Network Automation Beyond Configuration Templating

Remember Nicky Davey describing how he got large DMVPN deployment back on track with configuration templating? In his own words…:

Configuration templating is still as big win a win for us as it was a year ago. We have since expanded the automation solution, and reading the old blog post makes me realise how far we have come. I began working with this particular customer in May 2017, so 2 years now. At that time the new WAN project was on the horizon and the approach to network configuration was entirely manual.

Here’s how far he got in the meantime:

When I step back now and look the thing I am most proud of is I have changed the way we do things on the team. My team are now increasingly looking to Ansible as the tool of choice. We have started to integrate NAPALM as well. It’s not just configuration or templating, it’s automated testing and verification as well. Once they saw the usefulness and ease of use of the tool they have begun to embrace it.

I present to the customers CIO and senior IT management once every 3 months as part of the senior account team, our MD also attends. I recently highlighted the progress we have been making using network automation. It can so easily go unnoticed as something that just happens in the background. However the customer is undergoing a cost transformation programme and I can demonstrate how recent requests for changes to the network in all locations (e.g. new VLAN or ACL update) can be implemented using Ansible to save time and ultimately money.

The old world alternative was to hand to follow the sun teams, and schedule it over a number of weeks as they implement a number of sites per night… and not surprisingly, the customer was very pleased with the progress.

Want to implement something similar in your network but don’t know where to start? The Building Network Automation Solutions online course will give you the fundamental knowledge you need to get started, architectural guidelines, deep dive into common network automation tools, and tons of real-life examples (here's what some other course attendees did).

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