Picking the Right Automation Tool for the Job

When selecting a network automation tool or tools, consider the task at hand.

Terry Slattery

February 11, 2020

1 Min Read
Picking the Right Automation Tool for the Job
(Image: Pixabay)

The Web provides a lot of information on networking and IT automation, and many tools are presented as the right solution to fix your IT problem. There is a growing stable of open source tools as well as a variety of commercial products. But you’ll soon find that selecting the right tool depends on the task. Some tools can handle multiple tasks, but more frequently, each tool will do one thing well.

This isn’t a new scenario. Network management typically requires multiple tools. A quick look at the NetCraftsmen Network Management Architecture shows eight different functions, some of which may require more than one tool. Since IT and network automation are similar to network management, it should be no surprise that multiple tools are needed.

So, let’s look at some of the tools and possibilities.

Configuration Management

Configuration management is often the first task that comes to mind when we talk about network automation, a very difficult task to solve for many vendors. In some products, the commands take effect immediately, while other products allow for a commit and roll-back phase. A mistyped IP address or the wrong interface name in a configuration update could result in the device being cut-off from the management system. Sometimes, commands are added to a configuration, while other commands replace existing commands. There are also different interfaces for managing configurations: command-line interface, network management protocols, or APIs.

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About the Author(s)

Terry Slattery

Principal Architect, NetCraftsmenTerry Slattery is a principal architect at NetCraftsmen, an advanced network consulting firm that specializes in high-profile and challenging network consulting jobs. Terry is currently working on network management, SDN, business strategy consulting, and interesting legal cases. He is the founder of Netcordia, inventor of NetMRI, has been a successful technology innovator in networking during the past 20 years, and is co-inventor on two patents. He has a long history of network consulting and design work, including some of the first Cisco consulting and training. As a consultant to Cisco, he led the development of the current Cisco IOS command line interface. Prior to Netcordia, Terry founded Chesapeake Computer Consultants, which became a Cisco premier training and consulting partner. At Chesapeake, he co-invented and patented the v-LAB system to provide hands-on access to real hardware for the hands-on component of internetwork training classes.Terry co-authored the successful McGraw-Hill text "Advanced IP Routing in Cisco Networks," is the second CCIE (1026) awarded, and is a regular speaker at Enterprise Connect and Interop.

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