Cisco NX-OS and Puppet: Agentless Data Center Automation
Openness, Programmability, DevOps
Software applications are the life blood of corporate enterprises. Enterprise IT departments (and Lines of Business) are under immense pressure to bring applications faster to market. To remain competitive, many businesses have either already adapted, or are on the road to adapting agile practices like DevOps so they can innovate faster and deliver time to value.
To successfully transition to DevOps practices, you need a data center infrastructure and operating system that is modernized, open, and modular with extensive programmability options. Cisco and Puppet have worked together on a solution that helps Enterprise DevOps save money and improve time to market.
You should care about this new release because you need to:
• Reduce operational cost, and amount of time and resources required to maintain the network
• Enable a DevOps model
• Focus on innovation rather than maintaining the network
• Set up network infrastructure fast at the pace of the business
What does this release mean
Cisco NX-OS is the ideal platform to adopt because it remains as the most open and extensible operating system in the industry, with a rich ecosystem of partners who relentlessly bring new innovations. This time, Puppet brings us agentless network automation for Cisco NX-OS, the operating system for Cisco’s data center switches.
Major advantages of using Puppet and Cisco NX-OS:
• Enable DevOps to deliver applications faster and create infrastructure on their own
• Simplified DevOps model – Puppet translates requests and applies intent on the infrastructure
• You can define centralized requirements in Puppet Master by defining desired end state, and configurations will be distributed and enforced across the entire network
• Increase productivity through automated processes – Set up new infrastructure, provision devices, manage devices at scale, and apply security policies in an automated manner with this module
• Manage and provision large number of devices quickly and accurately in minutes
• Remove human errors – Traditionally, networks have been configured via CLI, giving space to human error. With Puppet leveraging the open APIs that Cisco NX-OS provides, you DON’T need to know OS specific CLIs. This allows the network to be deployed and managed in a programmatic, repeatable manner, that integrates with change control tolling, thus reducing the possibility of human error and always enforcing the desired state of the network.
New benefits with this release:
• Enhanced compatibility – This agentless architecture now means that there are no requirement to install an agent on the Nexus device – all interaction with the device is via the open API that Cisco NX-OS provides.
• No bootstrapping required – In this new deployment model, there is no need to deploy the agent prior to managing the platforms
• Easy maintenance and upgrades
• Improved performance and enhanced reliability – With a central management platform, there is no possibility for device configuration to be out of sync with the master catalogues. Puppet stores and enforces device configuration.
• Enhanced server scalability – In this new deployment model, the central server reaches out to the client platform not the reverse, thus avoiding the situation where the clients can often overwhelm the server.
1. Technical blog: “Agentless device automation with Puppet’s Cisco Nexus module” by Davin Hanlon, Puppet