March 31, 2011

Enterprise Network Service Automation – A myth or reality?

Does you network have true service automation? Consider VoIP service network requirements as an example. The need for PoE, VLAN tagging of voice packets – End to End QoS, limited latency and jitter, call signaling and transmission, bandwidth restriction, all secure, just for dial tone… OUCH! Is it possible to automate and secure this process when the handset is plugged into the network? It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

Can today’s limited IT staffs handle this increasing network complexity caused by the delivery of new converged services (like VoIP) under the crunched timelines demanded by Enterprises today? Network Service Automation is the only way.

I would call it “Identity Oriented Network Provisioning for the Enterprise.” A mouthful to say the least…and my own term, of course, to describe network administration nirvana. Why couldn’t a VoIP handset, or any IP end-system delivering or receiving a business service for that matter, be securely and automatically provisioned on the network, around its own set of required network and security services? Plug and Play for the networked end-system, if you will.

Couldn’t an intelligent system like this eliminate today’s manual intensive nature of edge switch port configurations, additional network complexity (writing end-to-end QoS configs, ACL rules, VLAN / port assignments), saving time and resources? Couldn’t an intelligent system like this help the shrinking network staffs keep up with the day-to-day management and maintenance of the network, providing another pair of eyes into the service’s operation? We could hope. You and I both know hope is not a great strategy.

Many network vendors are in search of this capability today, but more specifically in the context of virtualization and next gen cloud service delivery. Great idea, but I think somewhat short-sighted. There is plenty of merit in driving an end-system plug and play concept across the Enterprise for all users, devices, and applications. It amazes me as to why more people aren’t implementing Network Service Automation? Maybe they were taught to think it was impossible? I’m here to tell you…it’s reality and possible.
About The Contributor:
Daren DulacDirector of Business Development & Technology Alliances

Daren Dulac is the Director of Business Development and Technology Alliances for Extreme Networks. Dulac spends the majority of his time developing strategic alliances for the company, including with such market leading firms as Palo Alto Networks, Egenera, R66T and Pivot3.

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