Why Network Automation Is a Quick Win for the Enterprise
Network automation is now a “must-have”
The whirlwind of tech innovation has had a major impact on hardware, software, and of course, network management. Automation is fast becoming a network must-have as organizations seek efficiency and scale without adding costs. Those who ignore it are missing an opportunity to:
- simplify network operations
- mistake-proof their infrastructure
- enhance security
- expand the skills of some of their most valuable staff
The challenge of network management today is that – much like network management of yesterday – it’s repetitive, hands-on, and error-prone. A majority of today’s network changes, in fact, are still done manually, as they have been for years. And they’re still made, device by device, through terminal connections. No fancy UIs here.
The process is costly and time-consuming. It’s also not scalable, especially when the number of devices within the typical network continues to multiply. Hiring more people, even when theoretically possible, isn’t the answer. Managing networks already is two to three times more expensive than the cost of the network itself. And, adding more people doesn’t do anything to decrease the potential for mistakes in a process already vulnerable to human error.
That’s where automation comes in. In reference to networks, automation includes the configuration, management, testing, deployment and operation of physical and virtual devices. Everything from provisioning to policy implementation to issue resolution can be partially or fully aided by automation. Controlling and managing repetitive processes through automation, in particular, can eliminate device-by-device drudgery and the slip-ups that today tax network engineering resources.
And let’s face it – tasks like configuration changes suck up valuable time and focus. It’s not that they’re not important. But for network engineering teams, with their deep base of knowledge, there are more challenging issues they can take on by taking some of the manual load off their plate.
By automating, too, teams can better track network changes, manage versioning across devices, and deploy new configurations, at scale, with minimal effort. Teams often face the question “what’s changed” in order to troubleshoot issues and roll back to a safe state. Automation makes it far easier to answer that.