2nd March, 2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Network automation refers to the process of automating tasks inside a network infrastructure, such as change management, configuration management, device discovery and inventory, device provisioning, etc.
Most of these steps are performed manually, which can lead to errors and are time-consuming as well. Businesses can save time, reduce mistakes, lower operating costs, and improve their networks by automating them.
Network automation uses software and technology to perform and manage network configuration, provisioning, and maintenance tasks without human intervention. It allows network administrators to automate various tasks and processes, such as configuration management, security, monitoring, and provisioning, which can help to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and increase the speed of deployment and troubleshooting.
The following are 3 main types of network automation tools:
Software-defined networking (SDN) tools: These tools let network administrators control and manage network devices and traffic flow programmatically instead of manually configuring each device.
Network configuration management (NCM) tools: These tools let administrators manage and maintain the configuration of network devices. This includes version control, change management, and backup and recovery.
Purpose-built network automation tools: Tools that were developed specifically for the network are an example of a different category of network automation platform. These tools provide the majority of network-specific capabilities and functionalities. Of course, the drawback is that it can only be used for a certain purpose.
IT departments want to provision and manage both traditional and cloud-native apps quickly, easily, and in the same way. With a modern network automation platform, these goals can be reached by automating networking tasks like setting up resources, mapping the network, and testing the network.
By using programmable logic, network automation manages network resources and services. Network automation enables network operations (NetOps) teams to install, scale, secure, and integrate network infrastructure and application services faster.
Network automation tools help you automate the setup and configuration of network components, as well as troubleshooting, operations and maintenance, validation, and reporting. Most network automation tools interact with routers, switches, firewalls, application delivery controllers, service provider components (WAN circuits), and cloud provider services (VPCs and load balancers).
Using network automation has several advantages, including
Improved efficiency: Automating network tasks and processes can help reduce the time and effort needed to do these tasks manually, giving network administrators more time to focus on more important and strategic tasks.
Increased speed: Automation can speed up deployment and troubleshooting so that organizations can make changes to their networks quickly and easily.
Reduced human intervention and reduced errors: Automation can help reduce the risk of errors and misconfiguration, leading to network outages and other issues.
Increased scalability: Automation can make it easier to increase or decrease the network size as needed, so businesses can respond quickly to changing business needs.
Improved security: Automation can help improve security by making it easier for administrators to find and fix possible security holes and threats. You'll be able to get more visibility of the network and understand how it works better. As a result, you will learn new things to help you strategically plan your business.
The network automation tools make you more flexible and efficient while cutting costs. It reduces manual errors and makes following compliance regulations and laws easier. Further, it lets organizations quickly change networks that affect hundreds, thousands, or even millions of devices.
Now that we understand network automation tools and how it works, Let's discuss "Zluri," a SaaS management platform that outperforms any network automation solutions. Want to know why?
Let's see quickly!
Zluri is a SaaS Ops platform that automates daily repetitive tasks in your SaaS network. It helps IT administrators automate the overall process of software provisioning and deprovisioning.
The platform helps you give quick access to the software when new employees come on board or when their role within the company changes, like when they get a promotion. Moreover, it monitors users' sign-in, audit, and access logs to see which apps they can use and how much access they have to each app.
Similarly, at the time of offboarding, it revokes access from all the devices. So, if a user is active on three devices, they cannot access the app from any device. It uses an alert system that tells IT and asset managers about the provisions that must be revoked. This makes sure that all provisions are taken away. It helps run a smooth onboarding/offboarding process by making giving and taking away access to apps easy.
Moreover, Zluri is an API-based SMP that gives you the most accurate information about your SaaS inventory, how it is managed, and how it is being used. It is better than network monitoring tools based on packet inspection because Zluri is connected directly to the source of truth.
Gives a complete view of your SaaS network.
Provides zero-touch automation for provisioning and deprovisioning of apps.
Supports direct integration with 800 SaaS apps..
Choose an automation platform that best fits your business processes, IT technologies, and requirements. Then, check carefully if it has most of the features that can fulfil your business requirement. Aside from price and required features, the list could include vendor support, scalability, and the ability to work with your existing solutions.
So, let's get started with our list of 6 tools.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) is a powerful tool for managing network configuration and compliance. It provides powerful and secure monitoring for hybrid networks. The tool makes network compliance easier by using NCM automation tools to deploy standard configurations, find changes that aren't part of the process, audit configurations, and even fix violations. The platform is designed to handle rapid change across complex, multi-vendor networks, reduce the time required for repetitive tasks, and keep standards and service levels up so that IT doesn't stop working.
It automates configuration backups so you can quickly fix a lousy configuration or set up a new device. The tool continuously checks configurations and gets you notified if a device is not in compliance. Further, if a device is out of compliance, it quickly fixes vulnerabilities with bulk configuration deployment. Finally, it helps you stop unauthorized network changes through change delegation, monitoring, and alerting.
It keeps a daily backup of all the devices' configurations and can quickly push any script into any newly added devices, saving time and work.
It lets us keep an audit trail for all the configuration changes in any device and also captures who made them.
The tool needs admin rights to do specific tasks, which could lead to a breach if it is exposed.
A bit pricey in comparison to other options available.
ManageEngine is a division of Zoho Corporation that makes IT management platforms for large businesses. With ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager (NCM), you can:
- Keep track of and manage changes to the configuration with real-time alerts.
- With custom rules and policies, you can stay in line with industry standards.
-Save the day by ensuring you have automated backups of your configurations.
-Join other network administrators worldwide and use the low-cost solution to handle your configurations better.
In addition to being a multi-vendor network configuration automation platform, the product has tools to manage and control network changes, securely store configurations, and create and enforce network compliance and auditing. ManageEngine can automate Cisco, Dell, Fortinet, Juniper, and other brands of routers, switches, firewalls, and other network devices.
It works as one solution for all the networking devices of the organization. For example, if you've Cisco, Juniper, and HP switch, you can still use Manage Engine NCM to manage all the switches together.
The platform is easy to install and configure to start with monitoring network devices.
Some of the templates don't work with some versions, so you have to have some custom templates.
You can only export some of the changes and backups in different formats.
NetBrain is an adaptable network automation platform that works with hardware, software, virtualization, and SDN vendors to give visibility to the whole network. The automation technology provided by NetBrain ensures precise network documentation, reduced time spent on troubleshooting, and increased network safety. Adaptive network documentation and automation systems keep the network documentation up to date automatically.
The ability to make a dynamic network map, see the different layers and routes on the network, and track traffic flow from end to beginning makes it easy to find and fix problems quickly. In addition, Netbrain has built-in support for all kinds of networks.
IP networks (LAN, WLAN, VPN, MPLS, and SD-WAN)
Data Center Networks (SDN, Cisco ACI, and
VMware NSX) Multicloud (Azure, AWS)
NetBrain is best for networks that use BGP or OSPF for dynamic routing and backup links, SDN and SD-WAN solutions, Intent-Based Networks (IBN), or Policy-Based Networks (PBN) ideas.
It has a centralized control that makes it easier to look at the applications.
With dynamic network routing, users can see and link to the database.
Alerting system needs to be better. Sometimes you need to tune the warning before you get false positive reports.
Itential is a Network automation solution that helps with workflow orchestration, configuration management, and more. It is the only automation platform designed to work with networks and the cloud. This makes it easy for organizations to keep their networks compliant, reduce manual work, and simplify network management.
The Itential Automation Platform is a cloud-native, low-code SaaS solution that connects IT systems with network technologies in a compliant way that automates the whole network. It combines automation and compliance to ensure your network is safe and reliable. In addition, Itential's Configuration Manager makes it possible for CLI, API services, and physical and cloud networks to work similarly.
It simplifies your network automation ecosystem with out-of-the-box integrations to hundreds of systems, including authentication, cloud, controllers and orchestrators, DevOps and NetOps tools, configuration management, inventory, ITSM, notifications and messaging, SD-WAN, security, telemetry, and analytics.
It supports integrations with enterprise software like Infoblox and Service Now.
They provide a free training course for all new users.
Installation can be tricky at times.
AppViewX AUTOMATION+ is a network security management solution that helps businesses troubleshoot application problems, keep track of changes to the network, and many more.
IT departments can use the platform to manage, automate, and orchestrate services for application delivery and network security. It gives a view of the application delivery and network security infrastructure in multi-cloud environments from the application's point of view. As a result, application, network and security engineers can self-service and start automation workflows that deliver compliance and real business agility.
AppViewX is an advanced automation and orchestration platform that lets you set up and manage network components from Layer 4 to Layer 7 from start to finish. In addition, its ADC+ and Automation+ products offer support for multiple vendors that meet the changing needs of network operations.
It reduces network downtime during certification upgrades/renewals, increasing productivity.
Easy to separate applications from multi-cloud and on-premise infrastructures.
It helps you to manage multiple applications together.
UX and user guide needs to be better.
PRTG is a network monitoring tool that helps you ensure your computers are working well and that there are no outages. Network monitoring is also important if you want to make your network more efficient by knowing how much bandwidth and resources it uses. It takes care of everything going on in your IT infrastructure. The interface is easy to use. It can work with networks of any size, which makes it much easier for our customers, whose networks are growing to keep using PRTG. Plus, it saves money by preventing critical outages and improving the quality of the network as a whole. It lets you keep track of the network's hardware, bandwidth, availability, and performance.
The PRTG software for network administrators has the following features:
Bandwidth monitoring: lets you see which computer, application, or protocol causes the most network traffic.
Availability monitoring: The network management solutions always check your devices' reachability.
Performance and load monitoring: The monitoring software checks network speed, CPU usage, RAM load, and other important system parameters.
Setting up the monitor is easy, and you can change the deployment and scanning options according to your needs.
It provides high-quality sensor reporting and Can monitor almost all server platforms.
Deploying custom sensors requires a lot of time and effort.
When the "auto-discovery" feature is used, the software installs too many sensors on each server. To avoid this, you have to set up sensors manually.
Zluri APIs can be called from internal and external applications to create a bridge that helps assign licenses, manage contracts, and a lot more!
In this post, we've discussed 7 symptoms of an unoptimized SaaS stack and solutions to optimize the same.
In this post, you'll learn about shadow IT due to SaaS apps. You'll also learn the most common types of shadow apps categories, shadow IT risks, and shadow IT benefits.
An obese SaaS stack leads to SaaS wastage. It's a disease! It not only causes financial issues but also gives you security and compliance problems. That's why you must keep tight control on your SaaS stack. And it begins with managing your SaaS vendors.
When an organization has a large number of SaaS applications in its SaaS stack, it gives rise to SaaS Sprawl.
This article will discuss the various alternatives to G2 Track that will help your organization save costs and optimize your SaaS stack.
As organizations use a larger number of assets, keeping track of them manually is very tedious and time-consuming. Furthermore, due to the complex and dynamic nature of assets, there are high chances of discrepancies in manual processes of assets management.