I visited the Juniper Self-Driving Network (snarky acronym BTW..) Summit yesterday in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). And it was one of those events that gave me a small glimmer of hope that there are luckily still some vendors around who are realistic about the actual adoption of automation and orchestration in the network. One speaker was clear, this process will take maybe 5 – 10 years to be fully adopted, but at the same time we can make small steps in the right direction towards a more programmable architecture. It was good to see the focus of this wasn’t to shove a “all-in-one, one-size-fits-all, plug-and-play” solution down ones throat. I know that Juniper isn’t the company to act that way and it that sense I was pleasantly surprised.
On the other hand the whole Self-Driving Network concept is still a bit vague to me. It seems (also based on their website and podcasts like this one and this one) that the whole SDN concept is a combination of several existing tools, methods and software thrown together with some machine learning in the mix. (RFC1925 rule 5 anyone?) It is promising, but we still have a long way to go in terms of standardization and processes (ITIL!) to reach that point. DevNetops is all nice, but at the end of the day changes are still cumbersome in most enterprises due to strict change control processes. At least, in my experience with infrastructure. If you fail, you fail hard and with a large blast-radius.. But I digress..