The automation of network-related processes is going through its best moment. Mainly, for rising technologies such as software-defined networks (SDN) and software-defined WAN networks (SD-WAN) . The diversity of existing tools to implement automations is strategic in nature, allowing the creation of a roadmap that makes possible an ecosystem where the network can always be functioning and protect itself at the same time.
However, its adoption is taking place very slowly. Mainly, because of the resistance of network engineers. A curious fact is that the automation of network processes exists since the beginning of the networks themselves. Even so, resistance is perceived, but fortunately, there is a trend that will lead to the need to adopt these tools.
The resistance to which we refer can have a lot to do with the fact that the modern way of working today is characterized by agility. The manual configuration of routers and switches through command lines is no longer as novel and reliable as before. It is that there are too many risks of errors (human, above all) and it is quite slow.
Ease of use and integration
Any network automation tool must have a graphical interface, not just the CLI (command lines). It must be easy to use, accessible enough for anyone who works in networks to handle it. Thus, it will not be necessary to have an expert in the tools and if there were any companions who left, then you will not be affected by it.
On the other hand, these tools must be able to integrate with others such as ServiceNow or Splunk. Which implies that they must have APIs. Even if we opt for automation through unintegrated solutions, we must take into account long-term integration, to facilitate the implementation of improvements and more productivity.
It is important to point out that, not because a specific tool is very complete, it must be complicated to use. It is essential not to have the need to delay taking advantage of the benefits of the solutions we hire. Because relying on a single person who is the expert is a great long-term risk.
Should I opt for a SaaS (Software as a Service) type tool?
More and more people opt for SaaS solutions to ensure rapid deployment in production and constant updates. There are no successes or errors as to which solution is chosen, but only the requirements and needs must be evaluated to opt for the best option. On the other hand, there are studies that indicate that every solution will be hybrid . What does this mean? Users can keep certain data on-premise, that is, where they are currently hosted. But, everything related to artificial intelligence and comparisons between companies will be executed in the cloud.
Finally, we must consider security. Automation tools must provide us with the necessary data to demonstrate that security policies are being respected and considered according to compliance mandates. Report functionalities should give visibility to all phases of the network, from execution to post-implementation optimization.