Agility is more in demand than ever. As the dependency on a reliably functioning network increases at the same time, NetOps practices are indispensable. In keeping with DevOps, more and more companies are implementing this mindset’s core values and tools, which promotes communication and collaboration between software developers and operational IT teams, including automation, programming, orchestration, and virtualization.
But even if the goal is the same, one important point must not be forgotten: While DevOps tries iteratively to continuously improve functions using the “trial and error” process, stability is always the focus in network operation. As effective as flexible development practices, microservices, containers, and cloud infrastructure, a resilient, resilient, and always operational network is still dependent on physical infrastructure. Or, to put it another way: Basically, networking is about connecting point A with point B and maintaining this connection safely and reliably regardless of all influences.
Automation matters; however, many network architects are confronted with fragile, complex networks due to years of manual infrastructure management using command-line interfaces (CLI). Installation and operation, as well as troubleshooting, are often ad hoc and without a real plan. As a result, every disruption requires human intervention, which limits the scalability and stability of the network.
NetOps, on the other hand, relies on automation for the provision and management of the network infrastructure: Instead of manual configuration, which increases the risk of human error due to its repetitive applications and routines, the configuration is scaled and carried out independently. Especially in today’s complex IT environments, where applications and systems are hosted at multiple locations, NetOps helps companies bundle their resources and thus save time and money.
An independent management level such as out-of-band (OOB) already offers presence and proximity to critical network devices. It is therefore well suited for integrating NetOps automation into a network. Modern console servers equipped with x86 processors use the common NetOps tools such as Docker containers or Python scripts and thus combine smart OOB management and network automation in one piece of hardware.
By upgrading or expanding the existing landscape, network engineers can extend these functionalities to the edge of the network with modern automation routines for each location. The appliance enables secure access to remote IP devices, even if the network fails, and automates processes such as the provision and configuration of network components.
At the same time, it provides the necessary “presence and proximity” layers for programming and automating the network management, i.e., someone only needs to be on-site for the physical installation of a device and its cabling. Everything else from configuration and deployment to troubleshooting and restarting after a failure is done remotely.
When it comes to fixing network failures, the greatest challenge for companies is getting technicians to the scene quickly. In the last Opengear survey, every third company complained about insufficient network monitoring, and over 40 percent struggled with a lack of diagnostic options to localize the source of problems. On the other hand, more than half of the companies surveyed have adopted a NetOps automation approach and have thus improved the reliability of their network significantly.
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