Configuration Management

What is Modern Network Configuration & Compliance?

Rich Martin

Director of Technical Marketing ‐ Itential

What is Modern Network Configuration & Compliance?
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Posted on May 26, 2021

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the world of networking, it may feel a bit odd hearing the term “Traditional Networking.” For many years, networking has revolved around the core foundation of physical devices, features and protocols, and CLI configurations. And the processes around managing networks was built upon this foundation. Specifically, the process around ensuring network configuration compliance was designed with these concepts in mind.

A configuration standard is built based on a configuration template for a device (or set of devices) and compared to a snapshot of the device’s current configuration. If any changes previously made to that device diverged from the standard, the resulting configuration lines were pointed out, and someone had to fix it. This break, check, fix process is a reactive process and typically multiple steps are manually handled by network practitioners. And this has been how it’s been, and while not ideal it has been an accepted solution. The focus is on compliance, and not automation.

Modern Networking: When the Network Meets the Cloud

If the term “traditional networks” exists, then there has to be a “non-traditional network”, right?

“Network, meet cloud. You two are going to be the best of friends!”

Implementing networking infrastructure in the cloud brings about many, many changes that are at its core “non-traditional.” First of all, cloud-native networking services are different in concept than physical networking devices. There are some similarities, but enough differences to make it a completely different animal.

Is an AWS VPC a router, switch, or both? Now, try to troubleshoot it when packets don’t end up where you expect them to be. A completely different animal, indeed.

To add even more complexity, an Azure VNet isn’t the same as an AWS VPC, making it a similar but unique entity on its own. These cloud-based network services have use APIs as the primary method of creating and configuring them, and automation is really a top of mind concept for anything that lives in a cloud environment. In a world where automation makes changing network services easier and faster, the need for network compliance is sorely needed, and yet the concept of compliance for these has not been top of mind.

Network practitioners find themselves at the point of intersection between these worlds, and they will become critical in bringing the process of network compliance to API-driven cloud networking infrastructure. Looking into the future, we should expect more modern networking services to emerge, to solve challenges around traditional and multi-cloud networking. What’s needed is a new, modern set of tools and applications designed specifically for network practitioners to ensure network compliance across traditional networking and into the world of cloud-based networking. When the entire network is operating based on a trusted standard, this accelerates the ability to automate across the network.

Itential Unifies Compliance & Automation Across Network and Cloud

Itential provides a low-code platform to easily manage all types of network configuration across both network and cloud infrastructure. This allows for intelligent automation for configuration, compliance, and remediation, creating a unified approach.

To learn more about Itential’s Configuration Manager, check out my on-demand webinar where I take a deep dive into how Itential simplifies configuration compliance management across network and cloud.

Rich Martin

Director of Technical Marketing ‐ Itential

Rich Martin is the Director of Technical Marketing at Itential. Previously, Rich has worked at several networking vendors as a both a Pre-Sales Systems Engineer and Systems Engineering Manager but started his career with a background in software development and Linux. He has a passion for automation in the networking domain, and at Itential he helps networking teams to get started quickly and move forward successfully on their network automation journey.

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