FRAMINGHAM, 23 MARCH 2011 - As you plan for a more highly virtualized, possibly cloud computing-based future, do you ever find yourself wondering whether you've automated network management operations enough? Or, perhaps more appropriately, where next to automate?
A self-assessment tool from Infoblox, a network infrastructure automation and control vendor, might help answer those questions for you. The "Network Automation Assessment," available here, is a quick and easy way to figure out how your automation efforts compare to what's going on at other organizations.
In the assessment tool, Infoblox breaks network automation capabilities into four areas: those affecting operational health and stability of the network, efficiency and user error avoidance, security and compliance, and inventory. It awards from three to 20 points for each type of automation in use, for a total potential tally of 208.
Use of scripts to automate network change and configuration tasks is among the most basic of efforts, awarded three points. Also along that spectrum, with five points, are automatic DNS and DHCP protocol-level load balancing and failover, automated provisioning of infrastructure IP endpoints and automated tracking and management of virtual IP addresses and switches, for example.
At the top end, with the only 20-point potential, is the ability to update network-infrastructure dynamically and reallocate network resources on the fly based on business service needs. You can claim 15 points if you can track who is changing what on the network at any given time or have instituted the ability to compare configuration settings to gold standards or best practices templates automatically, as well as receive immediate notification when there is a failure.
If you hit 150 or more points, then relax. Infoblox considers this a "Gold" rating, and your organization at superstar level. On the other hand, if you've racked up fewer than 50 points, Infoblox suggests taking immediate action to bring more automation into your environment. In the middle is 100 to 150, which is great but allows for some improvement, and 50 to 99, which puts your organization at risk of network failures, compliance and security issues, Infoblox says.
By way of full disclosure, Infoblox says it offers some, but not all of the automation capabilities addressed in this self-assessment tool.
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