Data center network automation for CSPs: key trends, challenges and requirements for the cloud-native networking era

29 April 2022 | Research

Gorkem Yigit | Ameer Gaili | Caroline Chappell

Perspective | PDF (25 pages) | Cloud Infrastructure Strategies| Multi-Cloud Networking

"CSPs urgently need to increase their focus and investments in data center automation, given their forthcoming dependence on data center networks to support demanding cloud-native and edge workloads and advanced, multi-cloud connectivity services."


Data center (DC) automation is becoming a strategic imperative for all communications service providers (CSPs). This requirement is being driven by the increasing roll-out of both 5G and edge networks, as well as the accelerating shift towards cloud-native 5G network functions and edge applications that will be running across many centralized and distributed data centers. A key objective of this network transformation is to deliver new and more-advanced consumer and industry vertical services, which require an underlying data center network infrastructure and operations that are highly automated, reliable and scalable.

Analysys Mason conducted a survey with 30 Tier-1 CSPs worldwide in 4Q 2021 and carried out in-depth interviews with 5 additional CSPs in 1Q 2022 to understand the current state of data center network automation and to assist with future roadmaps. We examined the key drivers and trends for CSPs’ data center strategies, focusing on areas including CSPs’ approaches to data center network automation, the main challenges and barriers to network automation, target use cases and the tools that CSPs are using to automate their data center networks. This perspective presents the key findings of this research.

Article (PDF)