March 23, 2020

649 words 4 mins read

Network Automation: The Hype vs. Reality

Network Automation: The Hype vs. Reality

From physical to virtual to the cloud (and now multi-cloud), networks are getting more diverse. For network professionals, managing across all of the diversity is …

Talk Title Network Automation: The Hype vs. Reality
Speakers Jonah Kowall (Kentik)
Conference NANOG78
Conf Tag
Location San Francisco, CA
Date Feb 10 2020 - Feb 12 2020
URL Talk Page
Slides Talk Slides
Video Talk Video

From physical to virtual to the cloud (and now multi-cloud), networks are getting more diverse. For network professionals, managing across all of the diversity is a growing challenge. On top of that, SDN and SD-WAN are added architecture elements making the network stack even more difficult to holistically understand. Add virtualization, network overlays, and container networks to the mix, and you’ve got increasingly dynamic networks — i.e. networks that come and go — which make network visibility and management harder than ever to achieve. If you couple this with vendor-specific tools, the chore of managing a portfolio of network management software has become increasingly challenging.

What’s the answer to managing today’s networks? Automation. However, automation does not necessarily mean simplicity. Most network teams have countless automation tools, and many are adding more. As teams transition from custom tools to network configuration and change management (NCCM), fast forward to DevOps tools, and throw in the future promise of intent-based networking, how is a team to manage this level of complexity?

In his talk, former Gartner analyst Jonah Kowall, CTO of Kentik, will discuss the critical role that network teams play in automation. He will explain why the current promise (or “hype”) of network automation is centered around closed-loop automation (a combination of telemetry, analytics, and orchestration) to drive a future network which incorporates AIOps platforms to integrate different technologies in a more repeatable way to operate a network and facilitating self-healing and scaling networks. At the same time, he’ll cover where we truly are: between the promise of automation and the baseline of ad-hoc coding of scripts for specific workflows. Additionally, Kowall will offer advice on what’s needed in order for the industry to make the leap from partial to full network automation.

The audience will walk away with a better understanding of the current automation strategies that can be applied within their own organizations, in addition to learning what’s ahead for network automation.

Jonah Kowall: Jonah Kowall trained in computer science and co-founded one of the first content filtering companies in the late 1990s. Jonah became a security expert committing code to both the FreeBSD project and helped build the first wireless cracking algorithms. Jonah received his CISSP and CISA along with several infrastructure-related certifications and awards. Throughout 15 years as a practitioner and manager across both startups and large enterprises focusing on infrastructure and operations, security, and performance engineering. Spearheading both tactical and strategic operational initiatives, going deep into monitoring and tuning of infrastructure and applications. In 2011 Jonah changed careers, moving to Gartner to focus on availability and performance monitoring and IT operations management (ITOM). Speaking and writing research globally for IT leaders and CIOs. Jonah led Gartner’s influential application performance monitoring (APM) and created the network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD) magic quadrants along with creating the Network Packet Broker (NPB) term and market. In 2015 Jonah joined AppDynamics, helping drive the company’s corporate development, product strategy, and vision. Jonah developed new products and solutions with technical partners for entry into new markets, including product managing, building, and launching new products with IBM, SAP, and ServiceNow. AppDynamics was acquired by Cisco in 2017 to drive its software strategy and create IT and business alignment. Jonah then joined Kentik in 2019 as CTO to set company and product vision and strategy and execute it by running the product management organization. Kentik is the leader in network analytics for today’s leading brands and is forging the path as the foundational AIOps platform for network professionals.

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