Virtualization technologies, Cloud (private or public), “Software-defined whatever” not only bring simplicity and flexibility to systems and communications management, but also require the full automation of company IT systems.
This means enterprises will not just need to change their network technology and systems, but also require the inclusion of specific tools, in addition to traditional ones, to secure dynamic workflows and communications between them. Network features entail interaction with laboratory SDN technology and SD-WAN to configure remote systems.
While today’s market has made huge advances in automating certain processes over the last few years, there is still much to do in terms of interoperability between technologies and suppliers in order to develop standard interfaces and achieve simple integration between systems.
IT system automation can be divided into 3 distinct levels:
- Infrastructure-centric: system made up of servers, virtual machines, networks, that is, the elements of infrastructures, which generate workflows. For example, should a virtual machine breakdown, it’s automatically replicated in a distinct physical server with the same configuration.
- Application-centric: this includes a higher level of ‘intelligence’ to understand how the application should operate under different circumstances. For example: traffic entering the system increases and creates a new instance at the application front end. This automatically configures a load balancer.
- Business-centric: the system understands, end-to-end, all corporate systems and is capable of service-chaining between tools, applications and SDN controllers, SD-WAN, etc. One could say this overlaps the so-called Business Intelligence (BI) features. An example of this is active network monitoring, where a video call with another office over the internet is detected and automatically prioritized over other traffic (storage services in cloud synchronization, etc.).
To achieve the 3 automation levels however, comprehensive monitoring over the entire network and systems is needed. Another requirement is a unified information module to share among applications and controllers. This calls for full cooperation between suppliers and customers to ensure the tools use standard protocols, capable of sending information in easily integrated formats.
The key element to designing workflows is the service orchestrator, whose task is to communicate with controllers (managing infrastructures such as SDN, SD-WAN, VIM, VNF-Manager…), and receive monitoring information on the systems. Furthermore, these communicate with higher level tools, such as OSS, BSS or B1, providing a differential edge for businesses in IT system management.
Although a multi-supplier services orchestrator that is able to manage all company systems won’t be available in the short or mid-term, the industry has already begun to develop automated options.
Teldat, already onboard, includes Rest APIs in its SD-WAN solution controller, simplifying integration with service orchestrators and other systems on the market.