Making the Leap to SDN With Agile Operations Enabled by NetBrain

Tracy Jiang
By Tracy Jiang June 23, 2017 4 minute read
Tracy Jiang is the VP, Product Strategy at NetBrain Technologies and responsible for company product strategy and strategic partnership development. As a veteran in the networking world, she has a strong passion in building innovative solutions to make the networks better and safer everyday.

Enterprise customers face increasing needs for robust data center networks while struggling to provide business agility for application deployment. This has lead to the growing adoption of Software Defined Network (SDN) solutions as part of a data center architecture evolution. Network teams now must understand this new architecture and manage it together with the rest of the enterprise network that is connected to the SDN fabric.

Without effective tooling support, the task of managing such an evolving heterogeneous network has proven to be very challenging. The following considerations present unique challenges to the Network Operations teams who are new to the SDN world:

  • How to obtain accurate and up-to-date visibility into the SDN fabric and the external network in a consistent and familiar way?
  • How to maintain a clear understanding of the overlay design, and easily drill down to underlay network devices during troubleshooting?
  • How to understand the applications deployed on a highly virtualized data center network?
  • How to quickly locate the network components associated with an application during troubleshooting to find the root cause?
  • How to identify the accurate path for an application flow traversing through a hybrid network and ensure the stability and performance for applications migrated onto an SDN network?

Making the Leap to SDN: Agile Operations Enabled by NetBrain

By expanding core technologies, such as Dynamic Network Mapping, A-B path discovery, and Executable Runbooks to cover SDN networks, NetBrain is bringing a powerful solution that addresses the above challenges and enables agile network operation over a hybrid network infrastructure. Further, NetBrain is making use of the advanced notification and performance metrics from SDN controllers, allowing a Dynamic Map to be the single pane of glass – across SDN and non-SDN environments.

At the upcoming Cisco Live, Las Vegas, June 25 – 29, 2017, we will showcase the NetBrain – Cisco ACI Integration Solution which will enable Network Operations teams to effectively manage the ACI fabric and the applications running on top of it. The key capabilities include:

  • Visualize an ACI network and its connections with the non-SDN network

Through the NetBrain-ACI integration, users will be able to leverage dynamically created maps to easily visualize the entire network, including the ACI fabric, the endpoints connected to the fabric, as well as the topological connections between the fabric and the external network.

  • Visualize both logical and physical connectivity

With its flexible and extensible topology framework, NetBrain can calculate and maintain both physical and logical connections between the physical and virtual devices. At the same time, it allows users to navigate between the different views and quickly drill down to find the root cause when troubleshooting in a highly virtualized environment.

  • Visualize rich data set on top of logical and physical maps

NetBrain also provides a powerful and fully customizable data visualization framework called Data View. Users can easily switch between different data sets overlaid on top of the base map to help them understand their network from different angles, such as various network designs, physical locations, security policies, etc. Users can also create their own Data View templates to bring important datasets from the ACI controller or other management systems onto the Dynamic Map. This helps engineers to correlate and analyze data in the context of topological network  map.

  • Quickly locate ACI objects in both network and application context

In the integrated solution, various ACI objects are organized into several intuitive tree structures. Using the filtering capability, users can easily locate the object and quickly understand its place in the entire ACI fabric deployment from both network and application design perspective.

  • Map out end to end paths across ACI fabric and the non-SDN network

Using the powerful NetBrain path engine, users can discover end-to-end application paths hop-by-hop for visibility across both ACI fabric and external network devices

  • Automated troubleshooting and on-demand monitoring on ACI and external network elements

Using NetBrain’s Executable Runbooks, users can automate common troubleshooting procedures and quickly pin down problems in a complex large-scale data center network. Runbooks make use of both traditional management data (gathered via SNMP and Telnet/SSH), as well as SDN advanced performance metrics (gathered via API), to help users quickly resolve problems. The intuitive and consistent interface abstracts the underlying complexity and puts powerful automation into the hands of every network engineer.

  • Easy one-stop access to all device data available

NetBrain’s Device Detail Pane serves as a one-stop shop for all relevant device information and actions, greatly simplifying the user’s experience and accelerating learning.

Stop by our booth (#1537) at the Cisco Live World of Solutions and be the first to preview these new functionalities!