Services, be it an application or others are the business enablers for any organization. Under the hood, it is the network that powers these services and mostly spans across multiple devices platforms catering to the high availability and security of these services. For network teams, provisioning and maintenance of these services are beyond a niggle. Multiple touchpoints for configurations, multiple skillsets to cater to multi-vendor networks, maintaining multiple documents, regular audits, and 24×7 monitoring to ensure SLA compliance are few of the hassles they encounter on a daily basis. Here some of the challenges of traditional provisioning methods.
Device abstraction: In a diverse, multi-vendor deployment, it is extremely difficult to keep track of all services, device communication methods, CLI syntax, proprietary features, etc. to come up with a consistent view of the network.
Service abstraction: Traditionally, configuration management is done in silos by maintaining the configuration templates of each and every device in the network and service-level awareness is often missing in most Management tools.
Vendor-agnostic data representation: Network information such as IP Addresses, VRFs, VLANs, and ACLs, etc. are often represented differently for different vendor platforms making visual comparison and standardization impossible without the use of a data model.
As a result of this complexity, it is expensive for operators to bring services to market or make changes on the go as per customer requests. This also makes them vendor dependent.