Most network providers intend to go full auto in five years: survey

global network
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Network automation investments are expected to grow by approximately 30% between now and 2021, with 75% of network providers expecting to achieve full or significant network automation in the next five years.

That’s according to a survey conducted by ACG Research and sponsored by Ciena, which says organizations worldwide are transforming their networks with intelligent automation, programmable optics and advanced analytics capabilities to be able to adapt and respond dynamically to changing market demands.

The report aims to highlight the current state of adaptive networking and further explore service provider motivations and implementations as they transform their networks to meet customer demands.

According to the findings, the top motivations cited for increasing automation include faster service delivery, improved customer satisfaction, the ability to support more complex and innovative services, and increased business agility.

Respondents stated that the top concerns and gaps they must address to ensure the success of their network transformations include security, intelligence/analytics, and a skilled workforce that not only understands traditional telecom networks but new IT and software innovations, as well.

All regions ranked analytics and security as top requirements when asked what elements are needed to increase automation, but there were some differences of opinion on other requirements. For example, 68% of operators in Central and Latin America named the ability to access network performance data as one of the top three important elements, while 55% of respondents in the European region and 40% of respondents in Asia-Pacific pointed to open, programmable infrastructure as being in the top three.

Overall, 60% of respondents across the globe indicate openness and interoperability as being “very important” for their automation solution and 82% plan to use open source software from vendors or a mix of sources, the report said.

“We all realize that network automation is happening, but we really wanted to delve deeper into service provider and large enterprise experiences, expectations and challenges with automation,” said Tim Doiron, principal analyst of intelligent networking at ACG Research. “One of the key survey findings that stood out to me was the need for trained, skilled personnel in the area of programmable networks and automation. Operators expect their vendor partners to be able to help them with not only products and services but also with bridging the skills gap between telecom and IT as they execute their automation journey.”

Joe Cumello, VP and head of global marketing at Ciena, noted that automation, programmability, and intelligence have emerged as new common themes that are emerging in the vendor’s conversations with customers.

“With the pace of growth in capacity, devices, and mobility moving exceedingly fast, adaptive networks which combine these attributes will allow organizations to not only survive, but thrive in the face of increasing complexity and unpredictable growth to support the services and applications of tomorrow,” he said.

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