Automation Scores Against Operational Costs – The Business Benefits of Automation and Orchestration
John Malzahn, Senior Manager, Service Provider Product Marketing, Cisco Systems
When significant real-world ROI results come in from customers, we’re excited to share them. Some recent proof points from our service provider partners are especially compelling. Why? Because they’re about one of Service Providers’ biggest challenges―reducing high operational costs and complexity of managing mass-scale networks.
Significant Reductions in OpEx Confirmed
It’s one thing to build a massive network. It’s an entirely different issue to operate one. Currently most operators spend nearly $5 in operational expenditure (OpEx) for each $1 of capital expenditures (CapEx) just to keep things running. With traditional network management, the larger a network becomes, the more inefficient it is to operate. The current methods are unsustainable and ripe for change. Service Providers have an opportunity to turn inefficient OPEX into better outcomes and redefine the economics of networking.
Case in point: the automation and orchestration of network services. For the past few years, the industry has been promoting the benefits of these features as part of programmable networks. The benefits touted may once have sounded remote and over hyped: faster time-to-market; simpler operations that don’t require expensive sys admin time; and especially much lower operational expenditures (OpEx). Now the results are in and they’re impressive. The promises have become reality.
Cisco analyzed the data on operational processes from a group of our major service provider customers that have automated their environments. Specifically, they implemented the Cisco Network Services Orchestrator. Individual service lifecycle processes were analyzed―adding a new customer, resolving an incident, handling a change request, and disconnecting a service.
The savings in time and motions came to 60-70%. Overall OpEx savings came to 50-70%. Over five years, that translated to an ROI of 383% and a savings of $3 million to $16.7 million from year one through year five for this Tier 3-5 provider. For a Tier 1 operator, the estimated savings over five years could reach $66.7 million! These represent significant results indeed.
Where the Greatest Savings Occurs
Aside from looking at the big picture, Cisco’s study also isolated the cost savings from specific portions of workflows. The green boxes in the chart highlight where network services automation and orchestration had the greatest impacts.
In the past, system administrators configuring half a dozen sites had to do so manually. They had to check and recheck configurations. Yet a huge percentage of problems are due to incorrect configuration or moving back to an original configuration.
By contrast, automation and orchestration rely on the data model-driven programmatic configuration of all elements participating in a service - both physical and virtualized functions, traditional and software-defined networking (SDN) management interfaces, operation support systems (OSSs) and business support systems (BSSs) - in a single transaction. That configuration extends from service-level parameters through the automated configuration of every network device involved in the service.
Automated configuration validation, a major area of savings in our study, extends across service chains, all the way from the CPE to the virtual network functions (VNFs) in the data center. The orchestrator knows if it can move on to the ongoing assurance phase of the service lifecycle (or whether it needs to reconfigure or redeploy something that has failed) based on actual measurements of performance at the endpoint.
The service providers participating in this study have automated the entire lifecycle of their services, including fulfillment, activation testing, and ongoing monitoring and assurance. They design, deliver, and assure services faster. They have a single, network-wide interface to all network devices and services, both physical and virtual, using a common modeling language and data store. Services are defined using the standardized YANG modeling language and mapped to device models. And everything is automated.
Goodbye to custom coding or service disruptions. Hello to operations in real-time without manual intervention for incredible ROI and OpEx savings.
Automation and orchestration features are part of the Cisco Service Centric Network Architecture for service providers. The architecture represents an infrastructure transformation that leaves past approaches to software, hardware, services, architectures, and operations far behind.
Find Out More
So, how can Service Providers position themselves for success by driving automation and agility approaches to network management? For insights and more detail on this topic, please check out our white paper “The Business Benefits of Automation and Orchestration.”
Choosing the right automation and orchestration solution here is crucial to maximizing on these technologies. Cisco also offers industry-leading solutions here. To find out what Cisco Crosswork and Network Services Orchestrator can do for your business, visit www.cisco.com/go/crosswork.
— John Malzahn, Senior Manager, Service Provider Product Marketing, Cisco Systems
This content is sponsored by Cisco Systems.