Creating Automation

NetBrain’s automation engine provides both “No-Code” and “Low-Code” approaches to transform the knowledge and experience of its Subject Matter Experts into executable automation units or “Runbooks” which are then stored in a shareable knowledge library. An organization’s entire staff of engineers and operators can leverage this combined knowledge to automate the execution of tasks to solve similar problems in the future.

Visual Parser - Gateway to Programmability without Code

NetBrain’s Visual Parser allows you to quickly turn device CLI command output or configuration file text into programable variables without coding to enable “What you see is what you can program.” Network engineers can parse the configuration file and CLI command output for many problems and produce no-code diagnosis automation that can be used by any network engineer.

NetBrain allows you to create a visual parser to parse your entire network across all devices for status, values, and errors at any time. You can add variables for a network intent to create automation for the diagnosis of specific issues.

The system allows you to define the following multiple types of parser or parser groups to parse variables. For each type of parser group, a set of parser rules work together to define how variables are extracted from raw text. With valid rules, the parser result is displayed instantly in the output pane and the corresponding raw data is highlighted on mouseover.

Data View Template (DVT) – Using Automation to Create a Custom Map View

Data View Template provides the capability to visualize various network information and drill down on a custom dynamic map to help network engineers in interactive troubleshooting scenarios. Variable-based golden baseline and historical data provide the power engineers need to understand the overall status of the data historically.

Drill-down actions can be organized by various types of automation features, like Network Intent, Runbook Template, CLI, Compare, etc. Engineers can leverage drill-down automation actions to perform further diagnosis.

NetBrain’s Single Pane of Glass capability is powered by the Data View Template and extended by parsers. Using NetBrain’s no-code approach, the intuitive UI and associated Visual Parser allow end-users to easily define the Data View Templates.

Executable Runbook – What You Do is What You Will Automate

Executable Runbooks are a set of visual operational steps that engineers create by capturing their step-by-step workflows to allow the automation of future problem diagnosis, network data collection, and troubleshooting tasks. Runbooks provide a visual way to codify the network troubleshooting process into an executable, reusable, and documentable workflow, to elevate collaboration efficiency. Subject matter experts can digitize their knowledge into a runbook template to capture best practices and remediations that other operators can use. Once Runbooks are executed, the results can be shared with anyone in the organization, facilitating collaboration and enabling higher-level engineers to code their advanced knowledge into repeatable automation units.

Runbooks appear as interactive panels within each Dynamic Map. They contain actions that can perform complex network tasks automatically, providing the user:

  • Command Line Automation
  • Enhanced Incident Collaboration
  • Streamlined Knowledge Sharing

Any network task can be automated in a few clicks. NetBrain’s automation tasks are designed to be vendor-agnostic, so the same action can be executed across heterogeneous, multi-vendor networks without incident.

Executable Runbooks can leverage datasets from third-party tools, enabling users to visualize information from all their existing tools into its Dynamic Map.

Executable Runbooks At-A-Glance
• Automate network operations on a large scale
• Effortlessly collaborate with multiple engineers using the same Dynamic Map
• Share and save network insights as to the groundwork for future troubleshooting

Guidebook – Share Automation to Anyone

The manually defined Guidebook is a container that includes Data View Template, Runbook Template, and Network Intent to describe a troubleshooting process for a specific network issue. It can be dynamically qualified to match eligible devices. The guidebook is designed to replace users’ static troubleshooting playbook.

NetBrain also provides a low-code visual programming environment for users that are more comfortable or have previous experience with light programming approaches, writing scripts, and using other programming tools. Over time most users gravitate to NetBrain’s No-Code technology, but both types of automation can co-exist upon the same instance of NetBrain.

Qapp – The Low-Code Application

Qapps are customizable programs that pull data from network devices and help engineers draw meaningful insights from the results. In the NetBrain system, they are automation tasks that you can execute. They retrieve and parse CLI commands from devices active on the Dynamic Map and visualize them for the user. You can create Qapps using NetBrain’s visual programming environment.

Examples of tasks a Qapp can perform include:

  • Checking and highlighting routing information
  • Checking device/interface running status
  • Export network and device data to CSV report
  • Detecting QoS Queue drops
  • Running security and compliance checks based on configuration data

Gapp – Leveraging Low-Code Functions

Gapps are sequences of multiple Qapps that use a branching logic flow – these are used for complex tasks and for scheduled network checks. Gapps are advanced automation tasks, able to incorporate multiple Qapps together to handle more complex tasks within the network. Gapps string Qapps together with if/then logic, determining whether a Qapp in sequence will execute based on the result of the upstream Qapp. The output of one Qapp is used to filter the input of the next Qapp in the sequence. For complex analysis tasks, this makes execution much more efficient.
Gapps help narrow down problem scopes with multi-stage automation and are particularly useful for scheduled tasks – their logic enables complex tasks to be executed without the need for a human operator.

Feature Intent Template (FIT) Enhancements

NetBrain provides a repository of 100 Guidebooks, for specific troubleshooting scenarios and 100 types of well-known problem diagnoses based on config file decoding. Each Guidebook is instantiated to X number of intents and installed to AM probes, via FIT. NetBrain customers then can leverage these FITs to make updates via the Knowledge Cloud.

Customers’ DevOps engineers can also leverage FIT to batch create their network-specific automation assets.

Advanced Parser (System Parser)

NetBrain Advanced Parser is a file used to parse key network metrics (as known as variables) from command output or device configuration for most automation problem resolutions. As the core of automation, Advanced Parser simplifies the creation of Qapps and for low-code automation, every network engineer can leverage.