Automation and Orchestration


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Automation and Orchestration

The automation and orchestration topics are usually discussed as an afterthought, but we’ll start with them because they are one of the most crucial aspects of a successful data center deployment.

We'll figure out what our single source of truth is, what data storage mechanism to use, and how to use the network and services state to provision infrastructure and services, and validate network operations. We'll also discuss various network automation tools, and select the best one for the job that needs to be done.

1:48:00 Network Automation 101

This webinar describes what network automation is, why should we use it, and what tools are available if you want to get started.

1:05:47 Starting with Data Center Automation

In this introductory section we tried to answer common automation questions like:

  • Why should I automate my infrastructure?
  • What should I automate?
  • Should I build or buy an automation solution?
  • What criteria should I consider when selecting an automation tool or product?
  • What criteria should I consider when buying automation-friendly hardware?
  • How can I make my automation solution more reliable?
  • How can I gain the trust of my peers and managers?
Starting with Data Center Network Automation 2.9M 2017-04-03
Starting with Data Center Network Automation 44:01 2017-04-04
Discussion and Questions 21:46 2017-04-04

1:37:01 Network Automation and Orchestration Systems

Elisa Jasinska started her presentation with a brief description of typical microservices-based network automation architecture.

Next she listed the services and components you might need in your automation/orchestration solution, including single-source-of-truth database, templating system, device access, telemetry data collection systems and monitoring systems.

In the final part of the presentation you'll find a few guidelines on automation/orchestration system design.

Network Automation and Orchestration Systems 3.2M 2016-09-14
Network Automation and Orchestration Systems 97:01 2016-09-14

10:40:00 Network Automation Tools

This webinar describes when and how to use typical open-source network automation tools: Ansible, Git, Vagrant, NetBox, pmacct, ELK stack... and many more.

1:14:22 Automating Data Center Builds in UBS

UBS (one of the largest global banks) managed an amazing feat: they rolled out 24 new data centers in 30 months. In his presentation Thomas Wacker described how UBS solved that challenge by fully embracing automation for all phases of data center network rebuild, including validation and documentation.

He started with prerequisites and key objectives, laid out the architecture, showcased the toolchain UBS was using at that time, and explained the phases of build, test, documentation and ongoing operations.

Network Automation in UBS 4.8M 2017-04-03
Automating Data Center Builds in UBS 74:22 2017-04-04

42:29 Abstract Everything

In this part of the Network Automation Use Cases webinar David Barroso walks you through layers of network automation abstraction: from abstracting vendor-specific APIs with NAPALM to abstracting device configuration differences, and finally abstracting device state into infrastructure data model.

Template Multi-Vendor Deployments 8:52 2017-07-21
Abstract Vendor API 8:42 2017-07-21
Automate Everything 6:35 2017-07-21
Abstract Everything 18:20 2017-07-21

Additional resources

Slide deck 4.1M 2016-11-18
Source code for examples used in this section

1:23:27 Free items Automate Data Center Fabric Deployments

In another network automation use case Dinesh Dutt talked about automated data center fabric deployments. Focus on how simple his data model is and how he builds a whole fabric from just a few configurable parameters.

Challenges of Data Center Fabric Deployments 20:02 2017-01-24
Separate Data from Code 12:56 2017-01-24
Ansible Tips and Tricks 9:19 2017-01-24
Validation 12:51 2017-01-24
Staging and Production 11:10 2017-01-24
Fabric Deployment Demo 17:09 2017-01-24

Additional resources

Slide deck 1.6M 2017-01-24
Source code for examples used in this section

1:10:36 Automating Network Services

Why could cloud providers like Amazon automate deployment of load balancing and firewalling rules, and yet the enterprise IT continuously struggle with the same challenge?

This section will answer that question and describe a number of solutions, ranging from "deployable in production" to "works best in PowerPoint".

The Problem 9:58 2017-02-16
Microsegmentation 22:19 2017-02-16
Other Network Services Automation Scenarios 12:15 2017-02-16
Automating Your Network Services 12:53 2017-02-16
The Roadblocks 13:11 2017-02-16

Additional resources

Using DNS names in firewall rulesets
Using a traditional firewall in microsegmented environment
Slide deck 5.2M 2017-02-16

1:28:48 Intent-Based Networking

Most of the intent-based systems are nothing more than a fancy orchestration system with an abstraction layer. This section describes the many levels of abstraction you can implement in such a system.

What Is Intent-Based Networking 19:00 2022-04-14
Device Configuration as Intent 7:29 2022-04-14
Abstracting and Managing Device-Level Intent 10:18 2022-04-14
Replacing Intent Definition 6:38 2022-04-14
Network-Wide Intent 6:06 2022-04-14
Automated Remediation 12:42 2022-04-14
Back to Reality 16:29 2022-04-14
Questions and Answers 10:06 2022-04-14

Additional resources

Slide deck 2.3M 2022-03-16
Intent-Based Networking-related Blog Posts

Further Reading

Intent-Based Networking Taxonomy
The Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs of Intent-Based Networking by Benoît Claise
How Facebook Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Network
Circular Dependencies Considered Harmful (World-Wide Facebook Outage)
Automation Solution: Deploy BGP Routing with YANG Data Models
Using Flow Tracking to Build Firewall Rulesets... and the Halting Problem
The Law of Leaky Abstractions (Joel on Software)
The ABC of Vendor Lock-In
Shift Network Spend From Premium Products to Premium People

Service-Oriented IETF Data Models

Service models explained (RFC 8309)
YANG model for L3VPN service delivery
YANG model for L2VPN service delivery

Optional Self-Study Materials

46:00 Network Programmability 101

This webinar discusses fundamental concepts and ideas that network engineers can use today to start "ramping up" the software-defined path. Matt Oswalt addresses some of the biggest questions on many network professionals' minds - questions like "Do I need to be a programmer to keep my job?", or "There is so much to learn - where do I start?"

4:34:00 SDN Use Cases

This webinar describes real-life SDN use cases, ranging from data center fabrics, network monitoring and traffic tapping, scale-out network services and DDoS mitigation to service insertion, forwarding optimization, and traffic engineering.

1:57:00 SDN Architectures and Deployment Considerations

This webinar answers some fundamental questions anyone should ask prior to a production SDN deployment.

Recommended Software Gone Wild Episodes

Data Center Automation on Software Gone Wild

These Software Gone Wild podcasts focus on data center automation topics

Network Automation @ Spotify
Schprokits with Jeremy Schulman

Even though Jeremy never managed to ship the tool we were discussion, the podcast is still worth listening to due to the blast radius discussion.

Open Source Tools on Software Gone Wild

These Software Gone Wild podcasts cover various open-source tools.

NAPALM: Integrating Ansible with Network Devices
Network Automation Tools with Jason Edelman on Sofware Gone Wild
Open-Source Network Engineer Toolbox
More Open-Source Network Management Tools
Distributed On-Demand Network Testing (ToDD) with Matt Oswalt
Network Automation with Nornir (formerly Brigade)
Start Using OpenConfig with NAPALM
Salt and SaltStack
StackStorm 101

Network Automation topics on Software Gone Wild

You might find these automation topics interesting.

Network Testing
OpenConfig: From Basics to Implementations

SDN Podcasts on Software Gone Wild

Even though SDN is not the focus of this section, you might still want to listen to these podcast episodes.

Self-Driving Networks with Kireeti Kompella

These webinars describe topics related to this module. Some of them have been included in the recommended or optional self-study materials; you might want to watch all of them.

Network Automation 101 1:48:00
Network Programmability 101 46:00
Network Automation Tools 10:40:00
Network Automation Use Cases 7:22:00
SDN Architectures and Deployment Considerations 1:57:00
SDN Use Cases 4:34:00
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