If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how the tech giants manage their vast network infrastructures with speed and precision, the answer is network automation. As your company grows and expands, meeting the demands of network operations, configuration, and testing requires more time and resources.

Introducing new automated workflows can be a game changer for the network engineers tasked with running those functions and deploying devices in a network. The significant increases in efficiency and productivity automation provides led the global network automation market size to be valued at USD 2.58 billion in 2021, with projections anticipating an expansion of 22.9% from 2022 to 2030.

If you think your organization might benefit from the cost savings and reduced risks of IT orchestration, you’re probably right. As more companies adopt network automation tools, it will only become more essential to modernize to stay competitive. Let’s take a look at 6 common network automation use cases that drive value for your business.

1. Device Onboarding

Device onboarding is the process of integrating new devices into your network infrastructure. With the right automation tool, you can streamline this process to maintain configuration standards and quality goals for the setup of devices such as routers, switches, access points, and more.

Automation reduces manual intervention, which cuts back on human error, accelerates your deployment timelines, and ensures new devices join the network seamlessly.

Benefits of automated device onboarding:

  • Expand business operations without increasing headcount or overloading your network engineering team
  • Reduce time to add new secure devices to your network
  • Allocate IP addresses, VLAN assignments, and other network services dynamically to enhance scalability

With Pliant’s low-code automation approach, network engineers can easily standardize configurations, uphold security policies, and ensure consistency across devices regardless of their scale or complexity. By adding device onboarding to their network automation, organizations can improve network reliability and better allocate their resources toward strategic initiatives.

2. Configuration Management

Network configuration entails setting up device parameters and policies to ensure optimal performance and security. Network engineers can automate repetitive configuration tasks such as software updates, policy compliance checks, and device provisioning with a comprehensive automation tool.

By leveraging automation for network configuration, organizations can enhance network agility, adjust configurations based on network conditions, reduce operational overhead, and improve reliability across their infrastructure. Automation tools can also track and audit configuration changes for better compliance management and troubleshooting.

Benefits of automated configuration management:

  • Reduction in network downtime and performance issues that lead to lost revenue and customer churn
  • Prevent compatibility problems and configuration errors across devices and domains due to inconsistent configuration standards

Ultimately, configuration management automation empowers IT teams to scale their network infrastructure efficiently while maintaining control and consistency across the entire network fabric.

💡Want to know how it works? Getting these benefits for your organization is easier than you think. Pliant uses a visual interface along with low-code building blocks to help you orchestrate your network automation without relying heavily on development resources.

3. Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Automation tools play a crucial role in continuously monitoring network performance, detecting anomalies, and promptly alerting network administrators to potential issues. Your common monitoring tasks might include:

  • Device health checks
  • Traffic analysis
  • Port scan reports

Automating these processes can benefit any company, allowing teams to enhance mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) performance numbers. Automated monitoring systems collect and analyze vast amounts of network data in real time, enabling proactive identification of performance degradation, security threats, or infrastructure failures.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can also rapidly troubleshoot with automated remediation actions like built-in configuration adjustments and patch deployments. Armed with network automation for monitoring and troubleshooting activities, companies can minimize downtime, speed up their response to incidents, and make sure their networks run smoothly.

4. Software Upgrades

Software upgrades happen often, so it’s important to ensure the process is fast, reliable, and most importantly, repeatable. Network vulnerabilities often stem from out-of-date software, so maintaining the latest versions across devices significantly supports network security.

Network automation streamlines the process of upgrading software across network devices, including routers, switches, and firewalls. Automated workflows can orchestrate the entire upgrade process, from scheduling maintenance windows to downloading and installing the latest software versions automatically.

Benefits of automated software upgrades:

  • Minimize service disruptions
  • Reduce manual errors
  • Ensure network devices are always running the latest, most secure software versions
  • Enhance overall network stability and resilience

5. SD-WAN Branch Management

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) branch management represents a key network automation use case aimed at simplifying the management, monitoring, and optimization of branch office connectivity. Particularly at the enterprise level, where new locations are brought online as the company continues to grow, automation makes it possible to scale SD-WAN deployments across distributed branch locations.

In this case, the advantage of network automation is that network engineers can centrally manage and provision branch devices from a single interface. This ability eliminates the need to configure manually at each site.

Benefits of automated SD-WAN branch management:

  • Rapid deployment of new branch offices
  • Seamless integration of acquired or merged networks
  • Improved cloud application performance
  • Reduced operational overhead

By leveraging automation for SD-WAN branch management, organizations can achieve greater agility, scalability, and efficiency in managing their distributed network infrastructure.

6. Cloud Network Integration

Cloud network integration is designed to integrate cloud-based resources with on-premise infrastructure. With automation, orchestrating the provisioning, configuration, and management of network connectivity becomes more efficient. Network engineers can set up automation between their organization’s data centers and public and private cloud environments.

For example, Virtual Private Cloud networks include the provisioning of:

  • Configuration of subnets
  • Route tables
  • Internet gateways

Benefits of automated cloud network integration:

  • Establish secure VPN tunnels, virtual private connections, or direct interconnections to cloud service providers
  • Deploy network security policies, such as firewall rules and intrusion prevention systems, across hybrid cloud environments
  • Achieve greater agility, flexibility, and scalability

Final Thoughts

Evaluating network automation use cases and deciding which to prioritize based on your organizational needs will set your team up to get the most out of your low-code automations. As you explore the power of network automation, it will become easier to prioritize specific upgrades and decide where to start. We also recommend following best practices, such as starting small and establishing baselines as you introduce more complex network automation at your organization.

As a highly flexible, customizable, and scalable tool, Pliant is designed to help you navigate the complexities of a large network environment with advanced automation and orchestration. If you need a reliable, vendor-agnostic, low-code infrastructure automation provider, we can be your partner.

Have questions? Contact us today to learn more.