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Opengear Launches NetOps Automation Platform

Monday Jun 11th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

New platform brings together network operations automation, provisioning and hardware that enables Docker containers to run at the edge of the network.

Opengear announced its new NetOps Automation platform on June 11, providing a new integrated solution to enable network operations.

The solution includes Opengear's Lighthouse 5 centralized management software, network operations modules and the OMS2000 Operations Manager hardware appliance.

"The NetOps platform is built on Opengear's core technology, but it brings new technologies together that create a unique solution for automation and provisioning, which is patent pending," Opengear CTO Marcio Saito told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet.

Saito explained that the new hardware brings Trusted Platform Module technology, which had previously only been available in server platforms, to secure an embedded appliance. He added that with the software the NetOps Automation platform creates an infrastructure capable of managing distributed applications and integrating components at the central site and at the edge of network.              

"Going beyond the access part of out-of-band, the new platform adds in automation and provisioning capabilities," Saito said.

Saito said that the OM2000 is a stand-alone appliance and doesn't replace any existing product.

"In fact, a deployment of the NetOps Automation platform is expected to include one or more OM2000 appliances at each location to orchestrate the NetOps functionality, working in concert with Opengear's existing IM7200 or Resilience Gateway appliances in each rack, " he said.

The OM2000 is also able to run Docker containers, enabling organizations to deploy applications on the device. Saito said that the initial use of containers has been to implement the provisioning for NetOps Automation. He added that Opengear plans on introducing new solutions in the near future to solve other use cases.

"Software companies providing solutions for network management can now leverage the presence and proximity of Opengear appliances to deploy agents and other software modules at the edge of the network," Saito said. "End users who need to run distributed applications can also package them as containers and let Lighthouse 5 manage them."

NetOps Modules

As part of the platform update, Opengear is releasing a secure provisioning NetOps module which allows enterprises to ship a rack to site and then provision it remotely via cellular access. Saito said that additional NetOps modules will provide the ability to automate other processes, based on use cases developed with its enterprise customers. The modules are an add-on to the Lighthouse platform and will be sold as an additional license.

Intent-Based Networking

The Opengear NetOps platform is intended to help enable and work with both software-defined networking (SDN) and intent-based networking (IBN). Saito explained that both SDN and IBN require the distribution of configuration or “intention” files from the central management to the devices at the edge of the network. Usually, the distribution of those files is done “in-band” (i.e., using the network infrastructure itself), which is contradictory to the concept of separating the control plane from the data plane.

"Every time you rely on the network to manage the network, you run the risk of deadlock if the network is disrupted," Saito said. "Lighthouse 5 and the new OM2000 appliances keep all the files where and when you need them."

Saito said that if the network is down, Lighthouse pushes those files over the out-of-band channel (e.g., cellular). He added that even if the remote site is completely offline, the OM2000 appliance is capable of storing the files locally and serving them to the devices to bring them back to operation.

What's Next

Saito said that over the past 10 years, IT complexity has migrated from the edge to the core of the network; in the next 10 years, there will be a migration to the edge.

"Applications such as self-driving cars, AR/VR, artificial intelligence, video, etc. will drive the need for more infrastructure nearer to the end user," Saito said. "Deploying IBN agents, telemetry servers, monitoring agents and other software modules to the edge will become more important, and the NetOps Automation platform is anticipating that trend."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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