How does NetOps differ from traditional network operations?

Developers in technology must keep moving forward, opening new doors, and trying new things because they are curious, and curiosity leads to new paths and to better ways of doing things.

The acronym NetOps stands for “network operations”. It was coined, like DevOps and TestOps, to describe the new reality in network engineering, where the emphasis is on network agility, network automation, and network orchestration.

NetOps, also known as NetDevOps or NetOps 2.0, is a networking operations approach that employs DevOps tools and techniques to make network changes more efficiently and effectively than in the past. NetOps was once an acronym for traditional network operations, which frequently resulted in rigid, complex, and static infrastructure. Now it has been reimagined to support agile, scalable, and programmable networks that enable faster software development cycles.

The NetOps market generated $1073.2 million in revenue in 2022 and is expected to grow at a 14.9% CAGR between now and 2032. NetOps incorporates automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery to streamline operations, drawing on DevOps methodology. NetOps 2.0 represents a significant paradigm shift by treating infrastructure as code.

Historically, network teams have manually managed enterprise networks using command-line interface scripting, with an emphasis on availability and uptime rather than flexibility. As a result, network management lagged behind application development, causing digital transformation to stall. NetOps 2.0 aims to speed up the network, but adoption is still a work in progress for many organisations.

The Benefits of Employing NetOps 2.0

The NetOps 2.0 transformation is taking place because digital enterprises require their networks to deliver applications and services more quickly. The goal is to address legacy network limitations by making them more responsive and flexible. NetOps can help an enterprise respond quickly and consistently to new requests and events. Moving to an agile networking approach has clear business benefits, ranging from faster service delivery to improved data security.

NetOps 2.0 is built on three pillars: network virtualisation, network automation, and AI-powered network monitoring tools. These assist networking teams in running modern networks that extend beyond on-premises networks to virtual networks in public and private clouds. NetOps tools, practices and solutions can assist network operation centres of any organisation, especially larger enterprises with multiple networks. Businesses will be able to leverage a number of advantages when employing NetOps solutions, such as:

Provisioning and deployment times are reduced. Because routers, switches, and network security do not need to be deployed as physical hardware within the network infrastructure, network virtualisation allows NetOps teams to provision and deploy network devices more quickly.

Continuous enhancement. Network automation enables the deployment of new applications and services with the goal of continuous improvement.

Proactive remediation. AI network monitoring tools enable NetOps teams to proactively identify and resolve network performance and security issues.

Simpler troubleshooting. AI for IT operations (AIOps), network detection and response (NDR) tools have gained traction in NetOps to speed up network troubleshooting.

Network analytics and granular visibility. Machine learning (ML) tools keep an eye on network health and provide a comprehensive view of network analytics, behaviour, and anomalies.

The Future of NetOps 2.0

Traditionally, network operations teams use performance monitoring tools to manage enterprise network performance. However, as network usage and deployments have grown, many organisations are looking for alternatives to performance monitoring. As IT infrastructure becomes more complex, NetOps teams must find ways to keep the network operational and perform at peak levels.

The growth of public and private Clouds, as well as edge computing, has increased overall networking complexity, which can cause bottlenecks in network analysis. According to West Gate Network’s Froehlich, AIOps adoption may be the future of network health monitoring. NetOps solutions currently comprise 5% of the global network management market.

NetOps teams are realising that the amount of network health and performance data being collected will outstrip their ability to keep up with it. Using AIOps tools to automatically analyse data and deliver fixes for network performance issues could be a viable solution.

As NetOps evolves, network professionals must have basic automation and programming skills and the soft skills required to collaborate proactively with other teams and users. NetOps 2.0 will necessitate a major cultural shift in which enterprise networking teams learn to embrace change and manage risk rather than avoid it.

About the Author

Alan Hayward is Sales and Marketing Manager at SEH Technology. SEH is a manufacturer of high quality network solutions. With over 30 years of experience in printing and networks we possess broad and profound solution skills in these areas for all types of business environments: The most comprehensive print server portfolio for all types of networks and all types of printers, copiers, and scanners. Network print appliances for scalable and cost-efficient spooling solutions. myUTN USB device servers for accessing USB devices via the network. We develop and manufacture all products at our headquarters in Germany. Worldwide distribution is via our US and UK subsidiaries and an extensive network of partners, distributors, and resellers.

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