The Importance of Automation: Using Ansible for Network Fabric Programming

As businesses go digital, the network plays a fundamental role in companies’ competitiveness in the marketplace – it becomes the lifeline of the business. With increasing numbers of users and connected devices, networks are increasing in complexity. Manually installing and updating configurations for hundreds of switches, firewalls and routers is prohibitively time consuming, costly and error prone. Automation is required in order to make the process more efficient while eliminating human error. In fact, automation is the only way to provide high availability while managing the size and complexity of modern networks.

In the past, automation tools like Chef and Puppet have been widely used, but in the last few years Ansible has emerged as a very compelling tool with many advantages for administrators: Ansible is easy to get started with, has great playbooks and requires no agents on target host systems. Ansible automates provisioningconfiguration managementapplication deploymentintra-service orchestration and many other IT needs, freeing up network and DevOps teams for more strategic work. The reason Ansible is so popular is simple: it makes life dramatically easier.

As pioneers in SDN, Pluribus understands the importance of simple IT automation, and that’s why we support Ansible. We have released over 25 Ansible modules, or playbooks, to date and continue to add functionality in new playbooks.

Ansible-based automation is especially powerful when used with the Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric™, as shown below.

The Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric radically simplifies network operations in highly distributed environments with the power of fabric-wide automation and troubleshooting, while improving performance and reducing latency with fully distributed network services.

Pluribus’ controllerless SDN approach uniquely delivers on the promise of network automation and programmability in a highly efficient and resilient manner, with absolutely no controller-to-switch latency penalty even when deployed across distributed data centers. The management layer, where all switches federate together to build a management fabric, shares the full state of the network with every other switch. The entire fabric can be controlled from the CLI or via an API on any switch. This management plane fabric will automatically populate any configuration or state changes to all other switches in the fabric. The Pluribus software runs on open networking switches, reducing capital costs by 30-60% over traditional vendors, eliminating vendor lock-in and catalyzing innovation.

Watch this video to learn the benefits of Pluribus’ Ansible integration and see how easy it is to use Ansible to configure the Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric, with support for Layer 2 and Layer 3 network deployments and fabric-aware and individual Ansible-based provisioning.

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About the Author

Jayesh Chokshi

Jay has over 15+ years of engineering, technical marketing and product management experience in the networking industry. Prior to joining Pluribus, Jay served as the Director of Product Management for several of Cisco’s Enterprise networking product lines, including the launch of the market leading and latest generation of ISRs - ISR4000 series and the virtualization platform ENCS5000 Series. His specialties include Enterprise and Managed Service Provider Networking solutions including SD-WAN, NFV, Data Center switching and Converged Infrastructure solutions. Jay is responsible for driving the Pluribus product/solutions portfolio and technical marketing and partner activities.