Avi Networks Integrates Cloud Automation Tools


By: Michael Vizard

Avi Networks this week moved to bridge the divide between IT automation frameworks and underlying infrastructure and security services by eliminating the need for custom scripts to configure network resources. The latest version of the company’s Avi application delivery fabric for managing IT infrastructure has been directly integrated with the Ansible from Red Hat and Terraform from HashiCorp frameworks.

These days, cloud environments are dynamic, with constantly changing resources. By tying its own automation tools with Ansible and Terraform, Avi hopes to eliminate the need to write custom code. Avi believes that IT operations are likely to embrace IT automation frameworks that can span both on-premises and cloud services, says Guru Chahal, vice president of product for Avi Networks.

“This is a zero-code approach to automation,” says Chahal.

The end goal is to make it simpler to manage IT based on intent, which Chahal says is too difficult to achieve using legacy network and security appliances. Chahal contends it is much simpler to achieve that goal using a fabric that provides a common level of abstraction above the IT infrastructure using an Avi engine that can declaratively configure and update a hybrid IT environment via an IT automation framework. The Avi framework also provides built-in load balancing, monitoring, and web application firewall capabilities, says Chahal.

IT automation frameworks have been around now for some time. But the percentage of IT organizations employing those frameworks remains relatively modest, mainly because the average administrator has limited to no coding skills. Chahal says the integration with Ansible and Terraform enables administrators to express their intent regarding, for example, what level of performance they want a specific service to be able to maintain using a simple graphical user interface.

Chahal says Avi Networks decided to start with two open-source automation frameworks, which it plans to expand on in the months ahead.

Thanks to the rise of agile programming tools, the rate at which applications are being deployed into a production environment has accelerated significantly in the last few years. That shift is putting a lot of pressure on administrators to find ways to provision network and security services faster, which is difficult to achieve relying on a command line interface (CLIs) to program one appliance at a time.

It’s not clear to what degree administrators are ever going to be willing to give up their CLIs. But whether they like it or not, it may now be, one way or another, only a matter of time.