Thanks to all who joined us for the Brocade webinar Five Critical Considerations for IT Automation where we saw how IT automation requires thinking beyond silos, service provisioning and streamlining basic operations, to include cross-domain and network lifecycle workflow automation. During the presentation, we took questions from the audience, but unfortunately ran out of time before we could answer them all. See the full Q&A below.
Brocade: Software-defined networking or SDN and SDN controllers enables organizations to provision and manage the network resources based on preconfigured parameters. Brocade Workflow Composer provides DevOps-inspired cross-domain lifecycle automation (provisioning, validation, troubleshooting, and remediation) across datacenter infrastructure and applications. Workflow Composer can work with SDN controllers and other SDN-based or NFV-based products in a similar way to all other data center infrastructure.
You showed Splunk, Slack, and Jira. Are they the only tools that support cross-domain automation?
Brocade: No. While Workflow Composer provides pre-built integrations with these tools, they were included for demonstration purposes only. Workflow Composer, powered by StackStorm, includes nearly 2000 pre-built integrations. These include other collaboration tools, analytics platforms, and programming languages used by both DevOps-centric and non-DevOps-centric IT operations across the automation ecosystem. To see the current list of integrations, go to https://exchange.stackstorm.org.
Where does the Workflow Composer run?
Brocade: The Workflow Composer automation platform is typically deployed on a Linux-based bare metal server or a virtual machine within the datacenter or cloud infrastructure from where the majority of your applications are running. However, the Workflow Composer automation platform supports multi-cloud environments because it can receive events from and execute actions on remote devices, platforms, or applications so long as there is connectivity.
Is there a trial version of your automation platform?
Brocade: Yes. The Workflow Composer automation platform is available for free trial. Once registered, users can access all features of Workflow Composer and get full technical support for 90 days. Follow this link to register: http://bit.ly/2jtuZ6g.
Are there scalability limits to Workflow Composer?
Brocade: There are no known scalability limits. The Workflow Composer automation platform uses a highly-scalable, DevOps-inspired microservices-based architecture. As a result, services can be spawned horizontally as needed to meet demand. Additionally, BWC’s open automation platform enables organizations to integrate their own services such as a database to better meet their desired operational levels.
What languages do you commonly see with automation?
Brocade: The Workflow Composer automation platform uses and/or supports popular open-source technologies commonly found in DevOps-centric environments such as Python, YAML, YAQL, JSON, Mistral, Ansible and more -enabling organizations to leverage pre-existing skills and knowledge.
What did you mean by DevOps-inspired?
Brocade: The Workflow Composer automation platform embraces many of the principles of DevOps culture including: continuous integration/continuous deployment, collaboration, community-centric, and open technologies. Workflow Composer uses and/or supports popular open-source technologies such as Python, YAML, YAQL, JSON, Mistral and more -enabling organizations to leverage pre-existing skills and knowledge. Additionally, Workflow Composer which is built on StackStorm, has a growing community of users providing a source for collaboration, innovation, and inspiration.
How is security managed? i.e. how are passwords protected? Followup: Can you use other key stores?
Brocade: Passwords are stored in StackStorm/Workflow Composer key value store. The key value store uses AES256 encryption and can be used for storing key-value pairs. If values are marked as ‘secret’, they are stored using a two-way encryption method. Key-value pairs can be restricted to specific users. Additionally, Workflow Composer users can leverage integration with existing role-based and LDAP-based security. See for more information. Lastly, Workflow Composer’s DevOps-inspired open architecture enables use of other key stores but will require some custom workflow development to provide the integration with existing security workflows and services.
What are the impacts of the use of these tools in a classified environment.
Brocade: Assuming this is referring to running the Workflow Composer automation platform in an environment without internet connectivity:
- Brocade Workflow Composer does not require Internet connectivity for ongoing operations. Packages can be manually transferred, and packs installed using standard configuration management tools (Puppet, Ansible, etc).
- Brocade Workflow Composer includes full auditing of all actions. We recommend sending these logs to external logging systems such as Splunk.
- Brocade Workflow Composer includes the ability to restrict actions to specific groups of users through RBAC controls. Users should pay careful consideration to which users are allowed to run what actions.