Network agility is an approach to computer networking that focuses on keeping a system stable, flexible, and usable. An agile network can readily adapt to day to day changes in usage patterns, as well as long term needs for a business or entity like a government agency. Technicians use tactics like standardized systems and procedures, automated discovery of network connections and devices, and traffic monitoring to build and maintain an agile network. It is possible to retrofit an existing system to accommodate changing needs, in addition to installing a new one.
One important component of network agility is the element of automation. All software and hardware connected to a network should be able to communicate smoothly and function throughout facilities attached to the system. As new components are added, they can integrate seamlessly with automation to discover them, assign attributes, and get them linked with the rest of the system. This is also true of devices that may go on and offline, or move around, like laptop computers.
The network should also work on a wide variety of devices with automation, which allows for quick replacement of components as well as supplementation in the event of a problem. If, for example, a team of developers needs more computing power, a technician can add computers to a cluster to provide this, and these computers will be able to readily communicate with each other. This creates network agility by allowing for constant reconfiguration of devices and programs that access the system.
Another aspect of network agility involves considering how users behave. Technicians may monitor traffic and other activities to collect data that will help them configure a network appropriately. If users clog the system or create problems, it may be necessary to explore their use more deeply to determine if it's contributing to business operations. Networks can be reconfigured to provide support to workers who need more bandwidth or other resources, while other personnel may be asked to curtail their activities to avoid overstretching the company's capabilities.
Standards and protocols to use across a network are important for stability in the short term and performance in the long term. Network agility can allow a system to grow to accommodate the needs of a changing company, while still remaining efficient for their users. This differentiates them from those with more rigid architecture, which can be difficult to expand to accommodate a company that needs more bandwidth, devices, or other resources in order to function.