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AnsibleFest and the Rise of Network Automation

Over the past year, F5 and Ansible have been working hard to bring network automation solutions to our customers.

In successive releases, Ansible has introduced more and more network automation functionality, including persistent connections, netconf and declarative module support. Ansible now supports 29+ networking platforms and has formed close relationships with many platform vendors. This progress now allows network engineers to adopt the CI/CD workflows used by developers and it’s why Ansible’s simple, powerful, and agentless approach make it an excellent tool for automating F5 BIG-IP devices. For our part, we will be releasing close to two dozen modules as part of the upcoming 2.4 release of Ansible.

This is why we’re so excited for this week’s AnsibleFest in San Francisco – it promises to be a turning point in the journey toward true network automation. F5 will have a booth and we’re sponsoring the Ask the Experts forum. I’ll be there with 20 of my colleagues, excited to meet and interact with over a thousand users, managers and Ansible experts. Networking will have a significant presence at the event, including a dedicated network automation track in the afternoon.

At AnsibleFest London earlier this year, the founders of Arctiq presented findings from an ESG research study that found that:

20% of IT professionals surveyed indicated that consistent configuration due to the reduction of manual methods was the most significant benefit realized from network automation, while 18% indicated agility in provisioning network devices, configuration, and services through scripting and other automation methods. Additionally, meeting service level agreements was cited as the most significant benefit by 17% of respondents, while 14% cited mitigating human error and misconfiguration.

This echoes what we at F5 are finding. Users are looking for the reduction of manual methods, agility in the provisioning and configuration of their devices, service level agreements, and mitigation of mistakes. AnsibleFest will provide the insights, best practices and connections to accomplish these goals.

Be sure to check out F5’s Payal Singh, Solution Engineer, at 11:45 a.m. in Salon #2 on F5 BIG-IP Automation using Ansible and customer use cases. She will provide an update on the modules released in 2.4 as well as demonstrate how playbooks can be used to deploy the most common use cases for L4-7 services in private and public cloud environments. She will be providing insight into how F5 customers are using Ansible today to automate their network infrastructures and will be available to answer questions and assist with customer challenges.

You can learn all about this session and more, including the rest of the network automation track here. As with AnsibleFest London, the sessions will be recorded and posted to YouTube. In addition, we are participating in local Ansible meetups where we will be sponsoring an Ansible 2.4 release party. We will be bringing beer and cake, have giveaways and hope to meet as much of the Ansible community as possible.

Hope to see you in San Francisco on Thursday and keep an eye out for information from your local Ansible meetup, as well as the Twitter hashtag #F5heartsAnsible.