Traffic Engineering (TE) allows a network operator to ensure optimal use of available network resources such as bandwidth and provide a higher quality of service to customers. While TE enables you to build a more efficient network, how easy is it to provision TE tunnels in the real world? Consider this scenario:
A network operator is managing MPLS for a large financial organization that needs a high performing network with low latency. One day, a network engineer is alerted about network congestion caused by high bandwidth utilization that has slowed down the financial organization’s trading services. The customer is not happy, has opened a ticket, and has an eye on the SLA clock.
To begin, the network operator must first find the link with high utilization and determine what applications and users are hogging the link bandwidth. If the congestion is caused by business-critical traffic, the operator must provision new TE tunnels to split the traffic load. But this means they have to determine how the traffic must be split, the number of tunnels needed, and then configure the tunnels on the router, all the while hoping that their calculations are correct. So, to answer the question we began with – How many network engineers does it take to analyze requirements and provision TE tunnels?
Probably most of their NOC team.
But engineers alone cannot possibly manage today’s fast-growing, high-speed, and complex IP/MPLS networks. Troubleshooting a network of as few as 1,000 tunnels is nearly impossible without automation. This is why SDN is critical to creating dynamic, flexible IP/MPLS networks that can be reconfigured quickly to accommodate different business requirements. With SDN, a network operator does not need to put half their NOC team on an issue such as the one we discussed. They probably can do with only one network engineer working on the issue.
However, what’s missing in SDN architectures is management intelligence. This is where the right analytics come in for real-time orchestration, enhanced service visibility, and troubleshooting across both legacy and SDN network infrastructures. Human intelligence is still crucial, and the right analytics enable engineers to make informed decisions quickly when critical issues happen. That brings us to another question:
Less than 30 minutes, if they use SDN and automation.
Check out how easily you can provision TE tunnels with Packet Design’s SDN-TE app from our demo video below:
If you are starting with Traffic Engineering or need a quick refresher, check out our blog series on MPLS Traffic Engineering.