Network Automation for DevOps
This is our third episode for what I have personally termed the ‘NX-OS’ exposed series. The first two have been about programmability. Exploring the exposed interfaces, Object Models, the NX Tool kit and more of the NX-API framework that enables DevOps teams to respond more quickly. [TWTV 176 – Open NX-OS Programmability and TWTV 180 – NX-API Rest/Object Models].
Today’s show dives into the automation piece. That simultaneously higher level conversation covering what an organization really cares about, why IT exists and how we finally brought data center switching into the automate-able value chain.
Network automation is an integral part of the overall infrastructure automation. Yet, it has been largely left out of the DevOps movement.
Automation is central to achieving a truly agile datacenter. DevOps has been the cultural movement working towards the realignment of disparate function involved in the IT value stream. It is the modern, ‘digital,’ equivalent of an optimized manufacturing line.
Configuration management and Linux based tools have played a key role. Major improvements on the server side of the house as frustrated sysadmins have pioneered cross function collaboration. Data Center Networking has always been a key function within this, but only on a manual basis. Now, Nexus switches and the Open NX-OS can fully participate within this optimized ecosystem by operating as a linux server. Data center switching is now a seamless, native integration into your DevOps journey with no changes to the tools already being used.
Nexus Switching brings Server Automation to the Network
One of the most popular configuration management tools within the DevOps movement comes from Puppet Labs. Former sys-admin Carl Caum, explains what is happening within DevOps, how Puppet can model the entire IT value stream and where networking is now fully integrated thanks to the Cisco/Puppet partnership.
Devarshi Shah with Cisco’s NX-OS switching team uses Puppet, directly connected to two different Nexus 9000 switches, to show how simple this level of deep automation can be.
Manage the Network Just Like Compute
Cisco NX-OS supports desired state automation through a native Puppet Enterprise agent (available at Puppet Forge). Puppet Enterprise can leverage the new NX-OS programming capabilities such as NX-API, a web-based API for programmatic access to the switch; advanced Python scripting, which allows for on-device and off-device Python scripting; underlying Linux shell access through Bash; and an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP)-based publish-subscribe messaging bus. When used in combination with Puppet Enterprise, these programming features empower administrators to automate more, faster.
The native NX-OS Puppet agent for 9k and 3k Nexus switches enable network administrators to automate Day One, Two, and Three operations simply by specifying the desired state of your network in Puppet code using our Cisco Puppet module available on the Puppet Forge.
See how you can deploy, provision, manage and monitor switching in the same way as your servers.
• The Phoenix Project. (This is a must read). I thought I would hate the stye of this book but it pulled me in quickly. Learn the value of an agile, aligned IT organization right alongside a likable leader working his way through the technical and political challenges that we can all relate to.
• Cisco’s Open NX-OS and Puppet Enterprise (Whitepaper)
• 2015 State of DevOps Report
• Open NXOS
⁃ TechWiseTV Programmability
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Thank you for watching. We still have a few more shows in this series, so stay tuned!