Stopping Network Outages Before They Start

How do you detect buggy network configuration changes?  My guess is that you use post-deployment checks and monitoring systems. And you should!  But if that’s the only thing you’re doing, then you are unnecessarily risking network outages, breaches, and more. Those tools help you cure incidents after they occur, but they do nothing to prevent…

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Incrementally automating your network

Network automation can significantly benefit your organization. Gartner found that automating 70% of the network changes reduces outages by 50% and speeds service delivery by 50%. But achieving these results is elusive for most organizations—-they never get to the point where a substantial fraction of changes are successfully automated. A key hurdle is creating a…

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The networking test pyramid

An automated test suite is the key to continuous integration (CI), the DevOps practice of rapidly integrating changes into mainline. The test suite is run on every change to check that individual modules and the full system continue to behave as expected as developers add new features or modify existing ones. A high-quality test suite…

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Closing the loop on testing network changes

Test automation is key to minimizing the chances of change-induced network outages. This article describes “closed-loop test automation” that makes the change process highly resilient and catches problems as early as possible, by testing changes both before and after deployment.

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Automating the long pole of network changes

When it comes to automating network changes, most network engineers want to start with automatic config generation and deployment. It just feels like that is the heart of the challenge, and it certainly feels like a fun thing to do. But assume for a moment that you’ve automated config generation and deployment. Have you now…

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Test drive network change MOPs without a lab

Imagine that you could predict and test the full impact of every single change to the network. Imagine also being able to do this within minutes, for the production network itself (not a small-scale replica), and without having to set up and maintain a test lab. Will this capability enable you to reduce the risk…

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Network test automation: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, or Fish?

When building a network automation pipeline, one of the most important questions to consider is: How do you test network changes to prove that they will work as intended and won’t cause an outage or open a security hole? In a world without automation, this burden falls on network engineers and approval boards. But in…

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Don’t be afraid of (network) change

Companies large and small crave agile, resilient networks. They crave infrastructure that adapts rapidly to business needs without outages or security breaches. But changing the network is a risky proposition today, be it adding a firewall rule or provisioning a new rack. 50-80% of network outages are caused by bad network configuration changes. This high…

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Lesson from a network outage: Networks need automated reasoning

In the afternoon of October 23, within a few minutes of each other, two friends sent me a link to the recently-released “June 15, 2020 T-Mobile Network Outage Report” by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHB) of the FCC. Given what Intentionet does, the report sounded interesting and I started reading it immediately….

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