Why DNS is crucial to network automation

BY Rebekah Taylor

What is Network Automation?

When everyday tasks on your network are performed without the need for a human IT administrator, that’s network automation. Automating your enterprise helps to eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks. It gives your network administrators the time to do more important, high-level work. Whether your network devices are physical or virtual, any aspect of configuration, testing, deployment, management, and operations can be automated.

Enabling automation requires a strong foundation in your network infrastructure. Without consistent access to accurate and flexible core network services, automated processes can’t provide relevant information in a timely manner. Ease of deployment and management is also a key consideration. All those automated processes should be simple to roll out and use over time.

Network Automation and DNS

How DNS Fits into Network Automation

With automation, you can build a network infrastructure that can scale to meet up-to-the-second requirements. And that includes DNS, a critical component of automation frameworks.

Many enterprises still rely on their team of network engineers to manually provision networks. This makes for slow network operations that are time consuming and a drain on resources that can be utilized elsewhere. Adding host records, adjusting domain controls for internet breakout, and adding multiple DNS entries can (and should!) be automated.

Without automated DNS, provisioning IP addresses requires either a help desk ticket or granting overly broad access to DevOps teams. An automated DNS backend allows network administrators to roll out self-service functionality directly to stakeholders. This improves everyone’s productivity and adheres to security best practices around need-to-know access to core network resources.

Automation and self-service lighten the burden of managing routine network configuration and IP address management (IPAM) changes. They dramatically reduce the turnaround time for critical network requests from days to minutes. Configuration management can also be much easier to implement.

You can enable efficient, simple, and secure connectivity of network devices through self-service. Take unnecessary work out of device registration and onboarding and reduce the chance of introducing human errors. Allow employees, contractors, and guests to register their own devices. Track all devices, tying mobile activity to network access for complete control.

Enterprise DNS

Every automation project needs a flexible and nimble network architecture using software-defined networking. It all starts with network automation software that calls on a centralized and automated enterprise DNS infrastructure.

A rich set of APIs are also critical for enabling end-to-end automated network management. Users can make custom, process-compliant changes to IP and DNS configurations while retaining complete visibility and control over IPAM data. With enterprise DNS, you can make thousands of API calls every hour in production environments. Your back-end DNS infrastructure can be integrated with functionality offered by the operational tools your end users rely upon every day.

Automation tools and self-service functionality free IT staff from managing routine IPAM changes. This dramatically reduces the turnaround time for critical network requests. BlueCat can help spin up and take down tens of thousands of virtual machines per hour. It can also help deliver cloud compute in minutes, or automate millions of transactions on area networks.

We make sure your organization can leverage DNS through a rich set of APIs and a robust automation platform. You can deliver orchestrated network creation, security monitoring, and provisioning solutions for data centers and cloud environments.

Automatic Network Discovery

Creation of a single, centralized point of truth for DNS data provides comprehensive visibility into the devices operating on a global network. Automatic network discovery retrieves information directly from routers and switches, augmenting IPAM data with valuable network-sourced information.

With an enterprise DNS architecture on the back-end, you can identify changes to connected devices across your network. This allows you to automatically pinpoint newly added or recently removed IP addresses. Combined with network reconciliation, these IP addresses can be targeted for reclamation. Unauthorized and suspect IP addresses can be identified for further investigation.

This combined data can then be integrated with existing network systems via API for trouble ticketing, automation, and tracking. With network automation, you can deliver the service levels your business demands. Service is automated through APIs, driven by policy, and available instantly.

Network Automation Benefits

Network automation through DNS frees up IT admin time, diverts brain power to more meaningful work, and increases reliability. It also lowers your risk for downtime by removing human errors. Network automation lowers costs by simplifying operations and requiring fewer man-hours to configure, provision, and monitor DNS resources. Ultimately, it provides greater insight into and control over your network.

Rebekah Taylor

Rebekah Taylor is a freelance writer and editor who has been translating technical speak into prose for more than 18 years. Before BlueCat, she spent eight years doing communication work as a contractor for the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington, D.C., and was previously a journalist, reporting stories for a daily county newspaper and defense industry publication. Her first job in the early 2000’s was at a small Palo Alto start-up called VMware. She holds degrees from Cornell University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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