Automating and Orchestrating Large Enterprise Networks with AppViewX and Ansible

Automation is an essential component to running large, multi-platform, multi-vendor enterprise networks. Many organizations have already invested in simple IT infrastructure automation solutions, and have had initial success turning repetitive environment provisioning and application deployment tasks into reusable playbooks.

A leading global Financial Services corporation has effectively implemented Ansible for configuration management, but needed to add a governance and advanced orchestration layer to achieve true zero-touch, end-to-end automation of their key processes. The company’s Infrastructure and Operations leaders chose AppViewX for its seamless integration with Ansible playbooks, which allowed business users and other IT teams to gain access to an array of service orchestration workflows.

  • Ansible is an IT automation engine, designed to accelerate DevOps processes. It is quickly becoming a go-to automation platform for organizations who are ready to embark on an automation journey.
  • AppViewX is an end-to-end low-code network automation and orchestration solution. It handles high-level network operations like real-time monitoring and reporting, compliance and governance, context-aware troubleshooting and auto-remediation, and self-servicing capabilities.
  • The integrated solution works by allowing users to call Ansible playbooks from AppViewX (Northbound) to perform automation tasks, or by triggering AppViewX orchestration workflows from Ansible (Southbound).

Zero Touch Provisioning of AppViewX Multi-node

The most commonly used scenario for the Financial Services company is to spin production environments with a specified number of nodes. AppViewX created playbooks and visual workflows that would automatically provision all required resources and input predefined parameters, such as CPU, RAM, storage, VM location, DNS, and more. AppViewX would automatically assign the resources, log into devices, set up host names and IP addresses, and verify that the environment is ready for production.

The entire process is completely automated. All that users need to do is log into the user-friendly AppViewX interface and select the right workflow. The new environment is automatically set up, allowing engineers to make changes, scale it up and down, and add devices, as needed.

Restoring the Environment After an Unforeseen System Failure

Because they deal with sensitive customer and transaction data, the financial services companies need to have a plan to retrieve data in the shortest possible time in the event of a data crash or system failure. A common course of action by the operations team is to scrap all devices on the network and restore complete environments based on the last known good configuration.

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AppViewX creates a nightly backup of the entire network, including the database and the configurations, and is able to trigger workflows to restore it in a matter of minutes. So, in case of an unforeseen shutdown, AppViewX can get all environments, including the DB, back up with minimal data loss (the only items lost might be changes made since the last backup).

From a Few Days to a Few Hours – That’s How Much Time the Customer Saves With AppViewX

Previously, the company’s network administration team took an entire day to spin up the nodes on their hypervisor. They then had to manually configure each of the nodes, which took an additional four to five hours. Bringing nodes back up after a security breach took even longer – it involved the tedium of manually reverting the system to the last-known-good-configuration.

AppViewX dramatically simplifies and speeds up the process of creating and restoring production environments through its zero-touch automation capabilities. The network team could now spin up new environments within an hour, instead of an entire day. This also meant they could bring their applications and services to production much faster, drastically reducing their TTV (Time To Value).

Right-sizing Networks for Capacity Planning

In response to fluctuating demand, the Financial Services company needed a way to quickly scale up and down the number of nodes. AppViewX gave them a way to automate this process, with minimal input from the user (requiring only to specify the number of nodes), to accommodate changes in traffic and keep applications available and responsive to any number of users.

The integration between AppViewX and Ansible allowed the Financial Services company to automate key processes and increase the agility of their infrastructure without adding complexity or increasing operating costs. The intuitive and user-friendly orchestration capabilities offered by AppViewX helped accelerate network provisioning tasks throughout the large corporation, freeing up IT resources and helping the company achieve their digital transformation goals.

Want to learn more about what AppViewX can do for your business? Contact us today and schedule your free demo.

About the Author

George Samual Paul

George Samual Paul

Lead Network Analyst

Enterprise Network Architect focused on simplifying network infra to make it invisible

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