Harnessing AIOps for a proactive network

Until recently, managing network issues meant helping users face-to-face or huddling in a conference room while planning next steps. Now, most IT teams are working remotely and trying to solve issues for other workers with very little data or interaction with their broader team. By Matt Valentine, Managing Director, Aruba UK&I

  • 1 year ago Posted in

Hybrid working projects are proving challenging for IT teams. Everything from improved coverage planning to new environmental health and safety programs, contact-tracing analysis and access control, involve some level of guesswork without real-world data. To add to their list, modern network requirements are extremely complex due to increased network size, volume of traffic, and diversity of devices and applications. Virtually configuring and operating these networks has become time-consuming, error-prone, and difficult to manage - due to the explosion of IoT devices and distributed connectivity from the edge to the branch.

Network operators need better insights, and intelligent automation powered by AI that is aware of all aspects needed to maintain a network today. We call this combination of AI and automation, actionable AIOps.

Embracing AIOps can help over-burdened IT teams manage the issues of the day while also working on plans to support long-term hybrid working models. Let’s explore how AIOps works in practice.

Troubleshooting the day-to-day. Leave it to AI

Troubleshooting problems today requires data and information that users and IoT devices can’t convey on their own. If one user complains that video calls keep dropping, IT has a starting point. However, that data alone often isn’t enough to solve the whole issue. It requires a more time-intensive approach to test different solutions with the user to see what happens. Or for IoT, looking at a management tool to identify potential anomalies.

This is where AIOps comes in. Through effective AIOps, IT can identify and preempt issues before users are impacted. This can be achieved where data is collected from all wireless, switching, and SD-WAN Gateway devices to create an operational baseline across the entire ecosystem, including managed work-from-home scenarios. If the performance of the network or an application deviates drastically, IT teams can proactively take the right steps to resolve the issue before end users even notice.

AIOps also include easy-to-use, natural language processing-based search features that empower IT personnel to quickly locate the user, the network device, or site-specific issues if there is a problem.

Employing AI to give back time

The biggest issue for IT teams is that trying to identify and fix even simple issues takes time, and that can eat into resources which could be used elsewhere. Most IT teams lose track of what

percentage of time is spent on troubleshooting or working with a user on an issue. With many teams stretched thin by a network tasked to do more than ever before, reducing troubleshooting efforts is mission critical.

With AIOps, teams can be sure that service levels are continuously being monitored and will flag if anything goes wrong. AI-powered insights can automatically point the IT team to actual root causes, in order to resolve common issues. The difference could mean solving an issue in minutes versus hours, simply knowing where to start, and what to change to fix the problem.

The AIOps framework. Setting a baseline

It’s equally important for AIOps to continuously learn as the environment evolves and to dynamically adjust critical baselines. While capturing the insights provided for similar issues that may arise in the future is valuable, the goal is to stay abreast of changes without setting up static thresholds or service-level expectations (SLEs).

This can also eliminate the need for trial and error based on old assumptions. Networking knowledge captured by AIOps becomes an advantage - that additional context can be critical for a swift resolution or optimisation effort. Network teams are now quickly creating new strategies and processes for connecting on-premises and edge locations. Network orchestration tools play a huge role here by automating manual processes.

AIOps supports IT teams to solve these core issues and afford overall improved efficiency. Giving back time to work on ways to get the most out of an existing infrastructure. Time to tackle future projects that further improve the network. Time to do more rewarding work that adds value to the business long term. What’s not to like?

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