Fortune 500 Global Insurance Provider Managed, Automated and Orchestrated their F5 ADC Infrastructure Using AppViewX ADC+

Client Information

The client is a leading global insurance organization, operating across more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. Also, a Fortune 500, providing insurance and other financial services to support their clients in business and in life.

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Business Objectives

With a rapidly-growing customer base of over 100 million and thousands of internal and public-facing applications, the company’s IT infrastructure team was constantly challenged with endless service requests. Despite having one of the most powerful ADC infrastructures supporting their applications, the team found its core processes to be painfully manual, slow, and inefficient. They realized the immediate need for a more comprehensive, scalable and automated solution that could catapult them into the digital world.

Key Technical Objectives

  • Streamline F5 BIG IP configuration management
  • Automate LTM provisioning and VIP lifecycle management
  • Enable Application and Security teams with self-servicing capabilities
  • Obtain granular visibility into Network Infrastructure
  • Perform device backups on regular basis and restore when required

Business Challenges

With over 120 ADC devices and no management & automation platform, the network and application teams were unable to efficiently leverage the full potential of their F5 ADC infrastructure

  • Long queue of tickets and subsequent service delays – Every change request had to go through the network team. Application teams had to wait long hours even for a simple enable/disable operation, which again had to be done manually.
  • Outages due to implementation of faulty configurations – ADC configuration change requests were raised by multiple teams across organization without being vetted thoroughly at multiple levels (completely manual).The change records were manually opened, approved and executed.
  • 3 – 4 days to provision an LTM instance – Backup, rollback, migration, and provisioning of device configurations were all manual and error-prone.
  • Time-consuming software upgrades – The team was manually handling the high CVE upgrades, which was highly time-consuming thus were unable to run adequate validation checks, causing production outages.
  • No VIP clean-up process – Utilizing Orion and custom SNMP discovery to generate reports and were analyzed and validated manually. The change records were manually opened, approved and executed.

AppViewX ADC+ as a Solution

AppViewX’s ADC+, application delivery automation solution provided role-based management, automation, and orchestration of F5 BIG-IP services. It simplified version upgrades and enabled self-service capabilities to multiple lines of business for the client.

  • Self-Servicing with Controlled Network Dashboards
    Multiple teams could get real-time visibility into the state, status, health, and performance of devices and applications from the Controlled Network Dashboards. Network engineers could create automation workflows for application-centric tasks like application enable/disable for rerouting traffic or spinning up virtual instances for testing. These workflows could then be shared with application owners using role-based access controls to self-service application-centric tasks without relying on network teams, leading to a significant drop in tickets.
  • Configuration Management with Out-of-the-Box Automation Flows
    AppViewX ADC+ fully automated the migration of configurations across devices and reduced configuration errors with out-of-the-box automation flows, change control through ITSM, pre- and post-validations, and built-in approval management process. The Visual Workflow module of the ADC+ solution generated templates of existing device configurations that could be updated with the required variables and automatically pushed to the new devices after the automated mandatory checks. Visual Workflow also supports bulk migrations, eliminating the need to type out configurations from scratch. These templates could also be self-serviced by the application teams, further saving time and effort.
  • VIP/WIP Lifecycle Management
    It automated the lifecycle of VIP/WIP management on BIG-IP LTM and DNS – from creation, modification, deletion, and decommissioning. AppViewX ADC+ is integrated with BlueCat to reserve & fetch free IPs and map them to the virtual server(s). It enabled teams with configurable parameters to track the VIPs/WIPs that are up/down for ‘X’ time frame. It also automated the approval and validation processes involved in creating virtual IPs.
  • Software Version Upgrades
    Software version upgrades, too, could be easily accomplished with the APS templates. Configurations could be migrated to a new/unused instance where the upgrade could be applied and tested, and finally brought to production. AppViewX automated the whole gamut of pre- and post-validation checks, ensuring zero possibility of outages and other service disruptions.
  • Backup and Restore
    AppViewX ADC+ enabled engineers to take on-demand or scheduled backups of device configurations and attributes and store them in a centralized repository. It also facilitates easy rollbacks to the last working configuration in case of failure during migration.
  • End-to-End detailed Reporting
    The platform enabled F5 administrators with app-centric topology views through customized reports and dashboards. Leveraging REST APIs, it helped the client optimize application and ADC performance with real-time auto-generated reports on CPU utilization, application traffic statistics, and unused VIPs.

Business Benefits

  • 99% reduction in time taken to provision LTM/GTM configurations
  • 98% reduction in application service delays with self-serviceability
  • 75% reduction in time taken for software upgrades – 1 GB or bigger files copied to multiple devices via single workflow in minutes
  • 10X increase in application availability with almost zero outages
  • Total Cost of Ownership reduced by 92%

Tags

  • ADC Automation
  • Application Delivery Controller
  • F5 ADC
  • F5 BIG-IP