We have all seen the segmentation of people and technologies into what we lovingly refer to as ‘silos.’ Initially, these silos were formed to group together teams with common skill sets, ownership, accountability, etc. The effect that we see from this division into functional groups typically manifests as some level of communication hindrance that limits full cooperation between the groups to obtain a higher level objective.

If you look at the technology industry, the same sort of logical grouping is prevalent. For example, we have technology silos like Campus Networking, Data Center Infrastructure, Security, and Storage.

Ansible for network automation

In these technology domains, we see managers, or controllers, that are responsible to provide that Software Defined Controller role and act as the provisioner for that area. Similar to the challenge faced with people in organizations, this division can be a hindrance when trying to automate across multiple functional areas.

Ansible for Higher Level Automation

What we need to help drive a cohesive strategy for management across each of these domains is a common interface to act as the glue between them. This “higher layer” can interface with each technology domain using whatever interface is exposed by the manager or by reaching the devices directly.

Ansible is a fantastic solution to act as this glue. There are over 2000 modules to provide that communication mechanism into each domain. The coverage is broad enough to span the entire gamete.

Ansible for network automation

Campus Networking

Cisco Campus networking has seen significant growth in maturity with the DNA Center solution. DNA Center provides GUI driven workflows that greatly simplify complex deployments allowing the technologist to focus on what they want the network to do rather than the specific configurations.

The Assurance engine is without a parallel in the industry. Assurance provides unprecedented visibility into the health of your networks, end users, and applications.

Cisco has released the concept of DNA Center as a Platform and provides access to the APIs that drive the DNA Center solution.

Ansible Modules for DNA Center

That brings us to the point of this write up…with Ansible acting as the glue between your various technical domains combined with your newly deployed Cisco DNA Center you will need some new modules to drive the configurations of DNA Center from Ansible.

World Wide Technology has developed several new Ansible modules for DNA Center. These initial modules provide the ability to deploy configuration of the design workflows including Site Hierarchy, Common settings (DHCP Server, DNS Server, Syslog, etc), IP Pools, Create Discoveries and more.

Ansible for network automation

These initial modules are just the start. We will continue to develop and refine with the help of the broader, open source community as additional features and APIs are exposed.

The figure below is a snippet of YAML from a sample playbook illustrating the configuration of the DNA Center settings and sites.

Ansible for network automation

Want to Learn More?

WWT’s Advanced Technology Center offers several lab environments for both Cisco DNA Center and Ansible. Coming soon is a lab for both! Contact WWT for more information!

Where’s the Content?

The Ansible modules for DNA Center have been published on Cisco DevNet Code Exchange where you can find links to more information and most importantly, the GitHub repository.


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Jeff Andiorio

Technical Solutions Architect

World Wide Technology