Automating a network means many things to many people. It’s like ordering a pizza, no one can agree on anything. That’s because network automation is so personalized and specific to the problem that each person is solving, everyone’s answer is different and focused on solving their own problem.
For the scope of this chapter, network automation will focus on the task of automating network functions. For simplicity, you can break down network functions into three simple categories:
The build stage focuses on the initial installation and bootstrapping of the networking equipment. As soon as the switch is racked and powered on, the build stage begins.
After you’ve built the network, there are day-to-day changes that you need to implement to enable new services and applications to run; this is the configuration phase of network automation.
Now that you have successfully built the network and have a good handle on the day-to-day operations, the last phase is to collect information about the network. Being able to understand what’s happening on the network makes it possible for you to increase the availability of the network and quickly troubleshoot problems.
You can think of network automation as the purpose-built glue that brings your data center together. Some network automation tools offer more turnkey functionality than others; this is simply because of the scope. For example, to automatically configure a networking ...