Organizations adopt network automation for a variety of reasons. The advent of new technologies such as – Multi-cloud, Software defined form factors, 5G, IoT, SD-WAN – has fundamentally changed enterprise network domains.
These technologies have introduced newer complexities for I&O teams, forced them to relook at traditional Network and application delivery changes and network configuration management tools and processes. Many enterprises are trying to improve network agility and enable self-service infrastructure.
The adoption of enterprise wide network automation is still in its nascent stages. From – skillset issues, to complex networks that lack standardized configurations, to the sheer volume of changes, lack of holistic automation and reporting tools, cultural issues – the reasons are aplenty.
A report by EMA Research (The State of Network Automation, November 2021 EMA Research Report) indicates the dissatisfaction amongst IT teams on Network automation and configuration management especially with satisfaction levels on configuration management being lowest in largest networks.
And when it comes to compliance and audits, the survey reveals that “IT organizations generally lack confidence in their networks’ ability to pass a configuration compliance audit” and that “compliance audit confidence is lowest in the data center, where the rate of change can be high”.
Getting Started with Network Automation and Compliance
While organizations may be aware that their network configuration management processes need a shift in mindset and process improvement, the question is how do you get started?
It is a tempting proposition to say “let’s automate all things”. Like with any investment, start small, but focused and iterate to see the value compound over time. The journey has to begin somewhere, perhaps by identifying the low hanging fruits that focus on: a) Optimization b) Lowering cost c) Simplification and/or agility.
One of the key drivers for network automation still remains:
- Reducing Manual, siloed network configurations
- Preventing Configuration Errors and Configuration Drift
- Enforcing standards, Reducing Compliance and Audit Risk
Identifying and Investing in automation tools across networks and Cloud Infrastructure can be a good start to improving compliance that can offer:
- Centralised vendor agnostic Inventory Management across domains
- Ability to take Configuration backup
- Ability to Define Golden Configuration policies
- Flexibility in Automation across L2-L7 Network
- Compliance Dashboard for Reporting and Config Drift
AppViewX provides a Low Code Automation platform across Network and Cloud domains for:
- Automating Brownfield and Greenfield Deployments
- Hybrid Cloud service Orchestration and automation: API First Orchestration of Application and Security services
- Self-service: Standardize self-service automation catalog for NetOps, SecOps, Devops and Cloud Ops.
- Enable Network automation across complex, multi-domain environments
- Application delivery and Security
- Certificate Lifecycle Automation
- Configuration compliance Automation
- Vulnerability and Patch Management
- Cloud Services and Container Orchestration
- Event driven automation and Closed Loop remediation
In order to keep up with network agility and market demand, Infrastructure teams need to invest in the right automation tools, process, and data driven approach to enable a continuous delivery model and offer self-service and automation that will work seamlessly across Hybrid cloud.
Despite the benefits, the relatively slow pace in adopting network automation is understandable, given the challenges in network complexity.