From the moment networks appeared, they steadily grew bigger and became increasingly complex. Engineers have sought to automate any possible activity since then. Network automation is the process of automating the configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operation of physical and virtual devices in a network. By eliminating tedious and manual processes, it is possible to reduce operational expenses, reduce human error, and achieve better time to market.
Network automation is not a new topic, but in recent years, it has exponentially increased in importance due to external factors such as the need for agility in responding to growth. Although it’s still in its infancy, network automation is already a critical pillar on an organization’s strategy. Companies are redesigning and rethinking their network strategies, and some are even being pushed toward automation without clear processes or goals.
This book approaches the topic from the point of view of an IT professional who is well versed in networking and related topics—including cloud, compute, and other components in today’s networks—and is trying to take both physical and virtual infrastructure to a semi- or fully automated state. The book explains the fundamentals of network automation, including a variety of tools and their use cases and data and how to extract value from it. This book also takes a deep dive into a specific tool, Ansible, showing how to use it to solve a number of common use cases in networking.
A key aspect of the book is its practical approach to the topic. It is filled with code snippets you can reuse for your own use cases, as well as real case studies that show practical applications of all this knowledge.
Although this is a Cisco Press book, it takes a vendor-neutral approach to automation tools and techniques. It will give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions when automating your own use cases.
Last but not least, the book explains how to produce a network automation strategy, which is a key piece that is notoriously missing in many enterprises today. It helps a reader focus automation efforts on a fruitful network automation journey rather than a journey without a clear purpose.
Cover Page About This eBook Title Page Copyright Page Pearson’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Credits About the Author About the Technical Reviewers Dedications Acknowledgments Contents at a Glance Contents Icons Used in This Book Command Syntax Conventions Introduction Goals and Methods Who Should Read This Book? How This Book Is Organized Book Structure Chapter 1 Types of Network Automation Data-Driven Automation Task-Based Automation End-to-End Automation Tools Summary Review Questions Chapter 2 Data for Network Automation The Importance of Data Data Formats and Models Methods for Gathering Data Summary End Notes Review Questions Chapter 3 Using Data from Your Network Data Preparation Data Visualization Data Insights Case Studies Summary Review Questions Chapter 4 Ansible Basics Ansible Characteristics Installing Ansible Variables Playbooks Conditionals Loops Handlers Executing a Playbook Roles Summary Review Questions Chapter 5 Using Ansible for Network Automation Interacting with Files Interacting with Devices Interacting with APIs Case Studies Summary Review Questions Chapter 6 Network DevOps What NetDevOps Is NetDevOps Tools How to Build Your Own NetDevOps Environment Case Studies Summary Review Questions Chapter 7 Automation Strategies What an Automation Strategy Is Why You Need an Automation Strategy How to Build Your Own Automation Strategy Summary Review Questions Appendix A Answers to Review Questions Index Code Snippets
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