Our Experts Weigh in: New Year, New Network Automation Strategies

January 24, 2023 | Kristen H. Rachels
Our Experts Weigh in: New Year, New Network Automation Strategies

We’re lucky to have a team full of experts here at Itential. Recently, some of the industry’s top publications have asked a couple of our people to peer into their crystal balls and predict what will have the greatest impact on networking this year and beyond.

Rich Martin, our Director of Technical Marketing, published a piece over at VMBlog outlining his top networking trends set to take off this year. We’ve seen rapid acceleration in organizations’ adoption of automation, but operationalizing it to enable automation at scale is the next big step for most.

And while Rich was off dispensing wisdom for VMBlog, Morgan Stern, our VP of Automation Strategy, put out his own 2023 forecast over at The Fast Mode. His piece focuses on key trends like scale and infrastructure as code and provides essential insights for organizations, especially as their network needs begin to blend and converge.

So, naturally, I’m going to shamelessly reuse their words to run through what our experts see coming for enterprise and communications service provider network infrastructure management. With these insights, you’ll be equipped to make the best plans for what lies ahead in 2023.


Orchestration Becomes Just as Important as Automation

One of Rich’s key points: when it comes to networking at scale, orchestration needs to be valued as highly as automation.

“Today’s networking landscape is more complex than ever, consisting of multiple domains distributed across those networks. Network orchestration is the next step in the evolution of management of complex networks and will be a prevailing trend in 2023 as enterprises address the need to automate network operations across multiple domains. Enterprises understand the value of network automation. The orchestration layer is where they’ll tie all those automations together.”


The Rise of NetDevOps

Also, network teams are faced with a deluge of network changes and configuration management operations that’s becoming impossible to handle without a mindset shift. Adopting DevOps practices that come from CI/CD software development to enable network teams to treat their infrastructure as code will give organizations a significant advantage going into 2023.

“Offering low-code solutions will empower network teams and build organizations that can function across different skill sets and different processes – enabling everyone to participate in network orchestration… We’re likely to see enterprises continue to evolve their networking strategies to treat their network infrastructures as code. The rise of solutions to help enterprise customers adopt a modern network operating model that delivers an agile, data-driven change management process for the network will also continue.”

To learn more about how networking teams are evolving to adopt what’s known as NetDevOps, download this new white paper from Futuriom and Itential: The Rise of NetDevOps & The Shift Left for Networking.


Automation Will Help Overcome Economic Slowdown

When it comes to automation, many organizations have adopted some piecemeal solutions. But as the market is faced with an ongoing economic slowdown, where businesses are cutting expenses and scrutinizing every project, scaling automation efforts to see big-picture value is becoming increasingly key.

Morgan Stern asserts that automation and orchestration solutions will enable organizations to weather uncertainty as they streamline new projects and right-size existing operations. Adoption of these solutions will jump as network teams gain expertise and employ tools that enable a greater degree of automation than they’ve had previously.

“As we know, automation enables businesses to shift employee focus from mundane tasks to more crucial functions such as strategy planning, ideation, streamlining process workflows, and risk analysis, etc. The good news is that the current technology is at a different point than in previous years. The degree of automation in the networks and systems we’re working with today is much higher than what could have been achieved in the past, which makes service providers and other businesses better equipped to ride out the current economic environment.”


Infrastructure as Code Prevails as a Key Approach

Additionally, infrastructure as code (IaC) continues to gain ground. What began as very much a cloud concept is now coming in hot for the rest of IT infrastructure. Morgan outlines how programmability and flexibility concerns have led to significant changes in how network operators approach their network management.

“As networks continue to become more programmable, we’re continuing to see more growth around using software development principles for managing the networks.

For example, in the past, companies like Cisco would develop a router that was relatively complicated to work with – you had to learn a whole new language to operate it. Today, operators are demanding more flexibility and openness with the devices they deploy which is forcing hardware vendors to ‘expose’ and provide a level of functionality and access to their devices that wasn’t previously required.”

The organizations that start 2023 ready for these key shifts will be those best-positioned to get the most out of their network infrastructure.

While we may not be able to guess the next Super Bowl winner or predict when ChatGPT will take over the world, we’re 100% confident that automation and orchestration will continue to be a key interest for organizations this year and beyond. The complexity and importance of networks will only grow, and the organizations that successfully adopt automation and orchestration solutions that enable them to scale will see big payoffs.

What predictions do you have for your network infrastructure in 2023? Let us know.

White Paper: The Rise of NetDevOps & The Shift Left for Networking. Read Now >
Kristen H. Rachels

Chief Marketing Officer ‐ Itential

Kristen serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Itential, leading their go-to-market strategy and execution to accelerate the adoption and expansion of the company’s products and services.

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