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Friday, 30 May 2014 12:31

Improved Automation of Network Management Operations Featured

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  Improved Automation of Network Management Operations

 Network management is fundamental to the well-being and operation of modern networks (Verma, 2010). It accounts for 80% of the budget allocated to IT services (Marshall, 2008). It is also responsible for 62% of system outages (Ibid). However, network management operations rely on relatively rudimentary technologies. Network changes are performed mostly via command line interfaces that are archaic and low-level. Computer networks continually become large scale, complex, and dynamic. The result is that human operators become short-handed at a similar rate. To be able to manage these networks, companies, schools, information centers, and other organizations require a large number of people to perform daily activities related to network management. Examples of tasks include registering new devices, configuring routing policies, assigning network addresses, trouble shooting, setting up firewalls, and maintaining reliable and efficient network connectivity.

The problem of complexity of modern networks is heightened by strict deadlines. This increases the probability of human errors (Farrel et al., 2011). Therefore, network misconfigurations are common, creating profound effect on global high-value services and computer infrastructure. Misconfigurations degrade networks or render them completely nonfunctional. These challenges are costly, depending on the security of information. The challenge related to misconfigurations has increased with the advent of new hosting platforms such as cloud computing that provide data center resources to customers. These are platforms that are increasingly becoming popular for running business applications and internet websites.

The common, principal aim of network operators is to minimize the negative impact of misconfigurations, which depends on several factors, including network size, problem duration, time of the day, and others (Verma, 2010). Production systems may require prevention of misconfigurations from occurring rather than minimizing the impact. The problem is that this not always possible owing to dynamic network-changes. In order to address the overwhelming complexities of network management and the overwhelmingly high demand for reliable networks, improved automation systems are needed to provide assistance to network management operators through a reduction in operator workload and prevention of the always undesirable network configurations. 

In order to improve the efficiency of the automation support, I propose two automation system changes to network management operations. The first involves the introduction of a system that facilitates the design and execution of automated network operations while integrating network-wide checks that prevent misconfigurations. The second proposed system allows more automated network configurations and prevention of misconfigurations while making operator workload minimal. These system proposals are based on an assumption that the key to building accurate, automated network management systems is utilizing formal abstractions to capture domain knowledge, in order to direct management operations and incorporate network-wide property checks.

The aims of the proposed network management changes are to contribute to the protection of information from accidental modification or destruction, to improve the protection of information from deliberate modification or destination, and to improve availability and efficiency in sharing information or data to authorized users.In summary, network management operations are naturally and increasingly difficult to timely and correctly manage. However, with abstractions such as database and others, new systems capable of capturing domain knowledge and reducing human involvement through automation of network management operations can be developed.


Farrel, A. et al. (2011). Network Management Know It All. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

Marshall, P. (2008). Link Data: Global Mobile Forecast. Retrieved on November 19, 2013, from www.yankeegroup.com/search.do?searchType=author&id=9BF06CED75694D52

Verma, D.C. (2010). Principals of Computer Systems and Network Management. New York, NY: Springer


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