Much like the production of autonomous cars, home-learning entertainment, and other of life’s newly automated experience, network functionality has finally started a transition into this digital era of autonomy. While technology for server automation has improved and started laying the groundwork for network productivity, agility, and security, new levels of programming possibilities are being discovered. There have been three factors keeping network automation in park, unable to shift gears and drive forward:
APIs Were Still in Training Wheel
APIs have recently become a buzzword, but back in the day, these were very limited and still in the development process. Without established APIs, rending data extractions or push commands through a network is tough. Most hardware still uses a CLI (Command Line Interface) system which is frequently prone to errors, not to mention it is pretty time-consuming.
Expert Mechanics Were Short Supply
Most networks and security devices have some type of proprietary protocol stack in place, meaning to drive on the network device, you’ll need a mechanic that specialized in your device’s model. Since there are still a lot of legacy devices still driving around, it can be difficult to locate a knowledgeable mechanic that is adaptable to both old and new technologies.
New Features to Learn with No Time
It’s not that Network & Security professionals are not interested in new automation tools and other growing features, it simply boils down to not having enough time in the car to learn all the new stuff that keeps coming out almost daily. Networking professionals are looking for an easy way to start network automation that requires little time and attention, much like turning the ignition on your car to drive forward. So easy, anyone can do it!
Driving Your Network Through the Four Phases of Automation
With the advancements in technology, we are starting to see the evolution of network and security automation, and we are steadily driving through the phases. One day we will have network automation. It’s time to look at the phases and see where we are and where we want to go: Phase one is where we started. It’s the most common phase and still actively used all over. It consists of using humans to operate and maintain manually. There is room for lots of errors.
Phase two involves community-based solutions, which are like crowd guided platforms like a popular car navigation app. It uses the collaboration of others to ensure information is reliable, secure, and up-to-date. This is still within the realm of humans manually working together to operate the system. Phase three is still centered around peer-based contribution, but allows for network software similar to Indeni to make small changes in the network that are low risk. Some examples are upgrading & installing patches and software fixes, updating network configurations for optimal performance, and decommissioning or reconfiguring certain aspects that are regularly updated.
Phase four takes phase three to a new level. This is still a very experimental phase and entails trusting the software and code entirely, which IT professionals are still uncomfortable with at the moment. You can see this phase as a self-driving car. The idea is amazing, the engineering remarkable, but just the thought of self-maintaining machines can be a little unsettling. As more is understood, we position ourselves in preparation of network automation and are eagerly looking to see how this new level of automation will change the way network & security operations perform and deliver.