Nibbles & Bits

Six Critical Ways Software Can Automate Network Management

by | June 4, 2013

Automate Network Provisioning

Faced with new demands for virtualization, cloud-based computing, exploding mobile data and smart device growth, service providers have outgrown the manual spreadsheets and proprietary vendor appliances they’ve historically relied on to provision their networks. These approaches are much too time consuming, too piecemeal and too error prone to permit network managers to keep up with the ever-growing volume of change-management orders.

Software that automates key elements of the provisioning process and allows customers to service themselves frees up staff cycles, reduces configuration errors and enables service providers to stay abreast of the demand for new services. Here are six critical network management functions that can be readily automated with an integrated suite of software provisioning tools:

  1. IP address management (IPAM) that automatically manages IPv4 and IPv6 allocations and assignments for both internal and external network spaces. This includes auto-subnetting, Regional Internet Registry (RIR) Integration and data tagging to reduce the time it takes to provision a block of IP addresses from 45 minutes down to a mere 15 seconds.
  2. DNS server and DNSSEC management that automatically imports your existing BIND zone data, outputs it to your DNS server(s) and generates DS keys with a single click. This simplifies zone creation, improves accuracy and makes it easy to edit reverse records for IPAM allocations.
  3. DHCP server configuration that includes DHCPv6 support, and a unified control interface for your DHCP server infrastructure. This greatly simplifies back-end tracking and auditing to ensure compliance and allows for an integrated provisioning process that is tied to IP and DNS data.
  4. Peering and BGP session management that provides one-click BGP session configuration across multiple exchanges and router types using exchange point data to generate peering request lists. Peering sessions are configured automatically, with integrated session status.
  5. Asset management based on a flexible and customizable data architecture. This allows for a single source for tracking IP related aspects to your network devices in addition to “offline” data that may be required. This greatly simplifies management of all network-attached, IP-enabled devices, without resulting in yet another information silo since it can be used to track multiple types of devices.
  6. A self-service portal that allows customers to order new services and automatically provision themselves. Apart from reducing your staffing requirements, automated self-service means new customers can get online much faster, while existing customers can deploy new services much more quickly than before.

Which network management functions have you automated?

You have IPv6!

You’re on IPv4.

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