Data center networking is an integral part of modern enterprise networks. As data centers evolve from physical on-premises to digitized cloud infrastructures, there is a need for advancement in the methods network teams take to operate their data center networks. There is an increased interest in automating data center networks to expand agility and operational efficiency.

The Importance of Data Center Automation

The massive growth in data and the speed at which businesses operate today mean that manual monitoring, troubleshooting, and remediation is too slow to be effective and can put businesses at risk. Automation can make day 2 operations almost autonomous.

Data center automation is immensely valuable because it frees up human computational time. In addition, data center automation:

  • Delivers insight into all nodes and configurations.
  • Automates routine procedures like patching, updating, and reporting.
  • Produces and programs all data center scheduling and monitoring tasks.
  • Enforces data center processes and controls in agreement with standards and policies.

Tools for Data Center Automation

  • An API is a set of definitions and protocols for building and integrating application software. APIs save resources, time, and money, and can deliver consistency in developer environments.
  • Configuration management tools:
    • Ansible Tower is an automation platform for Red Hat Linux and more. Ansible Tower is a software framework that supports disciplines ranging from agile development to DevOps to continuous delivery.
    • Puppet is a framework and language that system operations professionals use to define operations like software deployment so that they can be automated. The Puppet language creates the definitions and workflow that are implemented by the Puppet framework. Puppet brings a common language and compatibility across a broad range of devices. IT departments use Puppet to automate intricate processes involving many pieces of hardware and software.
    • Chef is a suite of products that is open-source and commercial. Chef is written in Ruby and provides a framework in which users can write recipes. Those recipes can implement processes that span an entire infrastructure or focus on a single component. The three components of Chef are Chef, Inspect, and Habitat. You can use these components individually or together for a complete DevOps framework.