What is Network Programmability and Different Types of Methods for It?

What is Network Programmability?

Network programmability is the ability to control, configure and manage networks using the software. It is the automation of network configuration and operations with a set of tools that enable administrators to easily deploy changes on their networks.

Network programmability combines traditional networking technology such as routers, switches, firewalls, etc., with software development languages such as Python and JavaScript to provide a fully automated and dynamic network.

Network programmability allows network administrators to quickly deploy changes on their networks with reduced risk, cost, and time compared to traditional methods of manual configuration.

What are the Different Methods of Network Programmability?

There are several methods used for network programmability, some of which include:

Command Line Interface (CLI): Using command line tools like SSH to automate the process of configuring and managing hardware devices.

  • Example: Using Linux commands such as IP, IPconfig, and route to configure your network.

Software Defined Networking (SDN): SDN allows administrators to manage their networks by centrally controlling every aspect of the network.

  • Example: The Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is an example of a software-defined networking platform.

Network APIs: Using APIs to programmatically access and control network devices.

  • Example: The OpenDaylight controller project provides an API that can be used to programmatically configure networks.

Network Orchestration: Orchestration tools allow administrators to define, deploy and maintain policies across their entire infrastructure. This is done by creating a single point of entry for managing multiple nodes in a network.

  • Example: Ansible is an example of a popular network orchestration tool.

Network Security Automation: Network security automation allows administrators to quickly configure and deploy firewall policies, as well as detect and respond to security threats.

  • Example: Cisco Firepower Management Center is an example of a tool that can be used to automate the process of configuring and managing firewall policies.

Some Other Methods for Network Programmability

  • Git: Git is a version control system that can be used to store and manage code related to programming networks. Examples of git include GitHub, Bitbucket, etc.
  • GitHub: GitHub is an online code repository and version control system. It can be used to store, manage and collaborate on programming related to network automation.
  • CI/CD: Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) is a set of automated processes that can be used to deploy changes in a secure and reliable manner. Examples include Jenkins, Azure DevOps, and GitLab CI.

What are the Advantages of Network Programmability?

The main advantages of network programmability include:

Increased Efficiency: Network programmability allows administrators to deploy changes quickly and with fewer errors compared to manual configuration methods. This reduces the time it takes to get changes in production, resulting in an increase in overall operational efficiency.

  • Improved Scalability: With network programmability, administrators can quickly and easily deploy changes to their networks without having to manually configure each device. This allows them to scale their networks more efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Increased Security: Network programmability enables administrators to quickly detect and respond to potential threats in the network, which reduces the risk of a security breach.
  • Reduced Cost: Network programmability increases operational efficiency and reduces the need for manual labor, resulting in cost savings.

Which Network Programmability Languages are used in Network Automation?

There are a number of languages used in network automation, including:

  • Python: Python is one of the most popular languages used for network automation due to its simple and easy-to-learn syntax. It is also considered one of the most powerful programming languages available today.
  • Python Libraries: Python offers a wide range of libraries that make it easier to program networks.
  • Netconf and YANG: A protocol used to manage network devices from a centralized location.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is often used for web-based automation, but can also be used to programmatically configure networks.
  • Ansible: Ansible is an open-source tool that automates complex tasks using simple commands. It is widely used for network automation.
  • Terraform: Terraform is an open-source tool that enables administrators to manage and automate the process of building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently.

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