Business, Technology, Internet and network concept. Young businessman shows the word: Automation

Hype Machine: NFV/SDN Versus Automation – Are They The Same Thing?

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Before I waste any time let me go ahead and answer the question in the title with a resounding NO…now let’s get into why that is the case. A recent Light Reading article on the “cost of automation” says, “…automation is the end game for virtualizing network infrastructure and services using NFV and SDN.” While the article doesn’t outright say it, it pretty strongly implies that the way to automate your network is to virtualize it. The problem with this mindset is that virtualization in and of itself does nothing…absolutely…

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Does Methodology Matter?

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The debate of agile-based methodologies versus waterfall-based methodologies is one that has been raging for what seems like forever. With the evolution of network management into a software-like, programmable discipline it will soon find itself front and center with an audience that has never had to care about it before. Are we there yet? Not quite, but the time to learn about this and make some key decisions is BEFORE you get there. Old school development shops will swear by the waterfall approach. This means a series of very specific phases that…

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Modeling: Where We Are And Where We Need To Go

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We at Itential tout modeling all the time. We use it in our integrations with the Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) when working with its YANG models and Device Templates. We often tout it as the answer to the limited scalability offered by a scripting approach to automation, but we rarely talk a lot about the reality of where we are now in the industry when it comes to modeling. A recent blog I read talks about this in a thought provoking way that deserves some consideration. Everybody seems to…

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It’s All About Your Use Case…

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I recently spoke at NANOG 70 in Bellevue, Washington on the topic of vendor hype in the space versus the reality of what we can and can’t do right now with automation. A huge part of my topic was that some of the tooling out there now is just not to a maturity point yet for us to fully realize all that we soon should be able to. However, in my prep work and during conversations with attendees before and after my presentation another extremely important concept became super clear…

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The road ahead – Facing the reality of the network operations journey to automation

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Automation has long been the goal of every operator and seen as a required capability to support network evolution and technology advancement. Many of the service innovations that are being promoted (white-box, NFV (Network Function Virtualisation), cloud, edge-computing, etc.) require automation ‘as standard’ as part of the offering to realise the justification for investment. However, the industry has struggled to remove the operational costs from Network Operations due to the limited capabilities of SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) & CLI (Command Line Interface) which, in turn, has inhibited innovation and…

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Ops Automation: A New Year, Same Old Challenges…With New Answers

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As we move into a new year some things have become very clear. Some of these are things we have known for a while, some are revelations from working with clients, and some are things we SHOULD have known all along. There are many efforts going on within service providers and enterprises alike at the moment. There is the work to maintain legacy operations and service offerings under the weight of declining, or at best stable, revenue with a constant, and sometimes increasing, cost of maintenance. There is the effort…

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Where The Magic Happens: What You Need…

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It is common for a vendor to espouse all of the virtues of their software, regardless of whether it is something you actually need right now or not. I am positive we have been guilty of that at Itential as well…we all are sometimes. I wanted to focus a little bit on not what Pronghorn CAN do, but on the things that you NEED to be able to do and how Pronghorn fits into that picture, along with other systems you may already have from other vendors. Every customer we…

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Quantum NFV: The Future Is Closer Than You May Think

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I am constantly thinking about just how network functions are going to become virtualized effectively enough to impact carrier transport networks, where you see the need for very large bandwidth circuits. The current state of virtualized network functions (VNF) is such that you wouldn’t even consider going down this path due to the limitations that exist today. The coming containerization of VNFs is not going to fix this issue either. What might fix it? Well, believe it or not, quantum computing. Before we decide I have gone off the deep…

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The Secret Sauce of NFV? Operations, With A Side Of Automation…

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This is probably not what a lot of the technology vendors want you to know. They want you to keep thinking that the secret is that new controller they offer, or maybe containerization of their cool new VNF. All of those things, and more, do indeed matter, but they are not what is going to make or break your NFV implementation. An article the other day by Scott Raynovich on SDx Central points this out, and does a pretty good job of backing up the core message we at Itential have been trying to preach…

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Open Source Foundational Fatigue: Is It Growing?

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There was an article a few weeks ago regarding “foundation fatigue” with regard to the Linux Foundation. This article touched on a few key points, but among them was the “fatigue” felt by the participants in the Linux Foundation projects when it comes to the cost of playing, which can approach $500,000 for some companies. The question of “pay to play” is touched on, but not really discussed a whole lot in the article. The angle I’d like to talk about on this topic is more along the lines of: are…

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