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What makes networking automation so difficult?

Analysts focus on networking automation and the problems facing it, as well as gaming trends that could affect 5G deployment costs and debate questions surrounding the future of blockchain.

Ivan Pepelnjak asks the question most network engineers are already deliberating: Why is networking automation so hard?

In a post on IPSpace, Pepelnjak said the challenges facing automation -- such as a lack of good tools and APIs -- obscure the biggest reason networking automation is so tough to do. And that's because, as Pepelnjak termed it, "every network is a unique snowflake."

"You can buy dozens of network management products, download numerous open source tools, and yet you won't be a single step closer to offering service-level abstraction of your network to your users," he said.

A better approach might be to build a customizable tool to meet your needs, or to construct a network management system based on Ansible that's integrated with an orchestration platform.

Or you could just give up, although Pepelnjak advises his readers to consider that decision very carefully before proceeding.

Read what else Pepelnjak has to say about the barriers to automation.

Could Fortnite justify 5G's development?

Mobile carriers have been spending plenty of money constructing the frameworks necessary for 5G, the next generation of cellular technology. But telcos are still making these investments without knowing if there is a large enough business case to justify the sums they're spending.

While many investors anticipate the enterprise networking market will be the first real use case for 5G, GlobalData analyst Josh Hewer has a better idea: gaming.

Gamers require connections with low latency and high availability, attributes that 5G connectivity offers, he said. Today, most players are harnessed to Wi-Fi networks, but that could change if higher-speed cellular is an option.

Epic Games, the developer of the smash hit Fortnite Battle Royale, is already pulling in $1 million a day from mobile users -- illustrating how lucrative the market could be for 5G carriers.

"Operators are going to have to look outside of the enterprise market to justify early 5G investments," Hewer said.

With one in three people on the planet paying for games on PC and mobile, according to Hewer, perhaps 5G investors should start to take gaming more seriously.

See the rest of Hewer's thoughts on 5G and what carriers should consider.

Blockchain and its reliance on decentralization

According to Gartner analyst Rajesh Kandaswamy, it's simply too early to tell how Blockchain will evolve and what its impact on networking will be.

Kandaswamy tackled two related questions: Is blockchain about decentralization? And can blockchain survive without decentralization?

Alas, a definitive answer is still not possible, Kandaswamy wrote, adding that it's possible the ledger system can survive either way.

Regardless, he remained encouraged about the role blockchain may play in future networking environments. "Who are we to assume that the paths of future innovation will be restricted to certain ways, when the technology itself is evolving and humankind's potential for ingenuity is vast?"

Find out what else Kandaswamy had to say about blockchain.

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