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Gluware network automation update addresses OS changes

Gluware adds to its network automation platform easier management of changes to device configurations and operating systems.

Gluware has released an upgrade of its network automation platform that simplifies the process of applying operating system upgrades and confirms the impact of a configuration change.

Introduced this week, version 3.6 of the Gluware Intelligent Network Automation product also includes a plugin for Ansible, an open source IT automation platform.

The improvements in OS upgrades through Gluware Automation tackles a process that is one of the primary use cases for network automation tools, according to research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), based in Boulder, Colo.

"Enterprises are really looking for the ability to automate OS upgrades and patches," EMA analyst Shamus McGillicuddy said.

To help those enterprises, Gluware has added to its platform a file server for distributing across a network an OS upgrade or patch image.

Gluware state assessment

To check the impact of OS or device configuration changes, Gluware Automation v3.6 compares the state of the network before and after the modification to verify whether the outcome was what managers expected.

Gluware's state assessment tool addresses the difficult problem of confirming the results of an automated configuration change. Many engineers working with network automation tools "push the commit button and hope for the best," McGillicuddy said.

"They rely on help desk complaints and their network monitoring tools to tell them if automation broke something," he said.

The Ansible support is significant because the platform has become a popular open source tool for automating many network-related chores, such as ensuring that a switch booted up for the first time has the correct version of the OS and the latest patches.

Using multiple network automation platforms in a data center is not unusual. An EMA survey of 250 IT pros found more than 90% used more than one tool, and almost 30% of them had homegrown software built with open source components.

Gluware also extended the hardware support of its platform to Mist Wi-Fi access points (APs). Mist, which Juniper Networks acquired this year, sells a wireless LAN with a cloud- and AI-based network management system.

The Gluware platform can detect configuration drift in Mist APs. The term applies to inconsistent configurations caused by poor tracking and recording of changes.

Gluware and Apstra are network automation vendors focused on developing tools that do not require network managers to learn to program. Tools available as open source projects, other than Ansible, include Salt, Netmiko and Napalm.

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