Process of Network Automation

Let's take a look at the processes and tools involved in network automation.

The best part of automation is that it’s completely non-disruptive and non-intrusive to the network. Operators can gather information from the network while developing programming skills and learning the new workflow. At the same time, they can start to understand the new processes and tools involved in network automation. The operators can work without fear of disrupting the network.

Processes and tools

Here are the processes and tools involved in network automation:

Source and version control

  • Work items are created to identify, assign, and track progress on code development.
  • Distributed teams are able to easily collaborate on shared work items.
  • A centralized repository containing the Ansible playbooks as well as the resulting output starts to evolve.

Implementing a branching strategy

  • A single, authoritative master branch represents the known working state and configuration of the network.
  • The master branch is protected. Changes are never made directly to the master branch.
  • A working branch per change is created. Developers often perform Git commits often within a working branch.
  • Approved pull requests are used to merge tested code from working branches into the master branch.

Version control on Ansible playbooks

  • Version control becomes apparent in concert with the branching strategy.
  • As Ansible playbooks are refactored over time, the source control tool will contain the change and version history.
  • In addition to Ansible development skills, operators can familiarize themselves with Git.

Playbook library

  • Network engineers can work with the network operations team to find the most common manual commands used for network reconnaissance.
  • These commands are transformed into automated playbooks. Operations then use these to troubleshoot or gather information from the network.
  • Working playbooks are easily cloned, refactored, and added to the library by operators or engineers.

Building on these principles, the organization starts to gradually embrace network automation without risk. The power unlocked becomes evident immediately. The organization can then start considering a wider scale adoption, and automating changes to the network.

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