NetOps teams often specialize in only a few domains and platforms.
- Network vendors focus on product sales, rather than operational improvements.
- Disparate, cross-departmental teams cannot collaborate effectively to share ideas.
- Legacy, paper-based operational practices are difficult to update and change.
- Reliance on network device command-line interfaces (CLIs) impedes automation.
- Existing monolithic, proprietary platforms lack automation capabilities.
IS YOUR NETWORK READY FOR THE FUTURE?
70% of NetOps and DevOps professionals use vendor or device-specific tools to manage network changes. Established network vendors have not guided their customers toward operational improvements, and they often market ordinary products as highly innovative. As a result, your network may not be as efficient or advanced as you may think.
TRADITIONAL APPROACHES CANNOT KEEP UP
Network automation can help you accelerate operations
Traditional, manual approaches to network configuration and updates are too slow and error-prone to effectively support the needs of rapidly shifting application and data transfer requirements. These hands-on processes make it difficult to:
- Provide the high level of service users expect.
- Deliver resources to applications and IT operations teams on demand.
- Implement change control and configuration processes.
- Understand and manage inventory effectively.
- Maintain configuration standards across disparate network platforms.
- Build stronger and more self-sufficient NetOps teams.
Programmable, software-based automation technologies can help your team better support your organization’s digital initiatives. Even so, it can be challenging for NetOps teams to implement the same levels of automation as peer IT teams. Device-specific tools are often tough to incorporate into automation tooling. Policy-driven network configuration requirements can impede integration of multivendor environments. Finally, many NetOps professionals feel unprepared or lack the skills to take advantage of automation technologies for specific network integrations.
WHAT IS NETWORK AUTOMATION?
Streamline manual processes with programmable logic
Network automation uses programmable logic to manage network resources and services. It allows NetOps teams to rapidly configure, scale, secure, and integrate network infrastructure (layers 1-3) and application services (layers 4-7). Telecommunications service providers were among the first to adopt network automation to streamline their fast-growing web-scale networks, but all organizations can now benefit from network automation technologies.
With network automation, NetOps teams can quickly respond to ever-changing workload requirements for flexible capacity, application security, load balancing, and multicloud integrations. They can implement self-service and on-demand network activities. As a result, NetOps teams can become as agile and flexible as applications and infrastructure teams to support modern business demands.