Ever wondered how networks manage to keep up with the lightning-fast pace of today's digital world? Well, the answer lies in a game-changing concept: network automation. It's like giving your network a turbo boost, allowing it to handle tasks with efficiency and precision that would make even the most seasoned IT pro nod in approval.
In this blog, we will dive into the realm of automated networks, uncovering its perks, and discovering how it's reshaping the way we connect.
What is Network Automation?
Network automation involves the utilization of software to automate the provisioning and management of networks and security, with the goal of consistently optimizing network efficiency and functionality. It is commonly employed alongside network virtualization.
IT departments in today's landscape are increasingly looking for rapidity, flexibility, and uniformity when it comes to provisioning and managing both conventional and cloud-native applications. To meet these objectives, a modern network automation platform can effectively automate essential networking tasks such as resource allocation, network mapping, and network testing.
Kings Research estimates that the network automation market is on track to rake in an impressive $34.43 billion by 2030, expanding at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.50%. That's some serious growth potential!
How Does Network Automation Work?
Network automation software is designed to streamline the process of mapping, configuring, provisioning, and managing networks by determining the most efficient approach. Instead of manual configuration through command-line instructions, API-based automation eliminates the need for repetitive tasks on individual networking devices. These APIs can be accessed directly or through programming languages such as Python, Java, or Go. In addition to writing scripts, a comprehensive automation platform also includes the capability to monitor network resources during provisioning and ensure that a requested configuration can be implemented successfully.
Benefits of Network Automation
The advantages of an entirely automated network are plentiful. Implementing it may initially appear to be a time-consuming process, but it will eventually bring multiple benefits to the organization. Even individuals who are typically unaware of the happenings within the IT department will start to notice the positive impact. Here are some advantages you need to keep in mind:
Mistakes made by individuals can result in potential dangers. As per a CNBC report, a study reveals that employee carelessness is the primary factor contributing to data breaches. A significant 47% of businesses attribute human error as the cause of data breaches within their organization.
Network automation plays a crucial role in minimizing human errors and mitigating the chances of data breaches. Additionally, the automation of compliance procedures helps in reducing the risk of non-compliance. For instance, in retail establishments that accept credit and payment cards, it is mandatory to configure Wi-Fi routers to the highest protocol standards set by the PCI Security Standards Council.
Network automation technology eliminates the manual process of updating software on employee devices and network hardware, including security updates and patches. This significantly reduces the time and effort required by IT staff, who often spend months on these tasks. Moreover, tools powered by network automation can also handle post-patching activities such as testing and verification to ensure that the patch has not caused any issues.
Make Quicker Changes
With the implementation of automation, it becomes possible to make necessary changes more frequently. IT administrators have the ability to configure alerts that inform them about any network problems, enabling them to make prompt adjustments as required. Additionally, the system can be customized to adapt dynamically in response to user demand or business requirements. This flexibility empowers organizations to effectively introduce new services and applications.
When staff members utilize high-bandwidth applications, like those that involve video content, the network has the capability to automatically redirect these applications to a nearby internet connection rather than consuming system resources.
More Reliable Network
As time goes on, an automated network acquires knowledge and develops the ability to anticipate and prevent forthcoming problems. It gathers information from various sources such as routers, switches, event logs, configuration files, and employee devices, resulting in a more dependable network. This enhancement leads to improved performance, utilization of resources, security, and allocation of assets.
Automated network management encompasses a range of support and monitoring tools designed to notify IT administrators about potential performance problems. Rather than requiring manual intervention, these tools can be conveniently managed through a centralized network operations dashboard, enabling efficient user support at an organizational level. Network analytics and diagnostics not only evaluate performance but also offer valuable insights on enhancing security measures and optimizing resource allocation.
Simplify Network Management
Network automation technology allows for more frequent and simplified network management, resulting in optimal network performance without any downtime. When implemented, organizations often realize that certain areas of the network are either inadequately managed or completely neglected due to the need for more hands-on management.
With minimal effort, one can implement configurations uniformly throughout the infrastructure, which ultimately facilitates the streamlined management of employee, network, and IoT devices, enabling scalable operations.
Examples of Network Automation
In the realm of network automation using virtualization, the synchronization between SDN and NFV technologies enables the customization of networks to align with business objectives. SDN takes charge of hardware operations by establishing virtual networks for virtual machines and overseeing multiple physical networks. This advantageous combination proves valuable in situations of heightened demand, as it automatically diverts traffic to less crowded server zones.
Numerous open-source initiatives are committed to setting up benchmarks for network automation using virtualization. One such example is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Industry Specification Group (ISG) for NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO), which concentrates on overseeing and coordinating network resources in cloud-based data centers. These standards will facilitate enhanced and more streamlined communication between SDN and NFV platforms.
There is a diverse range of network automation tools available, offered by various companies specializing in network automation software. While network automation concepts are evolving continuously, it is advisable for organizations to prioritize their most critical network automation needs and select a suitable tool specifically designed to address those requirements.
Network automation is more than just a buzzword in the world of technology - it's a game-changer. It empowers businesses to operate more efficiently, respond to dynamic demands, and stay ahead in an ever-evolving digital landscape. By automating routine tasks, network professionals can redirect their efforts toward strategic initiatives, ultimately driving innovation and growth. The benefits are clear: reduced human error, improved security, and enhanced scalability. It's a paradigm shift that promises to revolutionize the way we manage and optimize our networks.