Out-of-Band management gives you both presence and proximity to your critical devices. That’s the secure foundation you need to add NetOps into the fold.

Today, there is a growing awareness of NetOps across the business and IT worlds. Larger enterprises  may have set up NetOps teams in the same way they have for DevOps teams. However, there’s little understanding of what NetOps actually means across many organizations.

NetOps Skillsets

Organizations won’t be shifting their existing network engineering team wholesale into that role. More than likely they’d be adding another layer, charging the network engineering team to focus on the day to day work, and commissioning a NetOps team to look at the orchestration and the automation of it.  This represents a major investment, so this is why it’s more likely that larger companies are considering it at the moment. It also represents a big change for network engineers in terms of the skillsets they need. For years the badge of honor has been being a certified engineer and CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) or a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate).

Although those certifications are still valuable for NetOps, there is a whole additional skillset that engineers need to train themselves on. For example, they’ll need to be able to program in Python and be able to understand how Docker containers work. They’ll also have to be able to deploy commonly-used toolsets like Chef, Puppet and Ansible.

Minimizing Downtime

This evolution of the role of the network engineer is all part of an ongoing process, through which network management is becoming increasingly automated. Linked to that is the rise of the independent management plane, which as we’ve discussed, helps network engineers provide organizations with secure remote access to their network today. This approach also delivers network set-up and configuration, ongoing day to day management and network remediation when something goes wrong. At the same time, it’s helping to fuel the move to NetOps automation, as a smart Out-of-Band network can now also be used to run these standard automation tools

Most important of all, it helps keep the network up and running and keeps costly network downtime to a minimum. Outages causes organizations to lose money and also impacts their reputation. The independent management plane together with NetOps automation helps reduce this threat and ensure business continuity. At a time when most businesses are focused on doing more with less, that’s absolutely key.