Network Automation with Chef, Puppet & Ansible

Network Automation with Chef, Puppet & Ansible

November 02, 2016 Technology


Chef, Puppet and Ansible are ideally suited for Run-book automation for simple and repetitive tasks. Many enterprises have successfully deployed one of these 3 tools for server automation. They typically bought an enterprise license that covers unlimited nodes. So, at the surface, it makes economic sense to use the same tools for networking. But as you read below, this sort of short-term thinking will result in longer delays and opportunity costs.

Network Automation with Chef, Puppet & Ansible

What are Chef, Puppet and Ansible?

  • Open Source Configuration Management tools         with large community of developers

  • Proven in Compute & Server Provisioning

  • Currently focused on 3 areas:
                a. Configuration Automation using workflow
                b. Testing and Validation of Network state
                c. Continuous Compliance Check.

  • Just started to expand into network space
                Puppet: Arista, Cisco, Citrix, F5,                 Cumulus, Juniper and Huawei
                Chef: Cisco NX-OS, ACI
                Ansible: Arista, A10, Cisco, Citrix, Cumulus,             F5 and Juniper

  • Why use Chef, Puppet or Ansible?

  • Same tool infrastructure can be used to         automate compute, storage  and network

  • Effective for simple and repetitive tasks such         as changing passwords, changing SNMP         settings, shutting down interfaces and backing         up configurations

  • They have REST API to integrate with customer         OSS/BSS or self-service portals

  • Disadvantages of Chef, Puppet or Ansible for Network Automation:

  • Very limited availability of the target platforms that         support python or ruby runtime

  • No Concept of Service Chaining

  • No Transaction capabilities & Roll-back support

  • No Multi-tenancy

  • Have to use CLI scraping for un-supported         platforms such as IOS.

  • No Topology Discovery

  • No Support for discovery of existing services

  • Scalability yet to be proven in Networking Arena

  • Puppet and Chef require agents in devices

  • Puppet and Chef rely on Ruby which raises         concerns about security, performance and RAM         consumption on network devices.

  • Network admin still has to maintain the playbooks         when software is upgraded or if the API changes

  • No Support for Virtual Appliances or SDN         Controllers
  • Anuta NCX Advantages

  • NCX offers a Standards based Network Orchestration Platform –Pluggable, High Available, Scalable &         Extensible
  • NCX has out-of-the-box YANG based Device, Service         and network models to support
                 Data Center use cases
                         Public and Private Cloud use cases. Physical,               Hybrid and Virtual
                  Branch/WAN Edge use cases
                         Cloud VPN, Traditional and NFV based use               cases, SD-WAN
                 Campus use cases
                         Campus Connectivity and Complete Campus                 network Orchestration
                  IP/MPLS –IP/MPLS Backbone
                  Telco use cases
                          IMS, EPC, Metro Ethernet, Wholesale                 Services, Optical
  • NCX Built-In Support for both Multi-Tenant         Deployments or Shared Deployments
            Comprehensive Resource Management
                 Capacity Planning and Forecasting
                 Service Availability, Thresholds and Forecasting
                 Resource Segmentation into Resource Pools
                 IPAM and Other Resource allocation

  • NCX portal supports multi-tenant administration to enable MSPs to offer automation in a SaaS model

  • NCX distributed server/agent architecture proven scalability for production networks
  • Summary

  • Config Management Tools are still in their infancy with limited networking vendor support

  • YANG is gaining significant mindshare and momentum with vendors and customers

  • Anuta NCX delivers vendor neutral, extensible and maintainable services using model driven, layered and         abstraction approach

  • Anuta NCX platform is proven in production networks
  • – Kiran Sirupa, November 2nd, 2016


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