6 min read time

Analyst Insights—The Road Ahead for Network Operations

by   in IT Operations Cloud

Chris Grundemann shares insights for 2023 and beyond

We recently hosted a virtual forum for Network Operations Management (NOM). This 3-day series of webinars, live sessions, and exclusive on-demand content was designed to make 2023 the best year ever for your network team. A session hosted by Chris Grundemann, GigaOm analyst, was a crowd favorite. I’ve summarized his key insights below and explained how they line up with recent updates to our Network Operations Management (NOM) product.

 A Crowd Favorite—GigaOm Analyst Chris Grundemann

Chris Grundemann kicked off the forum with a presentation about the top networking trends for 2023 and beyond. Talk about a unique perspective. Chris is a double-practice lead in both GigaOm’s Network & Edge and Security & Risk segments. He also has a couple of books, several patents, and 20+ years of experience as a network engineer under his belt. He’s worked for ISPs, NSPs, MSPs, and value-added resellers across data centers and cloud estates. Drawing on all these experiences, he brings valuable insights to the future of network management.

 

Deperimeterization

The first topic Chris discussed was deperimeterization. For the uninitiated, deperimeterization is the idea that the traditional boundaries that defined networks of the past are slowly blurring to the point of disappearance.

Twenty or thirty years ago, the physical and logical boundaries of the building you worked in were the perimeters of your network. But then we moved to data centers, then co-location facilities, and recently, the cloud. Rather than managing a single network, network teams today must oversee what can better be described as a network of networks.

Here at OpenText, product experts and engineers recognize this growing complexity. One key update in the latest version of NOM (2022.11) is the ability use Open Data Ingestion to get data from any external structured data source into the OPTIC Data Lake via REST. Version 2022.11 also introduces “pseudo-objects.” With pseudo-objects, you can track inaccessible nodes throughout your topology with support for point-to-point and multipoint connections.

  

Network as a Service

Chris also talked about a topic on the minds of many network operators—Network as a Service (NaaS). He said that NaaS is more than just hiring someone to run your network. It also means offering the agility of the “as a Service” model to your organization. Where a managed service model might mean calling someone on the phone to do provisioning or troubleshooting, NaaS is machine based. It trades the phone for APIs and uses applications to interact with service providers.

To meet a growing need for speed and flexibility, we developed OPTIC Flex Reporting. OPTIC Flex Reporting is a new reporting engine with a built-in drag-and-drop design tool. It enables faster, easier report creation by eliminating the need for a separate design tool.

We’re also offering simplified OPTIC Data Lake deployment options: A new guided install process with preselected options and automation. The ability to deploy containerized components with your organization’s approved on-premises distributions of Kubernetes. Or the freedom to have our Kubernetes experts handle that for you with NOM Reporting – SaaS. These options give you the agility to keep up with business priorities.


 

NetDevOps

According to Chris, the move toward the “as a Service” model has created the need for NetDevOps. NetDevOps leverages automation and orchestration to manage network changes. It also accelerates the network lifecycle by drawing on DevOps tools like version control and validation.

NetDevOps, Chris said, starts with a single source of truth. Rather than having the data on devices themselves, NetDevOps requires a single source of truth in the form of a database, separate application, or program that can hold policies, templates, config data, and all the other things necessary to operate the network.

For NOM users, the OPTIC Data Lake is the single source of network truth. You can now use a single centralized OPTIC Data Lake connected to a Global Network Management deployment to reduce the cost and complexity of managing your organization’s network data. You can also use Open Data Ingestion to retrieve data from any external structured data sources and drop it into the OPTIC Data Lake via a REST interface.


 

Observability

No network operations discussion in 2023 would be complete without observability, and Chris did a great job defining the term and highlighting it’s importance. He said when it comes to the network, observability means stepping beyond monitoring and alerting—Is the node up or down, CPU overloaded, or memory full? It means being able to ask questions about the network, past or present, and getting answers in real-time.

NOM provides observability into your network in the form of our change monitoring tool, Diagnostic Analytics. With Diagnostic Analytics, you can view performance data overlayed with configuration and change events. In other words, you see more than just a drop in network performance—you see why your network performance dropped.

NOM 2022.11 also supports streaming telemetry and the ability to capture and consume events as management incidents from new device types using webhook-based communication support.



 

 

NetSecOps

Chris wrapped things up with a discussion of NetSecOps—the convergence of workflows with networking and security teams. As the network becomes the primary attack vector for cyber criminals, it also becomes a foundational layer for security. This shift naturally raises questions. If we’re buying a service or tool to address network security, who operates it? Who pays for it? The networking team or the security team?

OpenText’s answer to network security is Network Automation (NA). With policy enforcement and integrated remediation capabilities, NA automates the laborious task of validating that devices and configurations adhere to your best practices. It also automates the remediation steps required to bring wayward devices and configurations back into compliance.

You can also automatically collect Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and other cybersecurity databases through our Marketplace, which delivers compliance and patch policies to help you immediately identify and remediate security issues from new or known vulnerabilities—for example, from vendors like Cisco and HPE—on your network. NA can also be configured to implement them automatically. 

Going back to the earlier question: Who pays for network security? Through a survey we conducted with Dimensional Research, we found that 90% of security teams are willing to contribute budget for network security tools. So that means securing the network is a shared responsibility between the security and network teams.


You can browse through all NOM Virtual Forum sessions for additional insights, including answers to questions about product capabilities and security use cases. Happy viewing.


If you liked what you saw during the Virtual Forum and want to learn more about how you can unlock the value of NOM, join us at one of eight in-person events we’ll be hosting all around Europe in late March as part of our Network Operations Management Forum 2023.

Labels:

Network Operations Management