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Brocade unveils new set of network automation software

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May 26, 2016

Earlier today, Brocade said it launched a new set of network automation tools and software it asserts will allow system admins to script out provisioning and various management tasks.

Designed for large enterprises and cloud service providers, the WorkFlow Composer package is a server-based network management platform that allows administrators to set scripts for performing common networking tasks and provisioning new network deployments.

Based on the recently-acquired StackStorm platform, Brocade asserts that Workflow Composer can automate basic networking tasks including provisioning, validation, troubleshooting, and remediation.

The servers will sport API integration with Azure and Slack, and Brocade says it is making many of the platform's other components open source and available on GitHub.

Patrick Laporte, director of marketing for network automation, said that Brocade's aim was to model the platform on systems used internally by cloud providers such as Google and Amazon to keep network management and diagnostics automated and managed on pace with other IT elements.

"At the end of the day, you are only as agile as your least agile component," Laporte said.

"And most of us have known for a while that component is the network," he added. One scenario Laporte floated was handling network appliance outages. He said that a company could set rules that are triggered when certain events, such as a switch crashing, occur.

The rules would tell the automation system to perform a troubleshooting script, attempt to diagnose and restart the switch, log the various activities and connect with Slack or a notification system that will send an alert to a network administrator.

"All the various attempts to remediate and troubleshoot that are done programmatically, and they are done in seconds or minutes rather than a few hours," Laporte said.

Don't expect to see the Workflow Composer dashing into the market any time soon, however. Brocade is still far away from having the full software stack ready.

Currently, it's only available on a trial basis, and no pricing has been posted as of yet. The first full release is not due out until August 2016 at the very earliest.

Source: Brocade Inc.

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