The Network Automation Journey: Detours, Bypasses and Hitting the Open Road
In a recent article for Light Reading, Roz Roseboro, the publication’s Consulting Analyst, looked into her crystal ball for 2021 and among her findings declared that “I remain unconvinced that automation will reach the heights of zero-touch anything any time soon…. Am I saying there is no place for automation? No. Repetitive provisioning tasks, troubleshooting, running test scripts – all valid automation targets … The less variation that needs to be considered, the easier it is to automate.”
Her reservations dovetail with the skeptical view held by Neville Ray, head of networking for T-Mobile, about the reality of O-RAN networks, who was also quoted in Light Reading as saying, “Today, I buy a solution from an Ericsson or a Nokia or a Samsung; it’s warrantied. I have one neck to choke. If something goes wrong, I know where to go. In an O-RAN environment, you have to do a lot more heavy lifting as the operator.”
Do these valid concerns by voices in the industry mean that the savings, speed and agility conferred by automated and open networks will hit a detour? Will the challenges delay or even reverse what Verizon’s CTO, Kyle Malady, conceded was the “potential for other players to come into the industry and bring along maybe new innovations and new ways to do things that are at a more rapid pace.”
Atrinet is well aware of the complexity of open networks; where solutions that used to be supplied by a single base station vendor are now a combination of several off-the-shelf routers (not necessarily from the same vendor) accompanied by several NOS (Network Operating Systems) running diverse and open applications on top.
While not minimizing these challenges, we designed our NetACE solution to overcome the challenges of automation and openness and provide a unified upper layer interface. As attested to by successful implementations worldwide, NetACE can enable CSPs everywhere to navigate the chaos of complex networks with a simple, open, vendor agnostic, and automated network discovery and management system.
This is not an empty claim. Cloud-based NetACE with open APIs provides real-time discovery and harvesting of network information granting unified visibility to LTO and upper layer applications. It utilizes a unique codeless modeling design environment to reduce the time and efforts of integrating diverse hardware and software elements, also enabling off-line “what if” scenarios. This allows for real-time implementation of network changes – services, elements, NMS – through an automated provisioning and commissioning mechanism. Data base analytics (AI/ML) with real data find weak spots and bottlenecks or simulate network growth, backed by a smart and fast response system, to react in real-time to network anomalies and ensure network health.
Our industry’s journey to open and automated networks has just begun. With Atrinet’s NetACE solution, the detours and bypasses can be avoided, and the fast lane to innovation, revenue growth and future profitability accessed full speed ahead.