I have been discussing in the last few blogs various approaches to implementing an effective network automation program within your organization. This topic is near and dear to me, as well as the primary focus of what we do at Itential. I will be speaking next week at the North American Network Operators Group conference (NANOG72) in Atlanta on this very topic, focusing mostly on open source alternatives and how to ease the journey into more sophisticated automation projects.
I will cover the various orchestration domains that exist, from device turn up to end-to-end services deployed across networks with a logical progression that ensures each step on the path brings real value. This approach requires an evolution from the largely CLI and scripted methods in place today for most network operators to one that gradually abstracts a lot of the technical complexity into templates and models. This evolution can yield significant results without implementing multi-million dollar solutions from the various vendors.
In addition to the tooling involved, I will also talk about including people and process as key focus areas in your journey. There is no silver bullet that slays the automation monster. You can’t implement a system without addressing people and processes.
I will then cover real world examples of using this approach, suggested tools, and processes to manage network configuration and automation of a few simple maintenance use cases.
Each of these will include:
- People that should be involved
- Processes involved
- Tools that can be leveraged that are open source, as well as a sample architecture for implementing them
- Expansion and/or integration of these tools with vendor supplied tools for more sophisticated automation.
In the weeks to follow, look for several deep-dive blogs that discuss each of these areas, including a NANOG72 wrap up and a link to my presentation.
There is still time to make sure you join us at NANOG72, especially if you are in (or plan to be in) the Atlanta area.