We need network automation. But humans need to be involved.
Operators require new talent. But legacy network expertise remains valuable.
Businesses and network transformation are a must for carriers to address market needs and stay competitive. But they must be cautious as they move in new directions.
All of this may sound like communications service providers are pretty confused. There’s no doubt they face many challenges in their digital transformations.
But make no mistake about it, carriers are adopting new, more agile architectures and technologies. And they’re working to find the right balance at the right time between the new and the old talents and technologies.
It’s happening. And it’s happening quickly. Indeed, studies suggest that three-quarters of service providers expect significant or total network automation within just five years.
Network automation – along with policy, programmability, and software analytics – will help service providers:
• adapt to changing application, market, and network as they arise;
• better address the complexity of securing and supporting the growing number and type of applications, connections, and devices;
• expedite the rollout of existing and new services;
• leverage their assets more efficiently and effectively;
• scale while keeping their costs within reason; and
• support more complex and innovative services.
However, service providers must take care to build in controls so automation doesn’t take actions that compound problems.
“For example, if a deliberate change via a hack occurred and there were no automation capabilities in place, the corrupted action would only happen once -- with the impact likely being limited in scope,” Ciena says. “If the same change occurred and was part of an automated process, it could be replicated thousands or millions of times in a short span of time, which could easily bring down a network.”
The company adds that intent-based policies can ensure networks react appropriately to changing user demands and unexpected issues. However, Ciena and other sources note that there should always be humans involved and that authorized individuals may need to alter policies to fine-tune how things work as new learnings occur and new situations arise.
TMC (News - Alert) and a wide array of industry experts will be talking about the benefits and challenges of building these next-generation networks at The Adaptive & Intent-Based Networking Expo. This new event will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Edited by Maurice Nagle