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Playbooks for gathering information about the network devices are simple and safe first steps towards network automation. Over time, a library of on-demand or scheduled playbooks will be developed. These playbooks automatically generate important information about each device on the network.

In addition to automating the repetitive and time-consuming task of documenting the network, the organization starts building a data warehouse of dynamically generated output files in the repository. By collecting output from the entire network on a regular basis, a historical state view in the form of the TFS repository exists. This repository shows the exact location of changes made to the network. The only limitation is creativity and how to use the wealth of information available.

In the coming chapter, the automation engine begins to make changes to the network. Having the ability to automatically gather and document information about the state of the network is a key step before making automated changes to the network. Now the organization can build playbooks that capture and document the network’s state, execute the changes, and recapture the post-change state, all automatically. Truly revolutionary!

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