Using a Commercial and Open Source approach to Tackle Network Assurance

Using a Commercial and Open Source approach to Tackle Network Assurance

Join Keith Sinclair as he joins the Passionate About OSS Podcast and talks about how using open source software is a key building block to running your networks. The podcast is also available on Anchor.fmSpotifyGoogle PodcastsRSSPocket CastsBreakerRadioPublic or streamed below;

Show Notes

Have you noticed the rise in trust, but also the rise in sophistication in Open Source OSS/BSS in recent years? There are many open-source OSS/BSS tools out there. Some have been built as side-projects by communities that have day jobs, whilst others have many employed developers / contributors. Generally speaking, the latter are able to employ developers because they have a reliable revenue stream to support the wages. Our guest on this episode, Keith Sinclair, has made the leap from side-project to thriving OSS/BSS vendor whilst retaining an open-source model. His product, NMIS, has been around since the 1990s, building on the legendary work of other open-source developers like Tobias Oetiker. NMIS has since become one of the flagship products for his company, Opmantek. Keith and the team have succeeded in creating a commercial construct around their open-source roots, offering product support and value-add products. Keith retraces those steps, from the initial discussion that triggered the creation of NMIS, its evolution whilst he simultaneously worked at organisations like Cisco, Macquarie Bank and Anixter, through to the IP buy-out and formation of Opmantek, where he’s been CTO for over 10 years. He also describes some of the core beliefs that have guided this journey, from open-source itself, to the importance of automation, scalability and refactoring. The whole conversation is underpinned by a clear passion for helping SysAdmins and Network Admins tackle network assurance challenges at service providers and enterprises alike. Having done these roles himself, he has a powerful empathy for what these people face each day and how tools can help improve their consistency and effectiveness. For any further questions you may have, Keith can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kcsinclair Disclaimer. All the views and opinions shared in this podcast, and others in the series, are solely those of our guest and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the organisations discussed.
3-Steps To Increase Your Automated Event Management

3-Steps To Increase Your Automated Event Management

Recent advances in Operational Process Automation at Opmantek means that our MSP customers can deliver exceptional value to their clients; exceeding their SLAs whilst becoming incredibly sticky.

Are you facing any of the challenges below?

  • Cost pressures as clients try to drive down prices.
  • Ability to meet your SLAs due to overworked technical teams.
  • Absolute reliance on one or two technicians to keep your clients happy.
  • Challenges in retaining level 3-4 technical resources.
  • Significant burdens in maintaining accreditation.
  • Managing increasingly complex client networks.
  • Retaining skills associated with client legacy networks.

Resolve these challenges with incredibly rapid ROI and amazingly low TCO

Opmantek has long believed that Operational Process Automation is one of the foundational pillars for a successful network management strategy. A key piece to this is ensuring that actions are undertaken in a consistent manner each time, with no variation from what is outlined as the standard protocol.

This will help you to:

  • Simplify the procedure
  • Reduce cost
  • Deliver consistent outcomes with your agreed SLAs

Through the use of “context sensitive event actions”, you may now replicate troubleshooting actions and escalation procedures, dynamically.

Example Use Case

1. Issue with Cisco Interface Identified

Here’s the event log for the entire network. Our event management system automatically parses incidents on your client’s networks into Events.

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2. Context sensitive action bar initiated

Once a specific event has been identified “Context Sensitive Actions” are displayed against the event either automatically or by guiding your NOC team through the steps to remediate.

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3. Cisco remediation commands executed

The system automatically creates a ticket in the system, pings the affected nodes and Troubleshoots (TS) the Cisco Interface. Once those actions conclude, the results are displayed on the event itself! The operator may now take further action or simply close out the Ticket.

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All of this can happen without the NOC or your client knowing there was ever an issue. Save time, save money and increase your clients’ satisfaction. If you’re interested in taking advantage of these incredible capabilities, please fill in the form below;

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[White Paper] NMS Security Architecture Considerations and Approaches

[White Paper] NMS Security Architecture Considerations and Approaches

This whitepaper by Principal Consultant of Neon Knight Consulting Anthony Kirkham covers how organizations can increasing the probability of detecting breaches using actionable guidance that will strengthen their Network Management’s security posture. Download the asset below.


Key Points:

    • How quick detection may be the difference between being able to respond quickly and effectively, or, incurring a severe business and reputational impact.
    • Practical guidance & solutions on securing Network Management systems and associated infrastructure
    • Mitigation Strategies to Prevent Malware Delivery and Execution
    • Mitigation Strategies to Limit the Extent of Cyber Security Incidents
    • Mitigation Strategies to Recover Data and System Availability
    • Tools & techniques can be used to provide high value in improving the security posture through Visibility.
    • Why Align with Zero Trust Architectures
    • & more!

Get the E-Book

How To Thrive In A Post-Covid Era: 10 Predictions For Enterprise Network Infrastructures

How To Thrive In A Post-Covid Era: 10 Predictions For Enterprise Network Infrastructures

An enterprise network serves as the foundation for reliably connecting users, devices and applications, providing access to data across local area networks and the cloud, as well as delivering crucial insight into analytics.

But in the wake of a year that was no doubt shaped by COVID-19 and the disruption it brought to the industry, how have enterprise networks been impacted, and what are the requirements moving forward?

What were previously technology nice-to-haves and future infrastructure intentions, are now swiftly becoming business imperatives.

In this blog, we’ll explore our top 10 predictions for network infrastructure in 2021.

 

1.   Cloud Application Delivery

 

The traditional office-based-model has no doubt permanently changed and flexible working arrangements brought forward by the pandemic will continue. A Boston Consulting study from last year found that 63% of employees want a hybrid model whereby they continue to work from home part of the time.

Organizations will further turn to the cloud for application delivery, placing an investment in remote connectivity and new security functionality.

 

2.   Businesses Turn to Big Data and Analytics

 

The requirement for businesses to be agile, change and adapt is more prevalent than ever, and decision-makers need to identify trends and ultimately stay ahead of the curve through outcomes-based strategies.

Big data is becoming an imperative tool in every organization’s arsenal, though its presence is superfluous without the appropriate means to disseminate and analyse it.

We predict this will drive the recruitment of data professionals and further, the simplification in data management through self-service means, accessible to non-data-professionals.

“It’s really about democratizing analytics. It is really about getting insight in a fraction of the time with less skill than is possible today.” – Rita Sallam, vice president and analyst at Gartner.

 

3.   The Year of Mass Adoption for Cognitive / Artificial Intelligence

 

With big data, comes big responsibility and moreover – big processing requirements, which is where AI will be heavily recruited.

2021 will be the year of mass adoption for AI, as businesses of all levels have experienced a paradigm shift into a digital-first model. Corporate networks have been tested through remote working arrangements, uncovering major reliability issues and security threats. IT leaders are looking for a set and forget solutions that automatically provide optimization and security, which is where software such as Opmantek’s NMIS, opEvents, opConfig and Open-AudIT can assist.

Opmantek software is a key system used by IT operations teams across all industries — it acts as the dashboard of a car and tells them how fast everything is going and lets them know when something is faulty. It even predicts future faults, and that’s a big part of the AI. The longer you run our software, the smarter it gets — it learns about your IT Infrastructure and starts to automatically manage it better and deliver better information to the IT operations team.” said Danny Maher, Chairman of Opmantek .

 

4.   Hybrid Clouds in High Demand

 

Agility, speed, security, scalability and compliance are all considerations for IT decision-makers.

Though, there’s never a blanket / one size fits all solution for every business use case, and so the demand for hybrid cloud environments will continue to grow. The traditional model of cloud providers is that of a one-stop-shop. However, we predict as demand grows; cloud market leaders will introduce greater interoperability and further allow users to introduce cloud tools across their existing on-campus networks. Collaboration between cloud providers may even be on the cards as users demand greater flexibility.

 

5.   Networking Virtualization

 

Network virtualization offers many benefits by automating and simplifying processes, including network configuration flexibility, improved control over-segmentation, speed, increased security and cost savings.

According to research by Spiceworks, 30% of businesses currently use network virtualization technology — and an additional 14% plan to use it within the next 2 years.

 

6.   Unified Communication And Collaboration Tools Are Here To Stay

 

End-user adoption is often one of the greatest barriers for IT professionals looking to implement new software. However, seemingly overnight, employees were catapulted into a reality where unified communications as a service (UCaaS) was no longer just an occasional collaboration tool, but rather a necessity of the employment.

We have changed our habits and the way in which we do business. Even as the workforce begin to transition back to office or hybrid office/work from home environments, there’s no doubt that UCaaS is here to stay. Providers will introduce new functionality and continue to diversify their offering to accommodate hybrid working in 2021.

 

7.   WiFi Gets an Upgrade

 

Businesses and consumers alike want things faster, easier and more efficient, and WiFi is no exception. Enter WiFi 6e.

6e not only offers new airwaves for routers to use, but it doesn’t require overlapping signals.

One of the major benefits of 6e is a reduction in network congestion, specifically in areas where users are closely spaced.  As the pandemic continues to unfold, rush hour and crowded spaces are less of an issue, so it may be a waiting game as to when in 2021 we realise 6e’s true potential.

 

8.   IoT (Internet of Things) – More than just Alexa

 

As digital transformation is on the rise, so is IoT and its use cases. A SecurityToday article forecasted that by 2021 there would be 35 billion IoT devices installed worldwide.

IoT is already revolutionizing the way key industries do business, however, healthcare will double down in 2021. Reduced access to face-to-face medical contact has accelerated the need for remote care, and according to Allied Market research – the global internet of things in the healthcare market is expected to reach $332.672 billion by 2027.

 

9.   A Focus on Cybersecurity

 

In light of recent high profile cybersecurity attacks which infiltrated private companies, state and federal organizations by inserting malicious code into trusted software; cybersecurity and secure network monitoring will be paramount.

If you have data or services of value, you need to protect it properly. Keith Sinclair – CTO & Co-founder of Opmantek says, “It is critical to business continuity and data security that you have security controls in your environment to mitigate risk.”

 

10.    Infrastructure Management Software Leveraged

 

Application demands are continuing to grow and networks must respond. Network professionals must find means of simplifying these increasingly complex systems and environments. Here’s where automated network management software will be leveraged.

Opmantek Software serves to augment a network engineering or system administration role. As well as emulating actions that network engineers take within a network management system, it can also perform advanced maintenance tasks, assist in the interpretation of network data and communicate effectively with other digital systems in order to categorise, resolve and escalate potential network issues.

 

 

For more information about Opmantek and the services we provide, get in touch. Our network engineers are available to chat through specific issues you may be facing within your own network environment.

Book a Demo

Introducing Programmable Button Actions

Introducing Programmable Button Actions

Opmantek has long believed that Operational Process Automation is one of the foundational pillars that a successful network management strategy is built upon. One key piece to this is to ensure that actions are undertaken in a consistent manner each time, there should be no variance from what is outlined as the standard protocol. opEvents has introduced programmable button actions that help assist organisations in replicating troubleshooting actions and escalation procedures further solidifying opEvents as a technical service desk.

The buttons use the same pipeline as scripts in EventActions but now operators have the ability to manually kick off an action for an event. One of the most common actions will be to create a ticket in your issue tracking system, in our case we will create a Jira Ticket.

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Configuration

To start create the following file in omk/conf/table_schemas/opEvents_action-buttons.json This must be valid JSON schema or the buttons will fail to render. You should see an error in opEvents.log if this is the case. [ { “description”: “Example Events Button Action”, “label”: “Create Ticket”, “fa_icon”: “fas fa-jira”, “script”: “create_ticket”, “tags”: [“ticket”] } ] Then add the following policy in omk/conf/EventActions.json|.nmis that triggers show_button.tag() EventActions.json “policy”: { “5”: { “IF”: “event.any”, “THEN”: “show_button.ticket()”, “BREAK”: “true” }, } & EventActions.nmis %hash = ( ‘policy’ => { ‘5’ => { IF => ‘event.any’, THEN => ‘show_button.create_ticket()’, BREAK => ‘true’ }, } ); These are the supported keys and how the change operation and look of the button.
Key Type Required Description
script String Yes Name of the script defined in EventActions.json
label String Yes Label which the button will display to the user
description String optional Tool-tip help text to be displayed when you mouse over the button
tags array[string] optional If no tags are defined the button will show on all events, if tags are defined the button will only show on events which have been tagged with show_button.tag_name()
run_once boolean optional If set to true the button will look for script.script_name key on the event, if found the button will disable itself. This allows manual actions to only be triggered once. Will not influence any defined EventActions.json operations.
fa_icon string optional Icon to be displayed from the Font Awesome library shipped with opEvents example: “fas fa-table-tennis” Icons here.
class string optional Define a css class to colour the button, see Notes on Button Classes below to see a list of supported types.

Notes on Font Awesome

In opEvents-3.2.2 we are shipping the library 5.12.1 In opEvents-2.6.1 we are shipping the library 5.8.2