“The 80s called and they want their CLI back.” Until recently, that was basically the beckoning call of the network automation and programmability plot. Like a broken record, the replayed attention on tools and APIs talked of new NetOps technology, but it didn’t paint a picture of the promised land. It didn’t provide a map and it didn’t prepare anyone professionally.
Today, as Network Reliability Engineering (NREs) roles pave the way from CLIs to SLIs and other higher-order SRE-inspired methods and metrics, the picture of automated NetOps is crystalizing. Juniper Networks has elaborated the 5-step map of the journey. And now, with the launch of NRE Labs, Juniper is introducing the virtual training camp to support the trip to the promised land. It’s open—open source and open for use—and it’s by and for network engineers.
DevOps and automation are taking the world by storm. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear talk about Infrastructure as Code (IaC), incorporating CI/CD pipelines into network operations or the need to evolve engineering skills to fulfill the needs of the emerging Network Reliability Engineering (NRE) role. It seems that everywhere you look, organizations are talking about the need to incorporate automation processes into their workflows in order to ease the burden of typical network operations – everything from automating the configurations to facilitating the management of and easing the deployment of both physical and virtual devices in the network. Businesses want to move in this direction for the obvious benefits -- lowered OpEx, increased speed and agility, improved quality and to gain a competitive edge.