Juniper Report: Network Automation Benefits Live Up to Promises

The network automation trend is well on its way.

Lynn Haber

September 17, 2020

3 Min Read
Word promise written on wooden tiles

Network automation benefits are being realized by organizations who automate their networks. That’s according to Juniper Networks’ State of Network Automation Report (SoNAR), released on Wednesday, The report confirms that many touted benefits of automation are ringing true. In particular, the much-acclaimed benefit of automation — reduction of repetitive work — is the #1 driver for network automation across all segments.

The vendor’s second annual SoNAR report provides insights about the overall journey to automation. That includes how and when companies embrace this path and the results. Six key network automation trends rise to the top:

  1. The network automation revolution is well underway

  2. Network automation is changing how networks are deployed, changed and managed

  3. Repetitive work is reduced

  4. Risk is lower that production network changes result in degraded service

  5. Increased job satisfaction

  6. Businesses that implement network automation outperform those that don’t

Report Details

This year’s Juniper Network’s SoNAR survey included enterprise, cloud and communication service provider network operators worldwide. Survey participants included business that embrace network automation as well as those who haven’t yet begun their journey.

About 75% of communications service providers (CSPs), 71% of enterprises and 78% of cloud providers report they use some type of network automation. This shows that network automation is a lasting trend, according to the report author.

About a quarter of each segment is at the start of that trend — beginning to automate beyond the command line interface (CLI) with basic scripting. Meanwhile, a full 24% of cloud providers say they use automation in production in all network places. For those who compete in the cloud provider space or aspire to run their operations as efficiently as possible, the 2020 SoNAR results offer encouragement to get network automation projects up and running.

Also highlighted in the report: 

  • Nearly 20% of respondents said that the top driver to automate is to reduce hard and repetitive work. This is a shift from last year, when the top driver was improved security.

  • Among the top group of respondents who automate the network, 78% say they’re satisfied with the job compared to 60% of non-automating respondents. They also reported a higher level of productivity.

  • The more network automation is used, the higher the business benefit. About 67% of leading network innovators exceed organizational performance goals compared to 57% of non-automating respondents.

Security Falls from No. 1

Unlike the 2019 Juniper Networks SoNAR report where the most common technology driver for network automation was security, 2020 survey participants are more inclined to consider freedom from repetitive work are the #1 technology driver.

“This year, all segments say the top driver to automate is to reduce hard and repetitive work,” according to the report. Reducing competitive work beat out 11 technology drivers to gain the #1 slot.

The 11 technology drivers, in order of priority, include: reducing hard and repetitive work, scaling efficiency of network footprint relative to headcount, improving time to change, improving incident response and meantime to repair (MTTR), security, service experience levels, service uptime levels, keeping current on network technology, compliance, improving meantime between failures (MTBF) and sustaining innovation.

Security, on the other hand, ranked third as a technology driver for enterprises. It’s fifth for telco and cable/MSO, and sixth for cloud providers.

Business Drivers and Automation Challenges

The business drivers for network automation are IT service reliability, IT service delivery efficiency, cost savings and business agility.

Both cloud providers and enterprise rank IT service reliability as the #1 business driver for network automation. Telco and Cable/MSO rank cost saving as #1. In the 2019 SoNAR business agility gained the top spot.

It’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to network automation. Survey respondents do report challenges related to automation. And taccording to the SoNARs report, the biggest challenge for all segments is the lack of time to learn on the job.

Segments rank other challenges differently from one another. Here are other challenges that the sectors deal with some more others less. Lack of knowledge necessary to access training; fear of making a mistake in production, overwhelming number of technical choices, older networking equipment that’s hard to automate and lack of training resources, to name a handful.

About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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