Four Interview Questions to Ask WOPR for a Junior Network Administrator Role

M. Fratto
M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being developed for networking and network management, with the first iterations providing deep analytics and augmenting IT’s root cause analysis workflows.
  • There are a number of gaps that need to be closed before the full capability of AI and ML systems is realized.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques continue to be improved as companies and researchers develop and test products. In networking, established vendors and startups are developing management systems that promise to automate the time-consuming, low-value work of data collection and correlation as well as the AI and ML techniques to provide actionable information to network IT, such as predictive trouble alerts and recommendations to resolve problems. Vendors’ products such as the recently announced Cisco DNA Center Assurance, Cisco Network Analytics Engine, and Mist Systems Virtual Network Assistant are also using sophisticated UI elements to help IT better understand networking problems and assist with root cause analysis. We’ve heard these promises in the past, and for one reason or another, these advanced techniques failed to deliver. Before you go the AI route, here are some key questions to ask. Continue reading “Four Interview Questions to Ask WOPR for a Junior Network Administrator Role”

Enterprises Want Streamlined Operations. Who’s Going to Provide It?


M. Fratto

• Underlying SD-WAN and virtual network functions address enterprise IT’s desire for more efficient operations.

• Managed service providers can differentiate themselves on operations and should invest in doing so.

I’ve heard some commentary that SD-WAN will become a feature of routers and firewalls, and the product segment will wither and die, but I don’t think SD-WAN products are going to disappear. Some vendors will consolidate features and functions. Cisco and VMware will integrate their SD-WAN acquisitions with their other networking products but that doesn’t mean enterprises will run to consolidated products. There will be some uptake of consolidated products, just like there was some uptake of router-firewall-VPN combinations, but enterprise demand for stand-alone SD-WAN products will continue for some time. There are a few reasons for this. Continue reading “Enterprises Want Streamlined Operations. Who’s Going to Provide It?”

SD-WAN Value Blog Part 2: Managed Service Provider Opportunities to Drive Value

Joel Stradling – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services

Setting the Scene with Research

The first of this two-part blog series can be read here: SD-WAN Value Blog, Part 1: Evolving the WAN to Drive Customer Experience TransformationJanuary 5, 2018.

In the below pie-chart (source: GlobalData Multi-Client Survey, October 2017), we asked a large pool of multinationals the following question:

Do you have a managed services provider (MSP) who helps operate your network?

74% said ‘yes’, while the remaining 26% said ‘no’.

Our conclusions for the majority 74% positive response is that this is driven by the need for an integrated portfolio of services and fast responses for adjustments, maintenance, and repairs. We understand from respondents that network complexity is a hassle that they struggle to cope with, and that with digital transformation paths this complexity is only compounded.

We also think that this 74% penetration gives MSPs an ideal platform from which to expand into existing accounts with more services. SD-WAN implementations are a great vehicle for this, with central orchestration and more deeper management functions more effective for flexible real-time changes – including technical ones to network nuts and bolts and commercially with more pay-as-you-go and ‘as-a-service’ options. This opens up opportunities for service providers to move up the value chain in various areas, including for example professional services. In the same Multi-client Survey, the following graph demonstrates the types of partners that businesses use for. Continue reading “SD-WAN Value Blog Part 2: Managed Service Provider Opportunities to Drive Value”

SD-WAN Value Blog, Part 1: Evolving the WAN to Drive Customer Experience Transformation

J. Stradling
J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN gives managed service providers opportunities to drive customer loyalty and move up the value chain.
  • Staying in one place is no longer an option in the managed WAN services segment.
  • An agile network is essential for enterprises wanting to be the champions of great customer experience within their specific segment.

Moving Up the Value Chain

SD-WAN offers managed service providers considerable opportunities to drive loyalty from clients as well as offer multiple layers of value-added products around data center and cloud, WAN acceleration, applications performance management, and firewall security. In fact, these are already table stakes in the market today. Many physical appliance-based network features and functions are increasingly becoming available as software-defined network services, in the form of more unique and BYOD-style VNFs being part of expanding menus. Continue reading “SD-WAN Value Blog, Part 1: Evolving the WAN to Drive Customer Experience Transformation”

Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia uses its strength and experience in network solutions as well as its strong relationships with telcos to drive digital transformation.
  • In emerging markets where digital transformation is slow, Nokia needs to work more closely with the telcos and focus on particular solutions and verticals.

Nokia held its Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum in Singapore on the October 24, 2017. Various topics and use cases around IoT, 5G, cloud, network and security were discussed by not only Nokia executives, but also its industry partners, its telco customers, start-ups, government agencies and end users. Despite the diverse topics, the presentations and discussions throughout the event focused around digital transformation themes. Continue reading “Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos”

Telstra Vantage 2017: Programmable Network Inches Ahead of Competitors in the Software-Defined Space

S. Soh

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprises need a more agile network solution to support rapidly changing IT requirements and the migration of workloads to the cloud.
  • Telstra’s Programmable Network is designed to overcome challenges enterprises are facing, and the platform is developed and enhanced in-house through an agile and iterative approach.

Telstra Programmable Network (TPN) is an elegant platform designed to solve some issues enterprises are facing. In the digital era, enterprises need to move fast to transform their business and stay competitive. Increasingly, companies are gathering and analysing data to develop competitive advantages. IT needs to ensure that their network solutions are flexible to support digital platforms and hybrid cloud services. Speed (fast provisioning), agility (scale up and down) and cost-effectiveness are important with end users demanding more and the budget not increasing proportionately. In addition, with more applications and services running over the network, there needs to be tools to enable ease of management and visibility. Continue reading “Telstra Vantage 2017: Programmable Network Inches Ahead of Competitors in the Software-Defined Space”

SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide Part 2: Exploring the Potential Functional Benefits

Joel Stradling – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Many enterprise IT departments find their current WAN solutions unwieldy when it comes to adding, or reducing, the number of connected sites. SD-WAN solutions should provide greater agility for turning up new branch sites.

• Service orchestration and a single-pane online tool for managing circuits and path-selection for critical apps also give greater functional agility.

SD-WAN services are becoming more widely available across the globe, with large global and smaller regional service providers increasingly including various SD-WAN options from within their portfolios examples include AT&T, Masergy, Colt, CenturyLink, Tata Communications, and NTT Communications. In parallel with such activity in the operator community, there are dozens of SD-WAN platform developers in the market, such as Nuage Networks (a Nokia company), Versa Networks, VeloCloud, and Viptela. The landscape makes it confusing to understand which type of SD-WAN supplier to work with, and thus businesses need to conduct conversations with several vendors from the categories above before making a choice. One theme remains constant: enterprise clients need to understand the network transformation path they intend to take in order to achieve a robust SD-WAN overlay. IT department heads can look at the functional positives that SD-WAN may bring and line these up with requirements.
Continue reading “SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide Part 2: Exploring the Potential Functional Benefits”

Enterprises Cannot Have Automation Commitment Issues and Be Successful

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

• Blending intent-based networking with traditional network management paradigms, while a necessary transitional requirement, is fraught with peril.
• Committing fully to intent-based networking will drive all subsequent workflow and product changes and will result in overall better IT.

I recently wrote about the nascent developments around intent-based networking (IBN), specifically, that a system can automate the provisioning of a network based on a very high-level state of what the result should look like. It’s a laudable goal and, I think, still a few years and a few iterations away from reality, but getting there – even any widespread adoption of automation and orchestration – starts with your company’s unwavering commitment to IBN and automation. Continue reading “Enterprises Cannot Have Automation Commitment Issues and Be Successful”

Intent-Based Networking: Nascent but Hurdles Remain

M. Fratto

• Intent-based networking (IBN) promises to optimize network operations by shifting IT from a configuration focus to an outcome focus.

• The promise may be a stretch today but IBN is evolving as a technology and a practice and improvements will come from early adopters.

IBN faces significant technical and operational challenges in gaining market acceptance within enterprise IT. The challenges start with defining and understanding what IBN is, but then quickly progresses to include things such as organizational and technical implementation.
Continue reading “Intent-Based Networking: Nascent but Hurdles Remain”

Nokia AP Analyst Summit: Going Beyond Infrastructure and Getting Closer to the Enterprise

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Entering the enterprise services market, Nokia has defined its market position and target segments, but its direction is still unclear, especially with its multiple sub-brands.
  • Nokia’s brand visibility is still low in Asia. Solid strategies are required to win the market, especially with greenfield accounts.

At Nokia Asia-Pacific (AP) Analyst Day in Hanoi, Vietnam last week, Nokia shared its AP business updates and plans, covering topics from hardware to software, products to services and carriers to other enterprises. As one of the pioneers in digital communication technology, Nokia’s capabilities in providing network infrastructures to carriers do not need any introduction. Nokia is rated as a ‘leader’ in GlobalData’s product assessments for small-cell, GPON and next-gen edge solutions, just to name a few. However, Nokia may not be the brand you would think when it comes to the enterprise services market. While it has several enterprise offerings through its sub-brands or previously acquired brands, its overall direction in this market is still not very clear. One of the key topics discussed at the event was Nokia’s initiative to streamline its strategy, portfolio, position and target segment in the enterprise services market. While the AP market is promising, it is also highly challenging. Can Nokia win and survive in the enterprise market? Will it have a clearly defined value proposition and potentially be able to compete against its traditional channel partners? Continue reading “Nokia AP Analyst Summit: Going Beyond Infrastructure and Getting Closer to the Enterprise”