Putting It All Together


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Putting It All Together

The final mandatory module focuses on real-life automation solutions deployed in production environments.

You'll also learn how to extend Ansible playbooks and integrate them with transactional databases and front-end orchestration systems.

More information...

1:09:09 The Bigger Picture

Building systems from small components usually works better than tackling a gigantic project, but in the end still need to combine those components into a bigger system and provide its users with the expected user experience, be it a simple CLI or GUI.

This section describes how you can combine Ansible playbooks with front-end orchestrations systems, external databases or IPAM, and how you can use Ansible Tower (or AWX) to provide a basic GUI or API to your Ansible environment.

The Bigger Picture 14:03 2017-11-23
Integrating Ansible with an External System 13:41 2017-11-26
Using JSON Callback 20:55 2017-11-23

20:30 Success Stories: Ansible Tower

Joe Hlasnik described how his company uses network automation to provision and decomission network services, the benefits of Ansible Tower, and the user interface they developed for their operators.

Using Ansible Tower and Web Front-End 20:30 2017-11-22

Slide Decks

The Bigger Picture 2.9M 2017-11-21
Integrating Ansible with an External System 1.6M 2017-11-26

1:51:16 Network Automation @ Facebook

Ryan Heffernan and Mat Wood described how Facebook uses network automation concepts in their enterprise network.

Managed Configs - A Phased Approach 2.2M 2017-02-14
Managed Configurations 60:43 2017-02-15
Innovation.txt 50:33 2017-02-15

1:23:02 Network Automation @ UBS

UBS AG started using network automation to speed up the data center deployment process. The project was a huge success and resulted in UBS embracing automation in campus, WAN and remote office network deployments.

In this section Thomas Wacker described the UBS automation journey and how far they got in 2017.

Networking Challenges at UBS 25:08 2017-11-22
Build Automation 25:31 2017-11-22
Automating Tests and Operations 26:37 2017-11-22
Conclusions 5:46 2017-11-22

1:39:51 Build a Network Automation Stack from Ground Up

Damien Garros explained how to build a network automation framework from the ground up:

  • How and why they organized the project around a source of truth (NetBox & GitHub);
  • How to integrate an automation framework (Ansible) to use the source of truth to manage the network devices;
  • How to leverage Docker to package Ansible and create a consistent environment;
  • How to properly import data into the source of truth and how to manage many roles and variations of the network design;
  • How to migrate from a traditional SNMP based monitoring to a modern architecture using Influxdb & Grafana.
Introduction 5:43 2019-09-27
Start with Source of Truth 14:54 2019-09-27
Generate Configurations with Ansible 18:31 2019-09-27
Monitoring and Alerting 23:03 2019-09-27
Populate the Source of Truth 37:40 2019-09-27
Slide Deck 2.8M 2019-09-26

1:05:19 Network Automation Toolchain

Sander Steffann built a complete network automation solution including integration with NetBox, BGP Peering Manager, and full-blown CI/CD pipeline.

In his presentation he described the tool selection, business processes he had to support, and the evolution of his solution from simple configuration templating to full-blown GitLab-based CI/CD pipeline with automated configuration deployment.

Available Network Automation Tools 6:49 2020-11-21
Business Processes and Workflows 15:06 2020-11-21
Case Study Introduction 3:43 2020-11-21
Initial Solution 8:31 2020-11-21
Deploying Complete Configurations 11:25 2020-11-21
CI-CD Pipeline 19:45 2020-11-21
Slide Deck 6.7M 2020-11-01

1:46:01 Service Deployment in Cisco ACI with Ansible

In this presentation Dirk Feldhaus described an Ansible-based solution to Cisco ACI tenant provisioning he developed as a student of this course. The solution is used for production deployments within his company.

The structure of Dirk's presentation mirrors the approach you should take when developing any network automation solution:

  • Figure out the problem and create a pilot solution;
  • Define the service you plan to automate;
  • Describe the service with a data model;
  • Develop automation scripts that provision the target service;
  • Develop support scripts to monitor and operate the service.
What Problem Are We Solving 28:09 2018-09-21
Describing the Service with a Data Model 31:20 2018-09-21
Service Deployment with Ansible 34:42 2018-09-21
Beyond Service Creation 11:50 2018-09-21

More Information

Slide deck 1.5M 2018-09-21
Source code: Service Deployment
Source code: Consistency Checks and Reporting

2:10:05 Network Automation with IXP Manager

Ireland Internet Exchange (INEX) uses IXP Manager (an open-source tool developed by INEX and used by over 60 IXPs worldwide) as the orchestration layer on top of SaltStack to provision and operate multi-vendor INEX infrastructure.

In his presentation, Nick Hilliard described how to take a practical, hands-on approach to network automation for live networks, starting at business analysis, product abstraction and data modeling, and ending up with practical automation of live configurations.

IXP Manager Introduction 11:20 2018-11-14

46:48 Assessment, Requirements and Problem Analysis

Technical Assessment 4:53 2018-11-14
Orchestration Requirements 18:01 2018-11-14
Engineering Analysis 23:54 2018-11-14

38:39 Building and Deploying the Automation Solution

Orchestration Engineering 8:46 2018-11-14
Snags 8:30 2018-11-14
Workflow 6:27 2018-11-14
Operational Results and Business Impact 14:56 2018-11-14
IXP Manager with SaltStack Demo 33:18 2018-11-14
Slide deck 25M 2018-11-13

1:19:59 Automating Disaster Recovery with Ansible

Mitja Robas and a team of software developers created a fully-automated disaster recovery solution for a customer who wanted to migrate from an existing stretched VLAN architecture to a truly redundant multi-data-center design.

In his presentation Mitja described the underlying network architecture, automation workflows, and the overall architecture of the automation solution.

Introduction 12:32 2019-04-24
Network Architecture Overview 22:39 2019-04-24
Automation Overview 15:15 2019-04-24
Automation Workflows 12:05 2019-04-24
Putting It All Together 8:26 2019-04-24
Challenges 9:02 2019-04-24
Slide Deck 5.2M 2019-04-23
Code Samples 24K 2019-04-24

The solution is not open-sourced, so Mitja provided a few code samples to give you an idea how the code looks like.

2:08:48 Network Automation in Service Provider Networks

Anton Karneliuk focused on network automation in very large service provider networks (with examples from mobile operators). His presentation covered:

  • The typical vendor promises;
  • Service Provider-specific scenarios and challenges;
  • Using Ansible to automate Service Provider networks;
  • How to start your automation journey
Promises of Service Provider Network Automation 30:50 2019-10-25
Service Provider Automation Scenarios 11:01 2019-10-25
Service Provider Automation Challenges 14:45 2019-10-25
Using Ansible to Automate Service Provider Networks 50:26 2019-10-25
Starting the Automation Journey 21:46 2019-10-25
Slide Deck 29M 2019-10-15

51:16 Automation at a Wholesale Carrier

Kurt Wauters and Wim de Hul described a typical automation journey in a large organization:

  • From early enthusiasm to disappointments;
  • Finding a challenge that is simple enough to solve while resulting in immediate wins;
  • Slowly growing the solution, and moving from read-only queries to service deployment automation and orchestration
Early Automation Attempts 26:21 2020-11-24
The Journey and Current Benefits 15:58 2020-11-24
Lessons Learned and the Way Forward 8:57 2020-11-24
Slide Deck 1.3M 2020-10-28

47:47 Discussion Questions

During the Q&A part of the live sessions we addressed these questions:

  • Managing test and production environments;
  • Integrating Ansible with external systems like IPAMs, NMS, or CMDBs;
  • Executing Ansible plays on dynamically-created hosts
  • Inputting data;
  • Writing your own Ansible module
Managing Test and Production Environments 8:58 2018-10-18
Integrating Ansible with External Systems 15:52 2018-10-18
Dynamic Hosts 8:06 2018-10-18
Inputting Data 7:12 2018-10-18
Writing Your Own Ansible Module 7:39 2018-10-18

Additional Self-Study Materials

After completing the self-study materials in this section, listen to these Software Gone Wild episodes.

FlipIT Cloud

This podcast describes a production-grade large-scale automation solution orchestrating everything from firewall rules to Windows AD and VoIP call plans;

Transactional Thoughts on a Stormy Night

Other ideas

Building a web dashboard with Flask and Bootstrap
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