Let's summarize what you have learned in the course so far.

For years enterprise-class networks have waited for a scalable solution to basic network configuration management. Networks continue to be the bottleneck in IT service delivery, and the root cause of many outages and downtime- partly due to the lack of management tools available. Networks continue to require large specialized support teams and many lack relevant documentation. Hence, they have not evolved alongside the other moving parts of organizations.

Software-defined networking attempts to segregate and centralize the network control plane while leaving the data plane decentralized across the network. While this approach did not necessarily take hold and transform the industry, the idea of decoupling the networking planes and centralizing the management plane found great success through network automation. Network automation can be understood simply as the conversion of network configurations to software-like application code including the tools, methodologies, and processes used by the software development discipline.

Every aspect of the traditional enterprise network can be automated using a modern network development lifecycle (NDLC) powered by an automation engine: Ansible. Ultimately the goal is to reach a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. Code changes are made by developers, using pull requests, which merge code into the repository’s master branch. A series of orchestrated automated tasks- such as change validation, documentation generation, and delivery to production- is, in turn, kicked off.

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