REDtalks #17 – Orchestration 2.0 (w/ a side of bacon)

Greeting automators and welcome to edisode #17 of REDtalks. Today’s guest is Tyler Hatton who is from WWTs own internal IT Operations team. Tyler is the F5 BIG-IP Subject Matter Expert for WWT and is hell-bent on replacing the mundane with declarative interfaces and orchestration systems.

Watch this episode to hear about the interesting culture at WWT and their regular hack-a-thon’s. These events themed at breaking the routine and investing internally in continuous education and, my favorite, “continuous improvement”. Following this, Hatton talks us through his brilliantly named, hack-a-thon winning, “(P)orchestrator” solution!

Tune it to understand the time-saving, self-service interface that Tyler produced, quite literally, from the Ops ‘drivers seat’.

 

Many thanks, Tyler, for sharing your story!

REDtalks #16 – Andy & Tom on Metrics Driven Automation

In episode #16 we are joined by Andreas (Andy) Grabner, of Dynatrace, and Tom McGonagle, of F5 Networks.

Watch this episode to hear about Metrics Driven Automation, or Informed Automation, and how this takes the feat out of fully integrated deployment pipelines. Andy shares some great insights on how to avoid automating oneself into dangerous situations.

Following this, Tom shows us (yes, a live demo) how to deploy an F5 BIG-IP policy using the CI/CD tool, Jenkins.

 

You may recall Tom from a previous episode, REDtalks #14 – Tom & David on the Principles & Practices of DevOps. Thanks for coming back, Tom! Here’s the Jenkins Github repo he referenced in his demo: https://github.com/mcgonagle/F5file

And thanks, Andy, for your valuable insights on  impelmenting safe, information automation. Andreas To hear more from Andy Grabner, take a look at some of these links:

Thanks, both, for your time!

REDtalks #13 – Mark & Joe on Cisco CloudCenter (formerly CliQr)

Mark Wall and Joe Weber of WWT join me in lucky episode #13 to discuss automation with Cisco CloudCenter (the artist formerly known as CliQr).

As many already know, in 2016 Cisco bought CliQr, which has since been renamed Cisco CloudCenter. Watch this episode to see how CliQr is used to deploy applications while also configuring Cisco ACI (connectivity fabric), VMware vSphere, Infoblox, and F5 BIG-IP LTM in one single automation workflow.

In the first half of the video we hear from Mark and Joe about their experiences with customer automation. They share with us the typical experiences of an infrastructure admins journey from being a ‘button pusher’ to being a ‘button creator’ before closing out the first half of the talk by sharing their understanding of the markets maturity with automation.

We then enter the second half of the video where Joe explains the CliQr workflow he’s built, with the aid of some helpful diagrams, before throwing caution to the wind and providing a live demonstration (this from the 36 minute mark).

Thanks for joining us, Mark & Joe! More on this from Joe in his WWT blog here: https://www2.wwt.com/all-blog/using-cisco-cloudcenter-to-automate-f5-and-other-workflows

REDtalks #11 – Anthony on Automation with Excel

UPDATED: Feb 9th, 2017

The beauty of REST is that you can call it from just about anywhere. REST doesn’t care which OS you are using or whether you prefer a command-line tool over a GUI, or vice versa. Most importantly, engineers can start benefitting from REST APIs without the need for huge corporate investments and monolithic orchestration projects.

Proving this point, in episode #11 we have Anthony Gerace who demonstrates an accelerated device on-boarding solution using Microsoft Excel (and some VBA script).

Anthony has been at the foundation of MANY demonstrations and proof-of-concept projects. Watch this episode to see how he’s simplified his own workflows, and helped many others get started, with this fine example of how REST APIs are for everyone!

Thanks for joining us, Anthony!

And here’s the spreadsheet on Github: https://github.com/ajgerace/F5-REST—Platform-Builder

REDtalks #10 – Getting started with Ansible Tower and F5 iApps

There’s a lot of great content out there on Ansible playbooks. However, not so much on how to get started. So, this article is to share how I got from “never seen Ansible” to “automating L4 – L7 Service deployments”. I hope its useful to you!

WARNING: What are you actually installing?!

When I signed up for an Ansible Tower eval license I received a link to the Ansible Tower download (its a gzipped tarball – .tgz), which assumes you have Ansible running. Ansible Tower is the nice web interface that use the underlying Ansible (CLI) to do the work. Unless you’re an expert, don’t use the Ansible Tower tgz install!

Instead, use the Anisble Tower *bundle*, which installs both Ansible and Ansible Tower together, configured and integrated. This way you won’t have to mess with dependancies or configuration files afterwards… If you are new to Ansible, I promise you this will make a HUGE difference.

Lab Guide

The complete step-by-step lab guide, including all the playbooks, has been published to GitHub, which you can find here.

However, if video instructions are more your scene, I recorded all the steps in the various lab ‘README’ files into a single video, below.

 

REDtalks #09 – Joel on lab portability with Vagrant

Joel King of WWT is back with us again and in this episode we cover the importance of test/eval environment portability.

These days, few have the luxury of static, consistent environments. Especially those working with automation and orchestration solutions. Consequently, the requirement so spin up, and even repurpose, test or evaluation environments is increasing in importance. Today, for example, I might be verifying that my firewall can work with Phantom Cyber. Tomorrow, it might be integrating my load-balancer with Ansible Tower. Different teams use different tools and its extremely difficult to constantly build out environments to stay on top of them all.

So, watch this episode to hear how Joel has been using Vagrant to create, and even share, is test/eval environments with other engineers, while eliminating the need to copy, or migrate, heavy virtual machines and their virtual environment configurations.

This kind of thinking is a key step in the evolution from traditional NetOps to Super-NetOps!

Thanks for joining us, Joel!

REDtalks #06 – Michael O’Leary on self-service with vRO/vRA

We were lucky enough to get Michael O’Leary back so soon for another episode, and, this time, a self-service demonstration.

In “REDtalks #04 – Michael O’Leary on orchestration with VMware vRO” we discussed the benefits of automating infrastructure and Michael shared some great tips on how to get started. In this episode Michael demonstrates one of his self-service solutions that enables the generation of tiny-URL’s for his internal customers. The solution uses VMware vRealize (vRO and vRA), Infoblox, and an F5 BG-IP.

Thanks, again, for sharing with us, Michael!