It's an application world; a world that is rapidly expanding. With new opportunities and markets arising driven by mobility and the Internet of Things, it is only going to keep expanding as applications are deployed to provision, license, and manage the growing sensors and devices in the hands of consumers.
Applications are not isolated containers of functionality. No application winds up in production without a robust stack of resources and services to support it. Storage and compute, of course, are required, but so are the networking - both stateless and stateful - services that provide for scale, security and performance.
Ultimately this places a significant burden on operations and networking teams to provision and configure services faster and more frequently and with fewer errors that disrupt deployment timelines or result in undesirable downtime.
Increasingly operations (and sometimes networking) teams are turning to DevOps to achieve consistent, predictable and repeatable application deployments by leveraging automation and orchestration to meet application deployment expectations.
One of the forerunners of frameworks designed to automate and orchestrate application provisioning and deployment is Puppet Labs. No stranger to DevOps, Puppet has focused primarily on establishing a solid and yet flexible foundation for deploying the compute infrastructure required to deploy and ultimately scale an application in production.
But once you're finished with the compute, you aren't done. Applications require storage and networking, and if you're only rapidly deploying one of the three, you're missing out on the lion's share of the benefits. While the focus of Puppet has been primarily on the compute component of the application deployment stack, there's nothing that prevents storage and networking from also being automated and orchestrated via Puppet. No surprise, then, that many platforms have freely available Puppet plug-ins, and F5 is no exception.
Puppet itself is freely available and community supported, but like other open source-based solutions it also has a commercial, enterprise-grade offering. And while the free version of Puppet has supported the entire application deployment stack through community-developed plug-ins, its commercial offering was hitherto officially focused on just compute.
Virtualization and cloud have long held out the promise of faster and more efficient deployments, but network and storage management have not kept up with IT system management, when it comes to automation. The challenges network and storage admins face are very similar to those sysadmins have long dealt with — manual, error-prone processes, ticket proliferation, a growing backlog of technical debt, and the inability to realize the full benefits of cloud and virtualization.
Puppet Labs has always been about helping sysadmins free themselves of the work that computers actually do better, so they can do the work that people do best: analyzing metrics and applying their learning to make IT better serve business needs. Puppet Supported is our next step toward helping all admins, and promoting better collaboration between different technical teams. With Puppet Enterprise automating all the layers in the data center, admins will be able to design their companies’ technology strategies to better meet customer demand and adapt quickly to ever-shifting market conditions.
What does that mean? it means officially supported Puppet modules for provisioning, configuring and managing F5 services in an enterprise-class environment. Initially support will focus on the stateful L4-7 services critical to modern data center architectures requiring elastic scalability.
We're excited to be a part of PuppetSupported, not only because customers will enjoy the benefits of automation and orchestration of the network, but also because we see this move as embracing the network as a first class citizen in its framework for operationalizing application deployments as critical for organizations to realize a fully operationalized data center.