Network Automation with Ansible

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OS10 and Automation solutions overview

This era of digital transformation aims at reducing operational costs for IT infrastructure, as a result of which converged IT processes are becoming increasingly important. DevOps is an operational model that helps businesses achieve agility, efficiency and as of late networks are also becoming part of this model.

Network automation is a crucial component in this model, as networks are expected to act, react and perform reliably based on the changing business needs.OS10 is a next-gen Linux based network operating system that provides a rich set of programmatic interfaces to configure and maintain network devices

This ability of OS10 and integrations with tools like Ansible makes it a prime choice to operate well in DevOps environments. Ansible Integrations provide the ability to treat network equipment as software components thus reducing the complexity of automating configuration and maintaining the networks.

Dell EMC networking and Ansible Automation

Dell EMC Networking integration with DevOps tools such as Ansible helps simplify network deployment, improve uptime, increase configuration consistency, add capacity more easily, and reduce overall OpEx.

The most common use cases for network automation will be Rapid provisioning, configuration management and deploying configs at scale. The 1990’s model of network provisioning through CLI and some TCL scripts will simply not work with the present web-scale networks. The below figure depicts how networks were configured before the advent of automation choices

Network provisioning usually involves a fair mix of the following tasks, infrastructure set up like DHCP, AAA and SNMP servers, switch deployment which includes racking and powering up the switch and switch configuration and validation. The network administrator is expected to build a configuration from scratch or copy paste previous configurations and edit it manually by hand to create the new configuration. This new configuration is built in a staged environment and then installed /shipped to its permanent location. This process does not scale and is highly error-prone, which makes fabric wide network validation a nightmare.

What is Ansible?

Ansible is a radically simple IT automation engine that automates cloud provisioning, configuration management, application deployment, intra-service orchestration, and many other IT needs.

Designed for multi-tier deployments since day one, Ansible models your 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.

Ansible and DellEMC Integrations

DellEMC network devices and networking software can be automated through Ansible. DellEMC networking provides support for Ansible modules and Ansible roles to deploy and maintain OS10 and OPX offerings. The DellOS ansible role library can be found in ansible galaxy, which facilitates feature-specific configuration on devices running OS10/OPX including installing and upgrading software images on the network device.

OS10 modules for Ansible

OS10 Roles for Ansible

There are 26 ansible roles available for OS10 and few of them are as DellOS-BGP, Dell)S- Image Upgrade, DellOS-VLT etc.,

Key Benefits of Ansible Integration with OS10

Solution Benefits
Agentless Ansible does not require a agent on the switch, so it can be run against any DellEMC networking devices
Idempotency Ansible modules are idempotent and this gets network device to the desired state without affecting the existing state.
Extensible Ansible can be integrated into many existing DevOps workflows making network a part of the IT environment
Deployment Ansible Integration reduces deployment time and operational costs needed to deploy a Data Center or campus network.
Scale Ansible integration with OS10 can help automate network devices at scale by using template based solutions.

Summary

IT transformation calls for networks that are reliable and can be automated at scale. Ansible integration with Dell EMC Networking enables networking devices to be part of DevOps operating model, making the networks more agile and reliable.

It’s time to modernize the way to build, design and deploy networks by taking advantage of DevOps tools integrations like Ansible with DellEMC networking.

 

For more information on ansible integration with DellEMC networking software, please contact [email protected] or send queries to [email protected]

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