Blog Automation

Data Center Automation: Hype or Reality?

Dan Debacker Director, Product Management Published 22 Feb 2021

When you hear the term automation there are likely many thoughts that run through your mind. These range from being interested to hear the latest news, to thinking “here comes more words with no substance,”  to totally tuning it out because it is just another hype and automation isn’t for you.

This happens with every new technology and trend. The hype cycle always runs its course – from anticipation to despair and into actual use and productivity. Where automation in the networking community fits on that cycle is very arbitrary, and answers are biased, based on the individual’s inclination towards automation as this is an adoption of a functional change within the community as opposed to a new protocol or solution.

Introducing Extreme Fabric Automation

Throughout the Automation Journey, Extreme continues to deliver on the ability for you to automate at your pace. Another great example of that is Extreme Fabric Automation (previously known as Extreme Embedded Fabric Automation), a truly unique solution to simplify the Data Center Fabric operations, (see example 1).

Example 1

Day 0 fabric infrastructure CRUD (Create, Read/Monitor, Update and Delete) operations along with the Day 1 fabric (tenant and edge port) services CRUD operations all in a single application provided at no additional cost to consumers of Extreme’s SLX routing and switching portfolio.

By leveraging innovative technology, Extreme Fabric Automation is able to provision Data Center Fabrics based on BGP, EVPN, and VXLAN within seconds with three simple commands from the application. There’s no need to worry about configuring every switch by entering protocol-specific commands, the application will validate the network topology before configuration to ensure 100% accuracy. In fact, there is no need for the customer to learn any new protocols or its in-depth troubleshooting to operate a Layer 3 EVPN based VXLAN fabric.

How It Works

From a single entry point, configure everything you need to create a fabric and the tenant services required. Whether it’s the first day or six months down the road when switches need to be added or removed from the network, Extreme Fabric Automation simplifies your life. Although it may sound too good to be true, follow the steps below and within seconds, yes literally seconds, the fabric will be ready to go. An eight switch fabric can be provisioned in less than 80 seconds!

Day 0 Infrastructure Operations

  • Rack, power, and cable (fabric uplinks and out of band management) the SLX platforms

– Fabric topologies supported include Small DC Fabric, 3 stage Clos, or 5 stage Clos
– Configure a management IP address per switch manually or automatically via ZTP

  • Instantiate the Extreme Fabric Automation application
  • Enter three commands into the application

– Create the database
– Add spine and leaf switches to the database
– Provision the fabric

Day 1 Fabric (Tenant/Edge Port) Services Operations

  • Instantiate the Extreme Fabric Automation application
  • Enter three commands into the application

– Create the assets within the fabric (VLANs, VRFs, Port Channels, Ports)
– Create End Point Groups (EPGs) collecting assets into a community of interest
– Provision the fabric

What Hype?

There’s no hype here, Extreme Fabric Automation is real, and it enables network administrators to eliminate a significant portion of the manual configuration tasks previously required to stand up a new fabric and to provision services across the fabric for on-going day to day operations. All of this is at no additional cost and there is no need for additional management software. Come and check it out for yourself – seeing is believing.

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