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GigaOm Radar for Network Validationv2.0

Ensuring Intent and Mitigating Risk

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analyst’s Take
  7. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

To verify that their network is connected, secure, and operating as intended, enterprises must deploy robust validation tools that provide up-to-date visibility of the network configuration and state, including address assignment, device interface state, neighboring devices, and Layer 2 and Layer 3 protocol information. Network validation determines whether the configuration or reconfiguration of the network meets the design or intent of the network. It focuses on analytical aspects, such as validating the reasons for making changes and predicting the impact of configuration changes. Including automation to improve accuracy and reduce risk, network validation comprises pre- and post-deployment unit testing, functional testing, and verification.

This is our second year evaluating the network validation space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. All solutions included in this Radar report meet the following table stakes, which are mature, stable features common across all network validation solutions:

  • Automated pre-deployment checks: Validation is done proactively before deploying a network change to determine whether the proposed change violates any predefined policy before it is applied. Failed checks automatically abort the deployment process.
  • Automated post-deployment checks: Validation is done automatically after deploying a change to the network to determine whether the change was completed successfully and verify it had the intended impact. Failed checks automatically trigger a rollback of the change and launch a subsequent test to ensure the network was restored to its pre-deployment state.
  • Scheduled state validation: Network administrators must be able to schedule network state validation periodically to ensure the network is performing as intended. Since the process is read-only, the validation can be run regularly to identify potential issues that would not necessarily be flagged by the network management system (NMS), such as failure of a redundant interface, enabling teams to be more proactive.
  • Automated trouble ticketing: The network validation system must provide out-of-the-box integration with trouble-ticketing systems for automatically creating tickets when the network state differs from the existing or future state as defined in the network source of truth (NSoT) inventory and metadata. While remediation may initially be manual, the system should be able to support increasing automation as the organization matures, including automated actions and network validation scans based on specific triggers.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key network validation vendors and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Network Validation Solutions,” we describe in more detail the capabilities and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.