We all want network automation. It saves our IT team’s time and brainpower for more important work.
But many enterprises still rely on their network engineers to manually provision networks. This makes for slow network operations that are time-consuming and drain resources. It’s a drag to manually add host records, adjust domain controls for internet breakout, or add multiple DNS entries. Agree, right?
Automation that really works—that is reliable, easy to use, and secure—has a strong foundation in your network infrastructure.
The secret to automating your enterprise at the next level is DNS.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics of automating networks. Next, we’ll cover how DNS fits in and why including it is so important. Furthermore, we’ll look at how software-based tools and APIs can help. Finally, we’ll talk about the real benefits to your organization.
What is network automation?
Automation happens when your network performs everyday tasks without a human. Automating helps IT admins take mundane and repetitive work off their plate. As a result, it gives them time to do more high-level things.
Whether your network devices are physical or virtual, you can automate any aspect of:
Ultimately, this is how you build an automated IT enterprise. Software and other tools will help (and we’ll get to that shortly).
According to one Gartner expert, if you invest in just one thing in 2019, it should be automating your network. Certainly, that includes people, processes, and technology.
We should note that automation in this context is not artificial intelligence or machine learning. There are no analytical decision models or autonomous vehicles here. This is about implementing software and other tools that can do ordinary IT work for you.
How DNS fits into network automation
Today, many enterprises handle DNS manually. And we’re letting you in on a secret: DNS is a critical component of automation frameworks. Here’s why.
If someone needs an IP address provisioned, they must submit a help desk ticket and an IT admin must respond. Sometimes, development teams are just granted overly broad admin access because they need frequent IP provisioning. The former is time-consuming for everyone; the latter presents security risks.
Both increase the chances for introducing human errors that can, at their worst, bring an entire network down.
Automating DNS on the back end allows admins to roll out self-service functionality directly to stakeholders. This improves everyone’s productivity. And it follows security best practices to limit access to core network services.
A self-service model lightens the burden of managing routine network configuration requests and IP address management (IPAM) changes. In short, it makes IT admin life easier. And here are some other reasons why automating DNS is so valuable for next-level automation:
- It reduces the turnaround time for critical requests from days to minutes.
- Configuration management is much easier to implement.
- It removes unnecessary work out of device registration and onboarding.
- It reduces the chance of introducing human errors.
- Employees, contractors, and guests can register their own devices.
- Device connection through self-service can be efficient, simple, and secure.
- By tracking every device, tie mobile activity to network access for complete control.
- You can build a scalable infrastructure to meet new up-to-the-second requirements.
End-to-end automation with software and APIs
Every IT automation project needs a flexible and nimble architecture that uses software-defined networking. It all starts with network automation software. With these tools, you can have a centralized and automated DNS enterprise infrastructure.
A rich set of APIs
A rich set of APIs is also critical for end-to-end automated network management. Many APIs are open source. Our API set, available at BlueCat Labs, accesses our portfolio of tools and integrates them with infrastructure solutions from other leading commercial vendors.
With APIs, you can make custom and process-compliant changes to IP and DNS configurations. Meanwhile, you retain complete visibility and control over IPAM data. With our Adaptive DNS tools, you can make thousands of API calls every hour in production environments. Furthermore, you can integrate your back-end DNS infrastructure with other operational tools that your users rely upon.
Enabling automation tools and self-service functionality frees IT teams from managing routine IPAM changes. Consequently, this dramatically reduces the turnaround time for critical network requests. Additionally, with software tools and APIs, you can:
- Spin up and take down tens of thousands of virtual machines per hour.
- Deliver cloud compute in minutes.
- Automate millions of transactions on area networks.
- Deliver orchestrated network creation.
- Conduct security monitoring.
- Provision solutions for data centers and cloud environments.
Automatic network discovery
A single, centralized point of truth for DNS data provides total visibility into the devices operating on a global network. Automatic discovery retrieves information directly from routers and switches. This augments IPAM data with valuable network-sourced information.
With an enterprise-grade DNS architecture on the back end, you can identify changes to connected devices across your network. Similarly, you can automatically pinpoint newly added or recently removed IP addresses. Along with network reconciliation, the latter can be targeted for reclamation. Additionally, unauthorized or suspect IP addresses can be identified for further investigation.
Furthermore, this combined data can be integrated with existing network systems via API for trouble ticketing and tracking. Automate your service through APIs, drive it by policy, and make it available instantly. As a result, deliver the service levels your business demands.
Network automation benefits
Certainly, automating your network through DNS frees up IT admin time and diverts brain power to more meaningful work.
Additionally, it lowers the risk of introducing human errors. This increases reliability and avoids downtime. Furthermore, it lowers costs and simplifies operations. With automation, fewer man-hours are required to configure, provision, and monitor DNS resources.
Ultimately, it provides greater insight into and control over your network. The secret is out, so take your automated network to the next level. Our step-by-step guide to DNS automation can help you get started.
Critical conversations on critical infrastructure
Find out how your peers are managing their networks through profound change. Watch this series of live interactive discussions with IT pros & join the debate in Slack.
BlueCat Blueprint for AWS
Instructions provided allow BlueCat Address Manager (BAM) and BlueCat Gateway to discover and import data from an Amazon cloud environment.
React faster at the wire with BlueCat and ExtraHop
With the BlueCat ExtraHop Plugin, automatically create missing PTR records, and detect and react to security threats before they reach DNS servers.
Yes, IT should see what developers do in the cloud
Errors and outages occur when admins lack visibility into DNS and IP allocation in the cloud. With Bluecat, central DDI visibility is within reach.
Why McMaster University didn’t want another CIO
McMaster’s CTO, Gayleen Gray, highlights the importance of her unique role in a world where expectations of the CIO and CTO are colliding.