Bring agility and speed to market with intelligent network automation
Digital Service Providers (DSPs) do have high expectations from virtual network services such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN), as it promises to eliminate limitations faced by the traditional WAN, thus providing more business agility in responding to market dynamics. While SD-WAN benefits make a compelling case, the issue of SD-WAN design, implementation, and network connectivity poses significant challenges. SD-WAN survey done by Gartner shows that 50% of enterprises have concerns about their lack of technical familiarity, followed by concerns over the stability of vendors, performance, and reliability.
Most SDWAN solutions present itself as self-managed and do-it-yourself technology, but both DSPs and end SDWAN customers have a different opinion.
Virtual Network Service – Deployment & Operational Challenges
This mandates to bring ready-to-use automation accelerators and multi-vendor-lab infrastructure to mirror any customer environment. Moreover, to have access to a globally distributed development, test, and integration offering with a technology vendor marketplace, to overcome the above challenges and accelerate speed to market.
Open Virtual Exchange (OVX) – Key Accelerators to Eliminate Adoption Barriers and Fast-track SD-WAN Onboarding
1) Network Adaptors – Building network adaptors resolve compatibility issues with underlying transport infrastructure and provide seamless integration with a multi-vendor SD-WAN solution. This enables provisioning, configuration, and testing of network service functionality on top of any SD-WAN edge white boxes. These adaptors can be an integral part of the automation engine and can serve as a common provisioning and testing platform for any vendor SD-WAN solution. Defining these with common file structure enables integration with multi-vendor SD-WAN, each having different parameter configurations.
2) Vendor-agnostic Automation Suite – Common test suites built with a higher level of abstraction help to withstand portability and adaptability across different vendor network elements/CPE/uCPE nodes. This enables automation engine to select the relevant test case from the vendor-agnostic test suite and perform functionality, interoperability, and integration testing for the network services deployed. The use of a keyword-driven framework such as Robot IDE to create the test suite provides self-evident test steps, which is easier to maintain and customize. It also makes the test suites more portable, extensible, and reusable, while reducing ~40% of lines of code compared to python-based test suites.
3) Standard Configuration Template – Standardization of device/feature configurations into a templated format helps users to jump-start boot configuration without delay in deployment. Creating a pre-built feature template for varied vendor devices avoids the manual configuration of each device. These template parameters can be fed easily using CSV, JSON, and XML file format, thus, enabling bulk provisioning of devices in a click of a button for different vendors.
4) SD-WAN Vendor Evaluation Checklist – There are plenty of vendors available in the market, providing virtual edge solutions. However, choosing the right product from them is a mammoth task. Thus, having an exhaustive SD-WAN vendor evaluation checklist helps DSPs to faster onboard the best-of-breed virtual edge ecosystem with more surety. The checklist should be comprehensive to do the validation analysis in the following aspects:
- Solution Analysis (Functional, Feature)
- Commercial Analysis (Licenses, CapEx, OpEx)
- Use Case Analysis (Complete Overlay, Hybrid, LTE Backup)
5) Network Topology Discoverer and AIOps Techniques – Real–time proactive monitoring and healing are crucial to ensure zero business impact. However, SD-WAN overlays are inherently blind to the inner workings of underlay networks. Also, the vendor monitoring system only helps us to keep an eye on the overlay tunnel built, neglecting the underlay connectivity services.
- Network Topology Discoverer helps NOC engineers to gain cross–domain visibility, do the impact analysis, resolve underlying connectivity problems, and optimize it.
- Further, AIOps techniques and associated Intent-based Networking (IBN) offers the potential to make SD-WAN a driver of a self-learning, self-healing WAN that is also secure and path optimized.
Having these functionalities in-built provides E2E topology visibility while driving towards a self-organizing network.
Putting it all Together with a Framework in Action
Prodapt’s Open Virtual Exchange (OVX) framework encompasses all the accelerators discussed above. It is thus a unique framework equipped with intelligent network automation, which empowers DSPs to rollout managed network-based and OTT SDWAN, Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), and cloud-native SDWAN.
Key Takeaways and Benefits of Open Virtual Exchange (OVX) Accelerators
- Seamless Compatibility & Integration
- Ensures up to 35% reduction in integration check times
- Ensures compatibility with both legacy systems and next-gen virtual workload using the network adaptors
- Up to 45% reduction in test automation efforts and >50% reduction in maintenance efforts
- Faster vendor-agnostic services rollout leveraging pre-built test suites
- Accelerates virtual network services (SD-WAN) onboarding journey requirements at different stages from Day -1 to Day N, thereby achieving agility and brings a 35-40% reduction in time to market.
About Prodapt: DSPs are moving to digitalize and virtualize operations through network automation, network data and network virtualization. Network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) will play a major role in enabling automation and agile orchestration. Many new and promising enterprise services require network slicing and edge clouds, and can leverage the increased speed, capacity, high density, and low latency offered by 5G. Prodapt’s network services will enable DSPs to leverage newer opportunities and accelerate digital transformation of their network.
Rohit Sharma – Solutions Architect – Network Services Group, Prodapt Solutions
Rohit Sharma comes with extensive experience in IT/Telecom Industry, in the network domain. His expertise spans Network Transformation, Autonomous intent driven networking, Automation and Intelligence, SDN/NFV, Telco Cloud and B/OSS.
Sumit Thakur Manager – Strategic Insights, Prodapt Solutions
Sumit has a demonstrated history of building & delivering actionable insights for Digital Service Providers (DSPs) to drive digital transformation and business outcomes. His focus areas include Network Transformation, Robotic Process Automation, AI/ML, and O/BSS.
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