Leveraging Automation Platforms to Enforce Configuration Compliance: Why, When, and How


In this digital world, organizations depend on the continuous availability of applications and networks for business success. The advent of digitalization has changed the way the network is being managed. In heterogeneous networks, network leaders face various challenges in properly managing configurations, carrying out changes, ensuring compliance to regulations, and in minimizing network downtime triggered by human errors. In this solution guide, we will explain the ways to tackle the challenges in enforcing compliance, the need for an automation solution for configuration drift management and how the AppViewX platform ensures compliance and automate remediation.

Configuration Compliance for Complex Network Infrastructure

Networks are key for application availability and form the backbone of the modern IT infrastructure. The components of the network infrastructure are complex and diverse with hundreds or even thousands of devices such as load balancers, firewalls, servers, L2-L3 devices, etc. Enterprises spend significant money on building the network infrastructure and resources to manage them.

Managing the network configuration across complex, multi-vendor infrastructure is a challenging task. And as business needs grow, network complexity also grows up exponentially. The business requests are in a constant state of flux and every week, network leaders are required to respond to hundreds of change requests involving configuring network devices. Most of the configuration changes are repetitive and involves multiple stakeholders. Even minor errors in configuration changes to the devices in production carry the risk of causing a network outage.

Organizations are required to follow standard processes, security policies, industrial regulations and guidelines and also demonstrate that the policies are enforced and network devices remain compliant to the policies defined. Ensuring compliance has become a priority for network leaders. In case of errors or misconfigurations, there should be a provision to compare the changes. This clearly emphasizes the need for an advanced solution for configuration drift management.

How to Avoid Configuration Drift

In traditional network change management, network leaders document the changes and steps followed in the implementation process. And, they have to login to each device separately and implement the change. In case, the configuration changes are not successful, they will turn the configuration to the previous working state by referring to the documentation.

Enterprises with a complex infrastructure, network leaders create custom scripts to push configurations to multiple devices. Some use fragmented tools to execute configuration tasks. Few even execute change requests without management plans in place. During outages, network leaders with multiple stakeholders involved have to go over hundreds of lines of configurations and troubleshoot the issue. In all the scenarios, they wish to find an easy way to move the configuration back to the last working one.

However, manual and incumbent solution approaches of configuring the devices have limitations and no provision to ensure compliance with government regulations, industry best practices, and standards. The key to overcome these challenges is to invest in an advanced automation solution.

Adopted by many Fortune large enterprises, the AppViewX platform fully understands the impacts of network errors and changes. The platform is designed to deliver services faster and ensure compliance than many traditional on-premises solutions. By leveraging the AppViewX platform, network teams can put in place both proactive and reactive configuration management.

  • Network teams can avoid manual configuration errors and prevent unauthorized changes.
  • Gives the flexibility to undo the changes on the network devices
  • Ensure network device configurations adhere to best practices and standards
  • Compare differences in configuration before pushing to the end device
  • Prepare network teams for audits
Related Articles:   Do NetOps Automation Right With AppViewX

Enforce Compliance and Automate Remediation

Many tools may provide a partial solution to server compliance management but not the changes to network infrastructure. Few support infrastructure components but fail to provide prebuilt templates, change management or remediation capabilities. This makes compliance management a very challenging part of network operations. The problem with configuration compliance management is in three areas: configuration complexity, lack of visibility and increasing regulatory standards.

Automation Workflows

The AppViewX platform provides a workflow-centric solution to automate, track and report network changes and ensures that they are compliant with defined policies. The intuitive user interface allows creating simple or complex workflows with validation checks at various stages of implementation. Post validation serves as a sanity test for the applications making sure they are delivering what they are expected to. It empowers the teams to validate whether the configurations are deployed as per organization standards. User can define a rollback workflow that must be triggered when a workflow fails while execution.

Diff Checker for Configuration Compliance

One of the major challenges is to compare configurations to avoid configuration drift. Half the job is done if there is a provision to compare configurations visually. In the latest version, the AppViewX platform introduced a new task in the workflow studio called, Diff checker which allows creating easy to build low-code workflows to compare configurations of network devices.

It allows to perform static and dynamic comparison of configurations across two to five devices and objects. Diff View provides a side-by-side comparison of configuration files in a single view. And, also it highlights the configurations that are added, modified or deleted in different color codes.

With Diff Checker, the AppViewX platform helps to perform compliance configurations checks across devices and allows to ensure the configurations adhere to standards.

  • Validate configuration changes between pre-validation and post-validation stages
  • Validate for configuration changes between implementation and rollback stages
  • Validate for configuration changes between multiple peer reviews within an automation process
  • Validate if device configurations are compliant with the standard golden configurations

Application Visibility and Faster Troubleshooting

The application topology view provides a network map of the application delivery infrastructure with complete hierarchy. It allows application and network teams to gain visibility into the application delivery infrastructure which helps to troubleshoot any application-related issues faster. Users can launch automation workflows during any outages.

Conclusion

It is easy to say that application networks should be compliant and agile, but due to the complexity and huge interdependency across different teams, it is difficult to enforce compliance and speed up things in a traditional approach. These are the major reasons for the delays and errors in application deployment.

The AppViewX platform helped numerous customers in automating and orchestrating network tasks. Simple self-serviceable workflows have assisted numerous customers in cutting short the deployment window from the weeks to days even hours and, at the same time ensuring compliance. The platform has the ability to define workflows for approvals, validation, and implementation. It has the provision to track the changes and log them in a centralized inventory for faster troubleshooting.

Book your free demonstration with our Solution Architect from AppViewX and learn how we can help you meet standards.

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