Changing Network Configurations or State

From Building Network Automation Solutions

At a Glance

  • High-intensity interactive online course;
  • Jump-start your network automation career;
  • Hands-on experience working on a solution to your own problem;
  • 6 week course spread across ~2 months;
  • Live discussion and guest speaker sessions;
  • Design and coding assignments and group work;
  • Final course completion certificate.

We built a data model for our infrastructure and a sample service during Week 3 of the course, now it’s time to change the network state, either by generating and changing device configurations, or by using an API provided by a network controller or cloud orchestration system.

We’ll start with simple configuration templates, explore the benefits of Ansible roles, discover various mechanisms and libraries you could use to push the generated configurations to network devices, and figure out how to combine automated configuration deployment with manual checks and approvals.

Hands-on Exercises

Hands-on assignments will include:

  • Build and deploy a VLAN- or VXLAN-based data center service;
  • Build ACLs or firewall rules and deploy them in your infrastructure (and use Capirca in multi-vendor deployments);
  • Build router configurations for large-scale WAN deployment.

Detailed description of hands-on exercises …

Guest speakers

Network automation is great, but it can't happen unless you have some way to model what your network should look like. NetBox, one of the few open-source tools focused on networking engineers' needs was developed to function as the "source of truth" for a network, covering all aspects of IP address and infrastructure management. In his presentation Jeremy Stretch will explain what drove him to create a new IPAM/DCIM tool in the first place, the challenges he encountered in defining the data models, and how the API can be used to drive network automation.

More about Jeremy Stretch

Previous guest speakers

David Barroso, the author of NAPALM and SDN Internet Router, described how you can use NAPALM to create a vendor-independent network automation solution in spring 2017 course. His presentation included these topics:

  • The challenges of working with vendor automation libraries and data models;
  • Abstracting vendor API with NAPALM;
  • Abstracting vendor configuration syntax with Jinja2 templates;
  • Simplifying the configuration management workflow with NAPALM;
  • Data-driven configurations
  • Using database backend with Ansible and NAPALM;
  • Simplifying network operations by abstracting sites and services.

More about David Barroso

Self-study materials

To learn how to use Ansible playbooks, Ansible network modules and NAPALM to configure network devices watch these presentations:

To get Ansible knowledge you'll need to understand the above presentations and solve the hands-on exercises watch these sections of the Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar:

You should also study the sample Ansible playbooks.

Finally, you'll probably enjoy the level of abstraction Dinesh Dutt achieved in his Data Center Fabric configuration playbooks (part of Network Automation Use Cases webinar).

If you'd like to have a guided tour of the self-study materials, start the self-paced module.

Additional recommended materials

I would also highly recommend listening to these Software Gone Wild episodes (each one is ~1 hour long):

Recording of the January 2017 session