Written by Shane Corban and Mike Cohen

Today, SDN is being embraced by many companies to increase operational speed and efficiency of network management, and Cisco ACI is rapidly becoming the SDN solution of choice. A key part of Cisco’s SDN work is collaborations and integration with a diverse group of industry leaders and innovators. Cisco is especially focused on support for DevOps tools, as we see the growing customer movement towards the DevOps model.

Cisco has been working for some time with Ansible, a key innovator of DevOps tools, moving forward from proof of concept to demos, and integration. Ansible is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, network configuration managementapplication deploymentintra-service orchestration, and many other IT tasks. Last fall, Red Hat – another key Cisco partner – acquired Ansible. Designed for multi-tier deployments since day one, Ansible models IT infrastructure by describing how all of your systems inter-relate, rather than just managing one system at a time. It uses no agents and no additional custom security infrastructure, so it’s easy to deploy. And most importantly, it uses a very simple language (YAML, in the form of Ansible Playbooks) that allow you to describe your automation jobs in a way that approaches plain English.

Today Red Hat is announcing that the Ansible 2.0 release supports Cisco Open NX-OS and the Nexus data center switching platforms. The integration between Ansible and Cisco Open NX-OS enables customers to model their infrastructure as code enabling DevOps-drivenSDN for Cisco Nexus Series switch platforms. Visitors to AnsibleFest today in London can see a demonstration of the integration between Ansible 2.0 and the Cisco switching platform. Visitors are also invited to attend the session: “Managing Your Cisco Data Center Network With Ansible” presented by Fabrizio Maccioni, Cisco Technical Marketing Engineer.

Automate Network Tasks

Tight integration between Cisco Open NX-OS and Ansible 2.0, will enable Cisco customers to quickly and simply automate the entire lifecycle of their application deployment, from initial provisioning, configuration, orchestration through decommissioning on a Cisco Nexus Programmable Network or VXLAN Programmable Fabric. It enables automation of common day zero operational tasks such as the configuration of SNMP, authentication, and logging, day two ongoing provisioning tasks such as configuration of port channels, VLANS, routing protocols (BGP/OSPF), overlays (VXLAN EVPN) and security (ACL’s), etc. Functionally, IT organizations will be able to utilize an intent driven resource model to describe the desired state of network devices and services, not the paths to get them to this state – Ansible and Open NX-OS will enable transforming it to the desired state. This allows reliable and repeatable IT infrastructure configuration, avoiding the potential failures from manual scripting solutions that focus on explicit actions and not the desired state of your infrastructure.

Cisco Nexus switches are the industry leading generation of datacenter switches, powered by Cisco Open NX-OS. The extensibility of the Open NX-OS software architecture enables integration with a wide variety of DevOps automation frameworks and tools including support for Ansible as part of the 2.0 release. Ansible will leverage the embedded NX-API programmatic interface included in Open NX-OS, which delivers a programmable model based API to ensure consistent, repeatable, reliable, model based automation of common network configuration and management tasks.

Let Us Know What You Think

We hope you’re as excited as we are, and can’t wait to see how you deploy application infrastructure with this integration. As always, please let us know what you’d like to see in future versions.



Mike Cohen

No Longer with Cisco