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Evolving the Network Automation Journey from Python to Platforms

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Evolving the Network
Automation Journey from
Python to Platforms
Chris Wade
CTO & Co-Founder, Itential
Network Automation & How to Think
About the Challenge
We can put our challenges under a standard definition of
market and product maturity.
Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity
Undefined
Different
Unstable
Forming
Emerging
Learning
Growing
Common
Feature
Difference
Mature
Standard
Essential
*Wardley Maps
Let’s View Other Parts of IT/Cloud
Infrastructure
We generally believe Public Cloud IaaS and Compute/Storage
has been more successful moving toward commoditization.
Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity
Most AI Use
Cases
Infrastructure as
Code
Platform
Engineering
Serverless
Service Mesh
K8
Compute (VMs)
Storage
(Block/Object)
Containers
*Wardley Maps
How Do We Think About the Challenge?
Our focus can be on opportunities to commoditize
components to unlock innovation.
Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity
Most AI Use
Cases
Infrastructure as
Code
Closed Loop
Automation
Platform
Engineering
Ansible
Jinja2 Templates
Network Telemetry
NETCONF
Swagger APIs
Pipelines
Code Repository
Python
*Wardley Maps
How do we standardize this complexity?
We don’t.
Branch
Office
Branch
Office
Branch
Office
Internet Data Center
Why is Networking Stuck on its
Evolution?
CLI still dominant for
device by device configs
Systems not in place to
manage via APIs
Data models are
unique
NETCONF/YANG not
ubiquitous
Cloud operating model not in
alignment with Network
operations
EMS/NMS – Networking ‘tools’
built for swivel chair /
manual operations
Ad

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Evolving the Network Automation Journey from Python to Platforms

  • 1. Your logo here Evolving the Network Automation Journey from Python to Platforms Chris Wade CTO & Co-Founder, Itential
  • 2. Network Automation & How to Think About the Challenge We can put our challenges under a standard definition of market and product maturity. Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity Undefined Different Unstable Forming Emerging Learning Growing Common Feature Difference Mature Standard Essential *Wardley Maps
  • 3. Let’s View Other Parts of IT/Cloud Infrastructure We generally believe Public Cloud IaaS and Compute/Storage has been more successful moving toward commoditization. Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity Most AI Use Cases Infrastructure as Code Platform Engineering Serverless Service Mesh K8 Compute (VMs) Storage (Block/Object) Containers *Wardley Maps
  • 4. How Do We Think About the Challenge? Our focus can be on opportunities to commoditize components to unlock innovation. Idea Custom/DIY Product Commodity Most AI Use Cases Infrastructure as Code Closed Loop Automation Platform Engineering Ansible Jinja2 Templates Network Telemetry NETCONF Swagger APIs Pipelines Code Repository Python *Wardley Maps
  • 5. How do we standardize this complexity? We don’t. Branch Office Branch Office Branch Office Internet Data Center
  • 6. Why is Networking Stuck on its Evolution? CLI still dominant for device by device configs Systems not in place to manage via APIs Data models are unique NETCONF/YANG not ubiquitous Cloud operating model not in alignment with Network operations EMS/NMS – Networking ‘tools’ built for swivel chair / manual operations
  • 7. Previous Attempts: Abstractions Abstractions are generally a good thing when the items being abstracted are similar. When we are abstracting VLANs for Cisco and Arista things are simple(r).
  • 8. Previous Attempts: Abstractions But they become problematic when we add cloud and programmable concepts… We move from abstracting and apple and a pear to an apple and a shoe J
  • 9. Previous Attempts: Single Source of Truth When you have spreadsheets and sticky notes, a database with APIs is a great idea!
  • 10. Previous Attempts: Single Source of Truth But when we add programmable networks with existing sources of truth… Anyone logged onto AWS and thought the console was incorrect? How about your CMDB..
  • 11. Previous Attempts: Standardization When Ethernet services are offered wholesale…
  • 12. Previous Attempts: Standardization Attempts to standardize SD-WAN, SASE, and Cloud services doesn’t make sense as these vendors are working diligently to differentiate. Do SD-WAN vendors care?
  • 13. Standardization is Not Uniquely a Network Challenge We had a CMP (Cloud Management Platform) market that attempted to build abstractions across Public Cloud vendors. The desire to differentiate does not allow for abstractions. Or the abstractions are worthless to the point that everyone builds custom extensions – sound familiar?
  • 14. Separate Automation & Orchestration We have mashed Automation and Orchestration together in ways which create global choices suboptimized for each domain. This adds to ‘cultural challenges’ in adopting automation mindset. Orchestration Recommend viewing automation domains as loosely coupled to use best tooling and strategies while harmonizing with central orchestration. CDK AVD SD-WAN Controller Terraform Python
  • 15. Automation Domains ● Networking technology ● Method of execution ● Data structure ● Source of truth Attempts to drive single automation strategy across automation domains leads to suboptimization of tooling and friction between teams. Data Center Example Cloud Example
  • 16. Python to Platforms Obfuscation of domain specific SOT, tooling, data models allow for standard ‘network products’ to be exposed via APIs, ITSM systems, to LOB & application teams. (CNCF Project) Orchestration
  • 17. Attempts to Support Network Programmability & Automation IETF – Internet Standards, RFCs (NETCONF & relevant automation protocols) IEEE – Networking Standards (Ethernet, WiFi) MEF – Ethernet Services + Sonata (LSO) TMF – OSS/BSS APIs + eTOM Data Models USNUA – Local Meetups NANOG – IXC, Operation Excellence OpenSource – Linux Foundation OpenConfig – Network Models
  • 18. So, What Do We Need from NAF? ● How to get started ● How to get funded ● What partners really support my vision ● Vendors who work together to grow the community Let’s all join in demanding infrastructure providers publish their APIs and interfaces publicly without paywall or IP restrictions so we can get on with automating their stuff!
  • 19. How Itential is Supporting NAF & This Vision ● NetDevOps automation focus. High-Code. Support your IaC efforts. ● Integration with cloud and traditional networks. ● OOTB platform to orchestrate your automation. ● Partner ecosystem – no one goes alone. ● Self-service and platform engineering capabilities to engage with your customers. ● SaaS delivery for ease of use.
  • 20. Questions? The best way to get started with automation is to automate anything.