What Is Network Automation?

Use network automation to design, provision, and manage your network for improved business efficiency.

What is network automation?

Network automation is the process of automating the configuring, managing, testing, deploying, and operating of physical and virtual devices within a network. With everyday network tasks and functions automated and repetitive processes controlled and managed automatically, network service availability improves.

Any type of network can use network automation. Hardware- and software-based solutions enable data centers, service providers, and enterprises to implement network automation to improve efficiency, reduce human error, and lower operating expenses.

Why automate your network?

One of the biggest issues for network managers is the growth of IT costs for network operations. The growth of data and devices is starting to outpace IT capabilities, making manual approaches nearly impossible. Yet up to 95 percent of network changes are performed manually, resulting in operational costs 2 to 3 times higher than the cost of the network. Increased IT automation, centrally and remotely managed, is essential for businesses to keep pace in the digital world.


Up to 95 percent of network changes today are done manually.

Manual changes lead to configuration errors and inconsistencies in the network.

Expanding network changes at scale can be problematic.

Network downtime and nonremote troubleshooting time are detrimental.

Find the path to automation that's right for you

With network automation, you'll quickly and easily design, provision, and apply policy across your network. And in your journey to automation, you choose the path and the pace. Work with existing network and policy definitions, migrate as fast or slow as you'd like, or start from scratch.

Whatever your path, the Cisco Customer Experience team can help you strategize, deploy, and manage your network.

Step 1: network design

Inventory, discovery, topology, and site design.

  • Quick, clear visibility of network devices and clients.
  • Map and logical views.
  • Importing with Prime Infrastructure, losing none of your former work.

Step 2: profiles and policies

Network deployment standardization with design profiles and site-based application policies.

  • Applications and services that follow policies created.
  • Network performance that aligns with business intent.

Step 3: provisioning and connecting

Plug-and-play provisioning, branch virtualization, and software image management.

  • Zero-touch provisioning of off-the-shelf devices.
  • Easy control of device configurations for consistency and accuracy.

Step 4: automated lifecycle management

Automating upgrades, patches, and security updates and executing on Cisco DNA Assurance enhancements.

  • Fast and accurate deployment of patches and updates.
  • Systemwide configuration updates as driven by assurance.

Related solutions for network automation

Enterprise networking

Cisco DNA automation capabilities transform previously manual onboarding, configuration, provisioning, and software management processes to simplify and scale network operations and greatly minimize configuration errors.

Data center networking

From programmable infrastructure, to single-pane of glass management and common policy for data center operations, Cisco provides network automation tools to seamlessly move apps and data between on-premises data centers and clouds.

Service providers

Cisco's intent-based, closed-loop automation portfolio offers service providers comprehensive solutions for full-lifecycle network management to improve agility, scalability, operational excellence, and customer experience.

Why Cisco for network automation?

Only Cisco can deliver everything you need in such a way that helps position your network for now and later. Cisco gives IT time back from time-consuming, repetitive network configuration tasks so you can focus on the innovation your business needs.

Made to work together

Cisco offerings are made to work together to provide you with the elements you need for network automation.

Migrate at your own speed

Migrate at a pace that makes you comfortable. Import your former work on device mapping and policies.

Comprehensive solutions + software + products + services

Software defines how our hardware, software, fabric digital automation, and nonfabric base automation work together.

No other vendor can deliver like Cisco

Only Cisco can deliver IBNs that leverage automation, intelligence, and human expertise in such a way that helps simplify complexity, optimize IT, and reduce operational costs.

Accelerate your journey with Cisco Services

With proven experience, best practices, and innovative tools, we help you confidently move to a secure, automated, intent-based network.