There are several network management processes that should be performed on a regular basis to ensure the network is running optimally with minimum downtime. However, these tasks are often tedious and repetitive to perform manually so they are commonly delayed or not completed, leaving the network potentially vulnerable and in a less than optimal state.

For example:

Compliance Processes: Do all switches and access points configurations comply with the organisation’s policies? The security settings of the routers, switches and access points and the network management settings need to be checked on a regular basis against network policies. Are all network devices configured to send syslog to the correct repository?

Network Utilisation: Are there unused switch ports, and could connections be consolidated and perhaps some switches be re-deployed to other network locations? Or is the network getting close to full capacity and should new switches and access points be deployed to handle more traffic and users?

Network Resiliency: Does the network offer sufficient L2 and L3 redundancy? For example, are first hop redundancy protocols (like VRRP) configured and operating correctly?

Backing up configuration files: Are all the configuration files saved to non-volatile storage on the device and to backup storage?

Many network management platforms (NMS) offer tools to enable network administrators to perform these tasks interactively but having IT personnel run these tasks manually is time-consuming, error-prone and expensive. These tasks should be automated to ensure that the network is running optimally.

Many NMS are designed without automation in mind so traditional network automation approaches bypass the NMS to monitor and control network devices directly through SNMP, SSH, or other standard or proprietary protocols.

Limitations of the traditional approach:

The device discovery and registration process and the intelligence provided by the NMS cannot be accessed programmatically. The same applies to historical data aggregation and correlation. Data polling is inefficient and resource intensive. Compliance can suffer because company-specific compliance processes are too hard to automate.

SmartZoneOS 5 offers a comprehensive library of well documented REST-APIs that enables any application applications to programmatically invoke just about any network management function offered by the SmartZone OS graphical user interface (GUI) or command line interface (CLI).

IT managers and third-party applications can automate network processes by accessing the SmartZoneOS functions from within their own management and automation platforms and issue direct commands without creating error-prone proprietary scripts. Ruckus itself makes use of these APIs within its own products.

A full set of near real-time MQTT/protocol buffer data streams enable 3rd party applications to ingest all network data, statistics, and alarms (from: client, AP, switch, WLAN, controller, cluster) with little delay, no fidelity loss, and no need to create a firewall pinhole. These data streams enable the recreation of SmartZone dashboard elements or custom dashboards for internal and external consumption. Ruckus itself makes use of this capability to enable its own network analytics and reporting software.

Each SmartZone network controller supports access to a complete set of network machine-level metrics, enabling it to plug directly into existing automated backend systems and provide a ‘headless’ interface for the network infrastructure.

View the original post by Ruckus Networks.

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