Resources, Costs, and Provisioning

Let's take a look at the impact of automation on resources, costs, and provisioning.

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Network staff may not adapt to change as rapidly as other IT disciplines. This is mainly because the way networks are managed has not changed much over the past 30 years. However, network staff should always be looking for the most effective way to manage the network. Most will fully embrace this new methodology because of the power it unlocks and how much easier it will make their lives in the long run.

Once the transition has been made, resources can be reallocated to more strategic projects. Ultimately, a stronger workforce emerges with modern and diverse problem-solving skills, software development principles, and basic coding abilities. There may not be a place for the CLI warrior in the next-generation network.


Network automation can help companies reduce capital costs. Instead of large, expensive, appliance-based NMS solutions or agent-based software solutions, build an in-house solution custom fit for the organization’s needs. Even larger savings can be realized in operational expenditures.

Time spent in manual CLI device-to-device configurations or information gathering is eliminated. Overtime incurred for after-hour changes is drastically reduced. Changes that once took hours now take minutes. Large disruptive changes take significantly less time and effort, because the power of the automation engine orchestrates and delivers the solution. These are huge benefits to any organization and demonstrate an immediate return on investment (ROI). It is hard to put a price on having a central repository acting as a source of truth for the network.


Now that configuration management is automated, one capability to consider is device provisioning. Provisioning new devices is a repeatable, one-time task and an ideal candidate for automation. Some “zero-touch” provisioning solutions exist as part of NMS solutions. However, they are often complex, and their mileage may vary. With a homegrown automation solution, several options are available to automate provisioning. However, these options still require one or two touches to the device.

An operator can generate an automated configuration using data models, dynamic templates, and the Ansible framework. Then they transfer the generated golden configuration to a USB drive and connect to the console They can then replace the start-up configuration of the device with the generated and templated configuration.

Alternatively, the operator can use the console to configure the device with the bare minimum requirements to be delivered in place. Connect the device to the network and push the generated configuration over SSH using an Ansible playbook. The device requires some initial configuration for reachability/ These include a management IP address, SSH access over VTY lines, and the appropriate uplink interfaces configured before delivering on-site. Once installed and connected, the remaining golden configuration is put in place using the automation engine.

Either method guarantees that all net-new network devices adhere to the golden configuration with little to no effort from operations. Also, by using the new NDLC, a dedicated working branch represents an exact point-in-time in the master branch of when the device was added to the network.

Peripheral changes made to accommodate the new device are captured in the working branch. For example, the uplinking device, routing tables, or other changes beyond the newly provisioned device itself.

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