Network Automation Software tools help IT teams speed up practices and scale aspects of configuration management, network deployment, IT service and maintenance, validation, and more. They also help eliminate manual errors.
A high-quality network automation tool offers regular backups of all configured network devices so that any change can be rolled back or restored to the original state in case of error.
Intuitive User Interface
Intuitive design has become a holy grail for UI designers. It’s the idea that users can associate with your product and instantly benefit from it without consciously thinking about how they use it. But what does intuitive design mean? Everett McKay defines intuitive design as “a combination of discoverability, understandability, affordance, efficiency, forgiveness, and employability.”
Whether you’re designing a network automation software solution or an email marketing tool, your product must be easy to navigate and use. Otherwise, users will feel frustrated and will likely abandon your product.
Intuitive designs should follow standard conventions and patterns that users are familiar with. For instance, a search bar at the top of a website or a hamburger menu to access navigation options on mobile apps are commonly used interface features considered intuitive.
It’s also important that your interface is visually appealing, responsive, and simple to understand. For example, if users need help figuring out what something does, they’ll likely leave your site and never return. Ensure your product is intuitive to reduce user frustration and increase customer retention.
Integrations: Network Automation Software
A network automation tool should be able to integrate with other tools and systems to automate workflows, configuration changes, and deployments across network devices. This reduces manual work and the risk of human error.
Network management integrations in a real network operations center enable network admins to automate the deployment and configuration of equipment like switches, firewalls, routers, and servers. They can also automate routine tasks like device backups and scans to check compliance with regulatory standards.
The best network automation software solutions integrate with ITSM tools like ServiceNow to provide self-service diagnostic functions for junior and non-network engineering staff. This enables incidents to be resolved in a fraction of the time it takes a senior network engineer to respond manually.
Network automation software should support various network devices, including Cisco networking equipment. NetBrain uses an automatic discovery process that decodes multi-vendor networks to build a dynamic network map. It then enables a powerful intent engine to capture and replicate intent for troubleshooting across thousands of similar network devices. This allows hybrid network teams to resolve problems faster while reducing costs.
Network automation tools can reduce manual working hours for your teams. This is because they automate routine, unskilled tasks and free up their time for more complex and vital work. This can lead to significant cost savings and a more efficient and secure network.
Besides reducing the number of manual working hours, these tools can also prevent configuration drift and accelerate OS upgrades, downgrades, and patches. They can also perform daily checks to fulfill compliance standards and other security-related tasks.
Intent-based network automation can detect security issues like configuration changes, SNMP, and access control list commands. It can also find out about new devices in the network and configure them automatically. It can also help you identify and mitigate risks by detecting vulnerabilities and executing security patches, configuration backups, and scans.
The six networking automation tools discussed above are powerful and popular solutions, but many other options exist. For example, Red Hat Ansible is a purpose-built network automation tool that automates daily administration tasks and large projects. It provides:
- A robust and agentless automation framework.
- Community and vendor-generated playbooks.
- A data model that works with heterogeneous network devices.
Another option is Micetro, which facilitates unified network automation by providing an interface to diverse network devices and services.
Network Automation Software
The term scalability means adapting to increased workload and operational demands. This can be accomplished in IT systems by adding more computing resources or hardware. A scalable system will keep up with peak times without losing performance or suffering from slowness and downtime.
Scalability can occur upward or downward. It is easier to scale upward since developers often entirely use a system’s capacity when it is initially coded. However, scaling below may mean achieving the same results in a constrained environment.
Networking automation software solutions can help organizations achieve scalability by providing an ideal platform for managing and monitoring their networks. These solutions provide centralized control panels for networking devices, bandwidth usage analysis, inventory management, and dynamic provisioning of services.
Additionally, they can handle critical functionalities like backups, changing configurations, and access point control. These features can significantly reduce human intervention and error rates, leading to higher productivity and better quality of service. They can also help increase the efficiency of IT operations and help organizations save time and money.
Ideally, the reporting features should be able to build and deliver reports automatically via email, mobile devices, FTP sites, etc. This can help track the network automation process’s status and detect anomalies quickly.
Network engineers must be able to look at the big picture of their network configurations without manually building and refreshing spreadsheets and dashboards. This enables them to detect network blind spots and issues that must be addressed before they lead to significant downtime or cost.
Several network automation software tools provide reporting capabilities, including Lan-Secure Configuration Center, an open-source network configuration management tool; Ansible, an enterprise network orchestration and automation tool; Netmiko, a Python library for network device contacts; BMC TrueSight Network Automation; Apstra OS, a virtual overlay that manages underlying networks and services, on-premise or in the cloud; and VMware NSX.
Automating the network can save businesses money by reducing labor costs and eliminating the need for manual intervention. Still, choosing a network automation tool with robust functionality and comprehensive features is essential. This will help ensure it can perform the required tasks efficiently and effectively without any unforeseen problems.