That’s a difficult question for most IT professionals to answer, and the answer is usually measured in weeks-to-months. That’s because, for many organizations, deploying applications to production involves multiple teams, plus infrastructure services and components from multiple vendors and technology stacks. In other words, it’s a complex undertaking. And that’s before you factor in internal processes, such as change control and service request processing. Now sprinkle in a few critical cross-dependencies, say between VMs, Network Load Balancers, IP and DNS management, and it’s easy to see how the time to deliver begin to add up.
Clearly, to achieve quick, consistent and reliable application delivery, automating manual processes is necessary, and this is broadly understood. Unfortunately, too often automation initiative wind up implementing pockets of (often custom) automation and point solutions, and these alone don’t fully address the challenge. This is especially true when services are comprised of multiple technologies, e.g., network services comprised of IPAM, DNS configuration, load balancing, etc. Furthermore, the upfront investment to create, test, deploy and maintain solutions based on custom development creates staffing and budgetary burdens on IT and, if not managed very carefully, can lead to service disruption and isolated silos of knowledge within the organization.
Fortunately, there is now a set of solutions for quickly, simply and reliably addressing the automation problem from the top level - with SovLabs and VMware’s vRealize Automation (vRA), it’s possible to deliver a fully integrated multi-cloud VM deployment with F5 BIG-IP for network load balancing and traffic management for applications. Using vRA-native tools, users can “drag in” F5 BIG-IP and “link up” to VM components in order to enable end-to-end provisioning of entire application stacks from within vRA.
The end-to-end story doesn’t stop there. There are lots of features packed in to streamline even further.
The entire request, scaling and de-provisioning process is powered by SovLabs RESTipe®, a framework feature that enables customizable template-based consumption of vRA metadata and REST-based endpoints.
From a single request, users can specify the load balancer virtual server creation or re-use, utilize SovLabs naming policies for virtual servers and pools, specify node-level settings such as member port, connection and rate limit, priority, ratio and virtual-level settings such as port number, VIP, SSL profiles, iRules, Health monitors, Load balancing methods, etc. There is also built-in support for multiple IPAM and DNS providers for virtual IP address (VIP) allocation and registration, such as SolarWinds, BlueCat, Infoblox, Men & Mice, BT Diamond IP and Microsoft. And anything a user can request an admin can pin in a vRA blueprint to further simplify complex requests for end-users – reusability is automatic.
As Calvin Rowland, (SVP, Business Development at F5) explained,
"With SovLabs, customers are able to configure and deploy F5 BIG-IP directly from vRealize Automation. This innovative approach helps to bridge NetOps and DevOps without the typical development effort."
And for those savvy customers who’ve tied in their continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline to vRealize Automation, the SovLabs F5 module can facilitate new deployments and rolling upgrades deployed and scaled by Jenkins.
At SovLabs, the principle of timely, automated end-to-end application delivery drives us to continually improve our users’ ability to consume datacenter and cloud technology through software-based integrations and extensions. With our abiding commitment to a minimalist approach to maximizing simplicity, SovLabs empowers customers to automate the tools and processes that bring value and answer the question “How quickly can you deploy applications today in production?” in terms of minutes-to-hours instead of weeks-to-months.