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Forward Networks 2020 Predictions: The Growing Trend of Network Automation

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Nikhil Handigol, co-founder, Forward Networks

The Growing Trend of Network Automation

In 2020, network infrastructure will continue to take precedence for enterprise organizations, but the question begs to differ: what will be the most efficient and productive way to deploy or migrate these maturing tools? As such, it's no surprise that 2020 will see automation play a major role, with open source tools and SDN as a major driver behind it.

Here are my top three predictions for 2020:

1.  Automation and verification will drive IT infrastructure evolution. 

Within the past years, we have seen organizations operate at various levels of automation. 2020 will see automation grow as verification initiatives have proven to help make network automation more reliable and robust. As IT infrastructures continue to grow and become more complex, the deployment of verification technology will be the key driving force in shifting towards intent-based networking. Over the last few years, network verification has proved to prevent network outages and to improve the efficiency and agility of enterprise operations. Network verification will continue to lead the network automation story in 2020. It will continue to transform IT processes and help organizations transition to a more software-driven model.

2.  Open Source tools will fuel network automation.

2019 saw a growing trend of adoption of open source tools to power automation efforts across several IT operations. In 2020, this trend will continue to grow. More companies will aim to automate their network infrastructure efforts in order to speed up IT processes - a shift that will benefit both small and large, complex networks. Combined with verification technologies, automation will prove to be a more efficient and more reliable way of managing configurations and optimizing network infrastructures.

3.  SDN deployments will see greater adoption of whitebox switches.

The growing trend towards automation and disaggregation in enterprise networks will see greater adoption of whitebox switches. Whitebox switches provide greater vendor flexibility and better economies of scale. As automation and verification tools mature, network engineers have greater confidence to migrate to newer whitebox vendors to realize the potential of SDN -- greater flexibility, better visibility, and lower cost.


About the Author

Nikhil Handigol 

Nikhil Handigol is a co-founder at Forward Networks and a Computer Science PhD from Stanford. As a member of the Stanford team that pioneered SDN/OpenFlow, his research focused on using SDN principles for systematic network troubleshooting (NetSight), flexible network emulation (Mininet), and smart load-balancing (Aster*x). Previously, he worked at SDN Academy, ON.Lab, and Cisco.

Published Tuesday, February 04, 2020 7:20 AM by David Marshall
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