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How to Bring the Digital Collaboration Revolution to Network Test Labs

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Blog - How to Bring the Digital Collaboration Revolution to Network Test Labs

Remote collaboration has become the norm for digital economy workers with apps like Slack, JIRA and Zoom being aggressively adopted to meet common business needs. But the benefits of global, remote collaboration are not limited to general purpose business use cases. Expert functions, like network test lab operations, are also being reimagined and advanced with purpose-built collaboration solutions like lab-as-a-service (LaaS).We’ve all seen this accelerate in recent weeks as social distancing and work from home (WFH) requirements demand teams find new ways to work together. Network operators, in particular, have had to rewrite the playbook, especially in the lab, where functions like test operations have always relied heavily on physical presence.

Whiteboarding, Anywhere

Traditionally, network test labs have been location-specific and operated by onsite teams of techs and engineers. These teams typically gather around a whiteboard to map out testbeds before implementing them manually. While this approach has gotten the job done for many years, it doesn’t capitalize on the innovations afforded by today’s global, digital economy. Particularly, it misses out on the vast benefits of digital collaboration because it can’t incorporate expertise from any connected part of the world, or share ideas in progress with partners and customers. This manual approach also doesn’t leverage automation that can take an idea from design to implementation in the lab within minutes.

Interactive Workflow Automation

Using a Lab as a Service platform, testing teams can create automation workflows and scripts, test them, sync, publish and share with other teams to enhance the value of collaboration

Collaboration-driven LaaS approaches transform this familiar process for the digital age to power new possibilities, efficiencies, and productivity. LaaS can offer:

  • A “single pane of glass” console approach that gives all collaborators access to the design process, bringing whiteboard activity into a globally accessible digital setting.

  • Auto-discovery tools that capture the test lab network’s true state and show what resources, functionality and connectivity are available or needed to complete the vision.

  • Work order automation features that compare testbed designs to the lab’s network image and deliver just the “deltas” - changes in connections and configurations - needed to implement the design rapidly, in a manual provisioning scenario.

  • Zero-touch provisioning capabilities for full lab automation in labs where any-to-any connectivity has been established.

Digital Collaboration and Automation Drive Productivity and Innovation

With cloud-based, highly-collaborative lab automation in place, the burden of implementing, and then changing testbeds and network designs is alleviated. Instead, teams can focus on continuous design and testing processes, and rapid iterations that drive improvements and innovation. Digital collaboration means teams aren’t limited to one lab location, with experts, contributors and stakeholders able to contribute from around the globe. Be it partners, customers or beyond, anyone can be invited into a sandbox to contribute ideas and solutions that deliver better outputs, faster. Lab resources can be utilized more optimally, positioning companies to either federate or consolidate labs, reducing CAPEX and other expenses while increasing output.

Utilization

Getting an accurate view of lab resource utilization drives better business decisions and reducing both CAPEX, energy use and other related expenses.

Collaborative Lab Automation Delivers Long Term Benefits

Customers that have leveraged Spirent’s Velocity LaaS platform are driving collaboration globally and across organizational, partner and supplier borders. They have achieved as great as 300x reductions in test bed configuration timeframes, slashing 50-hour processes down to just 10 minutes. They are also overcoming limitations like labs that are dedicated to specific locations, organizations or technology silos and opening the door to enterprise- and ecosystem-wide collaboration. The initial phase, typically focused on solution introduction; lab network autodiscovery; collaborative design; and work order automation, can be delivered in just 10 days.

To learn more about automating your lab environments with a powerful digital collaboration platform, please contact us today and visit our Velocity LaaS information page. You can also download the Velocity LaaS datasheet here.

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Clark Whitty
Clark Whitty

principal product line manager, apt

With over 20 years in the test and measurement industry, Clark has deep expertise in deploying network automation and productivity solutions throughout the entire product lifecycle.  As a Principal Product Line Manager within the Automation Platform Technologies business unit at Spirent, Clark designs, develops and deploys network automation solutions for service and infrastructure providers around the world.