Nibbles & Bits

8 Things to Look for in an Automated Network Provisioning System

by | June 16, 2013

automated-network-provisioning-requirements

If you’re an operator or an administrator and you work in the trenches, you’re probably already well aware that something’s gotta give on the network management and provisioning front.   At this point, trying to keep up with all the adds, deletes and changes using a manual, spreadsheet-based system is like trying to count grains of sand on a beach. You either figure out a better way to accomplish the task or it just doesn’t get done.

In the case of network provisioning, the better way is to automate routine tasks like IP address and subnet management and DNS and DNSSEC configuration. Here are eight important attributes to consider when evaluating the different automated provisioning platforms on the market today:

A flexible platform: Look for a solution that provides a flexible, adaptable platform that can conform to your provisioning requirements and process. This ensures a more rapid deployment and avoids a ‘force fit’ situation where people and processes have to adapt to the new tools.

Vendor-agnostic software: Consider a vendor agnostic solution that allows current systems to remain in place ‘as is.’ This helps keep deployment costs low by minimizing the need to invest in new systems and allows you to deploy best-of-breed systems going forward without fear of vendor ‘lock-in.’

Comprehensive support for IPv6 and DNSSEC:  Choose a solution that provides more than simple address tracking.  Look for functions like auto-subnetting, which simplifies configuration issues and eliminates common problems like double assigning the same IP address, and address block tracking, which can replace ad hoc address assignments based on immediate operational requirements with address allocation policies based on service and customer priorities.

Support for non-proprietary operating systems: Select software that runs on non-proprietary operating systems such as LINUX with a design based on the LAMP stack.  Other open standards should be supported too, including open APIs such as RESTful. This ensures that the provisioning suite can support the broadest possible array of devices and network configurations both now and in the future.

Rapid provisioning: Only consider automated provisioning systems that reduce the time needed for common tasks, such as assigning a block of IP addresses, by a minimum of 80 percent.  This will maximize your productivity gains.

SaaS and local service options: Work with vendors whose software can be deployed as either a hosted, SaaS-based service, or locally, behind your own firewall. Either way, make sure the software can be deployed quickly—in a matter of days, not months. This gives you maximum latitude, allowing you to choose the model that best supports your own financial and operational requirements.

Data analyst support: Seek out a provisioning vendor who includes access to a team of data analysts in your service package.  These experts can provide quick, efficient support for common implementation problems like identifying redundant address assignments, which can greatly expedite your roll out.

Usage-based purchase terms: Choose a software provider that allows you to procure the software based on usage, adjusting the terms up or down as your requirements change. This means you won’t be forced to purchase more capacity or hardware than you actually require.

What type of automated network provisioning with you deploy?

“We decided to move our rather complex IP address and DHCP management process to ProVision and it has worked out great for us!! The team at 6connect were very flexible and went above and beyond to accommodate our requirements and helped to make the migration as smooth and hitch free as possible. Kudos to the team @ 6connect!”

Premkumar Subramaniam
Head of R&D
viewquest

“We are excited to be partnering with 6connect to leverage their technology and talent. We particularly admire their long-standing IPv6 contributions and their ability to service and support customers in this area, some who are the largest service provider in the world. The 6connect executive leadership team and technical team are great to work with and we look forward to many partnered projects to help customers address their Cloud, IoT and Security needs with IPv6. Automation, workflow and orchestration are critical to the success of most of these projects and 6connect is well positioned to help our mutual customers in those areas.”

Ed Horley
Co-Founder & CEO
HexaBulid

“Enterprises can struggle managing purposefully segmented DDI architectures with any agility. Our partnership with 6connect empowers customers with complex infrastructures to move faster to service the business while consolidating visibility and control over their estate.”

Andrew Wertkin
Chief Strategy Officer,
BlueCat

“6connect’s approach to automation addresses quite a few challenges with physical and virtual networks – how to improve the agility of your current network infrastructure without sacrificing reliability and adoption of future network technologies.”

Pär Lange
Investment Director
SwissCom

“A customer is looking for an integrated solution from a single vendor for both IPAM and DNS. Through the 6connect reseller program, Secure64 is able to offer the most secure DNS solutions married to a unique combination of IPAM and resource provisioning that customers want. It’s a marriage made in heaven.”

Mark Beckett
VP of Marketing
Secure64

“A huge benefit of working with the 6connect team is that they devoted a lot of resources to get our products integrated so we had the turnkey solution that we could take to market. It was very easy to work with their team to get product integrated and successfully launched.”

Mark Beckett
VP of Marketing
Secure64

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