Automation is the key to increasing operational efficiency and lowering OpEx, but it does not guarantee a successful data center deployment. While automation can confirm configuration integrity and prevent human errors in repetitive changes, it can’t validate intent and network requirements. Therefore, automation must be tested and validated before deployment, and the NVIDIA way of doing this is with a data center digital twin.
What is a data center digital twin network?
A data center digital twin network is a 1:1 simulation of a physical network environment, with logical instances of every switch, server, and cable. This enables it to be used for validating routing (BGP, EVPN), security policy compliance, automation, monitoring tools, and upgrade procedures.
This digital twin is hosted in the cloud, enabling teams to test their configuration at scale without the overhead of physical infrastructure. Data center digital twins offer a number of benefits:
- Decreases time to deployment
- Decreases network downtime
- Decreases lab costs
- Decreases need for network hardware and build while waiting on hardware to arrive
- Increases creativity and collaboration (design, monitoring, change management)
- Enhances the value of physical infrastructure–by giving more capabilities
- Simulates true-to-reality infrastructure
- Continuous integration–fixes and changes can be implemented and tested on an ongoing basis
How do I create a data center digital twin?
NVIDIA Air is a free platform for creating network digital twins. These digital twins can be clones of existing topologies, prebuilt topologies, or custom designed networks that can scale to 1000s of switches and servers. Each server and switch in the digital twin can be spun up in the NVIDIA Air cloud hosted environment for IT teams to extract the value of testing to its full potential.
Prebuilt network automation
Every developer values reusable sample code, and NVIDIA has Production Ready Network Automation. We publish working Ansible playbooks for complete leaf/spine topologies with BGP & EVPN all set up for you. These playbooks are built for the NetDevOps approach of Continuous Integration and are the same playbooks our professional services team uses. The playbooks are constantly updated based on learnings & best practices from actual customer deployments-and we have made our Production Ready Automation assets available free of charge.
Test your automation
Testing is a tradeoff between risk and cost. On one hand, to fully validate network functionality and reduce the risk associated with change management, the test network needs to be similar to the production network. On the other hand, creating a physical replica of the production environment is expensive both in CapEx and OpEx.
Using a virtual replica via a data center digital twin can significantly reduce the costs associated with such testing.
IT teams can integrate the data center digital twin into their CI/CD pipeline, deploy new changes, validate the configuration using NetQ and deploy to production confidently. This level of integration helps drive down the cost of validation even further.
Automate your testing
To shorten the time to deployment and decrease the risk of downtime, IT teams use NVIDIA Air to automate their testing process.
In addition to testing an ad hoc change, every change goes through a set of regression tests to eliminate degradation of the current functionality. Once both regression and ad hoc tests are passed, the ad hoc test is added to the regression tests suite and validated in future deployments.
Help your team learn best practices by testing changes in a risk-free environment by building your own data center digital twin. Easy to work with and free to use! Get started at NVIDIA Air.
For more information, see the following resources: