The Roadmap to Reaching Zero-Touch Automation

James Crawshaw
4/23/2018
50%
50%

Zero-touch provisioning and deployment are long-standing terms used to describe automation of IT and data center infrastructure. The term Zero Touch Automation is now being used in telecom circles to extend this concept of automation beyond the initial deployment to cover the entire lifecycle of network technology including configuration changes, port changes, security, maintenance, testing, performance monitoring and, ultimately, decommissioning.

While some may see automation as a euphemism for job cuts, I am more optimistic and prefer to look at it as a time saver for employees, freeing them up to do more value-added activities. As Parkinson's law states "work expands to fill the time available for its completion." I see no shortage of opportunities for engineers to add value to the telecom business.

The telecom industry has been on a journey from manual operations to automation for over a hundred years. What's changed recently is the increasingly dynamic nature of the network that comes with the move to virtualization. That drove the TMForum to start its Zero-touch Orchestration, Operations and Management initiative back in 2014. ZOOM aimed to define a new virtualized operations environment and a management architecture that could handle a hybrid of physical and virtual infrastructure.

The A in ONAP stands for automation though its scope extends beyond just automating the run-time of virtualized networks but also to the design time. More recently, ETSI’s Zero-touch network and Service Management (ZSM) specification group have launched to fill in the gaps between various open source and standard body automation initiatives with an initial focus on 5G end-to-end network and service management.


To compete with the OTT players, telcos need to be nimbler by accelerating network automation. Join us in Austin, Texas from May 14-16 for our fifth-annual Big Communications Event as we tackle challenges like automation. The event is free for communications service providers -- secure your seat today!


That doesn't mean operators should sit back and wait for Moses to come down from the mountain with the stone tablets of automation. Automation is an iterative and incremental process, not a monolithic solution. We shouldn’t try to boil the ocean, else we risk not getting anywhere. Start small with Python scripting. Try a bit of Robotic Process Automation for back-office workflows. Move from CLI to NETCONF/YANG for device configuration. As David Barroso, Network Systems Engineer at Fastly, says, "Network automation is not just a single discipline; it is a collection of protocols, tools, and processes that can be overwhelming to the uninitiated."

To find out more, join us in Austin May 14-16 to boost your knowledge about cloud-native software and innovation driving data center transformation, for the fifth-annual Big Communications Event May 14–16. The event is free for communications service providers – secure your seat today!

— James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/26/2018 | 10:48:55 PM
Long way to go
"The telecom industry has been on a journey from manual operations to automation for over a hundred years."

Wow. This isn't something I think about each day. It's been quite a long journey.
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Three strategic initiatives &ndash Novitas, Stratus and Sentio &ndash have powered Colt's move into on-demand services.
Next week at BCE, we'll look at some of the ways machine learning and AI will help operators make the customer experience better, without driving up the cost of network operations.
The Aussie operator is trying to reinvent itself, and its network-as-a-service is a vital piece of the transformation puzzle.
Every network operators business case is different but what remains true is that combining the disciplines needed to get value from data requires a very collaborative organization.
Universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) systems are growing rapidly, paving the way for new opportunities, lowered costs and increased performance overall.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
5G in the USA: A Post-BCE Update
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2018
Vanquished in Video, Verizon Admits OTT Defeat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed