A major threat looms to SDN/NFV success

Research shows network management tools must evolve for SDN/NFV

To stay relevant, you need to transform.

The digital consumer in the application economy demands service delivery at lightning speeds—when, where and how they want it.  In order to meet this demand, every business must become a digital business and transform their networks based on software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies.  For any network to stay relevant and competitive, the inclusion of SDN and NFV in its strategic plan is paramount.

A recent study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) and sponsored by CA Technologies on the Impacts of SDN and Network Virtualization on Network Management revealed that the top benefits targeted with SDN-based network transformation efforts were boosting end-user productivity, growing revenue and improving customer brand loyalty and retention.

More than anything else, 61% of communication service providers (CSPs) are building virtual private clouds with SDN and NFV to achieve these business goals; allowing them to add new services rapidly in software rather than hardware.  SDN in the data center is where the enterprise is expecting to achieve these business goals.  Their top use cases were to increase network automation (44%) followed closely by rapid provisioning of network connectivity (43%).

Is your current network management up to the task?

The study further reveals that before SDN and NFV technologies can help companies be successful, they must make sure they have the right network management tools in place.  EMA’s research determined that most existing network management system deployments are ill-prepared to fully support SDN and NFV.

Just 30% of CSPs said their inventory management tools were ready, while only 33% reported their performance management tools were prepared, and just 32% were confident in their fault management tools.

The enterprise responses were similarly bleak with only 31% reporting that their availability monitoring tools were prepared, only 33% were confident that their performance monitoring tools were ready and a mere 32% believe their troubleshooting tools were up to the task of fully supporting SDN and NFV technologies.

These numbers should undoubtedly concern the CTOs and network architects who are planning their SDN and NFV initiatives.  The respondents were split on how they planned to address the gaps in their current management systems. Many of them told EMA that they planned to modify existing tools. Many others said they needed to acquire new tools that specialize in managing SDN.

Stay calm and ask questions

Clearly, early adopters of SDN and NFV see it as a technology that is transformational to their business. However, a major threat to SDN and NFV success looms. Most incumbent operations support and readiness tools and service assurance systems are not prepared to support these new network technologies”, insists Shamus McGillicuddy, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

The takeaway? Carefully  evaluate your SDN/NFV management strategy and do not assume your existing tools will fully support your SDN/NFV investments.  Ask network management vendors about their SDN/NFV assurance roadmaps. Is your network management vendor addressing the new functional requirements you need for business success? Can you complement your existing network management systems with a new tool?

The consequences of not transforming your network with precision to compete in today’s digital market are severe.  Infinite blind spots to bottlenecks, continually being two steps behind service outages, failed product launches and the inability to successfully penetrate new markets are just a few.

To learn more, come see us at NFV World Congress, April 19-22 in San Jose or visit ca.com/vna.

Jeremy is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for a variety of Enterprise Management solutions at…



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