29 December 2017 – As AT&T, Bell Canada, CenturyLink, and Verizon move forward with their SDN and NFV plans in 2018, network automation will play a prominent role in accelerating service creation and delivery over a software-centric network architecture.
Simply put, network automation tools support a variety of functions, including network mapping and device discovery as well as others like provisioning virtual network resources. Network automation will also play a role in provisioning virtual network resources as well as SDN network virtualization and orchestration, enabling auto-provisioning of virtual network functions and services.
Already, several service providers are putting the foundations in place to take advantage of network automation. AT&T fired an early shot in the network automation race with services like Network on Demand, which allows enterprise business customers to call up Ethernet bandwidth via an online portal.
Similar concepts are now being driven by other providers like Bell Canada, an early supporter of Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) when it was established by AT&T as the Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy platform. The Canadian operator plans to have ONAP in production in its network by the end of this year, meaning the telecom industry will get to see how its automation platforms are working in a real-world environment.