HPE Aruba Networking Blogs

Automation: Learning New Skills

By Frank van Breugel, Contributor

"IMG_0113"by forsakingall is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I have been around networking since the late 1990s (yep, a real dinosaur in networking), and it has only been in the last few years that the way we have started to configure networks has changed – fast.

The old way (CLI and GUI) is not able to keep up with the rapid changes and developments in the networking world. If you combine that with the way Aruba is disrupting the market with its new technologies and products, you have to keep up by learning new skills.

If you have seen my previous blog, Networking and Security: Put It All Together, you remember me explaining about the open system approach of Aruba.

This open systems approach is where the center of learning new skills is concentrated. Aruba has made it its mission to really embrace the “open.” It looks like Aruba only makes products nowadays with an API, and believe me, that is a good thing.

How vs What
If you have been around as long as me, you might start to wonder if you are getting too old for this new way of thinking. You might think that you will keep on doing it the old-school way: on the CLI by configuring VLANs and ports.

However, that is where you are wrong.

You have one really big advantage over the new generation of up-and-coming professionals – scripting knowledge. If you think about it, those kids have knowledge on the “how” to script but have absolutely no knowledge of the “what” to script.

Your superpower is your deep knowledge of networking! You have been around networking for a long time, and you absolutely know what you want to accomplish when you make a design or plan. If you take the time now to learn the how,you will be able to get to that end goal: full automation.

Scripting Superpower
Trust me, I was skeptical about this scripting when I was first introduced to it. However, if you really think about it, you must agree that today's networks are getting too big and complex to manage in the old-school way.

If you look at the ArubaOS-CX switches (832x/8400), they have really disrupted the market by bringing visibility, troubleshooting and analytics to a whole new level. The one thing that has always been a risk is human error. Now that is where the tool NetEditcomes in. I think that NetEdit is a ramp-up — and a sweet spot — for old-school network dinosaurs. NetEdit takes away that human error factor by making 100% sure that your configuration change is validated and free of errors before you deploy it.

NetEdit is the tool to superpower your network admin! If you saw me on stage at the ATM19 tech keynote (at 30.00min), you have seen the demo of the new ArubaOS-CX tool to deploy a CX switch without console cable and long hours in a noisy data center. Nope, prepare your configuration from your quiet desk (with that needed cup of coffee!) and deploy the switch faster than you can mount it in a rack!

A very good resource to learn these new skills for me is the Airheads Broadcasting Channel. It contains short, high-tech videos on many different topics. No marketing material, but real tech deep dives, made by technical guys!

Also check out the blog, Mitigating the Risk and Pain of Configuration Change, by Alan Sardella, Aruba's senior product marketing manager, to learn more about the benefits of NetEdit.

What's Next
"Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it" will be my next post here, where I will write about the how sharing the knowledge will help others and yourself get to the next level.

See my other blogs in the series:

HPN and Aruba: A Match Made in Heaven

Networking and Security: Put It All Together