Itential puts organizations on the path to the modern network


In the realm of enterprise computing, we have already automated the management and orchestration of software-defined compute and storage resources. Need another server or more storage capacity? Those virtual resources can be created in mere minutes — and without intervention from a human to initiate or manage the process.

Need changes to the network, such as a router reconfiguration? Well, that’s going to take a lot of time and effort from a range of humans. Even something as simple as an update to a DNS or IPAM server can take three to five days to complete. A port turn-up can take just as long — not because any physical action takes that much time, but because the workflow of all the human reviews and approvals takes time.

Continuing to do networking in this fashion is quickly becoming unsustainable, especially as organizations maintain their existing infrastructure while also adopting and integrating new cloud-based technology. We have reached the point where the network is the bottleneck.

Enterprises and network service providers want to increase automation and reduce the time to complete typical actions, and networking vendors are working toward what’s being called “the modern network” — that is, one that is designed to enable automation through new methods of managing the network. Ultimately most companies will get to a fully programmable, software-defined network, but it will take time.

Achieving the modern network

Getting to the modern network is a journey, not an overnight adoption. Companies have too large of an investment in existing equipment and management tools to abandon it all for something new. Thus, any tools and techniques that espouse the modern software-defined network (SDN) must also account for the old physical network. The legacy network management tools — the ones that are based on a command line interface (CLI) — weren’t built for the modern network and can’t support it. Something new is needed.

This is a tall task, given all the permutations and combinations of the modern network ecosystem. Itential is putting its stake in the ground as a platform for tying the pieces together — the modern network and the legacy one as well. Itential federates functionality and data from existing tools to enable modern network automation. The complexity of this environment, and where Itential fits, is best shown with an illustration.

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