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!

Thomas A. McGonagle – Author


My name is Thomas (Tom) A. McGonagle, and I am a new author. You might recognize me from previous REDtalks #16 and #14. I am a new Senior Product Management Engineer working on F5’s Programmability and DevOps. I am a former Field Systems Engineer based out of Boston, MA. Where I have lived my whole life, and over the last 10 years been devoted to the DevOps movement.

I have been a customer facing engineer my whole career. I was a DevOps strategy consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and CloudBees the makers of Jenkins. I was a customer facing Site Reliability Engineer at RedHat, and I owned my own Puppet consulting business for three years. At Cloudbees, I had a blog called Field Notes from a DevOps Cultural Anthropologist. One of my favorite blogs, was a blog on Buddhism and DevOps

In addition to my work, I also spend a lot of time working with the DevOps community. I am the organizer of the Boston Jenkins Area Meetup group, which is the largest Jenkins meetup in the world as well as HackerNest the tech social meetup group. I am also active and help with the Boston DevOps meetup group and the F5 user’s meetup group. DevOps community organizing is a passion of mine.

Its an honor and a privilege to be an author on, I am both impressed and passionate about the message and content that Nathan has been able to create. My greatest professional goal is to get NetOps engineers practicing Agile and DevOps. I have been calling this Agile Networking, but we at F5 are coalescing around calling it Super NetOps.

My version of CAMS (Culture, Automation, Monitoring and Sharing) is ACAMS+ (Agile, Culture, Automation, Monitoring, Sharing, PLUS whatever is important to the customer, i.e., Network and Security). I find CAMS and ACAMS+ to be great frameworks for discussing DevOps. They are the core values of DevOps, but not its DNA. Cracking the DNA of DevOps requires a singular focus on teamwork and team mission.

The DNA of DevOps is as follows:

  • Team of coordinated specialists
  • Oriented to a common goal
  • Servant leader providing coordination and communication
  • Empathetic in dealings with others
  • Trust in the rest of the team
  • Dedication to the common goal
  • Selflessness, adherence to the greater good
  • Determination and resiliency in the face of difficulty
  • Honesty with the leader and the rest of the team
  • Commitment to the mission

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:

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 #15 – Jason Hand on Getting started with ChatOps

Episode #15 brings us the topic of ChatOps. No, I’m not talking about late nights dialed into bulletin board chat groups on your 9600 bit/s modem! ChatOps is about cross team collaboration and information sharing.

Who better to join me in this episode than the author of O’Reilly’s “ChatOps – Managing Operations in Group Chat“, Jason Hand. As DevOps Evangelist as VictorOps, Jason spends a lot of time talking at conferences and to customers about the journey to a DevOps culture and how ChatOps enables rapid collaboration across teams.

Watch this episode to obtain a deep understanding of what ChatOps is all about, learn of the immediate benefits to organizations from adopting such a practices, and get some great tips on how to get started.

Thanks for joining us, Jason!

You can grab the book here:

REDtalks #14 – Tom & David on the Principles & Practices of DevOps

Today I’m joined by Thomas McGonagle and Dr David Yates to discuss the principles and practices of DevOps.

Thomas McGonagle is a Sales Engineer and DevOps evangelist at F5 Networks. Before joining F5, Thomas held positions at Cloudbees (maker of Jenkins) and Booz Allen Hamilton, in addition to running his own consulting business that heavily leveraged Puppet. Consistent throughout his career has been a strong focus on automation and orchestrations.

Dr David Yates joins us from Bentley University where he is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems. Dr Yates has an MS & PhD in Computer Science, is co-inventor of 12 patents, and comes with hands-on experience in both Agile and DevOps. He is currently working on bringing these practices into the classroom.

Listen to this episode to hear the principals and practices that Thomas and Dr Yates live by in terms of DevOps and automation. To summarize, we discuss these three principals:

  • Systems thinking (continuous delivery, continuous everything, …)
  • Continuous intelligence (from amplified feedback)
  • Continuous learning (from experimentation and practice)

And these 9 practices:

  • Practice 1: Configuration management
  • Practice 2: Continuous integration
  • Practice 3: Automated testing
  • Practice 4: Infrastructure as Code
  • Practice 5: Continuous delivery
  • Practice 6: Continuous deployment
  • Practice 7: Continuous monitoring
  • Practice 8: Develop an engaged and inclusive culture to encourage collaboration and shared ownership
  • Practice 9: Actively participate in communities of practice to become a lifelong learner of technology development (don’t be a jerk!)

Thanks Thomas McGonagle and Dr David Yates for joining us!

UPDATE: Here are the Cloudbees blogs that Tom mentions in this REDtalks episode:

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:

REDtalks #12 – Joe Pruitt on API Lifecycle Management

F5 long-timer, Joe Pruitt, joins me in this episode to discuss API Lifecycle Management!

Joe joined F5 back in 1998 to build BIG-IP management and API solutions. He built the original BIG-IP API, iControl, back 2001: first in CORBA, and then SOAP/XML. Click play to hear Joe’s experiences with building robust APIs suitable for modern Infrastructure as Code practices, and hear why he’s returned to the product development team after several years building F5’s developer community platform,

Thanks for joining us, Joe!

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:—Platform-Builder