The Importance of Open Source Integrations for Network Automation

by | December 3, 2019
The Importance of Open Source Integrations for Network Automation

This month, the Itential Adapters Team hit a huge milestone – the availability of now more than 50+ adapters available in the Itential open source environment. With this new accomplishment, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on why this is so important to Itential and our community of developers.

Adapters represent integrations between the Itential Automation Platform (IAP) and other systems. They bridge the gap between IT Systems and network technologies. These adapters simplify integration and enable users to expand network automation activities across complex, diverse, and multi-domain environments. With available integrations to many of the systems our customers use out-of-the-box, we are able to expedite the time required to automate not only network changes, but also the sharing of information between systems. This results in a better and faster return on investment for customers.

The Purpose of Itential Adapters

Each adapter we create serves a purpose. Here’s a breakdown of the categories that Itential’s Adapters fit into and how they help bridge your systems to network technologies:

  • Authentication
  • Cloud
  • Controller / Orchestrator
  • DevOps/NetOps
  • Inventory
  • ITSM/Testing
  • Notification/Messaging
  • Persistence
  • SD-WAN
  • Security
  • Telemetry/Analytics

Cloud Management, Controller/Orchestrator, DevOps/NetOps, Inventory, SD-WAN, and Security Systems all provide the ability to retrieve an accurate picture of the current network, get the resource necessary for making changes, and deploying those changes in order to provide service across the entirety of the network.

ITSM/Testing, Notification/Messaging, and Telemetry/Analytics Systems provide the ability to check the status of the network prior to as well as after taking any actions, initiate the appropriate processes within the corporation  (including adhering to the change management process and creating/closing issues when needed), and make sure the appropriate people are updated with statuses of any actions being taken.

Persistence Systems provide a means for customers to retrieve and store information into databases so that they are available for other actions or processes that might be undertaken. This also allows for integration to legacy external systems that do not have APIs.

A Growing Library of Integrations

Itential is adding new integrations to our library every day as we want to provide our customers with integrations to the systems that make up their specific ecosystem. Here are some advantages of having a large library of adapters at your fingertips:

  • Flexibility: It provides the flexibility to replace one system with another or add any new systems as your ecosystem changes. This can heavily reduce the cost associated with changing and adding any new systems.
  • Automation of Integrations: By only automating a process and not the integrations required, it leaves manual work and swivel chairing of information on the table. Let’s be honest, what developer or engineer wants to do that? That makes the automation less effective than it could be and consumes a lot of your time.
  • End-to-End Automation: It can often help customers to further architect a complete solution. For example, an adapter like ServiceNow, a customer may not have initially thought of integrating to a system for change management but by seeing the adapter available in the Itential open source library, they can architect a more complete solution for their automation.

The Importance of Open Source

Since Itential has an Adapter Builder to build adapters on the fly, one question that could arise is why would anyone need to use the Itential open source adapters instead of building them yourself? Glad you asked. When Itential makes adapters available in our open source repository, we maintain them. This means that we bring them up to the latest adapter foundation providing the ability to take advantage of new capabilities. We also have the ability to add calls to the adapter for our customers. The Adapter Builder is a great tool, we even use it to build many of our open sourced adapters. However, it really serves the purpose to help build custom adapters for systems that are unique to a customer as well as quickly build adapters that Itential has not open sourced yet.

It’s been a long journey, but we’re incredibly excited to hit a new milestone of more than 50+ adapters available in the Itential open source project. It’s a huge accomplishment for Itential and a great advantage to our customers. We’re looking forward to hitting 100 in the near future! Have ideas for an adapter? Reach out to adapters@itential.com and let us know what we should add to our roadmap!

Michael Evenchick

Michael currently leads the Adapter Team at Itential and is consistently working on ways to enhance automation and reduce manual efforts through system integration and the creation of tools.

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