Some Final Steps

Let's look at some of the final steps in the automation process.

Information collection and version control

At this point, the organization should be comfortable using network automation for information collection and making changes to the network. While these are both great capabilities for changing network operations, the real power of network automation lies in full configuration management coverage. In this, each device is configured by the network automation engine through dynamic templates powered by abstracted data models. Essentially, this converts the network configurations to code.

This code comprises intent-driven data models in human-readable format. These models are composed of variables and dynamic templates that contain the configurations. Version control can now be implemented using Git. The compiled configurations are then pushed to the network through automated Ansible playbooks.

CI/CD pipeline

Creating a CI/CD pipeline is the last step towards fully automating the network. Automated builds, tests, and releases are now available to network operators. As part of the branching strategy, builds are triggered automatically whenever pull requests merge code into the master branch (CI). Releases can be scheduled and deployed to the network much like a patch to software is released to applications. Scheduled releases can occur at any frequency, be it – hourly, nightly, weekly, or monthly. Approved changes are then merged into the master branch in the repository, This automatically triggers the deployment during the next scheduled release (CD). This is how the full power of network automation is unleashed.

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