Make Safer Changes: Automated Change Validation
Ed. note: The following transcript has been drawn from the on-demand recording — no registration needed or form to fill out — of NetBrain’s Just in Time Automation for IT Operations…
May 24, 2017
Enterprise network management is already complex and becomes increasingly difficult as more and more network management tools are introduced.
For Scott Evers, a Network Engineer Lead at a large medical practice and research facility in the Midwest, making the transition to NetBrain has yielded several significant benefits, including the opportunity to streamline their inventory of network management tools.
Scott’s team manages a network of more than 5,000 routers and 10,000 access points, and network engineers within his organization leverage NetBrain for everything from network troubleshooting to enhancing knowledge management and collaboration.
From our discussions with Scott, here are the four critical areas where NetBrain has helped make life easier for him and his team:
For Scott and his team, reducing troubleshooting time was a key factor in choosing to implement NetBrain. In the past, they often relied on MS Visio or other manual tools for network diagramming.
“To manually draw out a network map takes at least a couple of hours, where NetBrain can do it in ten minutes. It’s a huge time savings,” said Evers. In addition to gaining clear end-to-end visibility in minutes, Scott is seeing significant benefits from being able to compare previous network configurations to the current configuration. This has been particularly helpful in speeding up the troubleshooting process for certain application-centric issues. “With NetBrain archiving a configuration every six hours, it allows us to go back and look at what changed when there is an issue. It’s helped us solve a number of issues,” he said.
Visually troubleshooting from point A to point B is another critical new function for Scott and team. He cited the ability to plug in two IP addresses and quickly see what’s in between as a major value-add, particularly when they previously performed this by mapping out by hand in MS Visio.
Managing security compliance and policies in an enterprise organization is a tough task, and with sensitive medical data at risk, it’s critical for Scott and his team. With NetBrain, the organization’s network has been much more consistent with configuration management and maintaining configuration compliance.
“We can create Dynamic Device Groups which don’t meet certain design or security configurations and we can do searches within change management to find which configurations are out of compliance,” said Evers. The ability to automate configuration compliance has made their network more secure, and requires less time to manage.
With more than 30 people in their network operations center and two-thirds of the staff in the company for less than two years, a majority of his team does not have much institutional knowledge in network history in the house. Ensuring that network knowledge and best practices are shared consistently has been much easier through NetBrain.
“NetBrain is one of the first tools our new hires get introduced to, as they will be using it every day on the job,” he added. Through NetBrain, the team can easily share network information and ensure that every network engineer is up to speed. The data center team at the organization also uses NetBrain to gain insights into the network, allowing more visibility between teams.
Prior to NetBrain, Scott and team leveraged different tools for mapping, configuration and diagramming. In what Scott described as a “simple” implementation process, NetBrain eliminated the need for three network tools, consolidating all that work through NetBrain.
“At this point we are able to do almost everything we need through NetBrain including visual troubleshooting, configuration backups, configuration management and inventory management,” said Evers. “It’s been a great value in that way,”
It was a pleasure to chat with Scott, particularly learning about their workflows and how NetBrain helps. He exudes deep knowledge and understanding about enterprise networking and I’m extremely grateful that he could take some time out to chat with us.