Automating Brownfield Networks
Address the challenges of traditional, existing networks while automating new domains
Using Intelligent Model Discover to Create Network Automation Policy
What is the difference between “brownfield” and “greenfield” networks?
Brownfield networks are traditional or existing networks often deployed and operated in organizations over many years. Greenfield networks are new deployments either with more modern hardware devices or with hardware refreshes and redesigns.
Since brownfield networks are older, they are often command-line interface (CLI) based, making them less agile and more error-prone. As IT technologies modernize with Software Defined Networks (SDN), an API interface is required to automate via a 3rd party. With public clouds like AWS, Azure and GCP, a published API is provided for automation, extending the definition of brownfield to mean any deployed network across legacy CLI controller based-API or public cloud API.
Top 5 Challenges Automating a Brownfield Network
- Complexity A traditional brownfield network is common in large enterprises, often in production over many years, harboring old configuration changes and software/hardware updates. As a result, they are challenging to automate safely and securely.
- Multi-vendor/Multi-platform Each unique operating system running in the network has a specific vendor command-line interface (CLI) and semantic to configure and operate. Required are vendor-specific implementations or complex translation to and from native CLI/semantics for each device.
- Proprietary CLI/Semantics Vendors with large, geographically diverse teams support hundreds to thousands of features that can be used in any combination. Even with rigorous testing, inconsistencies and errors can surface.
- Vendor Inconsistencies and Bugs Vendors with large, geographically diverse teams support hundreds to thousands of features that can be used in any combination. Even with rigorous testing, inconsistencies and bugs can surface.
- Technical Debt NetOps changes often add commands that are rarely cleaned. Since the existing network state may be very different today than it was to start, network bloat requires intelligent network automation to enable the needed agility, security and scalability.