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Improving Operational Efficiency with DDI Automation & Event Forwarding

August 18, 2021 | Written by: Surinder Paul | , , ,

The DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM) solution is the central point for any IP related information you have on your network, so being able to automatically inform other IT components about any modifications is a must. SOLIDserver proposes such a webhook feature, which we call “Event Forwarding”. It reinforces the central position of the DDI, and in particular the IPAM, for the whole ecosystem, complementing our rich SOLIDserver API engine for automation from the peering tools in order to enhance security, visibility, compliance and deployment, and to ease I&O teams’ operations.

DDI automates most networking IP operations on the network, from simple IP plan manipulation like subnet creation or DNS record management for enabling communication between clients and their applications, to DHCP for IP address provisioning on the local network. All these operations are performed either by an administrator or by an automated process. Since the information within the IPAM is crucial for many IT processes, it obviously needs to be easily browsable and searchable, but also to be pushed to any tool that may benefit from it.

The SOLIDserver Event Forwarding feature allows any user-driven event to be pushed to the ecosystem, whether the event originates from a user interaction or from an API call by an automation tool. The process is organized around 3 steps: 1) extraction: to retrieve one to all events from the interaction audit log, 2) preparation and formatting, and 3) push: to send the content to the ecosystem.

  1. Extraction: this part of the process filters out all the user tracked events in order to select the desired ones to publish. It is possible to select an event based on its main action, like an addition or a deletion, but it is also possible to dig precisely into the type of action and the manipulated object of the IPAM such as a DNS record, a device in Device Manager or a user on the RBAC system. Multiple events can be extracted at the same time; they can then be treated individually or grouped together.
  2. Preparation: during the extraction process, any event that matches is prepared in order to comply with the external tool that will get the information. Here we can build a specific content message, manipulate the parameters of the event and add headers for a web API call.
  3. Push: the filtered and prepared message will be sent to the appropriate target, either through an API call (using an HTTP GET or POST action), or towards a message bus like Redis. API calls are ideal for simple communication of information to a specific tool, while a message bus is more interesting when a middleware action is required as multiple systems may be interested by the same event.
  4. In the following video, we demonstrate how to use Event Forwarding with 2 different API tools very easy to set up. The first part focuses on pushing an event towards a desktop tool that is able to inform a user about the action performed, the second part uses a well known internet orchestration service called IFTTT that will get the event from the SOLIDserver and push it back to the notification tool used on the first part. These examples are only for demonstration purpose, but may be used as a nice way to interact with I&O teams.

The more advanced functionality of pushing an event or a group of events to a message bus is more interesting for organizations with multiple IT tools in the ecosystem. It eases exchanges between tools, enables near real time information propagation and is very scalable through a publish and subscribe model. Every event pushed by the SOLIDserver in a real time scheme is consumed by subscriber tools that may manipulate the event, extract the valuable information and perform a specific action. The potential use cases are numerous, from security policies updates based on subnet creation and destruction, to compliance audit logs being enriched with user creation and destruction information.

At EfficientIP we do believe that proposing an open solution will enable exciting usages, which is why we continually invest in APIs and ways to export data and events to the ecosystem. We often see a lot of very interesting implementations performed directly by our customers, by our partners and even by other vendors in the networking and security space. Event forwarding is an interesting solution for connecting the SOLIDserver to the IT ecosystem and linking the DDI solution to your environment. It undoubtedly helps your customers and users to use better tools for improving the efficiency of their respective activities.

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