Monday, February 18, 2013

Automate Network Configuration with Puppet for Junos OS

With the exponential growth in the numbers of servers in Enterprise Data Center and the corresponding complexity and confusion that can follow the need for management automation of server resources is well understood by the IT staff. However for every server there are one or more network connections that need to be configured and managed and until recently this was still a manual process.  Juniper Networks has addressed this challenge with the release of Puppet for Junos OS.

Why Resource Automation is Needed
Driven to reduce costs while providing high levels of computing power, enterprises are adopting cloud-based computing models based on large numbers of low-cost processors and virtual machines. This is fueling an exponential increase in the volume and complexity of server and network management. Meanwhile, understaffed IT organizations are tasked with supporting the business, as the organizations they serve are under pressure to move with agility in a competitive business environment.

Inefficient resource administration reduces the speed of innovation. Without comprehensive automation, an extraordinarily large and growing amount of system administrator time is spent on the manual configuration and management of servers, creating an inefficient dependency on human intervention. Server administrators have turned to Puppet Enterprise from PuppetLabs to automate the server configuration processes.

Puppet Enterprise, is a model-driven framework designed to efficiently manage data center infrastructure. It is used by system administrators to manage servers in a highly efficient and consistent manner, enterprise-wide. With the release of Puppet for Junos OS this same level of automation, standardization and control of resources is brought to the network.

Why Juniper Created Puppet for JUNOS
At Juniper Networks we realized that IT infrastructure teams are focused on applications and that datacenter applications drive business revenue. The top-of-rack switch is a necessary part of the infrastructure, and the network is a "utility" that serves the applications. We know that the server administrators drive IT innovation and that they follow well defined and mature configuration management processes, using sophisticated automation tools. As compute has become a software defined service to the applications, the network must also become a software defined service.

Many of our customers use Puppet for IT automation.  The team responsible for IT automation, sometimes referred to as devops, needs to coordinate moves-add-changes with the networking team; for example adding ports to VLANs.  Often the networking team wants to delegate these specific configuration controls to devops but they didn’t have a standardized way to do that. Puppet for JUNOS allows the networking teams to delegate these controls and enables the devops team to use Puppet as their common IT modeling and automation process.

The Benefits of Puppet Enterprise for JUNOS
Puppet for Junos OS enables IT organizations to provide flexibility, predictability and transparency in the configuration of server to network connections. With Puppet for Junos OS, system administrators will spend less time on mundane tasks and instead focus on managing their infrastructure as a whole. IT organizations can achieve significant economies of scale reducing the time spent on configuring and managing devices and lower the risk and cost of service outages by reducing configuration errors.  Time to deployment is reduced by off loading work from the network teams to the server teams. Previously to having this type of automation network teams would be reluctant to pass control to the server team, but Puppet Enterprise allows changes to be standardized, scripted and tested reducing uncertainty about production deployment.

What Puppet for Junos OS Does
The Juniper Networks netdev Puppet module provides new Puppet resource types for configuring:
• Physical interfaces
• Layer 2 switch ports
• Link aggregation groups
The first release of Puppet for Junos OS supports the EX4200, EX4550 switches running Junos 12.2R3.5 and the QFX3500 top or rack switches running Junos 12.2X50-D30.4.

For More Information
For the release notes, technical documentation and access to the release code visit the Puppet for Junos OS Technical Documentation page where you will also find a link to the J-Net forum where the FAQ is posted.


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