What is Network Automation and How Does it Apply to Your Business?

April 26, 2021

Network Automation is a buzzword that you have heard about – and that your boss is asking you to understand, explain and deliver. But what does it really mean? And do you have time to learn and implement it? It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, so let’s start with the basics and grow from there. The first thing to do is create a quick and usable definition of the term. Network Automation is the process of automating standard tasks that are normally performed by a human, including deploying, configuring and managing your network infrastructure. From an Aruba Networks perspective, let's take a quick look at a few of these standard tasks that are performed by Network Operations staff everyday and how we can easily automate those tasks. Moves/Adds/Changes: Using ClearPass Policy Manager and the concept of downloadable user roles, it is simple to have your edge switchports automatically configured to provide the proper level of access to the connected device. When the user/device connects to the network, CPPM will perform Device Profiling- determine the device and user attributes in order to determine the appropriate user role. CPPM then downloads the user role information to your Aruba switch, which will then configure the port appropriately for VLANs, ACLs and virtually any other configuration necessary to get your user up and running with no IT intervention required. So don’t worry, your user can move their printer across the office, or plug their laptop into the jack in the boardroom. The Network Automation that you have in place will prevent you from having to be involved.

Add a new Switch: Using NetEdit from Aruba and the Aruba CX Mobile App, you can deploy configurations to new network switches automatically. Simply connect the switch to your network, open your mobile app, and begin downloading your configuration to the switch. Your switch is up and running with the proper code and configuration – and you haven’t touched a CLI yet!  

Validate your Configurations: Are all of your switches compliant with your network policies? Is the code at the right version?  Are all of your management interfaces on the right subnet? NetEdit can continuously monitor your network to detect configuration errors – all automatically.  

As you can see, Network Automation is not just for large businesses and Data Centre deployments – although it is certainly as important in those environments. By starting with a few basics, you can make time for higher value projects, and stop spending your time on repeatable and easily automated tasks. Once MOBIA proves the value of basic Network Automation, we would love to dig deeper and introduce you to more advanced (but still easy to manage) automation content including API’s, Python, YAML and Ansible. If you are ready to take some time back in your day, contact MOBIA at inquiries@mobia.io

By

Geoff

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