Network automation has become increasingly important for modern businesses as it allows them to streamline and manage complex network tasks. With the growing complexity of networks, network automation tools are becoming essential for companies that want to maintain their competitiveness.
In this blog post, we'll take a look at the 15 best network automation tools, what they're used for, and the must-have features of each. Dive in to discover more!
Top 15 network automation tools
Ansible is an open-source tool that provides configuration management and automation services. It is commonly used to automate software deployment, configuration management, and IT orchestration.
Puppet is another open-source automation tool with a centralized server, network, and storage management. It is commonly used for managing complex infrastructure and automating deployment tasks.
Chef is a powerful automation tool that enables the automation of infrastructure management tasks. It can automate server configuration, application deployment, and infrastructure monitoring tasks.
SaltStack is an open-source tool that can automate software deployment, infrastructure management, and cloud orchestration tasks. It is highly scalable and can manage thousands of servers at once.
Terraform is an open-source infrastructure automation tool that can create, manage, and update infrastructure resources. It can automate cloud infrastructure deployments such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
Napalm is a Python-based network automation library that can automate device configuration and network verification tasks. It provides a consistent API for network devices from different vendors.
Netmiko is a multi-vendor library that simplifies the process of interacting with network devices. It can automate tasks such as device configuration and network verification.
Nornir is a Python-based automation framework that provides a way to automate network tasks such as configuration management and verification. It is highly customizable and can be used with a variety of network devices.
Junos PyEZ is a Python library that provides an interface for automating Junos devices. It can automate tasks such as device configuration and network verification.
Rancid is a tool that can automate the collection and storage of network device configurations. It can also monitor changes to network devices and alert administrators.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is a commercial tool that provides network configuration management and automation services. It can automate configuration backups, firmware updates, and compliance reporting tasks.
Infoblox NetMRI is a commercial tool that provides network automation and management services. It can automate network discovery, configuration backups, and compliance reporting tasks.
Cisco DNA Center
Cisco DNA Center is a commercial tool that provides network automation and management services for Cisco networks. It can automate network discovery, configuration backups, and compliance reporting tasks.
HPE Intelligent Management Center
HPE Intelligent Management Center is a commercial tool that provides network automation and management services for HPE networks. It can automate network discovery, configuration backups, and compliance reporting tasks.
NetBrain is a commercial tool that provides network automation and management services. It can automate network discovery, configuration backups, and troubleshooting tasks.
What network automation tools are used for
Network automation tools are used to automate tasks such as device configuration, network verification, and network discovery. They can also be used to manage the complex network infrastructure and automate deployment tasks.
The use cases for network automation tools include:
- Network configuration management
- Network device discovery and inventory management
- Network security and compliance monitoring
- Network monitoring and troubleshooting
- Cloud infrastructure automation and management
These tools can save time, reduce errors, and improve network reliability and security.
While the features of network automation tools can vary widely, there are some must-have features that every tool should have to be effective:
- Device support: The tool should support a wide range of network devices and vendors to ensure compatibility with the existing network infrastructure.
- Configuration management: The tool should provide the ability to manage device configurations across the entire network, including automating configuration updates and backups.
- Automation: The tool should offer automation capabilities to simplify and speed up repetitive tasks, such as provisioning and deploying new network resources.
- Scalability: The tool should be able to scale to support large networks with thousands of devices.
- Integration: The tool should be able to integrate with other tools and systems, such as IT service management platforms, to provide a unified view of the network environment.
- Security: The tool should have robust security features to protect network assets and data, including monitoring and enforcing compliance with security policies.
- Reporting and analytics: The tool should provide comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities to help administrators monitor and optimize network performance, identify security risks, and track compliance with regulatory requirements.
Network automation tools are essential for modern businesses to manage complex networks and stay competitive. There are many different tools available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's essential to carefully evaluate the features and capabilities of each tool before selecting the one that's right for your organization. By considering the must-have features outlined in this article, you can select a tool that meets your organization's specific needs and goals and helps you achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness in your network operations.