Event-Driven Automation

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;
  • 9 module course spread across ~3 months;
  • Live discussion and guest speaker sessions;
  • Design and coding assignments and group work;
  • Final course completion certificate.

In the previous modules, you’ve learned how to create reports from data gathered from network devices, create device configurations from data models, automate device and service provisioning, and integrate individual components you built into a full-blown network services orchestration system.

It’s time to move to the next level: respond to significant events reported by your network in real time and adjust the network behavior accordingly. Welcome to the challenging world of Event-Driven Automation.

In this module, you’ll discover the unpleasant reality: it’s hard to define what an event is, and it’s hard to identify significant events based on plethora of messages the network devices are sending you in form of SNMP traps, SYSLOG messages or streaming telemetry. You’ll also find several tools you could use, and learn more about SALT, a tool that’s becoming more popular in complex automation environments that would be hard to handle with simple tools like Ansible.

Guest speakers

The following guest speakers talked about event-driven automation during the Spring 2018 course:

What Is Event-Driven Automation?

On March 20th 2018 David Gee dived deep into event-driven network automation. As he explains the challenge:

When it comes to running infrastructure and infrastructure services, a lot of the decision making is human based. Someone reads a ticket, someone decides what to do. Someone gets alerted to an event and that someone does something about it. This involvement causes friction in the smooth running nature of automated processes. Fear not! Something can be done about it.

We all know the stories of ITIL and rigid process management and David explained how event-driven automation could be made reality even with strict and rigid controls, resulting in an environment that reacts automatically to stimuli from your services and infrastructure. We discussed what events are, when they're important, how to normalize them, and what we can do when we have identified an event positively. David also described commercial vs open source options along with their pros and cons.

Finally, David demonstrated syslog and ICMP powered event driven automation in action, and provided links to usable code samples so you can reproduce the demos in your own environment.

More about David Gee

Event-Driven Automation with Salt

On February 27th 2018, Mircea Ulinic described Salt, an open source, general-purpose event-driven automation framework that is used by very large companies around the globe for various operations including: cloud provisioning, bringing systems up to a desired configuration, schedule commands, securely transfer files, or coordinate complex multi-systems orchestrations.

Mircea explained how to get started with Salt and set up an environment for event-driven network automation and orchestration. The cross-platform capabilities of SALT are relying on NAPALM which you should already be familiar with. He described the recommended steps to install Salt, and the key points to remember, did a brief introduction to the CLI syntax, and acquainted you with the advanced configuration management capabilities. Debugging is always very important - particularly during development, so he covered that as well, and explored the features Salt provides for debugging.

In the end, Mircea briefly discussed event-driven infrastructure that we can use to trigger fully automatic configuration changes in response to external or internal network events.

More about Mircea Ulinic

Self-study materials

The materials we prepared for this module will help you create a network automation solution that responds to external events in real time.

Recordings of Live Sessions