The Ongoing Evolution of Network Operations Centers

July 2023
Sagenet Blog Nocs Part 2

Our last post described the critical role network operations centers (NOCs) play in ensuring the availability and reliability of complex business networks. However, changing network architectures, traffic patterns and business requirements are driving profound changes in NOC operations. In addition to traditional monitoring and maintenance operations, modern NOCs deliver a range of more strategic services that address evolving network challenges and demands.

The large-scale transition to remote and hybrid work models is the most obvious driver of NOC transformation, contributing to increasingly complex and distributed network infrastructures. Increased reliance on cloud-based services, online collaboration tools and video conferencing platforms has created a surge in remote access and core Internet traffic while reducing traffic in campus networks.

This shift complicates network monitoring and management. Eighty percent of IT professionals say accelerated cloud migrations have made it difficult to accurately monitor and track data and applications across sprawling environments that span on-premises infrastructure, cloud platforms and third-party services.

Expanding Toolset

To improve visibility and enhance management, many NOCs have incorporated new tools to gain visibility into distributed resources. For example, cloud asset management (CAM) solutions provide NOC personnel with an end-to-end view of the cloud ecosystem. CAM solutions accurately discover and inventory cloud apps across multiple clouds, providing granular insight into app usage and ensuring compliance with software licensing terms.

The increased use of business intelligence and reporting tools is also redefining what’s possible with NOC services. BI tools can collect, analyze and present data on network performance metrics such as bandwidth utilization, latency, packet loss and uptime. NOC staff can utilize these insights to identify trends, anomalies and areas requiring optimization. Real-time dashboards and reports generated by BI tools enable NOC engineers to make informed decisions regarding network upgrades, capacity planning and service level agreements.

AI, Automation and Collaboration

Modern NOCs are also incorporating more automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as network device configuration, log analysis and incident ticketing frees up valuable resources and allows NOC personnel to focus on more complex issues and strategic initiatives.

AI for IT operations (AIOps) provides an ideal platform for increased IT automation. Using AI disciplines such as machine learning, natural language processing and advanced analytics, AIOps platforms can evaluate vast amounts of telemetry data to detect and address potential network issues before they impact users. When problems are detected, the AIOps platform can trigger predictive maintenance and other automated responses.

Another significant element of NOC modernization is the incorporation of DevOps principles and practices to foster collaboration between network operations and development teams. By integrating network monitoring, configuration management and incident response into development workflows, NOCs can facilitate faster and more seamless deployment of network changes while maintaining stability and quality.

Security Focus

NOC teams are also taking on a more prominent role in security management. NOC teams collaborate closely with cybersecurity teams to implement advanced threat detection tools, conduct real-time analysis of network traffic patterns and implement robust security measures to identify and mitigate security breaches, data leaks and unauthorized access.

Although network monitoring and management remain essential functions, NOCs now play a more comprehensive role in supporting entire digital ecosystems. NOC teams now collaborate closely with other departments such as cybersecurity, IT operations and application development teams. In increasingly distributed network environments, this type of cross-functional collaboration is crucial for aligning network operations with business objectives, understanding the impact of network changes and coordinating incident responses.

Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Architectural Sales Engineer

Networking is at the core of anything we do dealing with customers – you have to have connectivity. The equipment and everything else grows from that on a step-by-step basis. Even from SageNet’s perspective as a Managed Services provider, it’s still true and always will be. The networking is a fundamental for everything you do in telecom. We support that and help customers grow with that as the foundation.

Get to know Nathan

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