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Workflow Automation

What is Workflow Automation?

Workflow Automation assists network operators in automating repetitive tasks which includes troubleshooting, maintenance, configuration. Tasks may involve a combination of sub-tasks that can be categorized as below:

  1. Configuration Provisioning tasks like VLANs, VRFs, SVIs, etc.,
  2. Operational checks such as BGP neighbor states, interface briefs
  3. Actions like ping, traceroute, install, copy etc.,
  4. Administrative actions like approval for actions, delegation of tasks
  5. Alerts on critical events like device reload, interface status change, performance issues or trigger from external events

 

Workflow can be a combination of manually triggered user tasks, system driven, scheduled/timed tasks or event-driven through SNMP Traps, Syslog, Telemetry or generic change notifications. Without a workflow, these activities would run as separate disorganized exercises making them vulnerable to various kinds of errors.

Workflow stitches together various heterogeneous activities and provides a reusable and executable artifact. It not only eliminates human errors but also makes it easy to pinpoint the location of the error. Workflow allows the network administrators to focus on strategic business activities rather than worry about the day to day operations.

 

 

Anuta ATOM supports Workflow Automation

Example of Workflow Automation – Software Management & Upgrade (SMU)

Complex tasks such as Software Upgrade have to go through multiple checks and balances to ensure a seamless upgrade and service continuity. A typical software upgrade would include the following.

  1. Get user inputs on the list of devices to upgrade, new software image path and backup files to fall back on in case of errors
  2. Execute pre upgradation checks
    • Check the device platform and redundancy status
    • Check for sufficient disk space. Alert network administrator to free up space if it’s inadequate
    • Check interfaces, filesystems, and configuration for inconsistencies
  3. Backup the current configuration
  4. Upload and install the new software image
  5. Execute post upgradation checks
    • Verify that the new software is installed and active
    • Run post install sanity checks to validate service continuity
  6. Remove installation packages and configuration files to free up disk storage.

Workflow automation makes it easy to design and execute such complex. Activities such as pre-upgradation and post-upgradation checks could become smaller sub-entities under the larger overall workflow.

Anuta ATOM Workflow Automation

Anuta ATOM leverages BPMN 2.0 to provide an intuitive interface for workflow management. Self-Servicing workflows can be graphically designed to perform various actions based on the context. Workflows can also be used to perform pre-validation and post-validation sanity checks.

The workflows on ATOM platform can leverage existing service models, device models or invoke direct APIs and CLIs on the device. The workflow package once created can be imported and instantiated by the ATOM platform.

Anuta ATOM Workflow automation has the following features:

  1. BPMN 2.0 compatible workflow management
  2. Easy-to-use graphical workflow designer for simple and complex automation processes
  3. Workflows can be composed of Server Tasks, User Tasks, Timed Events, Triggered Events, Decisions etc.,.
  4. Workflow can invoke External scripts or will allow for minor data manipulation within the Workflow
  5. Workflow plugs into ATOM Change notification engine that allows triggering Workflows based on Data model updates or any arbitrary event originating from Device
  6. Workflow allows to design end-user forms for self-service flows
  7. Workflow can invoke ATOM RESTCONF APIs/RPCs (Service Model APIs, Device Model APIs, ANY Device CLI Commands) or External APIs
  8. Workflows can be broken up into smaller granular & re-usable workflows/libraries
  9. Workflow enables separation of Network Policy Definition (YANG) & Process Flow (BPMN)

What is BPMN?

Business Process Model and Notation or BPMN is the global standard for constructing process models and designing complex workflows. BPMN provides a way to describe processes in a natural schematic representation. It is developed and maintained by Object Management Group (OMG).

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