Ghoulish Greetings to All!
As we approach the October harvest festivals and the spooky mischief of Halloween, consider these questions as a network equipment provider. Are you creating devices that are a trick or treat to manage? Are your products a frightful process for customers to integrate into their network? Is it easy for users to bring your device into their automation scheme using programmability? Are you following standards and applying best practices for implementing those standards?
Incorporating your devices into a customer’s network operations should not be a scary proposition. It needn’t be frightfully difficult for them to configure and monitor. Devices that have daunting management interfaces and proprietary and older generation management functions which are cumbersome to deploy, manage, and maintain can leave even the most seasoned network engineers with zombie-like mental exhaustion.
Great devices require great management
Years ago, we had a customer with a devilishly clever idea for a device with leading edge technology. However, shortly before their product was to be released, they realized they’d forgotten about the most fundamental capabilities of the product – the device’s management. They didn’t even have a CLI capability!
Fortunately, Tail-f was able to help them overcome this dreadful lack of foresight. We quickly helped them implement ConfD into their product and, as a result, the product turned out to be a pumpkin-smashing success. ConfD helped them meet their product delivery deadline by reducing the time and resources needed to develop the network management application and enabled them with the programmability they needed to ensure the device worked reliably, was easily managed, and would meet their customers’ expectations and RFP requirements.
You can’t put a price on the user experience in device management
Some network element providers (NEPs) don’t place a high value on network management. As a result, they don’t have a dedicated team focused on implementing network management capabilities that will unlock their products’ full potential. Poorly implemented management capabilities create an inconsistent and haunting task for administrators.
The user experience is all-important and automation and modern programmability driven by NETCONF and YANG enables the implementation of standards and the deployment of best practices that create great products. Programmability needs to be done right. That requires following best practices to ensure, for example, devices don’t perform auto-configuration or self-modifying configuration when the configuration should be controlled by an orchestrator. This of course, goes against the fundamentals of automation best practices.
How to ensure standards and best practices are followed for device manageability
The free NETCONF and YANG Automation Testing (NYAT) program was created specifically for helping Network Element Providers to test their NETCONF & YANG implementations and ensure standards and best practices are followed correctly.
The extensively documented NYAT program is driven by Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), that can be downloaded for free, along with additional open-source tools to further enhance its capabilities and extensive NYAT documentation. The NYAT program will ensure your devices, virtual or physical, follow the IETF standards and programmability best practices following the service automation criteria. This free testing program is completely vendor agnostic and any device with a NETCONF server implementation, whether ConfD, open source, third-party, or home grown, can be tested with NYAT. Additionally, NEPs can register to receive free support for NYAT.
So, give yourself a treat this Halloween season and learn more about NYAT by starting with the NYAT Automation Testing User Guide.