Basics of Ansible and F5 integration were covered in a joint webinar held earlier in March 2017. To learn more about the integration and current F5 module support along with some use cases view the webinar .

We had another joint webinar in June 2017, which went into details on the integration. We spoke about how to F5 ansible modules (that will be part of upcoming Ansible 2.4 release) can be used to perfrom administrative tasks on the BIG-IP, make the BIG-IP ready for application deployment in weeks rather than in days. We also touched upon usage of F5 ansible iApps module to deploy applications on the BIG-IP.

The webinar's was very well received which ended with a great Q and A session. Some of the questions that came up were how do we create playbooks for different workflows, what are the best practices that F5 recommends, can we get a sample playbook etc. We will use this forum to answer some of the questions and dig deeper into the F5 and Ansible integration.

Now what really is a playbook, it is nothing but a collection of tasks that are to be performed sequentially on a system. Let us consider a use case where a customer has just purchased 20 BIG-IP’s and needs to get all of them networked and to a state where the BIG-IPs are ready to deploy applications. We can define a playbook which consists of tasks required to perform Day0 and Day1 configuration on the BIG-IPs.

Lets start with Day0, now networking the system consists of assigning it a NTP and DNS server address, assigning a hostname, making some ssh customizations etc., some of these settings are common to all the BIG-IPs. The common set of configurations can be defined using the concept of a ‘role’ in ansible. Let’s define a ‘onboarding’ role which will configure the common settings like NTP, DNS and SSHD settings.

PLAYBOOK FOR ONBOARDING

- name: Onboarding BIG-IP
  hosts: bigip
  gather_facts: false
  roles:
   - onboarding                //playbook runs tasks defined in the ‘onboarding’ role

This play book will run against all the BIG-IP’s defined in the inventory host file 
Example of inventory host file

[bigip]
10.192.73.218
10.192.73.219
10.192.73.220
10.192.73.221

The above playbook will run tasks specified in the 'onboarding' role in file main.yaml (playbooks/roles/onboarding/tasks/main.yaml)

- name: Configure NTP server on BIG-IP
  bigip_device_ntp:
     server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
     user: "{{ username }}"
     password: "{{ password }}"
     ntp_servers: "{{ ntp_servers }}"
     validate_certs: False
  delegate_to: localhost

- name: Manage SSHD setting on BIG-IP
  bigip_device_sshd:
    server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
    user: "{{ username }}"
    password: "{{ password }}"
    banner: "enabled"
    banner_text: " {{ banner_text }}"
    validate_certs: False
  delegate_to: localhost

- name: Manage BIG-IP DNS settings
  bigip_device_dns:
   server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
   user: "{{ username }}"
   password: "{{ password }}"
   name_servers: "{{ dns_servers }}"
   search: "{{ dns_search_domains }}"
   ip_version: "{{ ip_version }}"
   validate_certs: False
  delegate_to: localhost

Variables will be referenced from the main.yaml file under default directory for the ‘onboarding’ role (playbooks/roles/onboarding/default/main.yaml)

username: admin
password: admin
banner_text: "--------Welcome to Onboarding BIGIP----------"
ntp_servers:
 - '172.27.1.1'
 - '172.27.1.2'

dns_servers:
 - '8.8.8.8'
 - '4.4.4.4'
dns_search_domains:
 - 'local'
 - 'localhost'
ip_version: 4

The BIG-IP is now ready to deploy applications. One application is configuring the BIG-IP to securely load balance applications. This requires configuring the following on the BIG-IP

  • Vlans
  • Self-IPs
  • Nodes/members (2)
  • Pool (1)
  • Assigning the nodes to the Pool
  • Creating a HTTPS Virtual server
  • Creating a redirect Virtual server, which will redirect all HTTP requests to the HTTPS virtual server (iRule is assigned to the virtual server to achieve this)

This playbook will be run individually for each BIG-IP since each will use different values for VLANS/Self IP’s/Virtual server address etc. The variables values for this playbook is defined inline and not in a separate file.

PLAYBOOK FOR APPLICATION DEPLOYMENT

- name: creating HTTPS application
  hosts: bigip
  tasks:

  - name: Configure VLANs on the BIG-IP
    bigip_vlan:
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "{{ username }}"
        password: "{{ password }}"
        validate_certs: False
        name: "{{ item.name }}"
        tag: "{{ item.tag }}"
        tagged_interface: "{{ item.interface }}"
    with_items:
        - name: 'External'
          tag: '10'
          interface: '1.1'
        - name: 'Internal
          tag: '11’
          interface: '1.2'
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Configure SELF-IPs on the BIG-IP
    bigip_selfip:
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "{{ username }}"
        password: "{{ password }}"
        validate_certs: False
        name: "{{ item.name }}"
        address: "{{ item.address }}"
        netmask: "{{ item.netmask }}"
        vlan: "{{ item.vlan }}"
        allow_service: "{{item.allow_service}}"
    with_items:
        - name: 'External-SelfIP'
          address: '10.10.10.10'
          netmask: '255.255.255.0'
          vlan: 'External'
          allow_service: 'default'
        - name: 'Internal-SelfIP'
          address: '192.10.10.10'
          netmask: '255.255.255.0'
          vlan: 'Internal'
          allow_service: 'default'
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Create a web01.internal node             //Creating Node1
    bigip_node:
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        host: "192.168.68.140"
        name: "web01.internal"
        validate_certs: False
        delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Create a web02.internal node             //Creating Node2
    bigip_node:
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        host: "192.168.68.141"
        name: "web02.internal"
        validate_certs: False
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Create a web-pool                        //Creating a pool
    bigip_pool:
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        lb_method: "ratio_member"
        monitors: http
        name: "web-pool"
        validate_certs: False
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Add http node to web-pool                //Assigning members to a pool
    bigip_pool_member:
        description: "HTTP Webserver-1"
        host: "{{ item.host }}"
        name: "{{ item.name }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        pool: "web-pool"
        port: "80"
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        validate_certs: False
    with_items:
        - host: "192.168.168.140"
          name: "web01.internal"
        - host: "192.168.68.141"
          name: "web02.internal"
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Create a virtual server                  //Create a HTTPS Virtual Server
    bigip_virtual_server:
        description: "Secure web application"
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        name: "https_vs"
        destination: "10.10.20.120"
        port: 443
        snat: "Automap"
        all_profiles:
            - http
            - clientssl
        pool: "web-pool"
        validate_certs: False
    delegate_to: localhost

  - name: Create a redirect virtual server        //Create a redirect virtual server
    bigip_virtual_server:
        description: "Redirect Virtual server"
        server: "{{ inventory_hostname }}"
        user: "admin"
        password: "admin"
        name: "http_redirect"
        destination: "10.10.20.120"
        validate_certs: False
        port: 80
        all_profiles:
            - http
        all_rules:                               //Attach an iRule to the Virtual server
            - _sys_https_redirect
    delegate_to: localhost

Bookmark this page if you are interested in learning more. We will be updating this blog with new F5 modules that are going to be supported with Ansible 2.4 release