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Review of the new version of NetBrain Integrated Edition 10.0. Continuation

Articles and reviews

The second part of our review of the updated NetBrain v10.0 is an adaptive network automation platform that provides instant visualization and analysis of critical data through integration with hardware and software, as well as with virtualization systems.

With the release of updates, the company has expanded the industry's best set of tools for network automation with a wide range of new features that scale automation for end-to-end hybrid network operations:

Network Intent provides a way to document network design for specific network devices, what these design baselines are like, and how to verify network design properly with a no-code parser. It helps engineers quickly understand each device's design and baseline or normal state. More importantly, network problems often violate network design, so we can eliminate the hypothesis by verifying predefined Network Intent and speed up the troubleshooting process.

The Adaptive Monitoring system provides intelligent trigger automation to capture network problems without overloading the system. It leverages the flash probes as monitoring units to detect the data anomaly that occurred on any single device via SNMP/CLI data polling. As soon as an anomaly is detected, the system will take immediate action to execute the predefined network intents, the results of which will provide critical references to the root cause analysis and speed up the troubleshooting process.

Decision Tree features allow network engineers to share their troubleshooting knowledge with others for a specified device. In a troubleshooting task, network engineers can create a map and open the Decision Tree of the problem device and use this knowledge to identify the root cause. It is the first time that NetBrain provides a visual function to present troubleshooting reference workflows. The knowledge is created as automation (Network Intent, Runbook, CLI command) and associated with a specified symptom which can be defined as Flash Probe or Hypothesis.

Completely redesigned the SmartCLI application, and integrated the dynamic mapping, executable runbook, compare, and collaboration features around the traditional CLI process. Using the new Smart CLI, network engineers can intelligently analyze the CLI output, automatically document the troubleshooting activities, and effectively collaborate with a team of co-workers. As a result, the mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) can be greatly reduced.

Schedule CLI Command is designed to fill the gap of “No CLI historical data or not enough data in NetBrain system”. This feature allows users to benchmark certain CLI commands on specified devices. With this CLI historical data, network engineers can view and compare the CLI result data to speed up the troubleshooting process and reduce MTTR.

Feature Intent Template decodes various network technologies (BGP, QoS, Multicasting etc.) from device configuration files across the entire network, then creates the related NetBrain automation resources (DVT represents BGP design, Flash Probe represents BGP neighbor check, etc.), and defines the respective running methods (schedule run or triggered by flash probes) in NetBrain system to further scale NetBrain’s troubleshooting automation solutions.

With the functions built for the public cloud, operating a public cloud network consisting of hundreds or even thousands of public cloud accounts becomes easier:

  • Auto-Discovery across multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud infrastructure.
  • End-to-end visibility via Dynamic Map.
  • Application dependency mapping across physical, SDN, and public network.
  • Use Dynamic Map as Single-Pane-of-Glass for all cloud-related data, from native tools or 3rd-party tools.
  • Troubleshoot cloud with Executable Runbook automation.

IEv10.0 introduces the Incident Portal. An incident represents a ticket in NetBrain to track a network problem or a network change. End users can organize and share maps, devices, individual insights, and findings targeting a specific troubleshooting task and collaborate with more colleagues to resolve issues. Keeping everyone on the same page effectively reduces MTTR. In addition, Incident Portal offers an independent portal page for each incident. External users without NetBrain Workstation seat licenses can access a portal to join the collaboration session by viewing maps and posting messages, etc.

Auto Upgrade Enhancements. In version 8.0, the platform resources (such as Driver, Plugin, Runbook, and Data View Template) could be auto-updated via Knowledge Cloud (KC). In 10.0, we expand KC to manage both the framework components and the platform resources and allow the NetBrain Workstation to upgrade a patch or minor release containing both platform and framework components. The user can set up a schedule for a software upgrade, and the system provides auto-test capabilities to verify essential functions, such as retrieving live data and application path. An auto-test can be performed either before or after the upgrade.

IEv10.0 integrates with Splunk, allowing Splunk to trigger NetBrain to create a map and run a runbook for a specified network issue.

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