Enabling CI/CD for Network Infrastructure Services Through Automation


CI/CD is a term that’s commonly associated with DevOps, but when this concept is extended to network infrastructure services, it opens up a world of exciting possibilities.

Picture this: just as you develop and integrate application code and automate testing at each step, you can also spin up virtual servers and other network infrastructure services on an as-needed basis – with similar validation and version control protocols – to deliver applications and new functionality to customers without delay. And you can do this by integrating the process into your existing CI/CD pipeline, using the same tools you are already familiar with, like Jenkins, Docker, Bitbucket, GitLab, and GitHub. Imagine delivering the application, along with all the network services required for it, on the same day. Now, that’s real continuous delivery!

The benefits of CI/CD for networks are obvious:

  • Application teams can use familiar tools to self-service infrastructure services for testing and deployment
  • With end-to-end automation, these services can be provisioned in minutes, as opposed to hours or days when done manually
  • Organizations can remove the overhead of creating and processing multiple network provisioning tickets and eliminate cross-functional SME dependencies by enabling application teams to consume networking services on their own
  • When services are tested before and after deployment, there’s assurance that they are stable and reliable
  • Teams can significantly improve compliance with capabilities such as backup, restore, rollback, and version control

In the age of cloud computing, speed, agility, security, and compliance assume a whole new level of importance. CI/CD for network infrastructure services allows networks to keep up with the fast pace of DevOps, paving the way for well-rounded digital transformation.

We are kicking off a blog series on integrating network automation into CI/CD. In this installment, we will start with a brief overview of how AppViewX supports CI/CD for network infrastructure through automation and orchestration.

Setting up CI/CD for Network Services with AppViewX

AppViewX is a multi-vendor network automation and orchestration platform that provides service lifecycle and configuration management capabilities. It helps organizations automate both simple and complex network services, and ensures compliance through configuration backups, restore and rollback capabilities, and more. AppViewX lets you define your own rules and policies, and offers visual workflows to help application owners and other team members execute tasks without coding, while giving developers full programmatic access via APIs.

Here’s a quick recap of the key benefits of the AppViewX network automation and orchestration platform:

  • Automate, orchestrate and provision your entire service delivery process
  • Build and bring your own automation within a unified GUI based framework
  • Set up policy-driven automation and remediation in multi-cloud, multi-vendor environments
  • Improve network availability and agility by implementing our network service orchestration functions
  • Enable operational agility and service efficiency in network operations
  • Boost productivity using out of the box automation tasks and solutions
  • Extend automation to Integrate workflows with third-party systems (ITSM, DDI, Open DevOps, SDK, Open source tools) for increased scalability

To help eliminate network provisioning and configuration bottlenecks, AppViewX offers ways for teams to self-service: when changes in applications require network updates, application teams can use AppViewX to push configuration changes to load balancers, firewalls, and servers, update security certificates, and more.

Related Articles:   Automate and Orchestrate with AppViewX v11.0

AppViewX has available plugins that integrate into a wide variety of DevOps, CI/DC and VCS vendor solutions, allowing additional workflows to become part of the application delivery pipeline. AppViewX also offers API services that can be integrated with source control systems for managing workflows— different workflow versions can be published to the GIT, with Jenkins executing the most updated repository to consume the most up-to-date network services.

AppViewX Device Inventory and Visual Workflow Studio provide an interface that can:

  • Add and manage any network device
  • Configure a CI/CD instance
  • Secure access with user credentials
  • Execute CI/CD pipelines
  • Download a Jenkins/CI/CD vendor plugin from ANY visual workflow
  • Install and set up a Jenkins/CI/CD vendor plugin
  • Execute Jenkins/CI/CD vendor task to trigger workflows
  • Create pipelines
  • Manage version control systems (e.g. GIT) within a source control repository
  • Discover and execute any source controls and code changes, and perform config review

Common Use Cases

1. Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS)

Many organizations use open source software, such as OpenShift container orchestration platform, to configure new application deployments in the cloud. The integration with AppViewX allows teams to automate the entire deployment process, without manual intervention. The parameters are coded into OpenShift, AppViewX receives the request, and launches a workflow that automates the implementation of all required network components. It can also automatically create a service ticket – a true zero-touch provisioning process, helping accelerate application deployment, while improving compliance and minimizing errors.

2. Jenkins CI/CD Integration

Another plugin, connecting Jenkins and AppViewX, allows network automation workflows to be triggered directly from the automation server, making network orchestration tasks and security services part of the Jenkins pipeline. It also works the other way around, where changes in the network can automatically trigger events on the Jenkins side.

3. GITOps and Source Control Integration

AppViewX integrates with the leading version control tools, including GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket. The out-of-the-box integration allows AppViewX to periodically check for the latest versions of software, consume the changes, and execute workflows required to update the network. The versioning works for workflows as well – every time there’s a new version of the workflow, it automatically gets pushed to a version control tool to ensure that all changes correspond to the requirements of the latest application versions. With version control available for network automation tasks as well as applications, DevOps and NetOps teams have a single version of the truth and the ability to accurately track all changes, and revert them as needed.

Making CI/CD a Reality with AppViewX

AppViewX offers device and configuration management capabilities across L2-L7 networking endpoints, including virtual machines, load balancers, firewalls, DNS, IPAM, and ITSM Integration. The intelligent automation platform understands how to sequence the flow of events to create the necessary networking configuration required to expose the application build through CI/CD pipeline building tools. As your organization becomes more advanced in using automation, you can take your processes to the next level by storing different workflow versions on GIT and using AppViewX to manage different pipelines that come with each build.

Want to learn more about how AppViewX can support your CI/CD processes?
Contact AppViewX to schedule a demo.

About the Author

Harshana Moorthy

Associate Manager – Solutions Engineer

Harshana Creates, Enhances and Sustains solutions for prospects and customers.

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