I attended the Network Automation Meetup in San Francisco. The topic was Practical Infrastructure as Code, and was presented by Matt Stone of Brocade, and was hosted at the Cumulus Networks’ offices and the food and refreshments were provided by Hewlett Packard. In the world of meetups, all parties are friendly even though they compete commercially. Matt said he was not an official spokesman for Brocade, but I believe many of his views are aligned with what Brocade does in their New IP initiatives.
The topic was how to treat the management of infrastructure with the methods used for managing code. The cycle consists of 1) Build, Test & Validate, 2) Deploy, 3) Monitor & Remediation and 4) Source & Revision Control, as shown in the diagram to the right.
I recently read the book Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff, a technology and science reporter at the New York Times. This is a good book that goes over the history of the development of automation in the 1950s and 1960s, and takes you to the current day where new robotic developments from Apple (Siri) and Google (driverless cars) put us in the another age of rapid change.
In my last blog post, Network Automation, More than Scripting, I defined network automation as a range of technologies, from script-level automation to policy-based networking, that automate manual tasks. In this post, I'll explain the benefits network automation offers network administrators, including a reduction of monotonous tasks and streamlined change control.
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