Manual Chapter : Standardize an Application for Self-service Deployment

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BIG-IQ Centralized Management

  • 6.1.0
Manual Chapter

Standardize an Application for Self-service Deployment

Chapter file

Creating service templates for self-service application deployment

As a network engineer, you can create service templates with the objects and default parameter settings that you want your application manager to deploy. Using that template, and without having a lot of network expertise, the application manager can deploy the application objects you want by simply specifying a few key values.
When you create a new service template, you can specify a set of objects that define an application that can then be deployed to your BIG-IP devices. A service template is a baseline for creating a new application. This allows you to maintain a consistent environment. Parameters that you define as editable are visible and can be revised.
For example, you can standardize your HTTPS application to use a virtual server, a client SSL profile, a pool, and a node with specific default values. To do this, you create a service template that includes each of these objects. Parameters you don't want edited will be read-only, and those that can change for each application show as editable. Then you assign permissions for this template to your application manager.
To create an application, all the application manager needs to do is provide the editable values (virtual server address, number of nodes and their addresses, and so forth) and identify where the application deploys to. When the application deploys, BIG-IQ creates just the right objects and settings.
There are three ways to create a service template that defines the objects that you want to include in an application. Select the option that works best for you.
  • Create the service template by cloning another service template.
  • Create the service template by importing object settings from a device managed by this BIG-IQ.
  • Create the service template manually, defining settings for each object included in the application.
After you create a service template, it is listed on the Service Catalog page. Note that there is no check mark in the Published column for it. This means two things:
  • The template can be edited. You can select it and revise any of the settings for that template.
  • You cannot use this template to create an application.
Before you can use an unpublished (writeable) service template to create an application, you must publish it. This locks the template, so that you can use it to create an application.
To make a published template writeable so that you can make revisions, select the check box for it and click
Unpublish
.
You cannot make a template writeable if it is being used by an application. To revise a template that is being used, you need to either clone that template or change the template that the application uses.

Create a service template starting with a clone of an existing template

BIG-IQ Centralized Management comes with several default service templates for standard scenarios. Using the clone option, you make a copy of a service template and then add or remove only the objects that need to change to produce the service template you want. This allows you to maintain a consistent environment.
This workflow shows you how to clone a service template that is already defined on this BIG-IQ. For details about other ways to define objects, refer to
Create a service template by importing existing objects
or
Create a service template by manually specifying objects
on
support.f5.com
.
  1. At the top of the screen, click
    Applications
    then, on the left, click
    APPLICATION TEMPLATES
    .
    The screen displays the list of AS3 and service catalog templates defined on this device.
    AS3 templates can only deploy applications to managed devices. To deploy to an SSG, you need a service catalog template.
  2. Select the check box to the left of any service template you want to clone.
  3. Click the
    More
    button and select
    Clone
    .
  4. Type a
    Name
    that you want to use for the clone, and then click
    Clone
    .
    The system creates a clone of the service template and then opens the new template so you can make changes.
  5. Add or remove application objects to the cloned template until it meets your requirements.
    When you finish the edits to this new template, you can use it to create a new application that deploys to your BIG-IP devices.
  6. Click
    Save & Close
    .
  7. If you are ready to use this service template to create an application, select it, and click
    Publish
    .

Create a service template by importing existing objects

Before you can import objects to an application template, you must have either created or imported the LTM objects from one of your managed BIG-IP devices.
When you create a new service template, you specify a set of objects that define an application that can then be deployed to BIG-IP devices. When you define the application, you can omit or include certain objects. Parameters you define as not editable are not visible, and are included using the default values specified in the service template. This allows you to maintain a consistent environment.
Specifying the objects by importing existing objects saves time and ensures that you get precisely the settings you are looking for.
  1. At the top of the screen, click
    Applications
    then, on the left, click
    APPLICATION TEMPLATES
    .
    The screen displays the list of AS3 and service catalog templates defined on this device.
    AS3 templates can only deploy applications to managed devices. To deploy to an SSG, you need a service catalog template.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
  3. Type a
    Name
    and (optional)
    Description
    for the service template you are creating, and then click
    Save
    .
    Once you define the name and save the template, you need to define the default objects for this template. This workflow shows you how to import objects that already exist on devices managed by this BIG-IQ. For details about other ways to define objects, refer to
    Create a service template starting with a clone of an existing template
    or
    Create a service template by manually specifying objects
    on
    support.f5.com
    .
  4. On the left, under
    PROPERTIES
    , expand
    LOCAL TRAFFIC
    SECURITY POLICIES
    Security
    , and then select any object type.
    For example, you could expand
    LOCAL TRAFFIC
    , and then click
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The screen lists any objects defined for this template along with buttons you can use to import or create new objects.
  5. Click
    Import
    .
    The Import Resources screen opens. The top half of the screen displays resources selected for importing. The bottom half provides controls for selecting objects to import to this template.
  6. From the select list about half way down the screen, select one of the object types you want to import.
    Objects of the type you selected that are currently defined on this BIG-IQ display just below the Select list.
  7. Select the check box for each object that you want to import.
    The lower right part of the screen displays preview information for the selected object. If you select multiple objects, the most recently selected item is previewed.
  8. When you have selected all of the objects that you want for a particular type, click
    Add Selected
    .
    The selected objects show in the list of objects to be imported.
  9. Repeat the previous three steps for each of the default object types that you want to import to this template.
  10. When you have assembled all of the objects that you want to import to this template, click
    Import
    .
    When you import an object created outside of the service template user interface into a service template, only the object name is set to be editable (and visible when someone uses this template to create a new application). For example, if a virtual server named
    SeattleServer
    is created on one of the BIG-IP devices that a BIG-IQ manages, that virtual server is imported to the BIG-IQ when you discover and import that device. You can then import
    SeattleServer
    into a service template, but only the name (
    SeattleServer
    ) appears when that template is used to create an application. You can edit the visibility setting on the Edit Template screen for the imported object.
    BIG-IQ adds the imported objects to the service template. Objects that are set to be editable display when someone uses this template to create a new application.
  11. If you want to edit any of the settings for the objects you imported, click the name of the object to access the edit screen for that object.
    When you save the changes for an object, the revisions you made become part of the template, and you can use it to create a new application that deploys to your BIG-IP devices.
  12. Click
    Save & Close
    .
  13. If you are ready to use this service template to create an application, select it, and click
    Publish
    .

Create a service template by manually specifying objects

When you create a new service template, you specify a set of objects that define an application that can then be deployed to BIG-IP devices. When you define the application, you can omit or include certain objects. Parameters you define as not editable are not visible, and are included using the default values specified in the service template. This allows you to maintain a consistent environment.
  1. At the top of the screen, click
    Applications
    then, on the left, click
    APPLICATION TEMPLATES
    .
    The screen displays the list of AS3 and service catalog templates defined on this device.
    AS3 templates can only deploy applications to managed devices. To deploy to an SSG, you need a service catalog template.
  2. Under Service Catalog Templates, click
    Create
    .
    The General Properties tab of the Create Service Template screen opens.
  3. Type a
    Name
    and (optional)
    Description
    for the service template you are creating, and then click
    Save
    .
    Once you define the name, you can define the default objects for this template. This workflow shows you how to manually define objects for this template. For details about other ways to create templates, refer to
    Create a service template starting with a clone of an existing template
    or
    Create a service template by importing existing objects
    on
    support.f5.com
    .
  4. If you have created any scripts that BIG-IQ should run before or after it creates this application, or after you delete this application, click
    PROPERTIES
    , and then select the ones you want.
    You can find the screen used to create scripts here:
    Devices
    SCRIPT MANAGEMENT
    Scripts
    .
  5. Click
    Save
    .
    BIG-IQ saves the name and your script selections. Now you can start adding the traffic management and security objects that you want to define for this application.
  6. On the left, under
    PROPERTIES
    , expand
    LOCAL TRAFFIC
    or
    SECURITY POLICIES
    and then select any object type.
    For example, you could expand
    LOCAL TRAFFIC
    , and then click
    Virtual Servers
    .
    Until you configure at least one virtual server for this template, you cannot select any security policies to attach to the virtual servers in this template.
  7. Click
    Create
    .
    The screen you use to define the selected object type (for example, New Virtual Server) opens.
  8. In the
    Prompt
    field, type the text string that you want to display for this object when someone uses this template to create a new application.
  9. If you want applications created with this template to be able to include more than one copy of the object you are adding, select
    Enable
    for
    Allow Multiple Instances
    .
  10. Specify all of the default parameters that you want to define for this object.
    Before you can add an object to the template, you must specify at least the required parameters for that object type. For example, to specify a virtual server, you only need to provide a name, a destination address, and a service port, even though there are another fifty or so settings you could specify.
  11. For each parameter that you specify, determine whether you want the person who deploys an application using this template to be able to edit the default settings you are defining.
    If you check
    Editable
    When this template is used to create an application, this parameter will be visible and the default values configurable.
    If you do not check
    Editable
    When this template is used to create an application, this parameter will be included in the application (with the settings that you specify here), but it will not be visible in the user interface.
    Only the parameters you select appear in the user interface when someone deploys an application using this template.
  12. As you specify parameter values for this template object, you can click
    Preview
    in the upper right corner to see what the user interface will look like when someone uses this template to deploy an application.
    For detailed information on the parameter settings to specify for particular use cases, refer to the documentation for that object type on
    support.F5.com
    . For example, for help understanding the parameters you specify for a client SSL profile, you would go to
    support.F5.com
    , select
    BIG-IQ Centralized Management
    , select the BIG-IQ version you are using, and then select
    Managing Local Traffic Profiles
    .
  13. When you finish specifying parameters for this object, click
    Save
    .
    BIG-IQ adds the object you defined to the list of objects in this template. When you finish adding an object to a template, you can use it to create an application.
  14. Continue this process until you have added all of the objects needed in this template.
    When you finish the edits to this new template, you can use it to create a new application that deploys to your BIG-IP devices.
  15. Click
    Save & Close
    .
  16. If you are ready to use this service template to create an application, select it, and click
    Publish
    .

Provide users access to self-serve applications in a scalable cloud

After you create the templates and service scaling groups (SSG), you can provide access to these resources to application managers. You can provide different users access to different resources, according to their needs. With this access, application managers can create and monitor applications as needed, and interact with only those resources that they need to do their job. This simplifies the complexity of the objects that they have to be aware of, while allowing them the autonomy to create applications as they need them.
To provide access, you create a user, and associate the user to a custom application role with access to the resources they need to create and deploy applications into the scalable cloud.
  1. At the top of the screen, click
    System
    .
  2. On the left, click
    USER MANAGEMENT
    Users
    .
  3. Near the top of the screen, click the
    Add
    button.
  4. From the
    Auth Provider
    list, select the authentication method you want to use for this user.
    A user must belong to an LDAP group or have an assigned BIG-IQ role, or authentication will fail.
  5. In the
    User Name
    field, type the name for this user.
  6. In the
    Password
    and
    Confirm Password
    fields, type the password for this new user.
    You can change the password any time.
  7. On the left, click
    ROLE MANAGEMENT
    Roles
    .
  8. On the left, under
    CUSTOM ROLES
    , click
    Application Roles
    .
  9. Click
    Add
    .
  10. After you specify a
    Name
    and an optional
    Description
    , select the
    Active Users
    that you want to provide access to, and move them to the
    Selected
    list.
  11. For
    Service Catalog Templates
    , select each template you want to provide access to and move it to the
    Selected
    list.
  12. To enable application deployment to managed devices using an AS3 declaration, specify the AS3 options you want to authorize for this role.
    To authorize this role to deploy applications to managed devices:
    Then:
    Using an AS3 declaration without using a template...
    Select the
    Allow using AS3 without Template
    check box.
    Using an AS3 declaration using a template...
    For
    AS3 Templates
    , select the templates you want and move them to the
    Selected
    list.
    You can specify either of these AS3 options, or both. If you select the check box and select AS3 templates, then this role will be able to publish applications with or without a template; but if a template is used, it can only be one of the templates you specify here.
  13. For
    Service Scaling Groups
    , select the service scaling group you created and move it to the
    Selected
    list.
  14. Click the
    Save & Close
    button.
It's a good idea to log in as this new user to confirm that the access you provided is correct. Once you verify that, you can give the user their user name and password for self-service access to application deployment.