Automation: Coming Soon To Your Network
Mar29

Automation: Coming Soon To Your Network

One of the latest industry buzz words is automation and while network automation is considered to be essential for digital transformation, the dominant trend in IT and Industry 4.0, it is neither new, nor as simple as the marketers would have us believe. Network automation – along with intent-based networking (IBN) and Intent-based analytics (IBA) – is just part of the evolving and expanding software-defined networking (SDN) market, said Scott Raynovich, Founder and Chief Analyst, Futuriom. ‘The [SDN 2.0] goal (of operators, including service providers and cloud network managers) is to remove manual networking configuration from their operations, reducing the cost of operating the network,’ he wrote recently. ‘Service providers, in particular, see SDN 2.0 as a key driver of automation.’ Forrester reported that 80% of IT operations time is spent performing maintenance on the existing network. And with close to half of all network outages are due to manual misconfiguration (Gartner), it’s no wonder the automation market is hot: -the datacenter automation market is projected to grow at plus-18% CAGR through 2022 -68% of automation projects are commissioned to ensure network availability; -the network automation market is expected to grow from $2.32 billion in 2017 to $16.89 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 48.7%; –intelligent automation services – Gartner’s umbrella term for a variety of strategies, skills, tools and techniques that service providers are using to remove the need for labor, and increase the predictability and reliability of services while reducing the cost of delivery by 15-25% annually – so that when 70% of the workload is dealt with by IAS, only 30% of the staff will remain. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the ONAP project (Open Network Automation Platform) and community, which has become the de facto mobile network automation platform for 60% of the world’s mobile subscribers. ‘What ONAP brings to the table — a unified platform for closed-loop automation — is built on years’ of collaborative efforts across open source projects and communities’, stated the Linux Foundation on Tuesday. ‘ONAP is the first open source project to unite the majority of operators (end users) with the majority of vendors (integrators) in building a real service automation and orchestration platform.’ Networking’s 800-pound gorilla is actively pushing automation and SDN, and last month rolled out its Crosswork Network Automation software portfolio. Targeted at service providers with really big networks, the portfolio is designed to ‘offer greater network visibility at scale (mass awareness), data-driven insights (augmented intelligence)and outcome-based automation (proactive control)’, and will typically deliver a 70% improvement in operational efficiency, 30% revenue uplift and a 40% improvement in customer satisfaction, according...

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Micro-segmentation Projects Span…

Micro-segmentation is nothing new. We started talking about the concept a few years ago, with the onset of software-defined networking technologies like OpenFlow. More recently, micro-segmentation was most often associated with establishing trusted connections between cloud-based workloads. Micro-segmentation is simply a new software-based spin on the old practice of network segmentation, which organizations have done for years with a variety of technologies—firewalls, VLANs, subnets, switch-based access control lists (ACLs) etc. In fact, many organizations use a potpourri of some or even all of these technologies. According to ESG research: To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Dell 3.0 Takes Center Stage at DEW

Austin, Texas:  The critical question arising from the inaugural Dell EMC World event — at least for me, an IBM, HP/E and Dell/EMC/VMware investor — is what makes Dell’s prospects any brighter than those of its two main competitors, IBM and HPE, and the trio of enterprise vendors offering more limited portfolios — Cisco, Oracle and Lenovo? IBM has seen its sales shrink for the last 17 quarters, HPE is just shrinking, and the other contenders can only offer partial solutions — predominantly networking and datacenter servers, DBMS software and appliances, and devices, respectively. From its humble roots in Michael Dell’s college dorm room, the company has scaled the PC heights, added servers, storage, software, networking, security and services and, with the completion of the EMC acquisition, is now grappling with the IT industry’s largest acquisition and largest debt load. It has also added significant resources in enterprise storage (disk, flash and software-defined), virtualization (VMware), cloud (Virtustream, Pivotal and ECS), networking (SDN/NSX), all-in-one appliances (VCE) and security (RSA). Of course there is a lot of overlap too, and while the combined companies may point out the differences, many others will be concerned about the similarities. We’ve already seen signs of tighter focus — i.e. the sales of the enterprise content division, services and software units, and the (lower-than-expected) SecureWorks IPO — and the first workforce reductions, 2,000-3,000 jobs are expected to be cut, out of 140,000. On the good (?) news front, Dell moved into top spot in server shipments for the most recent quarter, while HPE held on to top spot in revenues; shipments grew 2% year-over-year, while revenues edged 0.8% lower. Even better, EMC was named a leader in integrated systems, and the acquisition should strengthen that position, although Gartner cautions that uncertainty will plague the new Dell-EMC-VMware combination that brings ‘multiple overlapping and competing integrated system strategies under one roof.’ The results were equally ambivalent for enterprise storage, where revenue was flat while shipped capacities shot up 12.9%; EMC tied for first place with HPE ($1.6 billion each) while Dell came in third place with a revenue increase of 14%, up to $1 billion. Prior to the acquisition EMC was pushing a software-defined everything strategy, and it’s unlikely that focus will change under new ownership. The current evolution of IT is offering customers a couple of choices in pursuit of shrinking data centers, lower CAPEX and OPEX and the ability to leverage the cloud: some form of do it yourself versus an all-in-one solution, and hardware versus software lock-in (and that at the end of the day, there’s no getting away from software lock-in), Manuvir Das,...

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Trends in Software-defined Networking…

I recorded a free webinar on trends in software-defined networking. In this webinar, we explore the trends in Software-defined Networking: how it has evolved from data center uses to support WAN use-cases, support for security, new programming models such as containers, and more. We examine how it offers different models to support traditional networking professionals, DevOps users, and how Layer-2-based software-defined networks differ from pure Layer-3-based systems. The topic I mentioned is that there are so many different definitions of SDN. There’s data center SDN, wide area SDN (or SD-WAN), cloud networking, SD-LAN (something new), container networking. Not everything is settled, but it’s worth looking at differences and characteristics so that we don’t bucket all of them into this big single SDN category. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Cisco ACI: The (SDN) Beat(ing) Goes On
Dec03

Cisco ACI: The (SDN) Beat(ing) Goes On

For the networking industry — which can make glaciers look like Usain Bolt at work — Cisco’s ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure, AKA Software-Defined Networking) appears to be a runaway success. SDN is networking’s version of server virtualization… on steroids, and in the six quarters that Cisco has been selling ACI (as one of its three approaches to SDN), the company has raced to more than 5,000 Nexus 9K and ACI customers, 1,100-plus ACI customers (that’s more than 100 new customers since the end of October) and almost 50 ecosystem partners. Now the company, which has made a number of ACI announcements recently, is at it again, with a flurry of new enhancements, including beefed up security and Docker support. The announcements will appeal to both N9K switch and non-N9K customers, as well as non-Cisco customers, especially those focused on cloud automation and security, said Srini Kotamraju, Director, Product Management, Cisco. Network automation is a huge opportunity, the company said. “Customers tell me that only five to ten percent of their networks are automated today,” said Soni Jiandani, SVP at Cisco, in a prepared statement. “They are eager to adopt comprehensive automation for their networks and network services through a single pane of management, while improving security for east-west traffic, multi-cloud traffic and bare metal applications in a consistent manner.” Cloud automation and security may be the low-hanging ACI/SDN fruit, but open source and containers are generating a lot of interest too, added Cisco’s Mike Cohen, Director, Product Management. “We are seeing a pretty strong shift by customers interested in open source… (and) containers”. The datacenter and enterprise “In-Use” SDN market is expected to hit $1.4 billion this year, almost double last year’s numbers. “New SDN use cases continue to emerge, and the first half of 2015 was no exception with the establishment of the software-defined enterprise WAN (SD-WAN) market,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS. “The data center and enterprise LAN SDN market will be solidified by the end of 2016 as lab trials give way to live production deployments. And in 2017, SDN will move from early adopters into the hands of mainstream buyers,” he said. While Cisco’s numbers appear to put it well ahead of its branded competition, i.e. VMware NSX, the IHS data for the first half of 2015 indicate why this market is so critical to proprietary networking’s 800-pound gorilla: – bare metal switches accounted for 45% of global in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switch revenue; -white box switch vendors, as a group, are #1 in bare metal switch revenue; -Dell owns 100% of branded bare metal switch revenue;...

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