Automation is here today. It will only see increased adoption going forward in service provider networks. In fact, automation is now a business imperative.
That’s the word from Tim Doiron of ACG Research, who recently conducted an automation in networking survey on behalf of Ciena.
“100 percent of interviewees expressed optimization about the future of automation,” said Doiron, whose survey work involved touching base with more than 200 C-suite executives and directors from the industry’s top cloud, communications, and internet service providers.
Most companies feel they are at a midway point on their automation journey, having started out with manual, easy tasks, and now address more complex efforts.
Faster service delivery, improved customer satisfaction, and the desire to become more agile operations are all key drivers of service provider automation adoption. And key challenges to that adoption include gathering the right kind of data, gaining insights on that data via analytics, ensuring security, and having the right kind of talent in place.
Here are a few other key takeaways from that research:
• Automation investments on the network front are poised for 30 percent growth between now and 2021.
• 75 percent said they will have significant network automation in the next five years
• 60 percent global respondents said openness and interoperability are key to automation solutions.
• 82 percent said they plan to use open source software from a mix of sources.
In a recent article the TMForum wrote that “for CSPs to rapidly grow and evolve their networks and service offer while still achieving end-to-end automation, it must be easy to integrate technologies of choice such as order management and inventory systems, business applications and customer portals. This is where open APIs and software come into play as consumer choice is the only way for companies to have the flexibility to choose best-of-breed solutions for their individual needs.”
The piece added that: “One of the major developments that has come from broader adoption of open APIs is greater end-to-end automation for CSPs to offer network-as-a-service (NaaS) or bandwidth on demand (BoD) solutions to end users. “
Automation and APIs are important for enterprise networks as well.
“APIs are becoming more prevalent in applications as a way to do integration and customization that paves the way towards innovation,” notes Joe Clarke, distinguished services engineer at Cisco Systems (News - Alert).
“As networks move from a more traditional device-by-device management paradigm to one that is more driven by automation and orchestration to one that is highly intent-focused, the way network interactions are performed changes, but the need for engineers at every skill level remains,” adds Clarke. “Junior engineers will interact with the network less through the terminal and more through web-based portals or via API invocations. More senior engineers will use these same web-based tools to simulate new network designs and architectures and leverage the APIs to build custom integrations in order to tie the network more tightly to the core business (and make it a true digital differentiator).”
Edited by Maurice Nagle