Itential 2019.2 Transforms Scripts into APIs & Adds Event-Driven Closed-Loop Capabilities

August 6, 2019 | Alex Degitz
Itential 2019.2 Transforms Scripts into APIs & Adds Event-Driven Closed-Loop Capabilities

We are excited to announce the release of Itential 2019.2 which includes a lot of enhancements to our core platform and the debut of Automation Gateway. Whether you are moving toward having your network modeled in TOSCA or you just wrote your first bash script, Itential Automation Platform (IAP) 2019.2 helps take your network automation investments to the next level.


Introducing Automation Gateway

Time and again we see organizations on their automation journey struggle with how to reconcile their existing scripting automation projects while adopting modern, programmable concepts. This has caused a lag in adopting a software-defined approach to maintaining and managing networks. Itential 2019.2 debuts Automation Gateway, a standalone application that standardizes and exposes APIs for items such as custom-built scripts and Ansible Modules, Playbooks and Roles, which have not previously been API enabled.

Why Scripting is Not Automation

Scripting is a compelling upgrade from manual CLI driven processes for network management. I would bet that every organization has a set of scripts created and maintained by an individual or small subset of network engineers. This form of static automation has worked to some degree, but what happens when this siloed knowledge of “Jeff’s scripts” leaves the team? How does Jeff pass along his knowledge of these scripts and make them available for other teams to utilize? Not to mention, as the network changes, all of Jeff’s scripts need to be updated and re-tested to ensure compliance. This approach to automation simply cannot scale or self-adapt to the new software-defined, programmable constructs the network is moving toward.

However, most vendors require a rip and replace or start from scratch methodology, abandoning the hours and effort put into creating and maintaining custom scripts. Itential’s Automation Gateway instead leverages and extends your existing automation investments. These ‘Bring Your Own Automation’ capabilities enable network teams to seamlessly integrate their existing automation efforts and transform scripts into APIs, further propelling network automation and programmability. Itential’s Automation Gateway makes it easier to democratize the use of scripts and ‘decorate’ or enhance scripts for standardized and repeatable consumption across teams with a global repository and remote execution.

Which Scripts?

Itential has out-of-the-box support for all types of scripts from Python, Bash, Perl, C, and Ansible Playbooks, Modules and Roles for everything from health checks, software upgrades to port-turn-ups. Itential’s Automation Gateway is a flexible application with agnostic support for all scripts. That’s right, all scripts.

How Automation Gateway Helps:

  • Instead of searching for scripts in different directories on various file shares, Itential integrates all of your scripts into a centralized location for use in our automation platform, where you can drag-and-drop into any automation workflow.
  • Instead of manually invoking a script, we let you define when it should run. This could be at a scheduled time (once or repeated), through a ticketing system (Change Management ticket when approved), or an external event (device sends health warning message).
  • Instead of manually providing parameters for scripts, define where the parameters are stored, and our automations will fill them in for you and validate them. Even if you have to fill them in by hand, you can build a nice form through a low-code interface to make sure you catch typos prior to execution.
  • Instead of having to handle access control on a folder/script basis, you can leverage IAPs existing role-based access control to finely tune not only which user can execute which scripts, but which users can execute scripts on certain devices or at certain times (maintenance windows).

More Itential 2019.2 Enhancements

JSON Schema

Itential 2019.2 provides a low-code interface for creating and rendering forms with a JSON schema. The JSON schema of forms can be enhanced with restrictions that enforce API calls and automation tasks to adhere to the schema definition. This provides increased security against manual errors.

Event-Driven Automation

Itential 2019.2 includes advanced event-driven automation capabilities for performing closed-loop activities. With our new event handler, you can start or resume automations based upon notifications from several event systems such as Kafka or NETCONF, ensuring constant network configuration, assurance and compliance and automatically remediating known issues without the need for manual interaction. Itential’s closed-loop automation capabilities simplify network troubleshooting and eliminate common manual errors, further increasing network agility.

With the release of Itential Automation Platform 2019.2, it’s now possible to move toward a truly programmable, modern network by leveraging existing network automation efforts without having to rip and replace or start from scratch. By finally solving the “Jeff’s scripts” problem through Itential’s Automation Gateway, you can now leverage those existing automation efforts across your entire team, enabling more groups to participate in network automation, lowering operational costs and mitigating risks.

Are you ready to make the move and join the Bring Your Own Automation movement? To learn more about Itential 2019.2, read the full press release here. You can also click here to reserve a spot at our upcoming webinar to see Automation Gateway in action.

Alex Degitz

Product Owner ‐ Itential

Alex Degitz works as the Product Owner for the Itential Automation Platform and the Itential Labs team. Before his current role, Alex built a software startup in Germany and worked as a researcher in the area of Secure Data Outsourcing.

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