For all the buzz surrounding the need for greater agility, networks remain stubbornly difficult to manage. While we’ve clearly seen advances in software-defined networking (SDNs), the vast majority of network administrators don’t have the programming skills needed to manage an SDN environment, even if they could figure out how to deploy and maintain one.
Stepping into the void that currently exists between proponents of greater IT agility and networking, Brocade today unveiled a Brocade Workflow Composer application for automating the management of multiple networks.
Rather than relying on an SDN to achieve network agility, Patrick LaPorte, director of marketing for network automation at Brocade, says Brocade is making use of an event-driven platform it gained when it acquired StackStorm earlier this year, as well as open source IT automation software from Puppet, Docker containers and the Python programming language to create an application that network managers can use to reduce the amount of time it takes to provision networks and remediate issues without having to learn how to program.
LaPorte says that Brocade Workflow Composer not only sports open application programming interfaces (APIs) at all levels, it’s extensible beyond the Brocade portfolio of networking equipment. In addition, Brocade has included over 1,900 customizable integration points for popular platforms and applications such as Linux, Windows, vSphere, AWS, Azure, CloudFoundry, OpenStack, Docker, Kubernetes, CoreOS, FireEye, New Relic, Sensu, Splunk, ChatOps, PagerDuty and VictorOps.
SDNs will ultimately be widely deployed across most IT organizations, but it’s going to take a while before they become the default networking environment. In the meantime, many of the goals associated with deploying SDNs can be achieved sooner by relying more on automation tools to eliminate most of the manual processes associated with managing existing networks that are not likely to go away any time soon.