Network automation is heavily sought after by businesses around the world. Development of network automation has been fueled by many factors such as availability of information, development of tools, programming languages and libraries. Further, support from vendors for both off-box, on-box automation and adaptation of industry standards for automation has been helping in bringing network automation a reality today.
As we know, CLI and SNMP based network management has many limitations as networks todays require human to machine as well as machine to machine interactions. This requires standard communication channels as well as standards for integration. This is where protocols such as NETCONF, API based communication comes in to play. With the advent of technological improvements, it has now been made possible to introduce programmable capabilities to networks. With these developments, network engineers have the capability to solve real-world problems in business environments. And for this purpose, most often, people use scripts and tools based on individual preference to automate routine tasks.
Taking above approach based on individual preferences has certain drawbacks when it comes to scaling, continuation and management. This is where a centralized network automation platform can help organizations to reap maximum benefit of automation whilst ensuring seamless integration in an agile manner. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using platforms for network automation.
First, there should be a more holistic approach in solving problems with automation. This means, automation should not just look at task execution but should look at life-cycle management of routine tasks. Life-cycle of a routine task includes all aspects of an operation including service request, approvals, scheduling, pre-testing, execution, post-validation, alerting, reporting and insights. In order to ensure holistic life-cycle management across an IT environment with multiple operations, you need much more than scripting. This is where automation platforms play a major role. It manages tasks end to end from request to fulfillment, whist giving visibility to administrators.
Next, in addition to management of service life-cycle, you need to consider manageability of automation tools and support systems in your business environment. This is where platform driven execution of network automation eliminates siloed solutions by bringing them all to a centralized platform. Therefore, creating a uniform practice within IT environment for managing routing operations. This gives ease of management for network administrators as they can manage all automation tasks through a single portal.
Scripts or ad-hoc network automation have another limitation as they are mostly human dependent or rather mostly developer dependent. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to continue such development in the long run as knowledge transfer and lack of documentation becomes a bottleneck. This also becomes a problem as there’s very little or no innovation around these siloed developments especially once the expert leave. This is another problem that’s solved with an automation platform. A centralized platform will ensure continuity and innovation around it. And your business organization will not dependent on individuals, as the platform provider can help bring customization whilst providing TAC support for any issues that comes across.
These are some of the general advantages of using an automation platform for routine task automation as opposed to using siloed script-based automation and multiple tools. Overall for a business, platforms give peace of mind, agility, elasticity and faster go to market. If you need further details about network automation platforms, you may write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.