IoT Solutions: Navigating the New Zero Touch Operations Network

IoT technology expert, Steve Brumer, recently moderated a webinar hosted by BrightTalk. Panelists included Brandon Heller, the CTO and Co-Founder of Forward Networks, Rama Darbha, the Director of Consulting Services at Cumulus, and Nathan McMahon, the Solutions Architect at Avi Networks. Together, they discussed the emergence of the zero touch operations network which automatically ensures high availability, reliability, and efficiency. The ramp up of 5G deployment around the globe has increased the need for navigating this zero touch network. Get their insights and lessons learned by watching the above video on IoT technology or reading the below summary of their discussion.

Roadblocks to Implementing Zero Touch Operations

There are two main roadblocks to emerging IoT solutions: technology and people. However, larger roadblocks tend to be people and the culture side of things over the IoT devices.

Some teams and groups will be very on-board, but some won’t. This presents problems as self-service networking works together beautifully, until you get to the next step which requires you to open a ticket because that particular team didn’t want to automate their portion of the workflow. That’s why it’s important for everyone, from the management chain on down, buys into this.

Risks of Zero Touch Operations Interactions

Automation can raise the abstraction at which people operate, make network operators more effective, and scale to larger networks. The dark side is that the farther away you are from the configuration and actual behavior, the harder it is to figure out what’s happening when things don’t work. Often, the problem is easy to fix when you know what’s wrong, but figuring out what’s wrong can be difficult with automated systems. Furthermore, the cost of an error can be significant, and not just in downtime but also reputation loss. Eliminating the possible cases that might lead to a network going down and not being able to recover it in time is the real value behind these IoT strategies.

Code VS. Humans

We are quite a ways away from true automation. From a social psychology aspect, we are not quite ready to give up all control. Human decision making still needs to exist in the high level constructs that define the network such as architecture, IoT technology, selecting features, cabling structures, expected traffic flow, and intent. Only a network operator, application designer, or system administrator will know when everything is correct. Their job will be to take those constructs and turn them into code that zero touch provisioning and automation can execute.

Continue the IoT Technology Conversation

There’s more information available to help you manage the zero touch operations network. Finish hearing the rest of the conversation by watching the video above. They also discuss common themes among successful APIs in network automation, IoT technology successfully leveraged monitoring tools in creating a feedback loop, and managing the line between configurations during regular operations and zero touch operations initial provisioning.

Here at IoT council BH IoT Group, we excel at IoT consulting for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about how to best navigate the zero touch operations network in your organization, please contact us.