Network Automation

Control and security for enterprise networks.

“SaltStack gives us the ability to centrally manage all of our devices and programmatically configure them. Now we can get out of the business of having network engineers log in to devices individually to make changes and possibly make mistakes that are damaging to our customer experience.”

Greg Fraize, Principal Network Security Engineer, Liberty Mutual READ THE CASE STUDY

The network, evolved

Digital business demands speed, scale, and connectivity that yesterday’s network architecture simply can’t deliver. The challenge is that most enterprise networks are made up of a broad mix of hardware, software, and virtualized components.

Central, abstracted network device control

SaltStack integrates with Cisco, Arista, Juniper and others to deliver a uniform, abstracted management experience from a single automation platform.

Flexible management options

SaltStack is the only automation platform to offer three unique methods of managing network devices. In addition to native lightweight minions for many current-generation network devices, network operations teams can choose to manage devices via SSH or a unique proxy API service that provides the benefits of a SaltStack agent without requiring the installation of anything on box.

Event-driven automation and orchestration

SaltStack event-driven automation maintains a persistent, two-way connection with your entire network. SaltStack allows you to detect changes across your network and respond automatically—whether you need to orchestrate complex firmware updates on production gear, enforce compliance rules across your data center or detect and close a port opened by mistake.


Network automation refers to the automation of network management tasks, including provisioning, configuration, deployment, and security of both physical and virtual network devices.

The goal of network automation is maximizing  network efficiency and while increasing reliability. 

In principle, network automation and infrastructure automation are very similar—both have to do with automating common operational and security tasks on IT systems. The main difference is in the types of hardware being managed and the nuances that accompany them.

Where infrastructure automation generally includes the automation of servers—on prem and in the cloud—network automation refers to the management of network routers, switches, load balancers, firewalls and so on. These devices often have significant hardware and software limitations when compared to their server counterparts, and network automation practices must take those limitations into account.

Network devices are notoriously difficult to manage due to their lack of compute space, limited control options and the proprietary nature of network hardware. Compared to their IT counterparts, network engineers spend an inordinate amount of time auditing, enforcing configuration and performing critical maintenance on network assets. To make matters worse, data centers are only growing in size and complexity and manual management is becoming increasingly expensive and unsustainable.

Network operations (NetOps) teams are typically responsible for ensuring the network can meet business and customer needs and maintain resilience and security. Part of this role includes managing the operational health and efficiency of physical and virtual network devices. As data center size and user demands both continue to increase, more and more NetOps teams are turning to network automation to meet them.