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

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 #08 – Hitesh on Imperative vs Declarative (and sandwiches)

Our very first REDtalks guest, Hitesh Patel, is back again to help us understand a fundamental architectural shift in how systems must change to support a Mode 2 methodology. In this episode we talk about levels of abstraction and how they effect automation processes. We discuss the operational overhead involved in supporting infinite deployment options versus adopting a service templating process, and how this hinges on the abstraction of domain-specific knowledge.

Explained through the art of sandwich making versus microwaving a burrito, listen to this episode to understand the differences between imperative and declarative models.

Thanks again for your time, Hitesh.