How automation impacts network management

To understand how automation impacts network management, first, we need to understand what network management is. Network management includes two aspects: configuration management and operational management.

Configuration management refers to any feature or function that changes device configuration. Operational management includes reporting, monitoring, gathering operational data, and alerting administrators to possible issues.

There are two ways to manage a network: manual and automatic. In the manual method, administrators manually update or change configuration.

In the automatic method, they use a device or software that configures and manages the configuration. The software or device they use is called a controller. For example, Cisco APIC is a controller. Administrators configure policies on APIC. The APIC pushes configuration down to the ACI switches.

DNA Center is another example of a controller. APIC-EM and DNA Center both can check the IOS images on Cisco devices and verify that no changes have occurred to the images in comparison to the images created by Cisco.

Ansible, Puppet, and Chef are a few more examples of popular controllers. A company can use any controller based on its requirements and budget. A controller uses automation to apply changes to multiple devices simultaneously.

Automation provides the following benefits.

Reduce the network cost

It reduces the network cost by automating the many tasks that technicians would traditionally need to perform by visiting each device. With automation, they do not need to visit every device to configure and manage it. They can create automation procedures and scripts on a controller device and the controller device will configure and manage devices. Since most of the tasks are performed by a controller device, a company needs fewer technicians.

Reduce the time to complete projects

Traditional networking requires administrators to visit each device to apply configuration. It consumes too much time. Automation saves this time by remotely applying changes.

Provide consistent configuration

Automation provides consistency in configurations. With automation, administrators create scripts and then instruct the controller to deploy them to the devices; each device receives the same configuration. Since administrators are not required to type the same configuration commands over and over on each device, it causes fewer configuration errors.

Make network management easier

In traditional networking, administrators manage each device individually. It makes device management complex and tedious. With automation, they can manage all devices from a central location. It makes device management easy and fast.

Simplify network operations

Automation simplifies network operations by using scripts. Without automation, administrators have to monitor all devices manually. With automation, they can create a script and deploy it on the controller device. The controller device monitors all devices and notifies the administrator when an event occurs.

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