June 2, 2020
The NetBrain Integrated Edition platform is fairly straightforward to install and configure, but building your NetBrain deployment to its full potential takes time and effort. This is because your NetBrain deployment must evolve to meet the needs of your network.
We here at NetBrain have devised a three-level framework to explain the common development path of a NetBrain deployment. Please note that this is a framework for discussion, not an ironclad path of progression. For example, many NetBrain users choose to develop a particular use case or technology through to Level-3, then the next.
Level-0: This refers to the traditional methods of network and security engineering, without the use of NetBrain. As we see in the graphic, at least 75% of an engineer’s time is traditionally spent gathering, analyzing, and collating data via manual processes. Even with a full suite of traditional network management tools, a maximum of about 25% of manual labor can be offloaded into automation, not least because data is spread between manual documentation and these various systems.
Level-1: This refers to the use of basic NetBrain functions and simple automation in our normal workflow. This includes Network Discovery, Benchmarking, and Calculated Topologies. With these, we can build Dynamic Maps on demand. These functions are extremely powerful, and are also the foundation of Adaptive Network Automation in NetBrain. Level-1 automation also encompasses the most basic types of Adaptive Automation, such as Data View Templates, the Golden Baseline, the Parser Files that underlie them, and system tasks to regularly gather the data they require. In short, Level-1 Automation Success automates general data collection and analysis in support of any task.
Level-2: This refers to the building of Runbook Templates and Qapps to automate full troubleshooting, security response, and other procedures. As it turns out, it’s quite simple to bring our procedure documentation right into NetBrain in the form of Runbook Templates, and also turn each step into a single click in the form of Qapps or Gapps. In short, Level-2 Automation Success automates the data collection, analysis, and procedure for specific incidents.
Level-3: This refers to the linking of NetBrain to our other network management systems via RESTful API. Once integrated, each of these systems becomes an additional source of data that can be used in NetBrain automation. NetBrain thus becomes our Single Pane of Glass for network operations. Moreover, we can set up Just-In-Time-Automation, where other systems can be set to automatically trigger NetBrain automation when they detect a problem. In short, Level-3 Automation Success automates the end-end resolution process with integrated tools and triggered activities.
Over the next few days, I will be posting a series of 3 more articles, each going into depth about what’s involved in one of the levels of Automation Success in NetBrain. Once they are live, we will add links to each article below.
In the meantime, if you want to get a head start on ASL-1, please click on this beautiful and finely-crafted link!