12 network automation ideas to incorporate in your network

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When community groups first begin to use community automation, they need to hold the duties easy, low threat and shortly implementable. This implies the duties most likely should not make community adjustments.

The best starter challenge will assist the operations employees, who will likely be judging your work. You may wish to get operations on board with automation as a result of they will be utilizing the instruments and may present concepts for extra tasks. As you acquire extra expertise, you’ll be able to start to implement extra superior automation duties inside your community.

The 4 community automation concepts under are simpler duties you’ll be able to sort out to get began with automation.

  1. Machine locator. Discover the place a tool is linked to the community from its title, IP tackle or MAC tackle. It is a frequent operational process, significantly when a firewall studies malware on an endpoint and you have to discover it. Chances are you’ll wish to break this process into a number of steps. First, use the system title to seek out the system’s IP tackle. Subsequent, establish the subnet, and map the IP tackle to a MAC tackle. Lastly, discover the change port the place that system is linked.
  2. Utility connectivity test. Examine the trail between an endpoint and a selected software server, which can be load-balanced. Begin with easy checks — like pings — that originate from each the endpoint and the server — or as shut to every as you may get. Doing these checks manually is time-consuming, so create an automation process that may shortly run the assessments and produce outcomes you’ll be able to simply learn.
  3. Community infrastructure peer connectivity. Confirm that every community infrastructure system — router, change, load balancer, firewall, and so forth. — is correctly linked to its neighbors. This process would require a small database — use a file to maintain it easy — that identifies every neighboring community system and the interfaces that join them to one another. This process finds locations the place connectivity has failed or the place connections have been made to the flawed interfaces. Begin with necessary interfaces, like EtherChannel teams, after which embrace router-to-switch and switch-to-switch hyperlinks.
  4. Community configuration checks. Establish discrepancies between components of community configurations and your configuration templates. Begin by evaluating easy configuration snippets, comparable to Community Time Protocol, Easy Community Administration Protocol and admin logins. You’ll be able to then advance to extra advanced configurations, like Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). This automation ought to solely report on discrepancies and never make any adjustments.
How to start with network automation
Community automation doesn’t suggest you must implement advanced automation duties. Begin easy.

Intermediate community automation concepts

As you acquire extra expertise and early success, the automation duties can turn out to be extra advanced. At an intermediate degree, it is best to perceive fundamental software program improvement ideas, like modular design. You can even begin to use APIs to assemble knowledge from vendor databases. Listed here are 4 intermediate concepts for community automation.

  1. Confirm BGP connectivity. Confirm that your exterior routers are peering with the specified exterior routers and that they’re sending and receiving the proper set of routes. Then, think about extending the duty to question looking-glass websites to confirm that your community prefix is accurately marketed to the web.
  2. Automate password resets. Resetting passwords is a tedious however necessary process. Enhance it by verifying that new passwords conform to your group’s password requirements. In the event you can, implement a two-factor authentication mechanism, intently validate consumer enter and retailer passwords solely in a protected identification repository.
  3. Community stock. Establish units and gather mannequin numbers, serial numbers and OS variations. Use vendor APIs and system particulars to search for safety alerts and end-of-life data, present studies on units which can be at finish of help, and validate the units on upkeep contracts. The OS model report might help you standardize the OSes throughout the community, which reduces bugs and safety vulnerabilities.
  4. Community virtualization. Automate the configuration of no matter you utilize for community virtualization, comparable to digital LAN, Digital Extensible LAN or MPLS. You may be pushing configuration updates, so take time to design and construct a check atmosphere.

Superior community automation concepts

As soon as the present challenge reaches its aim, transfer on to the following one.

You’ll ultimately wish to tackle extra advanced automation duties to replace advanced system configurations and cut back repetitive errors. Under are 4 superior community automation concepts you’ll be able to implement inside your community.

  1. Firewall rule migration. You’ll be able to ease the method of switching firewall distributors by creating automation duties that convert firewall guidelines from one vendor’s format to a different format. This is a chance to revisit the rule units and establish outdated guidelines that may be eliminated. This process ought to establish the situation of the IP addresses within the guidelines and confirm whether or not the foundations apply to the firewall configuration that’s being transformed. Chances are you’ll be stunned on the variety of guidelines you’ll be able to remove as a result of they now not apply.
  2. Automate entry management listing updates. ACLs — i.e., firewall guidelines — will be difficult to keep up. Groups can ceaselessly neglect the origin of the foundations, and nobody needs to take away a rule for concern of breaking one thing. This automation challenge creates a database during which to retailer the ACL coverage definitions — i.e., why every coverage exists and the standards for altering or deleting it — and the ACL guidelines. When a coverage is modified or deleted, the ensuing ACL guidelines will be up to date or eliminated.
  3. Information heart pod provisioning. With just a few parameters, you’ll be able to create and set up the configurations for all networking tools inside an information heart pod.
  4. Supply of truth-driven automation. That is the last word automation process, during which a single supply of reality database is used to drive community automation. The supply of reality defines community configuration intent and is the concept behind intent-based networking.

Making it occur

The community automation concepts above must be sufficient so that you can be taught fundamental automation applied sciences, like software program model management, comparable to Git; a scripting language, like Python; and an automation language, like Ansible with Jinja2. Chances are you’ll select totally different implementations, maybe utilizing Salt or Napalm as a substitute of Ansible, or Ruby as a substitute of Python.

Every automation process you select ought to have some simply identifiable standards that decide whenever you’ve completed the duty and will transfer on to a different process. As soon as the present challenge reaches its aim, transfer on to the following one. In any other case, the challenge could tackle a lifetime of its personal and devour extra time than it saves. Observe that automation could produce other advantages that outweigh its creation time, comparable to conditions when the pace of execution and accuracy are important.

You do not have to take the automation journey alone. Many individuals have been profitable with automation and have created programs that construction what you have to know. For instance, the next programs present good steering:

Alternate options to software program improvement

You’ve got options to getting concerned in software program improvement tasks. Corporations like Gluware and Itential have finished lots of the work, during which you primarily want to offer the system configurations.

In the event you’re interested by software program however need another person to construct it, corporations like Community to Code supply automation companies. Lastly, community distributors have automation employees members who can present references to corporations that match your necessities. Distributors are constructing their very own instruments, too, so do not overlook them. No matter your strategy, it is necessary to get began with community automation.

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