Category Archives: python

Netconf Python ncclient

In my earlier blogs, I had covered basics of Netconf and Yang and how to use Netconf to configure Cisco devices. Recently, I came across this Python ncclient library that simplifies the configuration/monitoring of Networking devices that supports Netconf. Using ncclient library, we can programmatically configure and monitor devices using Netconf. I also found out that Cisco Openstack Neutron plugin uses ncclient library to program the Nexus switches.

I have used Cisco Nexus 3k switch and Cisco VIRL NXOS switch for the examples in this blog.

In my earlier blog on configuring Cisco Nexus devices using Netconf, I covered the following netconf requests.

  1. “get” request using filter to display configuration.
  2. “edit-config” request to change configuration.
  3. “exec-command” to execute raw CLI requests.

In this blog, I will cover the above same tests using Python ncclient library. Even though the examples below are tried from Python interactive shell, the same can be executed as a Python program as well.

First step is to import the ncclient library and create a connection:

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Cisco UCS Platform Emulator

Earlier, I had written a blog on Cisco UCS automation using Python SDK. At that time, I used real UCS system to test my scripts. Cisco UCS PE(Platform Emulator) emulates UCSM(UCS Manager) software and we can run this as a VM. Different types of hardware(Fabric Interconnect, FEX/IOM, Servers, adapters, power supply) can be added to create a complex UCS system. We can do majority of the configurations and can trigger different conditions to see how UCSM reacts. Obviously, traffic related testing cannot be done with this. For scripting, UCS PE is a perfect solution. In this blog, I will cover what I did to get UCS PE up and running.

Environment:

VMWare Player 6.05 running on Windows 7.

Installation:

Download the PE zip files. I used version 2.2(3a). Unzip them and import into VMplayer. Choose the default configurations, 3 NAT interfaces are created by default.

Basic configuration:

Continue reading Cisco UCS Platform Emulator

Ansible for Network Automation – Part 2

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. In the previous blog, I covered basics of Ansible and how to get started with it. In this blog, I will cover a sample application that I wrote with Ansible. This Ansible application builds on UCS sdk utility that I covered in a previous blog. The UCS python utility displays the inventory of UCS system. I have made that utility as an Ansible module and extended the application to display the inventory of a list of UCS systems that are defined in the host list. This project is more to illustrate the usecase for Ansible.

The source code for the project can be found here. There are 3 files listed here:

getucs.yml - YAML file that defines the playbook
getucsinfo - New module that is defined. This file needs to be in "usr/share/ansible"
getUcsProp.py - getucsinfo module uses functions in this library. This file needs to be in PYTHONPATH.The library provides utility functions to get UCS inventory.

Continue reading Ansible for Network Automation – Part 2

Ansible for Network automation – Part 1

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. Ansible is a very popular Devops tool and serves similar purposes as Puppet, Chef etc. Ansible has the unique feature that there is no need to install agent on the device side and this makes it very popular for Network device configuration since Network devices are still predominantly a closed system which does not allow agent installation in the device. In this blog, I will cover how to get started with Ansible and in the next blog, I will cover a sample application that I have written.

Ansible basics:

Ansible modules can be run locally or remotely. With the local approach, the module runs locally using apis to talk to remote devices. In remote scenario ,modules are pushed to remote devices, executed as python script and results are returned. Even though there is no need to install remote agent, remote device should allow execution of Python script. Ansible can either be run in command-line for simple tasks or can be executed using a playbook.

Continue reading Ansible for Network automation – Part 1

Network device configuration using templates with Jinja2 and YAML

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. Typically, Network device configurations for CLI based systems are stored as text files and when its necessary to change parameters like gateway address, vlan, ntp server etc, the script is manually edited and then reapplied to the device. This process is manual and prone to errors. In this blog, I will cover how to automate generation of configuration scripts using Jinja2 and YAML. I will also provide an sample application that I created. For more details, please refer to the references section below.

Tools overview:

Jinja2:

Jinja2 is a Python library for creating configuration based on templates. Jinja2 defines a templating language with which templates are created. The templates can be as simple as a hostname variable that needs to be updated or it can be an array of vlans that needs to be populated. Jinja2 also provides complex templates to cover different scenarios. Following is a very simple example of a template which says ntp_server is a variable that needs to be updated dynamically. We will see later how we can feed in the dynamic values to update.

ntp server {{ ntp_server }}

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Cisco device configuration using OnePK

This blog is part of my series on Devops for Networking. onePK is Cisco’s attempt to expose a standard set of APIs to configure and monitor across multiple different Cisco devices. Orchestration and automation applications can use these standard APIs to talk to Cisco devices. In this blog, I will cover a brief overview of onePK and how to get started with onePK to write applications on top of it.

OnePK overview:

Following block diagram from Cisco gives different blocks involved in onePK.

devops6

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