As a result of COVID-19, we have experienced a transformation and many unexpected changes in how we live and do business every day. What rises to the top are the big lessons in the need for agility in not just our personal lives but also in the technologies we use. It has been very interesting watching as network services have had to scale out services at unprecedented levels to meet the work from home (WFH) demand. This scaling out is not as simple as just plugging in more equipment and thereby increasing capacity. Devices need to be quickly configured and new services rapidly provisioned.
From my view of the market and those organizations, we have the privilege to work with, it is clear that services need to be able to scale out quickly not just at the data center level but at the network level. The overnight demand on network services and capabilities has been a massive lesson in why agility driven by automation and enabled by programmability is necessary.
We have talked about the relationship of agility with programmability in the past and how to quickly set up services, tear them down, and spin them up. The point has become crystal clear – considering how everything is happening today, if you invested in programmability, you can now take advantage of its capability to deliver agility. Agility is critical today and requires automation to happen. The real foundation of agility and automation has been and will continue to be programmability.
I read a recent SearchNetworking article by Tom Nolle where he outlines how many service providers are working very hard to ensure the quality of services needed during this pandemic. Something that stood out to me was three response strategies to the scalable core, access, and mobile networks. They include tactical, measured, and strategic responses. In order to implement and achieve these strategies, you will need an agile network that leverages programmability to agilely pivot as needed during a major challenge such as a pandemic.
Service providers that were able to quickly deliver services to the new WFH model leveraged automation and programmability. They were already at the table with these capabilities and, as a result, they were able to react much faster than competitors. Their customers, for the most part, experienced very few issues and were able to run their businesses as usual. These service providers are seeing not only brand growth and recognition but a windfall of business because of their proactive business decisions. Those that weren’t agile or proactive enough are learning the lesson the hard way and are playing catchup.
I think we can safely say that now, more than ever, service providers and network operators are seeing the power of automation driven by programmability. They are no longer just requesting vendors to provide this kind of agility in their devices but are starting to require it in order to be a part of their network.
The most successful service providers understand the importance of agility driven by automation and programmability. In today’s world, it has been reinforced that without programmability, you will get left behind. Those operators that didn’t have this in place, or were dragging their feet, now completely understand why agility driven by automation and programmability is needed.