How to address automated networking strategically

Manage complex modern networks with an automation strategy

In networking, as in life, it's good to have a plan. Right now, enterprises and their IT staffs need a plan for automated networking.

Network automation shifts routine operations in deployment, configuration and management from time-consuming manual steps to software; it allows an automated response to, for instance, meet demands on network bandwidth and routing. Finally, it frees network engineers to apply their talents to more cognitively demanding -- not to mention more interesting -- tasks.

The promise of automated networking is great, but it's going to take some serious planning to realize that promise. Automating networks requires that networking engineers -- experts trained to manually configure hardware to run the network -- must now learn to use software, to trust software, to do those tasks.

Done right, this software can configure, provision and run vast, essential networks and allow for the smooth flow of traffic at a rate unimaginable just a decade ago. By reducing the number of manual steps an IT staff has to take to manage and adjust the network, managers can deploy services and applications more quickly, which makes business more efficient.

In this three-part handbook, our experts delve into the changes automated networking will bring and what changes networking pros must make now to reap its benefits. If your team doesn't yet have a plan for automating your network, this handbook also provides a roadmap to developing one. If you already have a plan in the works, these tips will let you assess your strategies to ensure you're on the right track.