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Automating Network Services with Ansible: The Key to Data Center Efficiency

 

Efficiency is a high priority for IT- for some the highest priority. If we accept that Efficiency = Results divided by Costs, we should also acknowledge the bromide that IT must now “do more with less” to deliver efficiency in the data center. But what explicit steps will increase data center efficiency?

 

One is data center automation. By automating workflows and processes, people are less involved, or uninvolved, in configuration, management, monitoring and maintenance tasks. The benefits include:

  • Lower labor costs
  • Faster time-to-deployment
  • Redeploying people to more strategic tasks
  • Reduced chance for human error

Is the payback real? Spending suggests that it is. According to an IDC report the data center automation market exceeded $2 Billion in 2016. Direct user feedback adds that data center automation is now a “must-do” to deliver efficiency in data centers that are adapting to rapid change, cloud adoption and business transformation.

 

Data Center Automation and the Network

Delivering superior data center automation requires automating management of core network services. Why? Do you want to spin up a room full of virtual machines in a few hours and then tell users to wait for days or weeks while you allocate IP addresses, set aside blocks of DNS records and double-check to make sure there are no conflicts or duplications? Successful automation embraces network connectivity and the associated services. Inefficient IP and DNS management compromises the integrity of your automation strategy.

 

The Infoblox Approach

In 2014 Infoblox recognized these implications and began integrating DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management with cloud management and data center automation tools. The result is the widest array of plug-ins to support all leading virtualization platforms (VMware and OpenStack), cloud platforms (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure) and automation tools (Chef and Puppet)

 

Our Latest Addition: Ansible Automation

Ansible has become the leading data center automation tool because of its agentless architecture, powerful yet simple programmability as well as its broad support from vendors and users. In March 2018 Infoblox became the first and only DDI vendor to launch an Ansible integration module. This allows a data center or network administrator to automate core network services through a well-understood Ansible Playbook.

 

In October 2018 we deepened the integration when the Infoblox NIOS module was added to Ansible 2.7 and including it in Red Hat’s Ansible Certified Content Program. This program accelerates deployment time by improving security, reliability and consistency of module content.

 

What Does This Mean for You?

Ansible users can use the Infoblox NIOS module to manage core network services across data centers and clouds using Playbooks. Data center operators who are assessing automation tools for future deployment should look at the synergies gained by using Ansible as their common automation platform and the integration with Infoblox DDI.

 

The Infoblox NIOS integration module is available today with community support through Github. The Infoblox NIOS integration module is available with full support by licensing Ansible Tower from Red Hat.

 

For more information, see this Solution Note.

 

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