Is network configuration automation a good solution for your company?

By admin, 25 January, 2021

If your entrepreneurship is about to scale up and improve its efficiency, network configuration automation can be one of the first steps. Check the pros of the implementation of automated tools. The automation of processes is a natural path to scaling up among modern companies. Obviously, it brings potential dangers with it; however, the expected benefits tip the balance. Automation is becoming a standard particularly in the field of network automation as it enables increased efficiency and elevates entrepreneurship competitiveness on the market.

Network configuration automation is gaining popularity particularly among the big companies with many employees. As the amount of devices grows consistently, manual control is becoming impossible. Even if it does remain possible, its efficiency decreases, and the margin of error broadens, making it simply unprofitable to hire employees responsible for the configuration management.

What does network configuration automation stand for?

The network configuration automation was designed to increase efficiency and exclude the possibility of human error. It's automated management of the network that includes testing, deployment, and configuration. It enables operating both physical and virtual devices on a large scale.

The benefits of automated network configuration management

The rising popularity of IT automation, also in the area of configuration management, proves the profitability of such solutions. What are its main benefits?

  • it reduces the expenses by eliminating the necessity of hiring many employees responsible for operating the configuration processes manually;
  • it reduces the number of errors - that also stands behind the reduced costs as in most cases the faults are costly for the organization;
  • it can be integrated with other management tools;
  • it facilitates the identification of configuration changes, and by that, allows to avoid any unauthorized changes within the network with numerous devices;
  • it enables quick and faultless configuration of firewalls and routers.

Let's not forget that the automation tools enhance scalability and enable introducing innovations without the risk of failing. That's why it is hard to imagine a modern company without this form of support. The regular troubleshooting and testing of the network can also enhance its security.

Which network processes can be automated?

The implementation of network automation tools usually serves for the routine tasks that require a lot of monotonous work and data processing that is always performed better by a computer than a human. Among the processes that can be automated, the most common ones include:

  • configuration of network and the core equipment;
  • testing and scanning;
  • compliance checks;

In the traditional model of network management, all of them are handled manually. In the case of big organizations, it is extremely difficult to avoid errors with manual management. Even if network engineers master their coding skills, it is ineffective to burden them with all these tasks. They're repetitive and labor-intensive. Passing part of them to the software can be beneficial, as the engineer can focus on solving more complex problems and developing innovative solutions.

What does a network engineer do?

The significant part of the work that now can be performed by the automation tools used to be on the side of the network engineers. Most of the organizations still keep the network engineers on-site due to their fundamental role in the improvement of network flow and its security.

The engineer is responsible for the architecture of the network system and its maintenance. He takes care both of the local area and wide area network (LAN/WLAN). His role is to configure, evaluate, validate, scan, and have the network under control.

The engineer's responsibilities may also include stress testing - checking the system's operational capacity by performing intense operations. The purpose of such action is usually to determine breaking points and modes of failure; however, it can also be used to confirm the applicability of a designed mathematical model that predicts the aspects mentioned above.

Automation tools take many routinely performed tasks off the engineer's hands. It doesn't mean, however, that his work can be entirely replaced by the machine. Designing the models basing on engineering knowledge is not something the automation tool could deal with - at least for now. It cannot plan and design a network either. And finally - it cannot see the system as a whole. However, it supports the engineer with the daily maintenance tasks, making his work more efficient and lowering the risk of errors.

The role of AI in the network automation

Artificial Intelligence together with Machine Learning are solutions that open the door to numerous new possibilities. Even though for now, the fully self-managed networks with automated maintenance do not exist, most likely they will be introduced in the future. Considering the growing speed of AI-based technologies development, it is possible, that in a few decades the automated solutions will replace the work of network engineers. However, for now, they are just complimentary.

The AI can be a great support when it comes to stress testing and network optimization. According to the expert's predictions, with the introduction of 5G, the demand for such solutions will be continuously growing.

Is it worth investing in network management tools?

Investing in network change management software, whatever the platform is, will give your enterprise a possibility to increase efficiency and flow, as well as reduce the operational expenses. In case you pass the task of automation to the hands of a reliable provider, you don't have to worry about any negative implications.

When choosing the software, consider its flexibility and adjustment to the needs of your company. The big organizations with hundreds of employees will most likely choose a different variant than the small startup owners. Analyze the features of all software options and compare their prices - they can vary quite significantly.