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Why DDI APIs Matter to Network Automation

April 20, 2023 | Written by: Surinder Paul | , ,

Why Ddi Apis Matter to Network Automation

Open APIs are essential to enable IT modernization required by digital business transformation. By unleashing actionable data and metadata on DNS, DHCP, IPAM, and built-in Network Source of Truth (NSoT), DDI APIs play a central role to deliver critical use cases in network automation and security. This allows NetOps, DevOps, and NetSecOps teams to reap tangible benefits very quickly.

APIs are a catalyst of IT modernization

Collaboration is key. Many would agree that working together has great power. As we all experienced, alone we go faster, but together we go further. Talking, exchanging, and sharing information or ideas drive innovation, problem resolution, and finally progress. Collective intelligence interconnects human brains, creates value, and takes humanity to the next level.

But this is important not just for humans, for technology it can be equally so. The principle of enabling systems, devices, and applications to exchange and share actionable data is a simple concept made possible by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs have become so essential and widely adopted as they ultimately create connectivity between building blocks of the technology ecosystem.

In parallel, the uncertain economic outlook now forces enterprises to digitally transform their business model, achieve greater cost savings, and improve efficiency across their operations. To meet these needs, organizations have started to modernize their IT infrastructure and use network automation as a top strategy to gain agility and increase productivity.

APIs to enable Network Automation

As predicted by Gartner, “by 2025, 70% of organizations will implement structured infrastructure automation to deliver flexibility and efficiency”. But implementing network automation is not always an easy thing to do and enterprises may struggle to know where to start. APIs can be a facilitator to help enterprises kick-off their network automation journey.

As we know, network automation is the process of automating the configuration, provisioning, testing, deployment, and operation of any network objects including physical and virtual devices, VLANs, VPCs, applications…These objects exist anywhere in today’s increasingly diverse and complex infrastructures mixing on-premise and multi-cloud. Various tools exist to support network automation activities among which APIs come at the top of the list.

In practice, APIs are the glue that interconnects the whole IT infrastructure, devices, and applications ecosystem to orchestrate business workflows, streamline IT processes, and manage end-to-end lifecycle of network objects delivering data back and forth. Everywhere you look, you will find an API enabling network automation to make your IT, NetOps, DevOps, or AIOps teams more agile, innovative, and efficient.

EfficientIP puts APIs at the very heart of its product strategy by delivering an API-first service-oriented DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (DDI) solution allowing simple and granular automation of any DDI capabilities. Our rich set of Open APIs, SDKs, and plugins provides the ability to easily, securely, and seamlessly integrate with any third-party IT system for a high-performance and frictionless experience.

What are the critical use cases unlocked by DDI APIs?

DDI with built-in Network Source of Truth (NSoT) capability brings a significant advantage acting as a true Network Automation Hub to connect with and use efficiently at different stages in any network automation task and activity. By putting DDI at the center of their network automation strategy and leveraging DDI APIs, networking teams can deliver several valuable use cases to improve and accelerate their daily operational activities. Example use cases include:

1. Building an always accurate and open Network Source of Truth for comprehensive visibility and control

A first use case is illustrated using DDI APIs to collect and aggregate data and metadata of each network object into a NSoT. Information is pulled from various existing IT repositories like the IPAM, or cloud discovery tools such as Cloud Observer. DDI serves as an essential NSoT as it is the foundation to all networking resources including IP addresses, subnets, and domain names. Such open and authoritative NSoT can then be queried and updated on demand, in real time, via API calls, providing complete visibility and accuracy into what is inside networks. Thanks to DDI APIs, existence of a discovered device can also be checked against Network Object Manager or IPAM to ensure that it is properly accounted for or in compliance. Contextual information related to IP and DHCP can be retrieved or appropriate actions triggered in case it is unknown by automatically generating a ticket to the organization that owns this device for the issue to be resolved.

2. Managing end-to-end lifecycle of network objects from provisioning to decommissioning

NetOps teams can use the trusted, up-to-date, and actionable data they get from NSoT to meet demand for Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), end-to-end network orchestration, and Intent-Based Networking (IBN). Using APIs, they can automate the deployment of Virtual Machines (VM) with integrated IP and DNS service from provisioning to decommissioning or seamlessly orchestrate the provisioning of DDI resources to serve third-party applications.
Down the road, DDI APIs help fully automate the end-to-end lifecycle management of network, device, firewall, VLAN… including changes. They allow network engineers to set up templates or write scripts using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools that publish changes and push configurations. Automatic updates are made to IPAM which would then update DNS as necessary, and finally NSoT.

3. Alerting on DNS security events and enforcing policies across users and devices to ensure compliance

Integrating DDI APIs enriches Network Access Control (NAC) solutions by pulling actionable data from DDI to automate the deployment,update and enforcement of security policies and firewall rules across the enterprise’s infrastructure. This is completed through the synchronization of IP subnets and associated security-level metadata to control user and device access starting from device creation. It reduces the complexity of creating, managing and enforcing network policies and removes human errors associated with manual configuration management. Applied policies are always accurate and alerts on DNS security events can also be transmitted to NetSecOps teams for processing.

All these use cases are achieved by exposing DDI APIs to NetOps, NetSecOps, and IT teams. APIs enable to abstract the infrastructure complexity, remove friction down the line, and pave the way to composability. By providing developers with immediate access to API knowledge base, SDKs, and plugins, they can get the most out of pro-code, low-code or no-code.

DDI APIs deliver tangible benefits

Usage of DDI APIs improves the experience of networking teams by making their life easier and allowing them to explore endless opportunities in accessing actionable contextual data anytime to gain agility, quickly meet new business demand, and create value. NetOps team productivity will also increase by streamlining workflows with integrated IT processes, automating critical common tasks, and breaking down silos in IT infrastructure, systems and applications. Ultimately, all of this accelerates return on investment by reducing complexity through rapid integration into network orchestration, as well as bringing overall cost and time savings that increase efficiency.

For the IT industry, the use of Open APIs is vital. Networking teams can harness the power of data and metadata unleashed by DDI APIs to support their NetOps 2.0 transformation and move towards hyperautomation. DDI APIs open up new horizons and opportunities to modernize IT infrastructure and adapt to ever-changing business needs. The EfficientIP rich and powerful APIs and plugins are here to help your IT teams to progress at their own pace through this transformation. Come and learn more by visiting our website and engaging with us.

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