17 Steps to Deploying Network Automation in Your Infrastructure
Digital business demands that systems and people be agile in deploying new application services and in troubleshooting network problems. A key element to agility is network automation. The concept of automation may seem fairly straightforward; you use tools or scripts to execute manual tasks and workflows to eliminate delays, paving the way for a more agile delivery. This can be overwhelming. What should you automate first, second and so on? To make the process a little less intimidating, we provide some simple steps toward network automation. This eWEEK slide show uses industry information from Mark Vondemkamp, executive vice president of business development at Seattle-based startup AppViewX.
The first step is identifying workloads and creating a list of all the change requests and workflows that are currently being done manually. Next, decide on the most common time-consuming or error-prone activities to tackle. For example, if your network team is consistently buried under daily requests for routine changes, analyze the requests that are requiring the most time and resources. Then, move to eliminate obsolete requests or requests that could be incorporated into other tasks and workflows.
Automation solutions can be as varied as the systems and software found in the data center. As application environments are created, there are a number of manual tasks and vendors that introduce numerous opportunities for error. Automation should be segment-based on infrastructure and network services to better understand how all the moving parts and participants interact with each other. This will help you to identify various dependencies; then address cultural differences to bring in cross-team collaboration.
Defining standard network service configurations to respond to repetitive tasks and requests helps to simplify existing processes. By standardizing service offerings, organizations can address more than half of the change requests, resulting in significantly reducing implementation times. New requests can then be played atop the existing configuration, or the existing configurations can be modified to meet the new automation requirements.
Self-servicing capabilities are keys to enabling automation. Cultural resistance toward automation within the organization appears to be the primary factor preventing automation adoption. Deploying self-servicing capabilities in the network paves the way for improved operational efficiency and ensures compliance with organization policies. This marks the start of a full-fledged automation solution.
6Iterate Automation Adoption
Once identified, the services that must be automated and the team that will automate them can get to work starting with the smaller items from your priority list. Allowing the team to become familiar with the automation process will result in greater insight into the other areas that could benefit from automation. Once the team successfully automates simple tasks, they can then move on to the more complex tasks and workflows.
7Orchestrate the Service Infrastructure
Automation paves the way for greater agility. To deliver applications at the speed of digitalization, automation of the deployment process is required. Creating a truly agile data center requires that different elements be managed cohesively across these subject-matter teams. The best approach is to invest in advanced automation and orchestration solutions that efficiently deliver applications across a heterogeneous environment.
8Automation Is Good for Migration, Management
We live in an application-centered world, and organizations need to be able to provision applications and not infrastructure. The right tools matter, especially when you need to migrate, manage and automate application deployments on-premises or in the cloud. Automation’s benefits are compelling and ultimately promote a more agile data center.