by Quadri Sheriff (Community Member)
Computer networks are an essential part of a modern organization. They are a crucial part of an organization’s internal communication, data sharing, culture, and accessibility. As an organization grows, so does the complexity of its network. Organizations striving for efficiency find ways to manage their computer networks better to cater to their increasing growth.
In this article, you will learn about network automation and visualization and how they help an organization manage its computer network system. I will explain what network automation and network visualization is, how they work, and also state the importance of network automation and visualization.
What is Network Automation?
Network automation is the process by which the management of a network's devices(both physical and virtual) is automated. This includes the automation of a network's configuration, testing, deployment, operations, orchestration, security, etc.
Management of an organization's network has traditionally been performed manually. However, the processes required to manage a running network can be time-consuming, costly, rigid, and error-prone. Network automation helps an organization save time, reduce expenses, reduce error, and improve efficiency, especially when working at scale.
What is Network visualization?
Network visualization is a practice whereby the relationships between the entities in an organization's network are represented graphically. Network visualization can be in the form of network topology maps, charts, dashboards, etc., and can be created manually or automatically with software.
Manual network visualization can be very time-consuming and is not optimal. Automatic network visualization involves using software like Solarwinds network topology mapper, InterMapper, etc., for network visualization, which is less time-consuming and stressful.
How do Network automation and Network visualization work
Network automation involves using software tools or scripts to configure and manage the devices and resources. This is usually done with scripts or software tools. Python, Go, and Java are popular programming languages used for network automation. Standard CLI commands are also used for network automation in a Linux environment.
Note that not all parts of a network can be automated. Network operations, deployment, scaling, and orchestration can be automated to a certain degree, while network engineering or architecture will have to be done manually, not automated.
Network visualization involves generating maps, graphs, dashboards, and charts that represent the devices in a network. The nodes or vertices of the generated network visualization graph represent the network entities (network devices, network data, etc.). In contrast, the graph edges or links represent the relationship between these entities.
Importance of Network automation and Network visualization
The following are the importance of Network automation:
- Network automation boosts an organization’s ability to operate at scale - Running a network in a complex organization with many devices and data can be time-consuming and tedious. Network automation helps an organization save time and operate with more efficiency and less error at scale.
- Network automation helps an organization to cut down on expenses and improves efficiency - Running a network manually can be expensive, tedious, and error-prone. By using automation, organizations can reduce the manual workload needed to operate a running network and direct the IT workforce to other pending tasks, thereby spending less and improving efficiency.
- Network automation improves your network performance and resilience - Network automation makes it easier to manage your network state and configuration, which improves the network’s performance and reliability.
- Network automation makes it easier to analyze and resolve network issues - Automation gives you insights into wide-ranging network monitoring capabilities. This will make it much easier to pinpoint, analyze and resolve network issues.
- Network automation gives you the ability to make faster changes to an organization’s network - It is much easier and faster to execute changes in your network with automation than making those changes manually.
The following are the importance of Network visualization:
- Network visualization helps to maintain optimal network performance - Network visualization helps analysts to understand the state of a network more productively. You can quickly get an overview of all the servers, routers, and devices in your network and view connections between these devices that you would have overlooked otherwise, thereby ensuring optimal network performance and optimization.
- Improved network management and efficiency - The display of nodes and edges in a network visualization graph can help analysts pick out information that would have been ignored typically. Analysts can explore the relationships between data points and view patterns in those relationships that are not obvious when viewed without network visualization, making the management of a network more straightforward and more efficient.
Tools for Network Automation
The following are the popular software tools used for Network automation:
- Ansible - read also Create & Automate a network using Ansible
- Solarwinds automation manager
- Truesight Network automation
The following are the popular software tools used for Network visualization:
Updated 5 months ago