You don’t have to search very long online to see that Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is something that is incredibly popular in the network and cloud automation world today.  Everyone is trying to find ways to codify deployments of applications, compute, storage, and network in a way that is universally understood and supported across multiple platforms from any vendor – without the need to spend hours learning Python, Node, or Go to interrogate every API.  Being able to instantiate infrastructure quickly, consistently, and repeat ably ensures that the outcomes will always be the same and these codified configurations can be archived in a VCS for archival and audit trails. 

But often there are questions. Like:

  • How do you get started with the basics, especially of something that is relatively new like Terraform? 
  • How do you learn to create configuration compliance and monitor drift using a tool like Ansible? 
  • And, most importantly, can you learn all of this in a setting where you’re not just taking notes or watching a presentation, but actually putting fingers to keyboard? 

If you attend my DevNet Workshops at Cisco Live, then the answers to the above are “yes,” “yes,” and “absolutely yes!” 

Two sessions for you the consider

I’ll be running two sessions of each of my two workshops:

In DEVWKS-1235, I’ll walk through the basics of using HashiCorp’s Terraform, its configuration language, and how to use HCL-based configurations to apply configuration changes to a REST-driven network controller.  Every attendee will then be able to perform changes themselves by using some provided sample code and our integrated web development environment. 

In DEVWKS2252, you’ll take a deeper look at roles within Ansible, how variables are structured, and how we can build a generic set of configurations across multiple device types that we can then use to baseline device configuration compliance. 

Finally (those that just want to listen to the smooth FM tones in my voice and not have to worry about typing anything) I’ll be giving an introduction to Terraform lightning talk – DEVLIT-2785 – Getting Started with IaC and Terraform.  This talk will give you an overview of many of the foundational aspects we dig into in the  DEVWKS-1235 workshop, including what Terraform is, how to build HCL configurations, and how to use the standard Terraform workflow. 

Not going to Cisco Live?… Try the datacenter automation Learning Tracks on DevNet

If you’re not able to attend CLUS in person…Well, I’ll be sad that I won’t be able to see you and shake your hand (careful attendees! I’m also a hugger). More to the point, there are a lot of resources to get you started on the DevNet website.  We have DevCenters for both Terraform and Ansible automation which cover a variety of platforms on which you can use those tools. I am also very partial to the Learning Tracks that exist within DevNet around datacenter networking. These learning tracks cover both Ansible and Terraform and use both to perform common tasks on those platforms.  Both the learning track for ACI, as well as the newly releases learning track for DCNM cover these tools from a practitioner’s view and will help you get started using either tool. 

In the mean time – if you have any IaC related questions or comments, please drop me a line in the Comments section below. Or, feel free to shoot them my way!  I’m on Twitter @qsnyder. 

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Quinn Snyder

Senior Technical Advocate

Learning & Certifications