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Is API adoption necessary for successful network automation?

This week, bloggers explore API adoption for network automation, Igneous Systems' hyperconverged cloud management and NetBeez's troubleshooting.

IpSpace blogger and networking engineer Ivan Pepelnjak was posed a question by one of his readers, who wanted to know why API adoption is demanded for network devices, even in systems automation. According to Pepelnjak, API adoption is not a prerequisite for successful network automation. "It doesn't matter (from the reliability perspective) whether you make changes to a system configuration by modifying a text file and reloading the configuration, by running a CLI command or by executing an API call," he said.

Pepelnjak says that while Linux and Windows CLI usually meet standards such as exit codes, error messages and the ability to quickly change many aspects of a configuration, not all network devices do. "APIs have obvious benefits over CLI commands, for example, exposing just the functionality you want third parties to consume; but in the context of minimum mandatory requirements, API is really just a highly appreciated convenience mechanism," he added, emphasizing the importance of API adoption.

Dig deeper into Pepelnjak's ideas about API adoption.

Igneous offers hyperconverged cloud management

Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, looked into Igneous Systems -- a startup that offers on-premises, hyperconverged infrastructure as a managed service. Built for unstructured data, Igneous' product includes storage, compute and networking. Managed aspects include troubleshooting, monitoring infrastructure, applying security patches and updating software.

According to Conry-Murray, Igneous sells its service with the promised safety of on-premises data and application hosting, combined with the ease of public cloud. "While Igneous Systems makes a big deal out of its cloud-based management, I think its pricing model is what really stands out," Conry-Murray said. The company offers a $40,000 all-inclusive subscription for one year of service. "If that's really true, that may be one of the most attractive aspects of this startup. IT and finance teams tend to spend a lot of time on price negotiations and contracts, which are often filled with gotchas and unpleasant surprises," he added.

Explore more of Conry-Murray's thoughts on Igneous.

How good is troubleshooting with NetBeez?

John Herbert, writing in Moving Packets, likes NetBeez tools. Unfortunately, he still faces some challenges getting NetBeez's network management software to work as well as he would like. "Now that I've had the chance to try and troubleshoot real problems with it, I've certainly found a few areas where, perhaps, the data is in the system, but getting it on screen in an optimal way has been a challenge." For buyers, Herbert anticipates that troubleshooting will become easier with new releases.

According to Herbert, NetBeez products tend to have good user interfaces but confusing technical terminology. He approved of the product's updates, as well as its pricing and the product's ability to gain visibility into a network at multiple points. "With all of that said, I'd still keep NetBeez in the product-to-watch category," Herbert added.

Explore more of Herbert's thoughts on NetBeez.

Next Steps

The truth about Network automation scripts

Looking into cloud management tools

end-user experience monitoring is essential for SaaS

Dig Deeper on Network management and monitoring

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