You’ve done the F5 Super-NetOps course? Great, if not, stop reading this right now and go and do it. If you work in network operations, then this course is absolutely worth a few hours of your time. Because, even if it’s not an immediate opportunity then you can be sure that automation and orchestration are coming your way.
So, assuming you have done the course, what should you do next? Well, the first step should be to give us feedback, what worked well, what didn’t. What you need more of, what you don’t. We made this course for you, to help you be more successful (that it might help you to buy more F5 products and services is utterly unrelated and entirely coincidental, believe me).
The second step should be to keep an eye open for the announcement of the next class. As soon as we have it ready to go, it will be available from the Super-NetOps site.
Those were the easy things – now you need to start looking how to apply this knowledge. A great next step will be to make sure that you have the Super-NetOps container at hand. You will need a docker environment to run it in, but then again, at least a casual knowledge of container environments is an important part of your Super-NetOps skill set.
Of course, having a BIG-IP to test things out with is going to be handy. If you don’t have access to a lab environment, then building one should probably be next on your list. You could do worse than to build out the same lab that you have just used in the course. We even have some instructions on how to do it. You can buy a lab license or get in contact with your local friendly account team who will usually be pleased to give you a 30-day trail license to get you going.
Now you need to decide what to actually do. One customer I met recently started an automation project and faced the same challenge. They simply pulled their tickets from the last year and categorized them by operation type and used the counts in each category to prioritize the tasks to automate.
Of course, you need to keep in mind the things you learned on the course. Whatever the language or tools you are going to use, it’s smart to think declaratively. Build templates that represent your infrastructure and then create configurations by combining the templates and the variable values for that particular instance. If you can possibly avoid it, stay away from learning every API call required to create a VIP or handle changing pool members. Using templates and deploying or redeploying them with a single call is the way to go.
So, once you’ve mastered that, it might be time to work out to integrate it with the other tools in your organization. There are a few examples out there – including some for integrating with Jenkins.
And if you really want to become a Super-hero? Start a meetup for the other automation-friendly network and infrastructure professionals in your area, heck you might even persuade us to buy the snacks.