Gluware introduced a network automation tool that it contends will reduce the time it takes for enterprises to provision and configure legacy networks.
Customers use the network automation tool, Config Modeling, to export information about their networks to Gluware, which then makes a map of the network and the components that need upgrading or provisioning. The software supports 16 OSes and hardware from 12 vendors, including Cisco, Aruba and Extreme Networks, and functions that include firewalls, routers and switches.
Gluware makes the requested changes remotely and can put them into operation within days, eliminating the time it takes an engineer to manually provision or upgrade a network device. The modeling tool also means engineers don't have to learn programming languages in order to update devices.
Automation grows in enterprise IT
"What Gluware is doing is taking a very tactical approach to how we bring automation to the network by bringing a discovery function, creating a representation of [a] network in machine-readable form," Cliff Grossner, an analyst at IHS Markit, said about the modeling tool.
"It's a very important first step to apply analytics on top of that to monitor changes. One unique thing is that they're focused on using existing network equipment. You don't have to change NOS [network operating systems] or switches. It's not for greenfields only," he added.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but I like [Gluware's] positioning. I anticipate they're in the right spot. And I also believe that the demand for automation and the need for intent-driven networking where we have the network management systems is going to be next step for the marketplace," Grossner said.
Enterprise Management Associates has found a corresponding increase in the demand among enterprises to employ automation tools within their operations, with 92% of IT pros saying they have an initiative in place to expand network automation.
How Config Modeling works
Once networking information is uploaded, Gluware engineers work with customers to determine which features to automate; those features are then imported into Gluware Control -- the company's orchestration software. Config Modeling is a new addition to Gluware Control, which also includes software that oversees routing, switching, firewall, load balancing, WAN optimization and wireless LAN control. The product integrates with white box, open source devices through either a command-line interface or RESTful API.
Jeff Gray, CEO at Gluware, based in Sacramento, Calif., said a key aspect of Config Modeling is to reduce the time engineers now spend to manually configure devices. A recent Cisco survey found 95% of network changes were still occurring manually.
According to Gray, customers usually have to buy new vendor hardware to get automation capabilities. As a result, most intent-based networking approaches involve fully redeploying the network. That approach hasn't interested many customers, he said.
Licensing for the Config Modeling network automation tool begins at $10 to $25 per month, per node, based on app type and volume. For larger enterprises, Gluware also offers perpetual licenses and other pricing bundles.