Network automation is automating the configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operation of physical and virtual devices on a network. Availability of network services improves by automating everyday network tasks and functions and automatically controlling and managing repetitive processes.
Any network can use network automation. Hardware and software-based solutions enable data centres, service providers, and enterprises to implement network automation to improve efficiency, reduce human error, and lower operating expenses.
Although the underlying technologies have evolve, network management has not undergone significant changes for decades. Networks are usually created, operated, and maintain manually. However, traditional manual approaches to network configuration and updates are too time-consuming and error-prone to support the needs of rapidly changing workloads effectively. When the management of network services and resources is automated, network operations teams gain more agility and flexibility to support modern business demands efficiently.
There are many ways to automate a network and many elements of a network that can automate. Most network automation solutions fall between command-line automation and automation software.
In principle, you can automate network elements using standard CLI commands and arguments. For example, Linux® operating system administrators can use Bash operators to chain events based on previous command successes (&&) or failures (||). Or, users could compile lists of commands into text files, known as shell scripts, which can occur all at once and repeatedly with a single command run.
Automation software products consolidate network tasks into predefined programs that can be selected, scheduled, and executed from the application frontend. For example, the Red Hat Ansible® Automation Platform can be used to automate networks and their permissions. It does this by packaging application programming interfaces (APIs), plugins, inventories, and modules into playbooks that users can parse, select, and run to automate activities such as network configuration, security, organization of systems and implementation, among others, at service providers such as AWS, Microsoft and Cisco.
While telecom service providers were early adopters of network automation to enhance digital networks, businesses in all industries can benefit from this tool. Leading Swiss telecommunications services company Swisscom has automated more than 15,000 network elements (including servers, firewalls, network devices, and storage devices). In contrast, Microsoft has automated network events that trigger network workflows. telemetry, incident tracking, logging and analysis.
With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), advanced network automation solutions enable metadata analysis and leverage model-based network programming to learn network behaviours, provide predictive analytics and offer recommendations to network operations teams. These advanced automation solutions can configure to take remedial action autonomously, resulting in a closed-loop of remediation of network issues, sometimes even before they occur. In this way, with network automation, operational efficiency improves, the possibility of introducing human error reduce,
Today, network automation solutions can cover a wide variety of tasks, including:
As the shift to the cloud continues, enterprise customers and their applications will increasingly rely on the network for success. Due to this change, networks are expecte to highly reliable and have minimal interruptions. Automation is a critical strategy for telecom operators to increase network agility and reliability while controlling operating (OpEx) and capital (CapEx) costs.
When they automate their networks and services, organizations will see the following benefits:
Reducing the number of problems: Common network problems can resolve spontaneously by using strategic, low-code workflows and the efficiency of intent-based close operations. The possibility of having manual errors related to processes, such as configuration errors, misspellings and more, reduce.
Lower Costs: Because automation reduces the complexities of the underlying infrastructure, dramatically fewer person-hours require for network and service configuration, provisioning, and management. When operations are simplified, network services consolidate, the footprint is reduce, underutilized devices are no longer used, fewer staff need to troubleshoot and repair, and significant energy savings achieve.
Reduced network downtime: When the possibility of human error eliminate, companies can offer and deliver a higher level of services with more consistency across branches and regions. For example, Juniper Networks’ Service Now is an automated remote troubleshooting client that enables Juniper. It quickly and proactively detects any problem on a user’s network before they notice it.
Strategic Workforce Augmentation: When companies automate repetitive tasks subject to human error, they increase productivity, enabling them to drive improvements and business innovation. Consequently, new job opportunities arise for the existing workforce.
Better network insight and control: Through analytics, automation enables IT operations to be more responsive to change. You’ll have greater network visibility and understand precisely what’s happening on the network with the ability to monitor and adapt as needed.
In the future, the networks will achieve the following:
Operate autonomously with active monitoring and reporting provided to the network. Its operators to ensure network performance and behaviours remain aligned with business goals.
The path to an autonomous network depends on telemetry, automation, machine learning, and programming with declarative intent. This future network is called the Self-Driving Network™, an independent predictive grid that can adapt to its environment.
To be effective, automation must break free from traditional silos. They address all elements of network infrastructure, equipment, and operations support systems. Juniper Networks offers simplified network architectures as building blocks to make overall IT operations more straightforward. With the help of Juniper Networks tools and strategies, designed with a flexible and open standards-based framework, network operators can enable automation. It across the entire operations lifecycle, from provisioning to management to orchestration.
Network automation eliminates the manual steps required to manage networks, such as logging into routers, switches, load balancers, and firewalls. To change settings before logging off manually. This process is based on chained scripts programmed in the command line. In interface (CLI) of an operating system (OS) or predefined automation software.