Network automation in the data centre

How, in times of increasing virtualisation through application-oriented programming of the communication infrastructure in the data centre, you can manage to automate most network operations and, almost incidentally, speed up application provision and improve IT security.

As a result of increasing virtualisation, in particular, we are seeing changes in application traffic patterns. In data centres this is reflected by the massive increase in east-west traffic which can now represent 80% of all data traffic in the data centre, depending on the level of virtualisation achieved. At the same time, the situation in data centre operations is characterised by an increasing dynamism – more and more services and applications have to be supported with stagnating, or even falling HR budgets, while, at the same time, new skill levels are required, particularly in the programming area. The existing network technology with mostly manual, device-based configuration management, often slows up application provision, and there is clearly a risk of increasing IT security problems due to uncoordinated outsourcing to the cloud or uncontrolled shadow IT.

You will take a vital step forward by making use of better programmability by using the available open application interfaces (Open REST APIs) and the resulting automation of network operations. In concrete terms, this means that the application-specific communication requirements for the network, e. g. In terms of security, information flows and quality parameters, are described once, in a policy model, by the various responsible roles (network, security, operations, virtualisation, application development, cloud, storage). An application controller dynamically assigns the configurations derived from the policy model to the network components involved (including application delivery controllers, load balancers, firewalls, etc.), and it knows which application is being operated in which network interface. So now, if a virtual machine is moved, for example – even beyond network segment boundaries! – the controller automatically gets the network reconfigured. Moreover, the application-centred infrastructure is not just restricted to the data network, but servers and storage can also be provisioned automatically.

The result is that you are largely relieved of manual interventions through automated configurations, a more stable infrastructure as a result of fewer faulty configurations and consistent rule-sets, far greater IT security as a result of implementing a micro-segmented, client-capable infrastructure with central management and, last but not least, a substantial improvement in network agility which, at long last, again satisfies the requirements of a virtualised data centre infrastructure.

With our decades-long experience in networks, information security and data centres, we at Controlware demonstrated our expertise in application-centred infrastructures at an early stage, through certification, and we work very closely together with the manufacturers.

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