Ansible charges into network automation with Cisco, Juniper

But where's Huawei?


Ansible claimed to cast its wings over the entire systems landscape today, as it brought automation of network infrastructure into its core platform.

The move means networking guys can take full advantage of the Red Hat subsidiary’s automation platform even in multivendor environments – or that they have no escape from the DevOps movement/cult that is introducing interesting facial hair and craft beer to even the fustiest IT operations, depending on your point of view.

The vendor’s networking framework supports Arista, Cisco, and Juniper kit, as well as Cumulus Networks and Openswitch.net at launch. Huawei was notable by its absence.

In a statement, Ansible GM Todd Barr said: “By bringing the power of Ansible, the popular open source IT automation solution, to the network, we’re giving customers the ability to solve their complicated networking automation and workflow problems in a new way.”

That new way is the Ansible concept of Playbooks which automate tasks, with the addition of core network modules for command, configuration and template in Ansible 2.0.

Peter Sprygada, Ansible senior principal engineer, told the audience at Ansiblefest London that core elements of the expansion were: configuration automation of the networking stack; testing and validation of the existing network state; and continuous compliance to check for configuration drift.

Or putting it another way, networking teams no longer have to rely on the traditional configuration protocol of “cut and paste”.

Sprygada said his ambition was “to never have the conversation where the app developer and the network guy where they arguing about whether one host can talk to another.”

"It’s all about bringing this concept of devops and really starting to apply it to the networking space…we’re bringing the networking guy to the table.”

But he insisted, “We’re not asking the networking guys to become programmers, and we’re not asking the programmers to become networking guys.” ®

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