All Posts By

Patrick Moore

The Value of Proper Tooling – Not Everything is a Hammer or a Nail

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Anyone who has done any amount of home improvement work is familiar with the urge to use the first tool you can find to accomplish the task at hand. You may have purchased one of the myriads of gadgets advertised to replace all your tools with one device. It comes down to the old adage, “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In network automation this also happens quite often. Engineers get really comfortable with scripting and suddenly every automation use case becomes possible with a script….

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For Intelligent Network Automation Success Focus on the 1x vs. the 10x

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One fact is common across all network operators, whether in the enterprise or service provider space. Funds to automate the network are not unlimited. In fact, they are often extremely limited, if they exist at all. When expending resources whether they are time or money, you have to focus on the items that provide the most return on investment. A no brainer, right? You would certainly think so, but that just isn’t the case. A typical maintenance activity in the network from end to end can take there to five…

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Sharing network automation implementation tips at NANOG 72 – Atlanta

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I have been discussing in the last few blogs various approaches to implementing an effective network automation program within your organization. This topic is near and dear to me, as well as the primary focus of what we do at Itential. I will be speaking next week at the North American Network Operators Group conference (NANOG72) in Atlanta on this very topic, focusing mostly on open source alternatives and how to ease the journey into more sophisticated automation projects. I will cover the various orchestration domains that exist, from device…

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Evolving Your Tools As An Onramp To Accelerated Automation

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Most of the sales pitches you hear encourage you to spend millions of dollars to implement new tools, define models for everything you do, and embed IT-like tasks and functions into your network engineering organization in a big bang approach that will change your world overnight. World hunger will be solved, everybody gets raises, and your network will run itself. Sounds realistic, doesn’t it? To be honest, if I go back and read my own blogs I am probably as guilty of this as anybody in some of them. It…

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Revolution Or Evolution? The Path Forward For Network Automation

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There are two approaches to the next steps in automation that we will make in the near future. One of revolution or one of evolution. Let’s look at each of these and lay out why evolving what you have today is a much more rational approach, in my opinion. Revolution: 1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government of political network automation system by the operator people governed. First of all, I did take some liberties with the definition of revolution above, but clearly this is how a lot of people are looking…

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The Right Way To Automation

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It is a pretty well-known fact by now that the internet outage on Nov 6 was a direct result of a configuration error. What is not known is just how such a common occurrence in the network, a config change, could have been allowed to happen at a time and in such a way that it caused such a massive problem across the country. Every time an engineer touches the network using the common processes and techniques in place today this kind of thing can happen. That doesn’t mean that every…

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Enabling The Future Network Through Automation

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In a recent keynote Marcus Weldon (Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO) and Vint Cerf (ForMemRS) put forth the idea that IoT is going to have such a profound impact on the world that it could essentially dissolve country boundaries. According to comments on this keynote by Keri Kukral (CEO & Founder at Raw Science), who was in attendance, “Humans care about 150 people in close proximity. Tribal lines could dissolve and become local based on network.” This is pretty Earth-shaking stuff based on how we think of our world right now. This…

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Intent Based Automation Is Complex, But It Shouldn’t Scare You

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In the last year the SDN/NFV hype peaked and people moved on to an automation focus in general. It always comes back to automation eventually, but this time a new term has gotten hot. Intent Based Networking, which is something I discussed in a blog about 2 years ago. The beauty of the emergence of Intent Based Networking as a hot topic is that it is a byproduct of automation done correctly. Now, what do I mean by that? If you do automation correctly you are moving to a model-based approach….

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Where Should Automation Live In Your Network?

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First, let me clarify what I mean by the question. There are different levels of control within the network. There is the OSS layer, where people have traditionally tried to place automation, but it doesn’t have a very good connection to the network and this leads to tons of specialty adapters and other components to be able to push information out to devices. Tons of components that cost tons of money. There is the EMS/NMS layer, which is much closer to the network and communicates very well with it, but…

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Priority Shift On Automation and MANO Spending

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As people spend less on their networks, we are seeing interesting things happening in the vendor space. We are seeing some vendors pivot away from their original strategy, often a heavy service provider NFV focus, in order to try and kickstart growth. We also see open source consolidation where projects that were considered contenders in the MANO space are merging. This happened with ECOMP and Open-O merging into ONAP, and we are seeing possible signs of even further consolidation with some of the other contenders. We even see vendors that at one time may…

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