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What is the future of the Network Operation Center (NOC)?

Hi community professionals,

In your opinion, what would be the key attributes and capabilities of the Network Operation Center in the future?

ITCS user
33 Answers

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

In the Future, Network Operation Center ( NOC) will work toward unifying IT operations with cross-domain teams.

Work from Home requires enterprises to rethink VPN strategies and management. Network automation means network practitioners have to shift from manual tasks and build automated processes. Advances in security and visibility result in more collaboration with security teams. Like a chain reaction, each of these developments influences other areas, spurring more change, such as network operations center (NOC) transformation.

Transformation occurs in varying increments and levels, depending on enterprise strategies, risk, and motivation and the same applies to NOCs. Some companies don't have or need NOCs, some are gradually modernizing their NOCs and some are pursuing full-blown NOC transformation.

Virtualization and automation drive NOC modernization

Many NOC upgrades aren't radical transformations; rather, they're part of business strategies to virtualize, consolidate or modernize networks. Network teams undertake these upgrades to meet their goals of reduced downtime, improved end-user satisfaction and increased innovation within IT, McGillicuddy said

modernization in the following areas: 

  1. network security

  2. network virtualization

  3. network automation

  4. network operations optimization

With network operations optimization, teams can work to improve service-level agreement compliance and get benefited like mean time to resolution. In some cases, NOC teams troubleshoot issues that are originally perceived to be network problems, which they later discover to be security incidents. That time lapse could be critical in the event of a breach or attack and could be shortened if network teams worked with security teams.

NOC transformation with unified operations
Enterprises that are focused on IT innovation and optimizing network operations could pursue a more transformational operations strategy. Perhaps the most ambitious NOC transformation is one that eliminates the standalone NOC and security operations center in favor of a unified operations center that includes networking, security, cloud and applications teams.

NOC transformation is not for everyone
Moving away from a standalone NOC to a unified operations approach can help streamline IT operations and improve overall service delivery; However, independent NOCs are still an established and reliable way to monitor operations and moving away from them is a disruptive strategy that might not be for every organization.

author avatar
Top 5LeaderboardReseller

The past 18 months have taught us that the ongoing operation of business services can no longer depend on geography. This has blurred the dichotomy between the needs of the service users and the needs of the service facilitators.

The network infrastructure to facilitate access to a given service is largely inbuilt to the fabric of most countries. We are seeing an ever-increasing coverage of 4/5g networks. According to https://www.bankmycell.com/blo... there are actually 2.52 BILLION more mobile data connections than there are people on the planet.

WiFi is ubiquitous in many places - from McDonald's to the intensive care department of your local hospital. This means that for a B2C service the geographical location of the service user has become almost irrelevant.

Even traditional not-spots such as the London Underground is benefitting from major investment to provide mobile voice and data services to its 2MILLION daily users, making 5MILLION daily journeys through 270 stations. This development is mandating the laying of over 2,000km of data cabling through the London Underground tunnels over the next 2-3 years. Source: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/me...

The accelerating rate of change is such that, in the UK, the traditional analogue PSTN network is being switched off in 2025. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__dat...

For me, these are just some of the things that will influence the NOC of the future.

The established NOCV mantra of "know there's a problem before your users do" is becoming more challenging as the scale, scope and security of devices using the network and making up the network is becoming increasingly complex and involve many 3d parties.

If we add into the mix the inexorable rise of automation and software-defined networking then I can see how many network managers may start to think that reading tea-leaves (https://www.allure.com/story/h...) is as good a way as any of running the NOC of the future.

But back to the question - "What is the future of the network operations centre?".

1. Automatic Root cause analysis will be improved. This *must* extend from fibre to finger-tap. It must be self-configuring.

2. Configuration Management built-in. It's vital to reduce, or even eliminate, configuration changes. Detection of config changes and single-click rollback.

3. Security and auditing. Being able to continually update the DNA signatures of network attacks to dynamically change how a network is monitored.

4. Non-technical metrics. Especially in B2C organisations, the NOC needs to be aware of customer sentiment. SoMe integrations as standard.

5. Self-healing networks, self-scaling networks.

6. Adoption of Netconf / YANG more widely and improved support for it in NMS tools. Please, let's start to rise up from the lowest common denominator of SNMP.

7. Consider what else is part of your network - MQTT / ModBus, physical access control, fire detection, cameras.

Just my 2p worth.


author avatar
Community Manager

@MarioBrito, @Tjeerd Saijoen, @OmidKoushki@Abdulla Pathan@Faustine Chisasa ​and @David Collier. Please share your predictions.

Thanks ​​

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