It's already here. Programmed environments, machine learning and automation are no longer 'the future'. And this technology is available for businesses of every size, to enhance their delivery and connect with customers. The transition to cloud lead services and advancements in API enabled infrastructure are creating new opportunities for business to Digitally Transform their services.
The question remains how organisations best transition from traditional to automated methods of operation? At Fusion, we’ve been seeking answers to these questions, testing API enabled technology as well as multi domain automation solutions in our Automation Lab to find a scalable and flexible multi-domain solution.
Our testing is complete and our journey through transformation has begun. We’ve deployed our tools and are dedicated team is underway transforming our own manual processes. We’re also ready to help others explore the opportunities around transformation.
Our future focused services centre a world leading automation platform from Itential, hosted in our own cloud, and matched with a dedicated team of talented DevOps engineers.
The following three principles help explain the importance of programmability and how we believe organisations can approach digital transformation to lay the foundation for success in the age of programmability.
Managing complexity in domain and cloud.
Today’s environments are becoming more complex and distributed, spanning physical, virtual, and hybrid cloud. Enterprise IT systems and applications now live across numerous differing infrastructures, often configured and managed by different systems. With increases in complexity and scale, automation is becoming imperative to converge management, enable system wide transformations and deliver consistent levels of service.
The expansion of hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure provides ever-changing variables, including applications, data, users, and devices, often spanning multiple domains across an enterprise’s IT ecosystem.
To address multiple domains and increasing complexity management systems must speak the same language. Moving from silos of management to a single management plane is now possible by exploiting API enabled systems and the use of modern automation solutions.
Adopting automation in a centralised method not only breaks down barriers between the cloud and IT infrastructure, it can assist enable changes in traditionally siloed teams. Through automation businesses can merge disparate functions, bridging operational silos through end-end focused automation that crosses boundaries and provides immediate value through increased speed and efficiency.
Multi Domain Automation Should Embrace:
Multi-Domain & Multi-Vendor Support – A horizontal and vendor agnostic approach to connect all systems and technologies into an end-to-end automation solution.
Rapid Integration – The ability to easily and quickly integrate any tools across the ecosystem ensuring a single, API aggregated method is used.
Configuration Management – Infrastructure is distributed, a single way to manage, configure, remediate the network and edge devices (be they physical, virtual, or cloud-native) is required.
Infrastructure as code
Multiple systems increase the blast radius of analysis of data, tools, and processes required when issues occur. Manual operations also increase the risk for errors and therefore outages. Automation is imperative to mitigating operational risks and increasing trust across multi domain environments.
DevOps principles underpin Public Cloud deployments, these principles are now moving through to infrastructure layers as most technologies are now manageable via API. Treating infrastructure as software enables rapid building, testing, validation and deployment of any type of infrastructure with increased levels of trust. The returns are obvious with 95% of network changes being manual.
Automation not only reduces manual errors it enables organisations to capture tribal knowledge, turning protected knowledge into repeatable processes. Blending automation and human interaction also lets businesses pacing the deployment of automation at their own pace.
Developing a skillset around automation and programmability will increasingly become a critical capability from staff and partners, ensuring organisations can leverage the full power of programmability of infrastructure.
Automation Solutions Should Embrace
Low-Code – Utilising low-code, drag-and-drop interfaces enables engineers to easily design, build, and visualise repeatable automations without needing to learn code.
End-to-End Automation – It’s impossible for people alone to manage the modern network. Automating the execution of a tasks supports full end-to-end processes from ticket opening to closure.
System Intelligence - With intelligence enabled platforms, teams can quickly build end-to-end operational automations consuming, understanding, and transforming manual operational tasks.
The use of quality data
The simple days where networks were a commodity and managed as “pipes” is over. Automation demands that networks are agile to deploy and change, like the technologies they support. Digital transformation requires information, and the network is a valuable place to obtain that information.
To prevent networks being bottlenecks, they must support programmability. Innovation of business processes demands programmable infrastructure, and in turn enables new services and operational readiness in support of digital transformation.
Bridging disparate systems to federate data
By 2023, 40% of enterprises will maintain an accurate Network Source of Truth within network operations to enable automation initiatives.
Currently, the common structure includes multiple data repositories for the different technology systems and domains that manage them, including, IPAM, SD-WAN, network controllers, configuration tools and monitoring tools. In fact, 63% of enterprises have multiple authoritative data repositories for different classes of information. (EMA Research)
Maintaining multiple data sources add delays in deployment, support and breeds inaccuracies. A unified source of truth is the ideal state for modern networks. Adopting automation allows systems of record and data to act as the source of truth whilst bridging disparate systems and mitigating data quality issues. Federating data from disparate systems is also a pre-requisite for automation.
A source of truth best supports enterprise network automation initiatives, with 35% of saying improved integration or compatibility with other IT systems was the most important to them. (EMA Research)
Agility through Network Automation
Adopting network automation transforms the management of networks in optimise infrastructure operations, lower costs, and increase agility, supporting new levels of innovation.
Network Automation Should Embrace
API First Approach – As network infrastructure evolves to be more programmable it is treated as software. Services should migrate from CLI-based configurations to API configuration using automated processes.
Automation Analytics – Informed decisions should be made about which automation use cases drive the most value across their digital transformation initiatives.
Self-Service Capabilities – The core of digital transformation is enabling different teams the ability to make changes on-demand using self-service automations.