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Network device monitoring beyond NETCONF

This week, bloggers look at alternative methods in network device monitoring, Europe's GDPR legislation and the integration of low-code platforms within cloud offerings.

Ivan Pepelnjak, blogging in ipSpace, looked into network device monitoring and data gathering. According to Pepelnjak, it is difficult to gather structured data through network device monitoring.

In an ideal situation, network device data could be gathered with NETCONF and structured with OpenConfig or Internet Engineering Task Force YANG models. In fact, Pepelnjak said, Ansible network modules offer only a "thin layer of abstraction" that barely disguises frustrating device behavior, such as disabling paging by entering terminal length 0. Although some devices do return structured data, most send back information in text format that needs to be painstakingly parsed.

To make sense of network device monitoring data, engineers can parse the data themselves, or they can use either Python's Network Automation and Programmability Abstraction Layer with Multivendor support library or ntc-ansible.

"There's no single ideal tool. There are many tools out there, and each one is a better fit for some jobs and worse fit for others," Pepelnjak said. Some generic programming languages offer flexibility, but struggle with "heavy lifting." Others, such as Ansible, are useful for simple tasks, but unwieldy with Python modules. Pepelnjak said while many network engineers embrace Python, he prefers Perl.

Dig deeper into Pepelnjak's assessment of network device monitoring.

GDPR and the hazards of the right to be forgotten

Enterprise Strategy Group, or ESG, in Milford, Mass., said only 11% of organizations are fully prepared for the rollout of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25. According to its research, only a third of organizations described themselves as mostly prepared, while 44% said they are only somewhat prepared.

ESG analyst Jon Oltsik said he guesses most organizations aim to have monitoring and controls in place by the deadline, but many will face challenges with Article 17 of GDPR -- widely known as right-to-be-forgotten legislation. In effect, Article 17 stipulates data controllers will need to be able to find and erase an EU citizen's data and prove the data was actually eliminated. These stipulations become even more challenging in light of the large number of third-party data processors.

According to Oltsik, many people researching the rollout of GDPR imagine a nightmare scenario in which thousands of EU citizens simultaneously request data controllers remove their information when the law takes effect. He laid out a few possible scenarios, such as EU citizens independently targeting major data repositories like Google and Facebook, grass-roots organizations leading data erasure campaigns with hundreds of thousands of simultaneous requests, or European law firms gathering volunteers to test GDPR compliance.

Oltsik warned organizations of the consequences resulting from the need to erase their own data as a result of a corporate scandal or bad public relations. "Given this frightening but possible scenario, data privacy officers and CISOs should reinvestigate whether they are truly ready for GDPR. If your organization doesn't have automated and auditable processes to find, delete, and verify data erasure at scale, the answer is definitely, 'no,'" Oltsik wrote.

Dig deeper into Oltsik's assessment of GDPR rollout.

Low-code platforms and the integration with cloud offerings

Charlotte Dunlap, an analyst with GlobalData in Sterling, Va., said she sees a new wave of low-code tools being integrated with major cloud systems to offer developers better access to analytics and internet-of-things (IoT) services.

According to Dunlap, low-code application development platforms play a greater role in supporting a DevOps model focused on automating the steps needed for continuous integration and continuous delivery. Application development is one of the parts of the application lifecycle that still lacks automation, prompting low-code vendors such as Appian, Salesforce and OutSystems to develop new tools. Low-code and rapid app development have existed for decades, but increasingly offer noncoders the opportunity to create simple apps from templates in lieu of textual-based programming.

Dunlap said low-code platforms have received growing attention in recent months because of their potential to speed app development and quickly became a priority for cloud providers. IBM announced a partnership with low-code developer Mendix, with tools available on IBM Cloud, while Oracle is pursuing what Dunlap called a piecemeal approach.

In the near term, Dunlap said low-code platforms will be driven by organizations' need for Agile development models. The emerging DevOps model seeks platforms with AI and machine learning for automation and integration between front-end apps, back-end systems and third-party tools. Additionally, low-code providers are planning versions geared toward microservices-based app development to be deployed in containers, as well as offering connectors to cloud vendors' IoT platforms.

Read more of Dunlap's analysis of low-code platforms.

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