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Data Center

NANOG Dispatch: Automation Monday, Visibility Tuesday

by asardell ‎10-03-2017 02:42 PM - edited ‎10-04-2017 02:06 PM (5,308 Views)



As mentioned earlier, one of the key themes in NANOG 71 is automation fueled by telemetry, and a panel discussion on Monday addressed that topic head on. This is exactly the strategy of the SLX architecture--to provide a platform for visibility and automation. You need visibility to automate intelligently.


How to Fail at Automation


Monday afternoon brought a panel discussion entitled, Network Automation: past, present, and future, in which several network automation professionals discussed their career path, education choices and job opportunities that had led them to where they are now. The panel pointed out that while DevOps is a must-have skill, many network engineers are still afraid to step into this world.


Kirk Byers, the owner of Twin Bridges Technology (a network automation and consulting company in San Francisco), kicked off this discussion with an ironically compelling tutorial on how to fail at automation (Figure 1).



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Figure 1: Key Tips on Failing at Network Automation (source: Twin Bridges Technology)


As you can see, the “key” is to bite off more than you can chew, try to accomplish everything all at once, not leverage what’s already built, and over-engineer the solution.


And of course, another sure pathway to failure is to not fully account for the state of Infrastucture when changes are being made.


On the Other Hand, How to Succeed


Earlier this year, the More IP conference in Amsterdam featured an agenda that supports Internet Service Providers (ISP), cloud and hosting providers, as well as application providers, Colo facilities and others.  The automation needs of these ventures include visibility, and Figure 2 shows a slide presented that highlighted the benefits of the Insight Architecture in the SLX portfolio.


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Figure 2: AMS-IX Perspective from the More IP Event


The advantage cited here is that services can be run directly on the SLX without requiring additional equipment to be installed.  This addresses a key challenge for IXPs, which is to be able to support their services with high performance network visibility. SLX Insight provides this.


Similarly, our Flow Optimizer platform combines automation and visibility in a single platform. Flow Optimizer now supports monitoring and actions on the entire SLA portfolio—watch this space for new on an upcoming release.


Using Visibility and Automation Together


In addition to Flow Optimizer (mentioned above), Brocade Workflow Composer works in tandem with SLX Insight. With Workflow Composer, you can start with very simple automation flows and can create more sophisticated workflows incrementally. In additional, SLX platforms also support gRPC streaming for gathering up to date interface and platform statistics.


One of the advantages of the Guest VM is that you can actually run some of the automation and telemetry tools on the network element itself. This provides as complete ecosystem without the burden of installing and maintaining additional hardware.


Call to Action


For more information, contact your Brocade representative or check out the following related links.