As businesses adopt digital transformation strategies to venture into new income streams as well as remain competitive, the need for speed remains a major driver in the crucial business differential of delivering great customer experiences quickly.
However, as organisations adopt DevOps methodologies, they frequently find that current networking architectures are a limiting factor. Traditional network architecture is static, vulnerable to human error, and requires significant operational investment to manage.
This is according to a recent white paper by F5, the specialist in application delivery networking technology for the delivery of web applications, as well as security and network and cloud resources. The white paper comments that it is critical to automate the network infrastructure supporting application deployments, as well as the network services such as DNS and load balancing, as part of an extended Continuous Integration/Development (CI/CD) pipeline: “Through network automation, organisations can achieve greater agility, which enables a more dynamic and reliable network, increased operational efficiency, reduced deployment time, and more consistent application deployments.”
Simon McCullough, major channel account manager at F5, says, “Being able to automatically and reliably deploy entire application runtime environments allows you to maximise and improve the average time taken for ideas to become economic reality. The business of apps is increasingly becoming big business indeed, as shown by these figures: in 2015 the total revenue generated across all mobile operating systems was around $70 billion, growing the following year to $88 billion. It’s predicted that by 2020, the combined mobile app revenue will reach a mind-boggling $189 billion http://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-revenues/. It is therefore in the best interests of an app development company to embrace the need for speed in getting its latest app to market.”
The white paper notes that programmability is a key enabler of operational automation, and that F5 supports programmability across all F5 BIG-IP Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), enabling agility and extensibility in the application network service fabric. A comprehensive approach to network programmability helps operations react on demand to operational and business events or opportunities. The white paper elaborates on the F5 and Puppet joint solution as follows:
“F5 and Puppet have partnered to address the modern business’ need for agility in support of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) through a comprehensive solution. Puppet offers a commercially supported configuration management tool, Puppet Enterprise, which provides a unified, software-defined approach for automating management of compute, network, and storage resources—and helps organisations deliver applications in a more seamless manner.
“…Puppet F5 modules can create and configure BIG-IP objects—including server nodes, pools, virtual servers—that are required for typical application deployment. When it comes to deployment of multiple BIG-IP devices, organisations can use Puppet modules to automate all the initial BIG-IP onboarding tasks such as device licensing, DNS and NTP settings, internal and external VLANs, self-IPs, and route domains.”
Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, a value-added distributor of F5 in Africa, concludes, “Mobile development is one of the most actively growing sectors in the industry. Large companies, such as retailers, banks and those in the hospitality industry are using mobile applications for branding and increasing customer engagement, while smaller businesses are also starting to create their own apps.
“The F5 and Puppet joint solution gives application developers the ability to elastically scale up and down infrastructure resources, automate application tests, and reduce application development time frames, to the operational advantage of the business.”