Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders must develop a detailed plan for implementing automation technologies to stay relevant in the digital world. Given the wide tools in the market, it is a challenging task to choose the right automation tool and improve automation results in the modern network infrastructure. Adopting an integrated automation approach not only increases the current results but also provides a strong foundation to build a fully automated network infrastructure to drive data center agility. This solution guide looks at taking a holistic approach toward network automation with AppViewX and Ansible and how it benefits operations teams with rapid and efficient delivery of application and network services.
An Integrated Automation Approach
Network automation has become essential to efficiently operate modern network infrastructure. Most organizations have started automating simple tasks and have witnessed significant results. If you take a look back at the enterprise network automation journey, organizations used basic scripting at the earlier stages. The emergence of DevOps-oriented solutions like Ansible, Puppet, Chef focused more on automation of low level solutions through design plans and playbooks.
However, long term success of network automation requires coordination and governance that can be provided by an advanced automation and orchestration tool. The key is to think holistically about network automation and define a clear network automation strategy that starts with repetitive tasks and existing tools. I&O leaders seeking impactful results need a tool that is well integrated with multiple tools and multi-vendor ecosystem to drive end-to-end automation, enabling I&O cost and operational benefits. This will enable organizations to move from a focus on more task automation to strategic service automation. This allows I&O to accelerate service delivery, maximizing business value.
With the latest version, AppViewX 2019.1.0 gives NetOps and SecOps teams access to brand new low-code automation elements and integrations, supporting additional automation tools like Ansible playbooks, making end-to-end network automation more intuitive, flexible and user-driven. In this solution guide, we will explain how AppViewX helps to automate and orchestrate across Ansible playbooks. This integrated approach provides continuity in automation and aligns the automation goals among NetOps, SecOps and DevOps teams.
Automation with AppViewX and Ansible
Ansible for DevOps:Ansible is an automation platform designed to accelerate DevOps initiatives. Due to agentless nature, Ansible has gained significant adoption, becoming the preferred solution in the DevOps community.
AppViewX for NetOps and SecOps: AppViewX is revolutionizing the manner in which NetOps and SecOps teams deliver services to the rest of enterprise IT. The AppViewX Platform is a modular, low-code software application that enables the automation and orchestration of network infrastructure using an intuitive, context-aware, visual workflow.
The digital transformation demands the NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps to align to a holistic automation approach. With common business goals, NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps teams need to work together to drive a successful digital business. The highest level of automation maturity involves interconnecting multiple automation and orchestration tools. With AppViewX and Ansible integration, there are two ways Ops teams can automate complex requests.
- AppViewX as the automation controller; Ansible as Southbound
- AppViewX as the orchestration controller; Ansible as Northbound
Leveraging a vast library of pre-built tasks, low-code elements and workflows, the AppViewX platform enables Ops teams to quickly and easily translate business requirements into automation workflows that improve agility, enforce compliance, eliminate errors, and reduce cost.
While creating automation workflows, you can drag and drop the Ansible component (playbooks) onto the design canvas. Ansible playbooks are discovered and the AppViewX platform will invoke the right playbook to deploy and configure applications requested in the workflow. AppViewX can be utilized as an orchestrator tool with ITSM and DDI integration, allowing Ansible to deploy any application instance, implement load balancer configuration or any network device.
The AppViewX and Ansible integration open wide use cases providing continuous automation of application delivery requests. It enables provisioning on any infrastructure components supported by the platform.
Representative Use Cases
Application provisioning across F5 BIG-IP LTM, AFM, DigiCert
Let’s consider an example of provisioning an application, which involves creating a virtual server, DNS records, certificates, and firewall rules. By integrating with the ITSM systems like ServiceNow, the necessary ticket is automatically created. The workflow is designed by simply utilizing the drag and drop feature. Firstly, add the necessary information for DNS creation (Infoblox), certificate provisioning (DigiCert) and virtual server creation (LTM). Ansible playbook is triggered in this scenario to provision firewall (AFM). Through a single automation workflow, the platform provides multi-vendor orchestration with different southbound options.
Trigger Ansible playbook to create DNS records
In this example, you can trigger Ansible playbook to create a DNS record via AppViewX. This allows implementation of service requests across multi-vendor ecosystem supported by the AppViewX platform. By defining roles, DevOps and NetOps can work together seamlessly and deliver applications faster through a centralized automation solution.
Digital transformation is driving organizations to adopt new and innovative ways to deliver application services faster, while simultaneously reducing complexity and operating costs. A key point in providing agile infrastructure is leveraging advanced automation and orchestration solution like AppViewX which provides NetOps, SecOps and DevOps the common toolbox they need to take advantage of the distributed and networked nature of modern applications. The platform capabilities such as role-based access control, automation workflows, self-servicing, multi-vendor support, certificate lifecycle management, context-aware and orchestration help your organizations to transform your infrastructure. Together with Ansible, AppViewX supports a truly agile infrastructure for your organization, resulting in faster time-to-value for brownfield and greenfield applications.
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