Self-Study Materials

From Building Network Automation Solutions

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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.

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 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

Go through self-study materials for this module (preferably using self-paced guidance);

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. The link to Ansible online course is in self-study materials for this module.

After that, explore optional self-study materials.

Easy Wins

The study materials for this module will help you create network automation solutions using read-only access to network devices. They assume you already mastered Ansible. I would recommend you use self-paced guidance to track your progress.

The very minimum you'll need to solve the hands-on exercises are YAML, Jinja2, Using Ansible and Ansible Networking Modules sections from Ansible for Networking Engineers online course.

If you have any time left, go through the additional recommended materials for this module starting with organizing your code and data.

Data Models

The self-study materials for this module (self-paced guidance) cover data models and data stores, OpenConfig, YANG, and data model transformation.

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.

Changing Network Configurations or State

The materials we prepared for this module (self-paced guidance) will help you create Ansible playbooks or use Salt to develop network automation solutions that configure network devices based on a data model you created in the previous module.

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

You should also study the sample Ansible playbooks and (time permitting) additional NAPALM-related materials.

Validation, Error Handling and Unit Tests

With the help of materials in this module (hint: use self-paced guidance) you'll:

  • Learn how to test and debug your Ansible playbooks;
  • Set up continuous integration pipeline;
  • Find the Ansible actions you need to check data validity, assert conditions, or fail playbooks.
You might also want to explore additional testing-related resources and podcasts.

Putting It All Together

The materials in this module (self-paced guidance) contain numerous case study describing production use of network automation. You'll also learn how to extend Ansible, and integrate Ansible playbooks with transactional databases and front-end systems.

After completing the recommended self-study materials, listen to a few more Software Gone Wild episodes.

Network Infrastructure as Code

The materials in this module describe the principles of network infrastructure as code and a real-life case study.

To understand them you should watch at least these sections from previous modules:

Event Driven Automation

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

Network Automation Tools

You'll find the presentations describing various network automation tools in module nine of the online course.