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Building Network Automation Solutions

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Build your own network automation solution during this 6-week high-intensity interactive online course.


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Easy Wins

The second module of the network automation online course focuses on easy wins - things that can add significant value to your existing network operations just with read-only access to the network devices.

You'll learn how to gather data using vendor-specific API, show commands or NAPALM, and how to produce summary- or compliance reports.

Understanding Ansible

You won’t be able to follow the rest of this module without a thorough understanding of Ansible. If you haven’t completed the Ansible for Networking Engineers online course, please do it now.

At the very minimum, you have to understand YAML, Jinja2, basics of Ansible, and Ansible networking modules.

1:05:04 Creating Summary and Compliance Reports

In the second session of the January 2017 course we explored various ways of creating summary- and compliance reports with Ansible. After watching the videos describing the underlying principles and numerous examples you’ll be ready to solve the Easy Wins hands-on exercises.

Creating Reports 46:45 2017-01-20
Compliance Checks 18:19 2017-01-20

Additional resources

Slide deck 4.1M 2017-01-20
Sample summary report playbooks
Sample compliance checks playbooks
Create list of fabric links based on interface descriptions
Create network topology diagram from LLDP neighbors

49:53 Compare Network State after a Change

One of the simple solutions that can increase the reliability of your network is comparing the network state before and after a change.

This case study describes:

  • How you could collect and compare network state
  • How to collect network state with Ansible and compare it with diff
  • How to remove time-dependent information from the network state
Defining the Problem and Selecting the Tools 14:34 2017-09-28
Quick and Dirty Solution 9:28 2017-09-28
Removing Time-Dependent Information 10:33 2017-09-28
Improvements and Answers to Questions 15:18 2017-09-28
Slide deck 5.9M 2017-09-25
Source code (Ansible playbooks and test script)

Sample Ansible Playbooks

Before moving to hands-on exercises you might want to spend some time exploring the sample Ansible playbooks I created to illustrate the concepts discussed in this module.

Sample summary report
Sample compliance checks
Create fabric description from interface descriptions
Use LLDP data to create fabric description or network diagram
Collect and compare network state

Hands-on exercises

Hands-on exercises for the second module are relatively simple: assuming you already built your network automation lab, create a simple summary report. Looking for tougher challenge? Don’t worry, it’s waiting for you.

Homework: Create a simple summary report

Additional resources

1:28:31 Troubleshooting Networks with NetQ

NetQ is a tool developed by Cumulus Networks that allow you to validate proper operation of your network (BGP and OSPF adjacencies, LLDP neighbors...), log network state changes, inspect network state at any time in the past, and perform end-to-end path tracing including overlay-to-underlay mapping.

State of Data Center Troubleshooting 16:07 2017-09-28
Introducing NetQ 21:46 2017-09-28
Troubleshooting Networks with NetQ 32:13 2017-09-28
Customizing and Extending NetQ 18:25 2017-09-28
Slide deck 25M 2017-09-26
NetQ test lab (Cumulus-in-the-Cloud)

Optional self-study materials

The “additional recommended materials” section of the second module lists several Software Gone Wild podcasts you might find interesting.

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