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What Zero Touch Provisioning Can Automate for Service Providers

Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) is a feature available on some switches, routers and IP devices that enables automatic provisioning. Once installed in a local environment,… continue below

What Zero Touch Provisioning Can Automate for Service Providers

Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) is a feature available on some switches, routers and IP devices that enables automatic provisioning. Once installed in a local environment, the hardware contacts a remote ZTP server to download all initial configuration files, update operating systems and apply patches. Of course, IT professionals can further configure the devices post-provisioning.

Primary ZTP Advantages

ZTP proves most useful in large deployments, but automation benefits smaller scenarios too.

  • Reduced labour—eliminating manual provisioning saves time and resources. With less-involved provisioning, the provider can support a large customer base with a small staff size; there are fewer labour demands. Likewise, fewer manual tasks mean that all hardware can be brought to production faster.
  • Quality assurance—automation minimizes manual configuration errors. Things like typos and incorrect driver installations can stall deployment by hours. However, with ZTP, the initial configuration, along with future updates and fixes, happens through a single file. Such provisioning consistency is an asset for maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Distribution processes—some service providers pre-configure their hardware at the distribution level. Once a device has been ordered, the distributor loads the configuration files then re-boxes that item. With ZTP, the device never comes out of the box, once again saving resources and expediting the distribution process. From ordering to receiving hardware, ZTP is the most efficient means of provisioning.
  • Device tracking—in communicating directly with a ZTP server, providers gain greater tracking control over their devices. From detailed configuration logs to production network details, providers glean more information that can help monitor, update and support their devices.

Not every manufacturer includes ZTP functionality and not every install calls for it. As mentioned, providers dealing in enterprise deployments will find this feature most handy as it eliminates much of the leg work in getting devices online. The more customizations the less ZTP has to offer since administers must already tweak those files manually.

Recommended read: Business Enablement a Necessary Value-Add for Resellers and Providers

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