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Survey Reveals Network Automation Adoption Lagging Behind IT Agenda

More Automation Essential to Address Virtualization, Cloud Computing Complexities and IPv6 Rollouts

Research Analyst Firm Enterprise Management Associates® (EMA™), and Infoblox, a market leading developer of advanced network infrastructure automation and control solutions, today announced results of a recent survey on the usage of automated network management tools and technologies, which can help speed implementation and reduce costly errors as organizations look to execute strategic IT initiatives such as virtualization, cloud computing, IPv6 and compliance rollouts.

The survey results reveal that 80 percent of enterprise IT network managers claim to be adopting network automation tools, citing drivers such as reduced error rates, time savings and enabling significant new projects such as virtualization, IPv6, and compliance; however, given the number of human errors occurring monthly, an average of five to six, there still seems to be some significant room for improvement.

Jim Frey, Director of Network Management Research at EMA, who spearheaded the study, commented: “I am afraid many organizations are primed for a rude awakening when they attempt to broadly take advantage of virtualization applications; the amount of change in the network and real-time requirements will be daunting for IT representatives to tackle without the necessary automation tools in place.”

Human Error: A Consistent Aggravation Factor

Despite the fact that respondents most commonly indicated that 16-30 percent of their network team’s daily administrative tasks had been automated – no longer requiring manual intervention or script adaption – over 80 percent of respondents admitted that network configuration errors requiring corrective actions are being introduced through human/manual mistakes on a regular basis. On average, five to six such errors were experienced per month and those who were in process of or still planning to deploy network automation were the most likely to experience the highest frequency of ten or more per month.

These errors rates in network environments that are considered today to be relatively static are startling enough given the costs associated with downtime resulting from these errors. And, the survey statistics reveal that those with more automation tools deployed experienced less errors. But, as virtualization is broadly adopted and considerably more change is introduced in the network, real-time responses and configurations, such as VLAN, ACLs and firewall settings, are required and call for even more automation tools in the network.

This is compounded by the explosion of IP addresses, which 67 percent of survey respondents are expecting to grow between 1-25 percent in the next twelve months and 16 percent anticipate growth of at least 26-50 percent. This growth is being driven by multiple factors, but the most commonly cited were server virtualization and VM proliferation, more physical servers being deployed, and more desktops/clients.

With these pressures facing IT teams, there is no room in the next-generation dynamic network for manual processes, custom scripts and tools or the associated careless keystrokes resulting in errors. More network infrastructure automation is the only way to keep pace with the new dynamic network.

Steve Garrison, Infoblox Vice President of Corporate Marketing, commented: “The good news from the survey is that many enterprise IT teams have taken the first necessary steps to build automation into their networks, but the levels of automation required to realize IT at the speed of thought are beyond what most network teams have considered today. Infoblox, which offers platforms that can help automate and control network infrastructure functions, invites enterprise IT teams to learn more about the infrastructure automation required to achieve stability, high availability, business continuity, security, compliance and operational efficiency for tomorrow’s next generation dynamic and more complex networks.”

Calls to Action

Based on these statistics, there are some clear calls to action for enterprise IT teams:

About Enterprise Management Associates

Founded in 1996, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst and consulting firm that specializes in going “beyond the surface” to provide deep insight across the full spectrum of IT and data management technologies. We deliver research, analysis, and consulting services to two key client groups: Enterprise IT Professionals and IT and Data Management Vendors.

About Infoblox

Infoblox is an industry leading developer of network infrastructure control solutions. Infoblox’s unique technologies, including the Infoblox Grid™—a real-time, data distribution technology—increase network availability and control, while automating time-consuming manual tasks associated with network infrastructure services like domain name resolution (DNS), IP address management (IPAM), network change and configuration management (NCCM) and network discovery, among others. Infoblox solutions are used by over 4,500 organizations worldwide, including more than one third of the Fortune 500. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and operates in more than 30 countries.

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