Automation critical for enterprises focusing on multicloud and software-defined everything: Juniper research

Security was the top technology driver for automation for 67% of respondents

While the broad interest in automation is promising, it also shows how far the industry still has to go: State of Network Automation Report.
While the broad interest in automation is promising, it also shows how far the industry still has to go: State of Network Automation Report.

New research by Juniper shows that 96% of enterprises are taking a few steps toward automation, yet most are just beginning with only 8% of respondents stating they have been automating for more than four years.

While the broad interest in automation is promising, it also shows how far the industry still has to go, the first edition of the State of Network Automation Report (SoNAR) shows.

“The networking industry has seen decades of progress in the technology and tools that enable automation but despite becoming increasingly business critical, adoption continues to be a challenge,” said Sumeet Singh, VP of engineering at Juniper Networks. “At Juniper, we know that, while imperative, broad automation adoption will require enterprises to embark on transformational journeys that go well beyond products and technology.”

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The research showed that enterprises focusing their automation efforts to only some places in the network outperformed those automating across the entire network in a number of key categories, such as better business goal performance. While it might seem counter-intuitive, the report shows that it’s imperative for networking professionals to focus their efforts and resources while automating more deeply across a smaller cross-section of the infrastructure to transform culture, skills, processes and a toolset that can adapt to any place in the network once refined in a focused space.

While automation was historically seen as an opportunity to reduce resources and cost, SoNAR showed this thinking is outdated. Security was the top technology driver for 67% of respondents; the number is even higher for those automating in specific parts of the network (78%) and those automating across the entire network (71%) than enterprises just starting their automation journey. Additionally, agility was the top business driver and the most improved factor due to automation. Reducing costs and resources came in last for both categories, showing that automation is no longer just a cost saving measure but an increasingly important aspect of achieving business objectives.

Automation is quickly becoming a critical, foundational element of the network as enterprises focus on multicloud, rapid application development and deployment, software-defined everything and much more. Yet most enterprises are still grappling with the challenges that this transition brings.

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