NEVER BEFORE have networks been so heavily relied upon for business success, yet less fit-for-purpose to deal with the future. The growing dependence on networks to power and connect businesses and customers, the rise of highly sophisticated hackers, and the proliferation of the Internet of Things have all accelerated this issue. Given the need for network-based mega-services, the pressure on networks is unprecedented and requires a simplified solution.
The answer may just be automated, programmable, and self-defending networks. They adapt and cope with predictive artificial intelligence-based services, while enabling channel partners and their customers to make better, faster business decisions based on facts and data.
Far-Reaching Business Results of Automation
Network utilization is nearing a maximum in many organizations, which are struggling to keep up with demand as a result. The complexity of managing more devices, plus adding security measures and offering increased levels of support, can impact business development and innovation. Companies can’t afford to have network issues slow time-to-market for products and services, though, nor should the financial burden and employee effort needed to ensure network resiliency be a roadblock for them.
That’s where autonomous networks come in. Capable of monitoring, managing, self-configuring, detecting, defending, updating, analyzing, and predicting everything, autonomous networks can offer far-reaching benefits. These include:
- Lower costs: Time-consuming operational tasks are completed on their own, resulting in less complexity, lower costs, and the redeployment of IT resources.
- Faster innovation: Fewer team members are needed to run, maintain, and monitor the network, so these skills can be refocused on innovation to drive revenue back into the business.
- Consolidated network services: Autonomous networks self-configure and completely auto-provision, simplifying network services and virtualization requirements. Ultimately, less storage space and maintenance are required, which means increased power savings within the data center.
- Improved business continuity: Most outages within a network are caused by human error. Automated networks deliver a higher level of reliability and network consistency.
Golden Opportunity for the Channel
For autonomous networks to harness their full potential, everything—from the network to the computer, storage routers, and switches, down to the application layer and beyond—must be unified and simplified, making channel players an essential component.
Regardless of what technology and services channel partners are selling to customers, network connectivity is vital, and partners have insight into customers’ network pressure points, challenges, and aspirations. Therefore, VARs are uniquely positioned to become the network experts who design, deploy, and manage multiple software-based components that require integration and interoperability with an autonomous network. That’s less a break-fix relationship than a services-led engagement emphasizing innovation, network assessments, capacity planning, and ongoing management to fully support customers’ changing business needs.
As the network becomes the platform to deliver more services, autonomous networks provide VARs the opportunity to position themselves within more buying centers across customer organizations. Channel pros also take the cost and risk out of operating networks, allowing IT teams to focus on business transformation.
Networks clearly won’t transform overnight, so this, of course, is a long-term bet for the channel. However, as customers start to see the value in automating their network—starting with areas such as smart bandwidth provisioning, auto-service placements, or specific upgrades—the need for expertise to grow networks is critical.
Autonomous networking is firmly on the horizon. VARs who invest in this now will reap the benefits in the future.
BRIAN ROSENBERG is corporate vice president of global partners and alliances at Juniper Networks where he is responsible for defining the global partner strategy and leading all aspects of its execution. Brian has more than 25 years of experience in the telecom industry with expertise in selling, deploying, and operating the world's largest and most complex networks.