In order to truly increase network agility, companies today must fully leverage automation. By automating the time-consuming, manual processes of network configuration, management, testing, operation, and deployment, network automation can save enterprises time and resources while simultaneously boosting performance, efficiency, resiliency, and morale.
However, not all network automation solutions are created equally. As IT environments grow in complexity and skills gaps widen, organizations will require the most adaptable, forward-thinking technology that leverages existing expertise and resources for their network automation needs.
Moving forward, modern enterprises will not only need network automation but also require simplified network automation.
The Challenges of Network Automation
Network automation takes the manual tasks of managing the network and makes workflows more efficient and teams more agile and flexible. And while network automation is invaluable to IT departments, all too often, it is an unnecessarily complex process that slows productivity and drags down morale.
To start, all the activities involved in planning a network expansion, such as subnetting, routing, switching, security, and more, demand a substantial investment of hours, expertise, and resources. Then, once the network is up and running, network stability, functionality, and operational management must also continually be assessed and re-considered.
Another common issue? The move to network automation often exposes skill gaps, like understanding programming languages. In fact, a recent EMA survey discovered that skills gaps associated with network automation are an issue for a staggering 96% of enterprises.
Beyond the skills gap, the path to network automation can also create frustration for the IT department, as they become bogged down trying to learn how to use new apps and tools.
Then, there’s the challenge of poor standards compliance, which increases the potential for security breaches and outages.
The need for simplified network automation is clear.
With simplified network automation, enterprises don’t have to invest time and resources in creating customized code, training team members on new, specialized software, or overhaul tools - all on top of daily duties. With a simplified network automation solution, organizations gain a user-friendly infrastructure, APIs, and an easy-to-use interface to deploy scalable network automation.
The Market Need for Simplified Network Automation
Moving forward, we can expect an increasing adoption of a Network Source of Truth as the foundation for data-driven network automation that leads to intent-based networking (IBN).
Want proof? By 2023, 30% of network teams will use intent-based networking (IBN) to improve network agility, up from less than 1% in 2020, according to Gartner. Additionally, by 2025, 60% of network operations teams will use network automation tools to improve agility, up from 20% in 2020.
Stats like these make it clear that the age of network automation is already here. But how can we make this journey to automation as successful as possible for as many organizations as possible?
By taking a data-driven approach to network automation across industries and geographies, we can improve the reliability, efficiency, and security of the automation process.
Data-Driven Network Automation
Effective data-driven network automation hinges on the quality of the data used to define network intent. It empowers administrators to maintain network integrity based on this defined intent. Intelligent network automation solutions then meticulously analyze the current state of the network and compare it to the intended state. In cases where deviations are detected, automated processes are triggered to promptly restore network integrity.
The advantages of adopting this kind of data-driven approach to network automation for organizations are threefold: increasing reliability, security, and efficiency while also bringing down the overall long-term costs.
To start, intelligent, simple network automation drastically slashes the manual processes involved in network management, spanning design, deployment, and day-to-day operations. By automating some of the most common, time-consuming tasks of management, network automation can provide instant value to both individual team members and an entire organization. Specifically for IT teams, replacing the time once spent on repetitive, manual tasks creates room for more attention on more valuable, expertise-driven projects. For leadership, automation creates more space to focus on faster project delivery times and opportunities that drive growth.
Additionally, by removing the need for so much human intervention in network processes, the chances of human error are greatly reduced with network automation. This increased reliability and accuracy also deliver improved security, as the opportunity for oversights to create exploitable vulnerabilities is minimized.
Another significant benefit of adopting a data-driven network automation process? Time.
Automated processes can save enterprises more than 1,000 hours a month. What could your organization achieve with an extra 1,000 hours a month?
With data-driven network automation, your organization can optimize resources and cut down on redundancy, boosting productivity and customer service in the process.
Achieving Your Automation Goals
The benefits of network automation are glaringly clear in today's economy. The organizations that are succeeding are focused on fully embracing automation to leverage resources, simplify and speed workflows, and improve productivity.
We are at a moment in time where the need for automation has never been more pressing.
Simplified network automation can help organizations across industries more effectively create and manage resources, offer data insights to better understand a network and workflows, and transform the planning, deployment, and operations of a network.
It’s time to automate. Let’s make it simple and embrace user-friendly automation solutions that drastically reduce the overhead, time, and resources required to deploy and manage data-driven network automation.
Tim Schreyack is the director of sales engineering at Network to Code.