Self-Study Materials

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.

The Building Network Automation Solutions includes days of self-study materials that you can begin to study weeks before the course starts. Please write down the questions while you study the materials – we'll address as many of them as feasible during the live sessions.

Access to all ipSpace.net content listed on this page (webinars, podcasts,...) is included with the course registration.

List of modules


While you don't have to study all the material prior to the course start date, I'd recommend you study the materials for each module before the corresponding live session to prepare the questions/topics you'd like to see discussed during the live session.

Getting Started

Before starting the course you should revisit the basics of network automation and network programmability. I would recommend watching these webinars:

To understand why we'll Ansible and NSOT during the hands-on assignments, watch the Network Automation Tools webinar (2 hours).

You'll also have to build your own lab, install Ansible, and check that you can reach the devices in your lab from your Ansible host/VM. To get familiar with simple Ansible operations, watch the Introduction to Ansible video from the Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar (30 minutes).

Additional recommended materials

You might want to get familiar with Vagrant, VirtualBox and Git. Here are a few links to get you started:

To understand how Git really works (beyond the three basic commands) read at least the first few chapters of the Pro Git book.

It also wouldn't hurt to get familiar with Python. These (free) online classes should help you get started:

Red Hat published free Ansible Essentials e-learning on Udemy (Thank you @netmanchris)

Finally, to get in proper mindset, listen to these Software Gone Wild episodes (each one is ~1 hour long)

Easy Wins

To solve the hands-on exercises you'll have to collect data from networking devices and generate reports. You'll get the information needed to get the job done in these sections of the Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar:

  • YAML and JSON (45 minutes) so you'll understand the format of Ansible playbooks
  • Creating templates with Jinja2 (at least the easy parts - ~ 1 hour)
  • Using Ansible (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • Ansible networking modules (1 hour 30 minutes)

You should also watch the Creating Summary and Compliance Reports presentation from the January 2017 session.

Additional recommended materials

If you plan to generate reports in HTML format and are not familiar with HTML markup, it won't hurt to go through one of the online HTML tutorials.

You might also find these Software Gone Wild episodes interesting (each one is ~1 hour long):

Data Models

This section focuses on the infrastructure and services data models. Watch:

Additional recommended materials

If you want to understand YANG and NETCONF better, watch the first part of the NETCONF and YANG webinar (~1 hour if you skip the hands-on parts). You might also want to watch the NETCONF Deep Dive section to understand the NETCONF protocol details.

You might also want to listen to Model Driven Networking podcast with Jeff Tantsura.

Changing Network Configurations or State

Watch these sections of the Ansible for Networking Engineers webinar:

  • Complete Jinja2 section - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Network Devices Configuration Management section - ~1 hour

You should also watch these presentations from the January 2017 session:

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).

Additional recommended materials

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

Validation, Error Handling and Unit Tests

More to explore

If you haven't read the Validating deployments with NAPALM blog post, please do it now.

You should also listen to these Software Gone Wild episodes (each one is ~1 hour long):

Finally, here's a list of interesting blog posts and other resources:

Useful tools:

Putting It All Together

Additional recommended materials