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Open Source Spotlight: What’s New for F5 in Ansible 2.5

Automation is a core component of the DevOps approach to deployments currently sweeping through enterprise IT. While we’re only seeing a few (some might say brave, others might say crazy) organizations using automation 100% of the time to push minor and major changes into production, a majority are using automation at least partially right now. That use will continue to expand as digital transformation puts pressure on IT to scale at a rate that can only be matched by automation.

That means network operations has to get in the automation game, using the tools of the trade. Those tools are primarily Ansible, Puppet, and Chef according to our latest State of Application Delivery report.

But before NetOps can do that, it behooves those of us who provide the network and application services needed (and often required) to deliver apps safely at scale to support those toolsets.

And that’s the reason for this post today. F5 has been supporting NetOps need to move forward with automation by providing Ansible modules for quite some time now. The release of Ansible 2.5 is no exception, and we’re pleased to note that we’ve both enhanced existing F5 modules as well as added new ones to expand support for security (and maybe even get SecOps into the automation game).

If you aren’t familiar with automating with Ansible, here’s the thirty second pitch: Ansible is an open source, agentless engine that automates the configuration of one or more hosts as described by directives in a playbook.  automating with ansible

It’s a declarative model, meaning the playbook describes actions and provides values (like host names or IP addresses or specific settings like a load balancing algorithm) and nothing else. Ansible modules are tasked with reading the playbook and executing commands to achieve the desired result. The Ansible engine can be run on a desktop, a laptop, or a server.

It’s extremely well-suited for organizations adopting an infrastructure as code approach to deployments, and insulates users from changes to modules over time. So even if something radically changes regarding BIG-IP that requires an update to the Ansible module, it shouldn’t affect existing playbooks. You can read more about BIG-IP and Ansible on DevCentral as well as find playbook examples and help using both.

Whether you’re just getting started or an Ansible pro, you’ll want to know what’s new in Ansible 2.5 with respect to BIG-IP. I’ve got your back there. We’ve added modules to support high-availability, BIG-IP ASM profiles, BIG-IP AFM policies, and iApp LX support among others. That’s in addition to existing modules covering a wide range of load balancing and security capabilities available with BIG-IP. The full list with clicky links is below the fold.

Ansible is amongst the most popular tools for network and application service automation. We’re excited to be a part of the Ansible community and support NetOps making the move to a more automated, software-driven deployment model with DevOps.

Automate all the things!

Here’s a partial list of what’s new in Ansible 2.5:

Ansible Module

Description

bigip_security_address_list

Manages the AFM address lists on a BIG-IP

bigip_security_port_list

Manages the AFM port lists on a BIG-IP

bigip_asm_policy

Import ASM policies from file or existing template

bigiq_regkey_license

Manages licenses in a BIG-IQ registration key pool

bigiq_regkey_pool

Manages registration key pools on BIG-IQ

Multiple Modules

BIG-IP HA Pairing

bigip_iapplx_package

Deploys iApps LX packages to the BIG-IP

bigip_policy_rule

Manages LTM policy rules on a BIG-IP

bigip_monitor_udp

Manages F5 BIG-IP LTM UDP monitors

bigip_monitor_https

Manages F5 BIG-IP LTM HTTPS monitors

bigip_traffic_group

Manages traffic groups on BIG-IP

bigip_vcmp_guest

Manages vCMP guests on a BIG-IP

bigip_profile_client_ssl

Manages client SSL profiles on a BIG-IP