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Key Criteria for Evaluating Network Validation Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Network Validation Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Ivan McPhee

1. Summary

Modern networks encompass a large number of edge devices, including firewalls, load balancers, routers, and switches. Regardless of network size or type, ongoing configuration changes based on business and technical requirements are inevitable. Moreover, the network infrastructure landscape is becoming increasingly complex with the addition of cloud-based services.

Adding a rack, upgrading the operating system (OS), or adding a border gateway protocol (BGP) peer or virtual local area network (VLAN) can cause an outage with significant business repercussions. As a result, organizations require a modern, disciplined approach to network change management, ensuring compliance across all network devices and services. While scope determination, risk analysis, and peer review are manual processes, network validation is automated, accelerating the process and reducing risk by injecting consistency and discipline. Figure 1 shows the network change management process.

Figure 1. The Network Change Management Process

Moreover, with increasing security threats to network resources, enterprises must follow standard practices, ensuring configuration and security policies remain compliant with a network source of truth (NSoT) based on the latest industry standards. However, making and keeping track of each change in a multivendor networking environment comprising hundreds or thousands of network devices is overwhelming. Therefore, maintaining network compliance based on business, network, and security intent must be a priority for network administrators.

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the network validation market and highlight vendors and products that excel. This Key Criteria report identifies capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting a network validation solution. The corresponding Radar report provides an overview of notable network validation vendors and solutions that excel. Together, these reports offer essential insights for network automation initiatives, helping decision-makers evaluate solutions before deciding where to invest.

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.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.