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Automate all the things!

AARNet is on a journey. In the beginning, network engineering was done by old-school artisans. Configurations were lovingly hand-crafted. Routers and switches petted and cared for. Loving attention was paid to each device under monitoring. This was fine…. until it wasn’t fine any more. We’re in 2018 now. It turns out that our CloudStor synch&share service got to the point where the number of users shot up from 500 to 50,000 over the course of a couple of years, and we ended up manually configuring hundreds of containers; that was really spreading the love too thin. Our systems have become cattle, not pets. AARNet network engineers are reluctantly handing in their CLI licences and learning to navigate Ansible + python + Git + Jenkins. Operator error is reduced, time to deployment is minimised, troubleshooting tools are improved, integration with applications is achieved. It all sounds wonderful. But - it’s still a journey. What have we achieved to date? What has turned out to be harder than expected? All shall be revealed…


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