The Usefulness of the GUI and the Utility of the Script

I’m excited to be heading to New York this week for the AWS Summit, and not just for the chance to discover strange new life forms.  It’s a a well timed event as we are doing a lot of work in with public cloud services,  and I’m looking forward to getting some feedback from people using F5 in AWS.

As preparation, I’m running through a crash course in Python and Ansible  to better understand the excellent AWS deployment scripts that Alex Applebaum and Chris Mutzel have put up on Github. I urge you to check them out – although very much a proof of concept at the moment, they represent a great starting point. If you need more of a primer about F5 in AWS  then check out Chris’s latest blog post, which will give you an overview of the F5 networking setup in AWS.

I’ll be honest, I’m only really dabbling in automation tools at the moment, but the power of using a fairly simple Ansible playbook to install and configure a web server on a dozen cloud instances is pretty cool.

All this makes me realize that it won’t be long before the GUI just becomes becomes the tool you use to make the templates you need for your production application deployments. Like a sculptor’s tools shaping the clay form for the later bronze, the GUI lets you tweak or tune any of the hundreds of settings a BIG-IP has to optimize, accelerate and secure your application. At the end of the process you have beautifully, customized configuration that creates a secure, optimized environment for your applications.  Great - but what if you want to make 10 of them? That’s where the usefulness of the GUI gets replaced by the utility of the script. By using the configuration as a template, we will be able to use automation tools like Ansible, Puppet or Chef to create and recreate these environments as often as we like. As the application code gets updated in Dev/Test so to is the application delivery template. As the code passes into QA and live then template flows with it.  Every new iteration of the application can have a refined security policy, improved acceleration or more sensitive performance telemetry.Simply tweak the configuration slightly and burn a new template. We will still need our GUI (or our modeling tools), but once we have made the form, we can cast as many copies as we like.

I’m not suggesting we are 100% there yet, but it’s possibilities like this that make it such an exciting time to be in IT, and at F5. I’d love to hear your views on this, so come see us at the summit (booth #634),  or leave your comments below.

Published Jul 07, 2015
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