Dealing with a network with more than tens of thousands of devices, AT&T’s team is facing an extremely complex environment, and manually maintaining an up-to-date map of a network of that size is extremely tedious and nearly impossible.
We sat down with John Cancellieri, Team Lead of IT & Design Engineering at AT&T and discussed how NetBrain helped solve these key issues for his organizations.
Sharing Network Knowledge
The team at AT&T is one of the most talented in the world, but, due to a number of acquisitions, only a handful have a long tenure working with the existing network. With NetBrain, engineers who are unfamiliar with the architecture and where endpoints live in the network are able to pull device history and easily understand what they are dealing with.
“Having NetBrain work as a discovery tool is a huge asset for our team, so that engineers with little knowledge of the existing network can still diagram and troubleshoot,” said Cancellieri.
Prior to implementing NetBrain, AT&T was relying on manual tools and process to map segments of the network each time an issue occurred. This led to tedious manual network diagramming, that takes hours each day. Cancellieri noted that being able to get a clear picture within minutes was a huge time-savings benefit and helped reduce the MTTR for AT&T.
Handling Network Audits
In addition to reducing diagramming issues to improve troubleshooting, AT&T also used NetBrain to pass a critical network audit. At one of their sites, the team needed diagrams to share with auditors, something that would have been tedious and extremely time consuming to do manually.
“We had just a couple of hours before the audit and we don’t have the manpower to map out a network that can take hundreds of hours to diagram,” said Cancellieri.
With NetBrain, they were able to map the entire network and share with the team in less than an hour, making a stressful audit much simpler and easier. When diagramming a network and providing clear visibility takes a matter of minutes, audits become much less of a challenge.
Making Change Management Simple
As part of a significant network refresh and office relocation, Cancellieri and his team leveraged NetBrain to compare configurations before and after orchestrating changes. In one instance, as they relocated wireless controllers and switches they captured the MAC addresses for static IP assignment and compared them to the new addresses when they were set up. They could easily see which ones were having issues reconnecting and proactively troubleshoot those devices.
“It’s a small function that we were able to take advantage of in a big way,” said Cancellieri. “We could get out ahead of any issues and ensure that there wasn’t going to be any downtime as a result.”
John concluded, “Overall, I think the power of the NetBrain platform is very impressive. The troubleshooting and dynamic mapping functionality has been the most helpful for our organization. Ultimately, whatever time and effort is put into it as a user, you will get even more out of it.”
It was great to learn about the value NetBrain is driving for a key team, and we thank John for taking the time to speak with us.