Network Automation Best Practices
Take a comprehensive inventory of your network’s equipment and components, including servers, switches, routers, firewalls, ADCs, LANs, and VLANs. Collect and retain correct data, such as versions, health and performance measurements, and a track of service changes over time. It will assist you in determining whether your network is ready for automation and whether it requires fundamental redesign.
2. Identify the areas that need to be automated
Begin by establishing a list of the most time-consuming, resource-intensive, and typically repetitive tasks in your network. These are the ones you should start automating right away. They might include change management processes, network configuration processes, or anything else that would benefit from automation.
3. Have a defined automation tool strategy
Choose an automation platform best suited to your business operations, existing IT infrastructure, and requirements. Check to see if it checks the majority, if not all, of the boxes on your automation platform’s must-have list. Aside from cost and a required feature set, the list may contain items such as vendor support, scalability, and the ability to integrate/work alongside your existing solution(s).
4. Consult with all teams before deciding
It is critical to involve all the necessary teams in the acquisition process. Extending the capabilities of the purchased tool can meet the considerable gaps between the requirements of NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps teams. An inward-looking and inability to share information mentality will undermine network automation initiatives by over 70%.
5. Train your workforce adequately in preparation for the transition
Before it can be efficiently deployed, the platform requires one to familiarize with it. Ensure that the vendor provides proper training to your engineers to orient them to the platform. When misused, it can lead to detrimental consequences.
6. Conduct regular audits to enforce security and policy compliance
It’s natural for devices to deviate off course as the network develops and refreshes (known as configuration drift). Such modest deviations might add up to a critical violation over time, causing chaos on your network. Ensure that your automation platform keeps your network in compliance with security measures and rules by conducting routine audits that assist you in detecting and correcting deviations as they occur.
7. Explore, experiment, and expand
Don’t limit yourself to automating just one or two tasks. Most contemporary networks can be used to the maximum with the correct platform. Once the platform has achieved the intended outcomes in the early stages of automation, progressively broaden its scope and allow it to take over the entire network and all its processes.