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Leveraging APIs to Enable End-to-End Network Automation

by the O&A Working Group Members including Gluware VP, Michael Haugh

Blog #2 in a Series on APIs from the ONUG O&A Working Group

Part One of this blog series on APIs for network automation set the foundation for the importance of using APIs (application programming interfaces) for network and end-to-end process automation. Here in Part Two, we are going to look at more of the implementation details and points to consider when first looking to leverage API calls for automation.

The digital transformation movement is pushing enterprise IT to deliver agility, scalability and security for the business. Automation has become a critical enabler to deliver repeatable and reliable services.  Automation can also embed governance, compliance, and corporate processes to ensure proper change policies are implemented. Building automated processes can also help to provide important business metrics about how many services are being implemented and how quickly and reliably. These metrics are important to show return on investment (ROI) and make decisions going forward.

While the DevOps organizations have led the way in using automation to drive CI/CD pipelines to speed application development and delivery, NetOps has fallen behind largely due to the complexity of the underlying network. As described in the O&A Taxonomy document, the network layer (and related domains) are not yet fully programmatic and can require a vendor-specific command-line interface (CLI) to configure individual network devices. Management layer components like ITSM, CMDB, IPAM, SNMP Monitoring, Log servers and more typically provide a programmatic interface. Open source and commercial products providing orchestration and automation are typically able to interface with the network layer and onboard API calls to interface with management plane components to provide end-to-end process automation. As covered in the O&A Session at ONUG Spring 2021, part of the O&A Maturity model Level 3 is to incorporate API calls as part of implementing process automation.

When looking to onboard API calls, there are seven key steps to perform:

Read the full blog post at ONUG Blog.