Service provider and enterprise networks will have to scale to meet increasing demands. The Cisco VNI 2018 Report predicts that by 2022, 4.8 zettabytes of IP traffic will be consumed each year – nearly three times the traffic generated in 2017 and 11 times that of 2013. Given this unrelenting growth, it is no surprise that network operators are struggling to manage the complexity through manual, semi-automated, and siloed automation solutions.
Predominantly, organizations tend to install multiple instances of automation and monitoring solutions that lead to deployment and integration challenges. Building an automation solution also requires a large initial investment of time and resources. An under-developed solution that fails to scale according to network and service demands is a wasteful expenditure. To master growing network traffic and device volume, service providers and enterprises require network automation, orchestration, and monitoring solutions that provide a single-source-of-truth and single-pane-of-glass at massive scale.
The Anuta Networks ATOM platform employs a distributed architecture and a modern technology stack to provide horizontal scalability to manage hundreds of thousands of network devices, execute thousands of workflows, provision thousands of services in a 3-5 hour change window and collect millions of performance metrics every second.
ATOM is built from the ground up on a microservices-based architecture that is containerized to deliver both large scale and performance. Designing an architecture that ensures scalability of current features and obscure future capabilities requires expert foresight, competent architects, and constant code scrutiny. Every feature in the ATOM platform has been designed to cater to large organizations (service providers and enterprises) to provide time-critical services. The componentized and microservices-based architecture enables organizations to start small and grow at their own pace.
ATOM has been developed as an integrated platform that provides various capabilities and enables a single-source-of-truth and single-pane-of-glass, thereby helping customers in their efforts towards tool consolidation and simplified network management.
This blog post is the first of our “Massive Scale” series. I will provide an overview of ATOM’s features and its supported scale. In subsequent blog posts, I will take a deep dive into the scalability of workflow automation, service orchestration, compliance, and monitoring features. Finally, the last blog post in this series will identify the critical components of the ATOM architecture that enable such a massive scale.
Workflow (MOP) Automation
Large organizations define certain method-of-procedures (MOPs) to standardize frequent or laborious tasks. The MOPs are usually complex and include several pre-checks, post-checks, validations, and rollbacks based on failures. Organizations typically employ a significant number of engineers to work on these tasks in a manual or semi-automated environment. Due to task complexity, manual involvement leads to delays and human error.
ATOM’s workflow automation enables organizations to automate their simple or complex method-of-procedures (MOPs). Workflow automation breaks down a higher-level activity into sub-tasks and ties them together with network events, provisioning actions, show-commands, pre-checks, post-checks, user forms and approvals, and other operations. Subsequently, workflow automation enables network administrators the ability to automate even the most complex procedures such as software upgrades and network migration at a massive scale while reducing human errors and improving time to market service delivery.
Services are key productivity enablers for any organization. Service providers deliver network services to subscribers, while large enterprises do the same for internal consumption. In either case, organizations need to order services, monitor, manage, and retire them over time. Large networks demand service lifecycle management at a massive scale. Thousands of L2VPNs, L3VPNs, EVPNs, and other services must be provisioned across multi-vendor and multi-domain networks, audited regularly, and monitored 24×7 for SLA Compliance.
ATOM’s service orchestration and lifecycle management capabilities allow organizations to design and implement customized services using industry-standard platforms. Service models tend to be device agnostic and abstract tedious device-specific syntax. ATOM service orchestration functionality can consequently scale automatically to provision thousands of complex services across several multi-vendor devices in a 3-hour change window.
Configuration and Compliance Management
Organizations must ensure consistent configuration and security of the network while it meets various compliance standards. During the inception phase of a new network, architects design different procedures and review processes to ensure configuration compliance and standardization. However, network expansion due to growing traffic or consolidation after a corporate acquisition places pressure on operations, which can result in non-compliance. Therefore, monitoring and enforcing compliance policies 24×7 at scale is essential for consistent and predictable network performance.
ATOM provides many features to manage configuration and enforce compliance. Administrators can configure complex policies for CLI or YANG based devices. ATOM also enforces service, device, software, and configuration compliance. Compliance rules can be executed on thousands of devices simultaneously and at scheduled intervals.
Monitoring & Analytics
Network monitoring & analytics provides network operators and administrators with a deeper understanding of their network. A typical network – enterprise, data center, telecom, or cloud – is hugely diverse. It comprises various devices from multiple vendors with varying collection capabilities (SNMP, Syslog, or Telemetry). Network monitoring & analytics facilitates the collection of valuable, real-time data, eliminates noise, analyzes trends, and can predict future behavior.
A vital component of a monitoring strategy is implementing a single solution that is scalable across the entire network. It must also collect information from a variety of sources and provide customizable baselining and alerting capabilities to enable a closed-loop automation framework.
Organizations are witnessing unprecedented growth in networking. To simplify network management and operations, service providers and enterprises must invest in a modern platform that embraces massive scale automation and monitoring, such as ATOM. By leveraging Docker containers and Kubernetes orchestration, Anuta Networks ATOM provides a resilient, scalable, and highly available platform.
I will elaborate on the scalability factors of all ATOM features in upcoming blogs. The next blog in this series will focus on the ATOM’s workflow automation and service orchestration capabilities at scale. Stay tuned!