One API to rule them all, and in the ether(net) bind them

While some APIs are more open than others, and some APIs are better documented than others (god bless ’em), APIs prevail. From basic network infrastructure elements to all the complex applications flowing across them, just about everything we deal with today in IT has an API. Pretty sure even that new fridge @netmanchris bought has an API. 😉

The sheer quantity and diversity among these APIs presents network engineers, who are just starting to get a handle on automation, with the additional challenge of wrangling umpteen different versions of APIs into cohesive, scalable, and maintainable processes that don’t make them hate their lives on a daily basis.

So what better to way to corral your herd of APIs than with another API?  To quote @scottm32768 in this grand networking quest, “One API to rule them all, and in the ether(net) bind them.”

Or to put it another way:

As an orchestrator of orchestrators, that’s where Itential comes in.  Their architecture takes modern API and abstraction focused principles, and leverages them toward solving this problem of API overload. All while providing a platform which itself is API accessible and automation ready.

Using adapters that consume and abstract the various input APIs of your multi vendor network, Itential provides a platform that allows you to build for various systems all in one place.  Sounds suspiciously like that single pain, err pane, of glass we’ve all been promised for years. So what’s going on under the hood?

Itential’s adapters are reaching into disparate systems, consolidating the data, and then normalizing it into a JSON schema.  The broker layer above the adapter layer performs the real magic by transforming the desired state configuration changes you want into the what each system needs to be told to do to make it happen.

Need to change a VLAN across a multi vendor environment?  No problem.  Need to validate similar configuration elements across multiple systems, each with the data accessible in a different format? No problem. Use Itential’s Automation Studio and Configuration Manager to design your workflows and manage your configuration changes. Then let Itential’s broker layer translate, while its adapter layer makes it happen.

What if you’re further along than most in the automation game and are sitting on a repository of your own network automation scripts? One, you get a cookie. Two, Itential allows you to bring those into the platform as well using their Automation Gateway.

The Automation Gateway also serves in cases where the vendor of your choice isn’t on the adapter list yet, but you still want some level of centralized automation.

If this commander of API armies, this chieftain of your automation islands, peaks your interest, I recommend checking out Itential’s fantastic Networking Field Day 21 video here that details the platform architecture along with an excellent demo (demo starts at 14 min mark). Also, be sure to check out their developer tool website, which has lots of great links and FAQs, and their additional NFD21 videos as well.

 

Disclaimer: While Networking Field Day, which is sponsored by the companies that present, was very generous to invite me to the fantastic NFD21 event and I am very grateful for it, my opinions are totally my own, as all redheads are far too stubborn to have it any other way.

Published 10/20/2019

 

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