The What, Why, and How of Network Infrastructure Automation


Introduction

In this digital age, successfully scaling new digital initiatives requires increased network agility. Organizations must be ready to respond to brand-new business demands quickly – regardless of their size or industry.

According to a recent Gartner research report, “by 2022, only 25% of network operations teams will use the command line interface (CLI) as their primary operational interface, which is down from more than 70% today.”

Network automation is becoming more and more crucial for enterprises trying to keep pace with the growing demands of technology, while also increasing uptime and reducing operational expenses. This white paper is for network engineering teams, application owners and NetOps engineers who are striving to achieve agility through the use of automation tools and methodologies. It explains how different teams can tackle the digital demands of today, all by creating self-service automation portals, more efficiently managing service requests, automating application deployment, and integrating across multi-vendor and hybrid environments. Organizations can align IT services with business outcomes, achieve the agility that digital transformation demands, and prepare for new network technologies like cloud and SDN.

Why Automation is Important in the Digital Age

The adoption of DevOps-driven workflows to support business applications has changed the way network services are delivered. Network teams must rapidly configure, scale, secure and integrate network infrastructure and Layer 4-7 application services. They must also address dynamic network change requests across multi-vendor and hybrid infrastructures, all while continuing to support these digital initiatives.

Regardless of the industry they belong to, businesses host hundreds of applications to handle multiple customer requests simultaneously. These applications are spread across a complex application delivery network infrastructure managed by different teams. That’s where automation comes in. Automation is quickly becoming the go-to solutions for addressing the various challenges facing different teams.

Application Owners

Application Owners are solely responsible for aligning IT with the top priorities of their organization. Given the massive number of business applications used in today’s digital world, Application Owners are seeing a significant influx of change requests flooding their queues weekly. The hybrid networks of today are extremely complex, so these requests will only continue to multiply and spread across different teams.

Network Engineers

Supporting complex customer-facing applications poses difficult challenges to Network Engineering teams. They are confronted with frequent and complex security threats spread across different environments, are tasked with ensuring quality delivery with high availability, are asked to handle more traffic with limited resources, and are forced to adapt using new initiatives to achieve agility.

NetOps Engineers

The shift toward increasingly digital enterprises has had a significant impact on NetOps. They are now expected to do more than just monitor infrastructures. In fact, they must and adapt to brand-new agile initiatives. With hundreds of repetitive requests coming through their queues each week, traditional management methods simply do not suffice. Instead, they must shift their skills and take advantage of advances in network automation and analytics and to meet the demands of today’s digital business.

Automate Now, Without Delay

Many organizations are revisiting their automation strategies in an effort to achieve agility, saving millions of dollars along the way. Network automation tools are maturing and so are their capabilities. Organizations know that adopting some form of automation is vital to achieving true IT agility.

The need for human knowledge in networking won’t disappear. NetOps must take the next step in the journey to digital transformation by developing new skills to adapt to agile initiatives. With the right knowledge and training, NetOps can take full advantage of automation tools and have a real impact on the digital business. However, to realize the significant benefits of automation, NetOps must use a full and comprehensive approach to automation.

Getting Started with Automation

  • First, identify diverse workloads and perform discovery on all application deployment change requests.
  • Identify and group the most time-consuming and mundane service requests.
  • Based on various network services, segment the infrastructure into different blocks and analyze how they interact and interwork.
  • Define standard offerings for various services, work processes and inputs/outputs.
  • Define roles and requirements for users and devices accessing the network to enable self- servicing capabilities and enhance collaboration.
  • Explore automation tools in the market to see what solutions meet your needs.
  • Start small by automating existing tasks.
  • Iterate your automation initiatives, adding agility incrementally while maintaining the required availability
  • Prepare for end-to-end orchestration that provides control over automation and deployments.

AppViewX’s Low-Code Automation Platform

The AppViewX Platform is a modular, low-code software application that enables the automation and orchestration of network infrastructure using an intuitive, context-aware, visual workflow. Leveraging a vast library of pre-built tasks and workflows, the platform enables Ops teams to quickly and easily translate business requirements into automation workflows that improve agility, enforce compliance, eliminate errors, and reduce cost. The platform is closed-loop and state-aware, capable of verifying that intent has been achieved and providing actionable insights and automated remediation.

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

7 Reasons to Use AppViewX to Achieve Digital Success

Choosing an automation solution is not an easy task. Network automation tools can be extremely advantageous, but only if implemented successfully. While many of the automation tools currently on the market are designed to do the same thing, they can vary substantially in their approaches. AppViewX stands out thanks to its intuitive, simple user experience. AppViewX provides a simple enhanced interface for multiple teams to rely on when managing their complex application delivery infrastructure. Here is a list of seven key reasons that AppViewX is the preferred automation solution:

1. Auto Discovery of Network Components

AppViewX uses device credentials and different modes to auto-discover various network components and configurations across multi-vendor and hybrid infrastructures. AppViewX generates an intuitive app-centric representation of infrastructures with the state, status, and topology of managed service components.

2. Intuitive and Easy to Use

The growing complexity networks can make it difficult to manage systems and services. AppViewX provides a single pane of management of multi-vendor and hybrid infrastructure. The platform is user-friendly and offers a simple drag-and-drop l canvas tool that allows users to visually design the infrastructure and workflows, enabling operational agility.

3. Self-Service and Automated Workflows

Application delivery network infrastructures are dynamic and subject to constant change. As multiple changes are requested, AppViewX provides a workflow-based approach to addressing the service requests in a simple, automated manner, extending self-servicing to different teams. Automatic provisioning of network services removes the risk of human error by introducing a standardized process and procedure for change policy.

4. Full Lifecycle Management

AppViewX provides a complete snapshot of application infrastructure services, along with an overview of change requests and work logs. Multiple teams across departments can collaborate and work within a single infrastructure dashboard to log issues and fix them immediately.

5. Auditing and Compliance Enforcement

Some of the more demanding aspects of managing modern infrastructure lie in the policy and compliance departments. It is crucial that every policy or configuration change is enforced, and that all necessary audits are performed in order to ensure 100% compliance. AppViewX helps enterprises enforce and adhere to standards, while keeping track of changes made on network devices. It also has the ability to roll back to the most recent working configurations should any error or failure occur.

6. Role-based Authentication and Authorization

One of the most critical features for a secure network management system is the ability to ensure a precise role-based authorization. Organizations with large infrastructure teams must enforce a standardized role definition process to ensure confidential information is kept secure. Having a centralized network automation tool like AppViewX helps organizations define these roles and allows users to delegate access for self-servicing. AppViewX also integrates with IT service management applications and provides out-of-the-box integration with DDI systems for IP management.

7. Alerting and Reporting

Having a robust alerting system helps infrastructure teams manage outages and issues swiftly. It is important that relevant teams are notified quickly when configuration changes are made, ensuring the right teams have the right critical data when they need it most. AppViewX gives users complete visibility into the network infrastructure and offers intuitive dashboards that display the network through different interactive topological mapping, making it easy to track down issues quickly and eliminate downtime.

Conclusion

Every organization needs a robust network infrastructure to keep up with the increasingly digital times we’re operating in today. The first and most obvious step is to bring in automation solution that features the tools that are right for you.

To truly capitalize on the benefits of automation, users should consider a low-code platform with intuitive, context-aware, visual workflows that enables the complete orchestration of the network infrastructure. This eliminates mundane tasks, maximizes productivity and reduces human errors, all while saving the organization the time and money they need to focus on more important initiatives, like business strategy.

In the end, choosing the right tool that maps to your unique requirements is key. The solution you choose must allow Ops teams to improve agility, enforce compliance, eliminate errors, and reduce costs.

Try AppViewX today to understand how your enterprise can embrace true digital transformation

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