How NetBrain Works

To help network teams manage their physical, virtual, and SDN environments, NetBrain uses the power of the Dynamic Map to deliver end-to-end visibility while integrating across IT workflows and with third-party systems (e.g., ticketing, SIEM, etc.) to automate network and security tasks.

Four Phases of NetBrain Automation

Intelligent discovery – NetBrain discovers the network’s topology and underlying design.

A model of the network – NetBrain builds a database of information to model the live network.

End-to-end visibility – Users can map any part of the network on-demand with Dynamic Maps. These custom maps become the user interface for network automation and collaboration.

Automation – Executable Runbooks can be customized to automate any network analysis or diagnosis, and also triggered-from third-party systems (e.g., ticketing, SIEM, etc.).

How Does NetBrain Collect Data From the Network?

Almost everything NetBrain knows about the network is learned through Telnet or SSH. During the network discovery, NetBrain logs into every device it discovers to issue and analyze many CLI commands. NetBrain uses SNMP to identify the vendor make and model, so it knows the proper CLI syntax to execute. To kick off the discovery, NetBrain only needs the IP address of a core router or switch. It will learn the neighbors of that device via CDP, LLDP, and other protocols. This neighbor-walking discovery is very fast – discovering about 2,000 network devices per hour.

What Information Does NetBrain Collect From the Live Network?

During the discovery, NetBrain collects information about the network’s topology as well as its underlying design – taking into account configuration, routing, MAC/ARP tables, MPLS design, and much more. The discovery provides a baseline of information which NetBrain uses to build its dynamic maps. The information in the maps can be further enriched through live performance monitoring and customized with Executable Runbooks.

How Does NetBrain Dynamically Build a Map?

As NetBrain performs the discovery, it creates a complex mathematical model of the network. This model serves as the “brain” of NetBrain, which is used to build every map. Each icon on a Dynamic Map is more than a stencil, it is data-driven, with dozens of attributes.

How Does NetBrain Track Changes in the Network?

To prevent the network model from becoming obsolete, NetBrain performs a recurring re-discovery – a process known as a Benchmark. This Benchmark can be scheduled on the server at any frequency, and customized to include or exclude various network data.

How Does NetBrain Support Customization as an Open Platform?

The data which NetBrain pulls from the live network can be enhanced and customized through Executable Runbooks. Runbooks support additional logic to generate alarms, annotate the map, or create reports automatically. These runbooks can be built or customized through NetBrain’s visual programming environment, without any scripting. To support new network devices and operating systems, NetBrain includes a plug-n-play device driver tool.

How Does NetBrain Handle Data From Other NMS Sources?

NetBrain retrieves data primarily through telnet and SNMP but also offers easy API integration for inventory data queries and updates through other Network Management Solutions.

How Is NetBrain Deployed on the Network?

NetBrain Enterprise Edition has five components: Customer License Server, Workspace Server, Automation Server, Network Server and the Workstation.