Itential Brings 'Low Code' Network Automation to Red Hat Ansible

MSPs are quickly finding that network automation can lead to profits, while solving misconfiguration problems.

Frank J. Ohlhorst, IT Consultant, Editor-at-Large

October 3, 2018

3 Min Read

RED HAT ANSIBLEFEST — Every MSP knows that change is a constant element of providing services; however, change can often increase costs and cut into profits if there is no way to charge back that change to a customer. Naturally, introducing automation helps to reduce the cost of change and also brings forth efficiencies that are hard to beat.

Case in point is Red Hat Ansible Network Automation, which takes a holistic approach that allows MSPs to adopt a framework that that brings network automation to fruition. Red Hat says Ansible Network Automation is a powerful tool for automating network configuration changes and is an innovative tool for networking teams across the globe. By using common APIs to “handshake” Itential and Red Hat Ansible technologies, organizations can apply low-code methods and intelligent capabilities to networking automation. This can help teams accelerate their organization’s movement toward a software-driven network operations practice.

Ansible can’t automate everything, however, which means other technologies must come into play to further improve efficiencies and reduce the burdens of creating code. That’s exactly where Itential comes into play. The company has focused on adding intelligence to the network-automation process.  

“We have seen network engineers embrace Red Hat Ansible Network Automation,” said Chris Wade, co-founder and CTO of Itential, at Red Hat Ansiblefest in Austin, Texas. “Now with the integration of Itential’s federated and network intelligent workflow builder with Ansible Network Automation, organizations have a more comprehensive set of technologies that can help accelerate their journey toward network automation.”


Chris Wade

Chris Wade

That integration is intended to enable both network engineering and IT operations teams to create and execute network automation capabilities without writing code.

“Through the integration with Itential, we can extend Ansible automation deeper into organizations that may lack specific networking expertise,” said Justin Nemmers, general manager, Ansible, Red Hat. “Using Itential’s service-orchestration capabilities with the powerful automation of Red Hat Ansible Tower helps to provide users an additional tool in automating within their organizations.”

The Itential for Red Hat Ansible solution includes features that help enhance and expand Ansible’s network automation capabilities:

  • Network Automation Activities — Itential’s low-code development interface can allow network engineers and operators to create and execute network automation use cases without writing code.

  • Build Network Intelligent Workflows — Leverage Ansible modules, roles and playbooks, along with Itential’s integrations and adapters, for network automation.

  • Expand Ansible Use Cases — Itential’s network-automation capabilities enable organizations to expand the types of network changes automated with Ansible to include orchestration changes crossing multiple, diverse automation domains.

  • Discover Ansible Modules & Roles — Itential dynamically discovers Ansible modules, roles and other network-configuration actions in your environment, making them available for use within network intelligent workflows.

  • Federate & Decorate Ansible Playbooks, Roles and Modules — Itential enables Ansible users to enhance their playbooks, roles and modules for easier consumption, and dynamically identifies and leverages both certified and custom developed Ansible automations.

  • Leverages Red Hat Ansible Tower — Itential’s enhanced network automation supports Ansible Tower’s single pane of glass across DevOps, App Dev and NetOps teams, including a visual dashboard, job scheduling, integrated notification and graphical inventory management.

What’s more, Itential embraces the open-source ideology and is offering resources via GitHub, such as Itential’s Ansible modules and Ansible Tower job templates, which can be called from playbooks, further easing automation challenges.

For MSPs interested in bringing more automation to their own hosting roles and to their clients’ infrastructures, the mashup of Red Hat Ansible Tower and Itential is well worth a long hard look.

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About the Author(s)

Frank J. Ohlhorst

IT Consultant, Editor-at-Large

Frank J. Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist and technology analyst, with extensive experience as an IT business consultant, editor, author, presenter and blogger. He frequently advises and mentors technology startups and established technology ventures, helping them to create channel programs, launch products, validate product quality, design support systems, build marketing materials, as well as create case studies and white papers.

Mr. Ohlhorst also has extensive experience assisting businesses looking to launch analytics projects, such as big data, business intelligence and resource management. He also has taken on contract roles as a temporary CIO, CTO and data scientist for startups and new ventures. Mr. Ohlhorst also provides forensic services for data security and assist with compliance audits, as well as researching the implications of compliance on a given business model.

Mr. Ohlhorst also has held the roles of CRN Test Center director, eWeek’s executive editor, technology editor for Channel Insider, and is also a frequent contributor to leading B2B publications.

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