Building Network Automation Solutions - September 2018 session

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52:13 Course Introduction

The introduction to Autumn 2018 course describes:

  • Course goals and course structure;
  • Hands-on exercises and building your own lab;
  • Detailed course contents

If you missed the live session, I'd highly recommend you start here.

Course Introduction 13:37 2018-09-28
Hands-on Exercises 14:00 2018-09-28
Content Details 13:57 2018-09-28
Questions and Answers 10:39 2018-09-28

1:46:01 Service Deployment in Cisco ACI with Ansible

In this presentation Dirk Feldhaus described an Ansible-based solution to Cisco ACI tenant provisioning he developed as a student of this course. The solution is used for production deployments within his company.

The structure of Dirk's presentation mirrors the approach you should take when developing any network automation solution:

  • Figure out the problem and create a pilot solution;
  • Define the service you plan to automate;
  • Describe the service with a data model;
  • Develop automation scripts that provision the target service;
  • Develop support scripts to monitor and operate the service.
What Problem Are We Solving 28:09 2018-09-21
Describing the Service with a Data Model 31:20 2018-09-21
Service Deployment with Ansible 34:42 2018-09-21
Beyond Service Creation 11:50 2018-09-21
Slide deck 1.5M 2018-09-21

1:20:56 Python-Only Automation Solutions with Nornir

David Barroso introduced Nornir: a pluggable multi-threaded framework with inventory management that makes it easier to operate a collection of devices with tons of data than server-focused tools like Ansible.

David started with simple code examples that require almost no Python proficiency, demonstrated Nornir inventory and host selection mechanisms, described a simple intent-based networking example, and concluded with a brief introduction of various integration options.

Introduction 9:49 2018-10-10
Nornir Inventory Management 14:25 2018-10-10
Filtering Inventory Hosts 15:39 2018-10-10
Running Tasks 11:51 2018-10-10
DIY Intent-Based Networking 8:46 2018-10-10
Integration with Other Systems 20:26 2018-10-10
Slide deck 4.6M 2018-09-30

1:06:46 Network Infrastructure as Code: Concepts

Network Infrastructure as Code (NIAC) is another overhyped buzzword. In this section we'll try to define what NIAC is, why you might care about it, and how to implement simple NIAC in networks that use decent devices with configuration replace functionality.

The second half of the presentation introduces advanced challenges like abstraction layers, dealing with numerous devices and byzantine failures, and using software development methodologies in network automation.

Overview 19:19 2018-10-10
Deployment Process 26:17 2018-10-10
Abstraction Layers 9:17 2018-10-10
Using Software Development Methodologies 11:53 2018-10-10
Slide deck 1.6M 2018-10-02

1:13:31 Building a Testing Pipeline

When you automate, you want to make sure that you are not automating bugs and mistakes, thereby making them spread across your environment. That is why you want to have a proper testing pipeline in place!

In his presentation, Gabriele Gerbino gives some practical examples building a simple testing pipeline by using Travis-CI and VMs/containers to make sure that you can sleep better once you hit the DEPLOY red button.

Why and What Should You Test 19:18 2018-10-18
Build the Testing Infrastructure 29:59 2018-10-18
Execute the Tests 17:45 2018-10-18
Homework Assignments 6:29 2018-10-18
Slide deck 1.7M 2018-10-19

2:37:25 Network Automation with IXP Manager

Ireland Internet Exchange (INEX) uses IXP Manager (an open-source tool developed by INEX and used by over 60 IXPs worldwide) as the orchestration layer on top of SaltStack to provision and operate multi-vendor INEX infrastructure.

In his presentation, Nick Hilliard described how to take a practical, hands-on approach to network automation for live networks, starting at business analysis, product abstraction and data modeling, and ending up with practical automation of live configurations.

IXP Manager Introduction 13:10 2018-11-14

56:09 Assessment, Requirements and Problem Analysis

Technical Assessment 5:37 2018-11-14
Orchestration Requirements 21:47 2018-11-14
Engineering Analysis 28:45 2018-11-14

44:02 Building and Deploying the Automation Solution

Orchestration Engineering 10:22 2018-11-14
Snags 10:03 2018-11-14
Workflow 7:32 2018-11-14
Operational Results and Business Impact 16:05 2018-11-14
IXP Manager with SaltStack Demo 44:04 2018-11-14
Slide deck 25M 2018-11-13

2:12:09 Apstra AOS

JP Senior used Apstra AOS EVPN-with-VXLAN blueprint application to describe:

  • How Apstra AOS uses graph databases to describe network topology and your intent;
  • How the graph database information is translated into device data models and final device configuration;
  • How Apstra AOS combines the intent you specified with device telemetry to detect anomalies in your network.
Intent Graph Modelling 20:45 2018-11-29
From Graphs to EVPN Configurations 45:09 2018-11-29
Implementation Gotchas 27:10 2018-11-29
Product Demo 39:05 2018-11-29
Slide deck 18M 2018-11-27

47:47 Discussion Questions

During the Q&A part of the live sessions we addressed these questions:

  • Managing test and production environments;
  • Integrating Ansible with external systems like IPAMs, NMS, or CMDBs;
  • Executing Ansible plays on dynamically-created hosts
  • Inputting data;
  • Writing your own Ansible module
Managing Test and Production Environments 8:58 2018-10-18
Integrating Ansible with External Systems 15:52 2018-10-18
Dynamic Hosts 8:06 2018-10-18
Inputting Data 7:12 2018-10-18
Writing Your Own Ansible Module 7:39 2018-10-18
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