Application Deployment Automation and F5 BIG-IP Load Balancing
Load balancers form an integral part of data center Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) responsible for ensuring high availability, continuity and scalability of custom applications. For IT operations and DevOps teams, guaranteeing application high availability extends all the way to application production and includes the updating and maintenance of data center applications "in mid flight" - releasing features and patches into production servers without interrupting user experience or ongoing application delivery.
"Pushing" application release deployments into production typically involves removing servers from the load balancer pool, updating application components, checking that the new features and updates are working, and then adding the servers back into the pool. During the application release service window, disabled servers are unavailable, reducing the number of servers in the load balancing pool, thereby heightening the risk to high availability. Thus it is critical that IT operations expedite the full release cycle as quickly as possible, reducing the service window to a minimum and mitigating any negative effect on load balancing schemes, user experience and service continuity.
Nolio ASAP provides out-of-the-box actions for controlling application release across all F5's BIG-IP load balanced servers, providing simple automated processes for pulling servers out of the pool for application updates, and placing servers back in the pool once new application versions are installed, tested and verified.
Nolio ASAP actions include:
- Add member to pool
- Create pool
- Delete pool
- Disable member
- Enable member
- List all pool members
- List all pools
- Remove member from pool
Interaction with F5 BIG-IP via the Nolio ASAP Actions is as simple as passing a few parameters. Without any specific API or scripting knowledge, Nolio operators can quickly and easily build domain specific actions and workflows for use in any custom application release process.
Using Nolio ASAP to control the members of a F5 BIG-IP load balancer provides a seamless, holistic, and automated application deployment process, resulting in up to 70% reduction in forced downtime and significantly decreasing the lack of high availability. In the example release processes below, we have included the responsibility of multiple disciplinarians; network (F5), DBA, and release engineer, into a single release process, eliminating timely gaps and costly miscommunications that are more than too common in complex release deployments.