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Why Invest in Network Automation?


Done properly, automating the management of your network can significantly reduce your operating expenses. While capital expenses of networking are shrinking, operating expenses might continue to grow due to increased complexity of your network,, causing an increase in total cost of ownership. The best way to reduce these costs is through the automation of your network operations. Paired with proper testing regimes, reliability and service levels also improve, freeing you to focus on adding greater value to your business.

Of course, it takes time and commitment to implement automation solutions that include properly automated tests. Many well-intentioned organizations feel intimidated by the time and effort required to implement automation; they are already occupied with their normal day-to-day tasks. Fortunately, you do not have to automate your entire network at once.

Typically, the best approach is to start with small-scale projects in order to gain experience and confidence with the tools you choose to use for your implementation. One way to keep the projects small and to enable rapid iteration and adaptation is to embrace Agile methodologies, which have been used successfully for software development. Agile software development is an umbrella term for a number of iterative and incremental development methodologies, which favor small-scale, well-defined tasks over larger, less precise ones.

Many organizations create Methods of Procedure (MOP) documents. The purpose of these documents is to act as a checklist for any network changes, encapsulating the business policies and best practices of an organization. These documents are a great resource when automating the management of your network. Start with the most basic procedures and automate them. As you learn and become more confident, you can tackle more involved procedures.

The remaining topics in this overview are presented in order of complexity. It is recommended (though not required) that you gain experience with the earlier topics before embarking on later topics.