Evolving with new enterprise network solutions
Flash News! Things will continue to change and evolve; while data center architectures have evolved along with the technologies and enterprise networking solutions that make them possible, the unfortunate truth is that our operating models have remained constant for the most part.
Engineers log into devices to make configuration changes or to retrieve system status information. Looking from the outside, this may be perceived as a manageable workflow, but this new era of containerized workloads and multi-cloud connectivity has led to a significant increase in complexity, thus reducing the quality of life for operators.
Many network engineers have chosen to delegate configuration complexity to enterprise networking solutions or off-the-shelf products from their hardware vendor, and many more have explored adopting open source automation frameworks such as Ansible. However, bringing IP frameworks online in an automated fashion achieves only one critical but limited aspect of a device’s lifecycle. Once the framework is online and serving application traffic, many of these tools provide no operational simplicity or actionable information.
As the song goes, “If your time is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone,” network engineers should explore how open source automation can provide a real lifeboat.
Customers should not be expected to build their operational models based on the limitations of the tools in the environment. Automation is an enabler of a new paradigm, where engineers focus on building integrations based on the strengths of their systems to create unique workflows to address difficult challenges not found in devices sold by traditional vendors.
For example, with a basic understanding of how APIs work, a network engineer can create an integration between ServiceNow and Ansible to safely drain traffic from a device before upgrading to a new software version.
How about leveraging Slack or Microsoft Teams to quickly gather the current state of the data center fabric? With a little Python and API expertise, ChatOps enables network operators to offer innovative ways to securely interact with the network, becoming the hero of their operations and project execution teams.
But what about some of the more tedious and time-consuming tasks, such as maintaining technical documentation? Concepts like Network Source of Truth (NSOT) are helping data center teams automate the documentation of all aspects of their structure’s lifecycle: from managing their device inventory to detailing circuit terminations, power systems and even providing wiring plans.
Start improving your workflow and maintenance!
The role of automation has rapidly transformed from its limited configuration management function to a resource that enables engineers to create unique workflows to address the overwhelming complexity of modern data centers.
To learn more about the benefits of new enterprise networking solutions, such as automation in the data center, contact Beyond Technology. We have extensive experience and a wide range of enterprise networking platforms, tools, and solutions that we are confident will improve the quality of life for network operators.