Five ways to get started with network automation

February 21, 2022 by Sean Cavanaugh

As many of you know, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a highly flexible IT automation platform that can automate your Linux and Windows instances, your VMware private cloud, your AWS, Azure or Google public cloud, and even your security infrastructure.  Today I want to write about one of my favorite use-cases; using Ansible Automation Platform for network automation. It provides easy, highly customizable automation for your routers and switches so you can automate them just like any other IT infrastructure.

However, even though network automation has become increasingly popular, most organizations are still managing their network infrastructure manually by a CLI or GUI. Why is this? This manual CLI work often means that network engineers are reactive and constantly drowning with break-fix network issues because of manual mis-configurations, or the inability to implement change quickly and efficiently.

Because network engineers are so busy firefighting in their day job, they don’t have time to look at a new activity like automating, even though automation will save them time and money in the long run. I fundamentally believe that network automation is not an all or nothing situation.  You need to adopt network automation in small increments so you can earn yourself, and your team more time.  In other words, start small and think big. I put together this video to help network engineers brainstorm five great use cases for network automation. This list is not exhaustive; there are many more use-cases that you can do with network automation, but this is meant to give network administrators an idea of what is possible.

If you’re looking to learn more about a specific use-case, you can jump right to it:

  1. configuration backup and restore - 00:02:56
  2. infrastructure awareness - 00:08:54
  3. scoped configuration management - 00:16:55
  4. operational state validation - 00:20:59
  5. automated netops - 00:26:46
  6. wrap up and next steps - 00:31:10

And while you’re learning about Red Hat Ansible Network Automation, here is some additional content to check out:

What can I do next?

Whether you are beginning your automation journey or a seasoned veteran, there are a variety of resources to enhance your automation knowledge:


Network Automation


Sean Cavanaugh

Sean is a Senior Principal Technical Marketing Manager, Ansible, where he brings over 12 years of experience building and automating computer networks. Sean previously worked for both Cumulus Networks (acquired by Nvidia) and Cisco Systems where he helped customers deploy, manage and automate their network infrastructure. He resides in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife and children and tweets from @IPvSean.

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