Understanding the Importance of Network Automation
How can Network Automation help Organizations?
Cisco defines Network automation (NA) as a process of automating the configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operation of physical and virtual devices within a network. At the fundamental level, network automation solutions help shift the manual tasks and processes performed in each stage of the network lifecycle to software applications that can complete them on repeat and reliably. Thus it allows us to automate the tasks while having control over and better service availability and efficiency. Using modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and having 802.11ax for a wireless network, one can study and analyze network behaviors, and then give suggestions to the network operations team.
Network automation is necessary for digital transformation as to this date; the majority of the network changes are performed manually. This leads to higher configuration errors, inconsistencies in the network, scalability issues, and more operational costs and network downtime. However, with an automated network, one can achieve several task objectives. Some of these include real-time network data collection, device testing, and configuration verification, configuration and security compliance, easier updating of software. Besides, it helps to monitor the network and its services to ensure alignment with SLAs and closed-loop remediation of network issues, including troubleshooting and repair of gray failures.
Some of the best network automation tools are SolarWinds Network Automation Manager, ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager, TrueSight Network Automation (also known as BladeLogic Network Automation), Net LineDancer and rConfig.
Meanwhile, according to the Global Market Insights report, Network Automation Market size surpassed USD 3 billion in 2019 and is poised to grow at around 25% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. Advancement in recent technologies of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things has driven the demand for network automation systems. When every year we have witnessed trends in network automation, 2020 would not be any different. Nowadays, IT automation, decentralized, and remote management is crucial to surviving in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. Apart from these other emerging trends, one can expect due to network automation this year:
- Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, an automated network will be able to prepare itself in case of possible threats like a security breach.
- Prevention of redundancy due to data storage in a centralized device and cloud.
- Reducing network complexity created by hybrid and multi-cloud platforms.
- Monitoring and optimization of the network as it expands.
The advantages of this technology are still yet to be explored. Till now, we know that it helps to increase network resiliency while minimizing network downtime and non-remote troubleshooting time. It also helps organizations gain more visibility into the network and have a more responsive team to the analytics mined. Further, By simplifying operations, consolidating network services, reducing floor space, and cycling underutilized devices off, it saves much of the organization expenses.