Driving automation through software-defined everything

Driving automation through software-defined everything

Milko Ilari, head of International Business & Strategy at Enter, explores the convergence of cloud and networking in the digital era

What network challenges does the industry face as we head to the middle of 2018 and beyond?

The next big challenge in networking is automation.  Previously all about connectivity, network requirements have since evolved. Today, everything runs faster, because people want it sooner. Applications must be securely deployed where, how and when we need them in a secure way, while also being able to dynamically scale up and down as demand changes.

Networking is no longer limited to the data centre and considered an individual component of the overall technology solution.  With public and private clouds, remote offices, mobile devices, and Network Function Virtualisation, networking is the new layer that everything runs upon.

Cloud and networking have always been treated as two separate worlds. Today, software is blending them together.  IT infrastructure is being automated and configured to respond to business needs at any given time. It’s not just about making application deployment faster, but rather dynamically providing what applications require — connectivity, security and scale — in a fully automated way.

Advances in networking have also had a profound impact on development and operations (DevOps) — the nexus of innovation in many enterprises. The shift of network procurement from manual provisioning toward software-driven automation has enabled new opportunities and possibilities for businesses.  Modern networking automates both production environment as well as application development and deployment.

What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?

In 2011, entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer Marc Andreessen wrote an essay for The Wall Street Journal called “Why Software Is Eating The World.” The piece explained how a growing number of businesses are being run on software, and delivered as online services.

Andreessen was on to something. Today, thanks to that software, we can enable automation, personalisation, security, efficiency, speed and agility. This is called Software-Defined Everything, and it requires infrastructure providers to become software companies rather than hardware providers. This means developing new skills and finding different business models to sell their products.  

What impact will industry changes have on digital transformation plans within organisations?

While digital transformation requires a change in leadership, out-of-the-box thinking, and encouraging innovation and the implementation of new business models within the organisation, it all starts with infrastructure. Static and monolithic architecture is out, while agile, microservice architecture is in. Companies are no longer building software or running IT for cost savings and operations; IT has now become the primary driver of business innovation. Embracing this shift requires all company employees to rethink the role and impact of IT in their day-to-day experience.

How is Enter leveraging software-defined innovation for its solutions?

At Enter, we are embracing this software-defined transformation with solutions for infrastructure automation that meet business needs. Through infrastructure built on our OpenStack-based cloud platform, we have created network automation capabilities, which now integrate with our fully managed and automated SD-WAN platform. 

Enterprises benefit from Enter’s agile, flexible network for virtualisation and dynamic bandwidth services, while carriers gain end-to-end control over services to the customer premises. This means they can reduce the time it takes to complete service requests from weeks to one day, and help their customers turn-up sites in days instead of months.

What have been Enter’s key developments and stand outs over the past year? 

In addition to our SD-WAN, Enter just released Automium — our provider-neutral solution for building declarative infrastructure and deploying customers’ software at any scale, all with zero lock-in deployment. Automium is a DevOps-friendly environment that enables automation, portability and security, and simplifies the most crucial scenarios of cloud application management. Users can take their recipes, scripts, runbooks and blueprints, and transform them into deployment actions and architectural definitions

Automium is an orchestrator of proven open source technologies for automated deployment and management; Kubernetes for containerised applications; Git for source code management; and Jenkins for automated testing. The platform helps customers begin the journey to cloud transformation. In addition, Enter has developed a simple software architecture that serves as the glue to integrate state-of-the-art components. 

Enter’s DevOps-ready infrastructure is the technology foundation that supports companies’ business strategy, ability to innovate, and digital capabilities. 

By providing meaningful infrastructure and technology, we are on a mission to accelerate cultural change and ultimately make it easier for people to get things done, together. 

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