June 12, 2020
In Part 1 of this overview, we examined the NetBrain Automation Success Framework as a whole. In Parts 2 and 3, we examined the elements of NetBrain that comprise Level-1 and Level-2 Automation Success, respectively. In this final part, we will examine the elements of Level-3.
Single Pane of Glass: The Power of Unification
In addition to all of its native features and functions, NetBrain has full RESTful API integration capability. The basic use of this capability is to link NetBrain to all of our other network monitoring and management systems. Once the systems can communicate, we can use Parser Files (see Part 2) to pull data from these other systems and use it in NetBrain automation. Because these other platforms often provide data and insights that cannot be gleaned directly from network devices, this grants us vast new possibilities in building our NetBrain automation.
Moreover, the ability to view the data generated by other platforms in the clarity of NetBrain’s Data View format makes those platforms that much more valuable and usable. This creates a positive feedback loop of value between our NetBrain deployment and our other systems.
Best of all is the fact that this integration, once complete, makes NetBrain the coveted Single Pane of Glass that we as an industry have been striving for. Quite aside from NetBrain making the data more easily useable, we save a great deal of time not having to bounce from one system to another.
Just-In-Time Automation: The Power of Speed
The highest tier of NetBrain Automation as it currently exists, Just-In-Time Automation (“JITA”) is the practice of setting a linked system to automatically trigger NetBrain automation when it detects a problem, receives an alert, et cetera. This automation consists of the creation of a Dynamic Map and (usually) the execution of a Runbook Template. This allows us to set up very powerful triggered responses to events within our network environment.
In practice, this means that we create a Runbook Template encompassing all of the data pulls and analysis that are indicated when a particular type of alert is detected by one of our monitoring or management systems. We then set that system to trigger the mapping of the affected network area and the execution of said Runbook Template when it detects such a problem. This means that all requisite data for initial assessment of this type of situation will be gathered immediately, without the need for human intervention. This allows the responding engineer to go directly to work upon the gathered data. Moreover, it also ensures that the data will be gathered while the problem is still in progress. This last point is especially valuable when combatting quick intrusions or intermittent problems, which are the bane of our existence as security and network engineers.
Want to Learn More?
This concludes my four-part series on NetBrain Automation Success. If this is the first article you’ve read, please find Parts 1 to 3 linked below.
To get started with the Level-1 Automation Success Package, please click on this beautiful and finely-crafted link.